A Tirade of Snark to My Clueless Muslim Critics

Herein I unleash the snark. I can’t always wax gently lyrical.

Context: My last blog post was about having conversations regarding sex and virginity with family, a musing exploration of the disconnect in exchanging ideas while trying to understand each other.

This morning I approved a new comment on the blog from a lady who had several objections to it. She seems very earnest, especially as she followed my blog after submitting her comment, so I thought I’d actually reply even though I mostly refrain from addressing comments that are all over the place and so particularly straw-manny (I just don’t have the time, really). But in typing up a reply, I realized that I was rambling pretty fierce, too long for just a comment, but also that I was addressing a lot of stock responses I hear to this sort of thing, and it wasn’t really about one person’s comment, but about a collective mindset–one that, in a supreme and kind of satisfying culmination of irony, corroborates the very offending ideas in my original post about how sex and virginity is dealt with–

–it’s kind of sadly elegant, really.

But the mindset is there, it’s prevalent and rote and you know, sometimes I feel like I wonder if I’m being uncharitable in my positions but there’s such a brewing of disgust within me at the insidious self-righteousness of these sorts of responses that this does not seem at all like a low enough jab but I’ll say it:

You can string out the same tired sentences and stances a thousand and one times and they’ll still be as flawed and dishonest and inhumane as ever, these phrases, ‘oh, Islam grants women her rights, don’t you know, preserves honor, dignity, and doesn’t condone mistreatment’ and seriously, I ask you, do we live in the same world?

I’m cracking my fingers here, getting ready–and I’ll stop to say that this isn’t truly about singling out one comment or one person–I don’t expect the person to even have the stamina to read the whole thing, and I wouldn’t be writing this post if I didn’t feel myself to be reading another iteration of the same exact formula again and again, and I think it’s worth addressing at least in a semi-permanent place at least once, so the next time I receive these responses, I can just *plop* link ’em all to my response to this, which so eloquently captures much of their spirit. I quote for layered responses–if you don’t have time or energy to read the whole thing, you can just read the responses to the quotes you’re interested in. You can see the full comment as it appears at the original post but I’m shuffling things around to respond to them.

I’ma start with the juicy stuff, the fiery indignation that I even suggest marital rape is condoned by Islam. Oh noes:

“Islam does not permit marital rape, how can you even state that..’One of the Prophet’s companions once asked him, “Messenger of Allah, what is the right the wife of one of us has on him?” he said, “To feed her whenever you feed yourself and to clothe her whenever you clothe yourself; do not slap her across the face, revile her or separate yourself from her except in the house.”(Sunan Abu Daawood: 2142)’ How can that much humbleness approve marital rape..”

Uhm okay, you quote a hadith that has…nothing…to do with marital sex as relevant proof? But before telling you how I can possibly state that Islam permits marital rape… let’s talk about this hadith of “much humbleness”. I find it really striking and somewhat alarming that you think that the bare minimum of food,  clothing, and not slapping a woman on the face (but elsewhere is fine, yes?) are indicators of humbleness. Oh, and don’t revile her or separate yourself from her–unless you’re at home, then it’s okay! Revile her all you want. I mean, honestly? You seem to have very low standards for how your life partner ought to treat you.  Oh what generosity, to consider her worthy of the same food! Nor does her slap her–astounding! I’m frankly utterly disgusted at such arrogance. Fuck you, guy, oh how fucking humble and generous of you to not fucking slap me.

But I don’t know, maybe you think that’s all you deserve. Whatever, it’s your life, and maybe that does something for you. But it’s kind of a far leap to claim that if someone feeds and clothes and doesn’t beat their wife they can’t POSSIBLY coerce her into unwanted sex. I’d be actually very unsurprised if someone who thought themselves magnanimous in showing the most basic dregs of human empathy to their supposed life partner also thought he has some sort of right to her body.

And look, in all seriousness here, because I’m replying to this ish in a meta sort of way, here’s my claim to why I think this non-argument is just so representative: so often we point to these injustices prevalent in Muslim-majority societies, we claim they’re influenced, enforced, legislated, protected by scripture and then the responses end up being a lot of sideways “but look at this other irrelevent piece of scripture over here that presents Muslims as kind or decent or humble or whatever’ nonsense, as if that is some sort of proof that invalidates the real influence of other far more powerful and far more internalized values within the culture-society code. I mean, axe-murderers can pet puppies, you know? pointing incessantly to the puppy is diversionary as hell and an insidious tactic used to drown out a million screams. I don’t really seem much value in a husband who lets his wife fucking eat if he thinks he has some fundamental right to her body, yeesh.

But you know, if you want some scripture on the subject directly instead of this diversionary shit, here are two corroborated hadith that directly address marital sex. I can pull up fatwas from various respected scholars in various denominations, but man I don’t have the stomach to listen to that buffoonery right now:

“Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) said, ” If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relations) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 4 Hadith No. 460 & Sahih Muslim Vol. 2 Hadith No. 3368) ————————————————– Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, ” When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire she must go to him even if she is occupied at the oven.” (Al Tirmidhi Hadith No. 1160 & Ibn Ma’jah Hadith No. 4165)

(Even if she’s doing something as important as COOKING, good lord! They’ve thought of everything!)

But yeah, to answer the rhetorical-ish question regarding how I can possibly state that Islam condones marital rape. Let’s move from the ahadith to here:

File:Marital rape criminalized map.svg

  Marital rape is criminalized
  Marital rape is criminalized only if the couple is legally separated
  Marital rape is a form of non-criminal domestic violence
  Marital rape is known not to be criminalized
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marital_rape

To begin: these are the Muslim-majority countries in which marital rape is legal: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait,  Morocco, Oman,  Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Sudan,  Sudan, Syria, Yemen. Not only are most Muslim countries on this list, most of the countries on the full list are Muslim countries. There are reasons for this statistical correlation: dozens of religious authorities with established scholarship in their sects have substantiated the Islamic right of a husband to his wife’s body whenever he pleases. In my native Lebanon,  draft laws attempting to criminalize marital rape and domestic violence were shot down by the largest Shia and Sunni authorities in the country based in scriptural grounds. Something similar is going on in Pakistan right now. The justification is given on explicitly religious grounds wherever it is given. It can hardly be clearer. Inb4, whether you personally believe these rulings capture the spirit of the Islam you think you know,  they remain the law of the land in most places in which Islam is institutionally practiced.

Marriage to children, too–by definition rape,  as they are incapable of consent–is also justified and approved of in many Muslim-majority societies based on prophetic precedent and a number of corroborated ahadith, and attempts to change legislature in order to protect these children has time and again been met with opposition from religious authorities in multiple countries. So in short, to answer your question, it is the practices and beliefs of Muslims worldwide that lead me to claim marital rape is not considered a crime in Islam.  Perhaps I should have qualified my statement with “most” or “largely” as it’s not a universal belief; for that I apologize. My language would have done well to be more careful (as would yours have).

Moving forward, you have this gem, because it’s a howler:

“In any religion a husband would expect sex from his wife, and when she refuses a fight occurs, and ends in violence and abuse..The husband walks out leaving the wife bruised and crying on the kitchen floor while in search of a quickie… Islam protects us against the anger and hurt that would follow which would end in husband committing adultery and the end result would be divorce…”

Such rights! So protection! Much humanity! Not.

So…you think that a woman should have sex when she doesn’t want to so her husband doesn’t fight with her,  abuse her,  and cheat on her?  And you call this PROTECTION?  I hate to break it to you,  but what you described is the goddamn definition of marital rape.

And give me a moment for every goddamn LOL on the planet to your self righteous indignation at  the suggestion that Islam condones marital rape when you then turn around and explain why a woman should have sex if she doesn’t want to SO SHE CAN STAY SAFE.  As if safety is not a fundamental human right regardless of any goddamn circumstance without all these dehumanizing conditions.

You know what’s really gut-wrenchingly hilarious (in the sense that it makes me goddamn sick to my stomach) about the stark majority of these ‘women’s rights’ claims touted by Muslim apologists like you? They are all fucking conditional, these so-called rights. Hijab up so that you don’t get harassed, raped, so you can be treated like a human being instead of a piece of meat. Get permission to marry, divorce the husband of your ‘choice’, work the job of your ‘choice’. Have fucking sex with your husband when you don’t fucking want to so you don’t get fucking beaten and cheated on and divorced. Here’s a hint: if it’s conditional it’s not a right. It’s not magnanimity or justice to conditionally grant things that are supposed to be inalienable human rights to begin with.

Let’s make something clear.  One should not have to cover her body in order to NOT be assaulted or harassed. One should not have to have sex if she doesn’t feel like it in order to NOT be yelled at, beaten,  or cheated on.

Sex agreed to in order to avoid anger and violence and holding a marriage hostage to it is not consensual sex.  It’s pretty fucked up and totally unacceptable and there’s something seriously wrong with any religious code that condones something like this, yet you someone think it’s expected, you present it is something standard in ‘any religion’.

Expecting sex is a false premise here. If a religious code holds expecting sex as a right then it does not value consent. You do not value or understand consent if you believe this.

Someone who thinks they have even the slightest right to get angry or fight because their wife didn’t want to have sex does not value consent and is frankly a piece of shit.

Someone who finds that to be an acceptable justification for cheating in an agreed-upon monogamous relationship is also a piece of shit.

None of this is okay or a reasonable progression from someone denying sex. You know what not-rape sex is? It’s all informed adult individuals involved having sex because they want to fucking have sex.

Way to corroborate the very claims you found so offensive.

But let me jump back to the beginning:

“I do however disagree with your discreditation of Islam and what it permits and forbids. I’m a muslim female living in a westonized country, my dressing is westonized for which i will be answerable for, however my friends and people I’m acquainted with are dressed in hijaab and niqaab..”

Assuming you mean “Westernized”–

“You stated that conversations with female family members regarding sex and exploration of it would be silenced into a subject change.”

I actually didn’t, but go on….

“That has nothing to with Islam and what it commands, but should be questioned on the bond your family has with you. My family is staunch and very pious but our conversations has no limits..”

So, I’ve written before about the “That’s not the true Islam” argument and other iterations of stances that boil down to “Let’s shed Islam of all responsibility for the practices, beliefs, and interpretations of Muslims.” And this is really what this objection is; a cop-out. Congratulations:  if what you say is true, your family is in the minority among Muslim-majority families and societies, where sex is still incredibly stigmatized. Even Lebanon, which is likely the most liberal Muslim-majority country with a significant Christian population and thriving underground LGBTQ scene, has a huge sex stigma (eg,  http://dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Lifestyle/2014/Apr-02/251979-yallacondoms-keeping-lebanese-safe.ashx). The sex taboo has very much to do with Islam and its commands, seeing how it is religious attitudes and legislature that contribute to the stigmatization and criminalization of sex. And really, this is not so much about you presenting a different experience; it’s not as innocent as that, because if you’d said ‘oh hey those aren’t the beliefs of my Muslim family and my experiences’ that would have been a benign if utterly unremarkable statement (oh wait you mean that different people in different places believe and practice different versions of a religion? No way!!!). But it’s the most self-serving kind of dishonesty that will allow someone to deny ANY influence of the religious codes on sex stigma. I mean honestly? Religious codes that sanctify virginity and that prescribe violent punishment for extramarital sex–you think they has nothing to do with sex stigma?  When in the majority of scholarship-based interpretations of Islam, extramarital sex is viewed as a crime worthy of extreme violence or execution–that is, sex outside of marriage is met with whipping or stoning to death, depending on circumstances in the stark majority of scholarly interpretations of Islam? Yeah, it is kind of sickening for someone to turn around and try to claim that there is no Islamic influence on sex stigma where and when it exists. It’s not only denying a prevalent phenomenon that disadvantages millions of people, it’s considering the defense of an abstract set of ideas to have priority over human lives.

As for your accusations that I’m trying to use my family conversations as statements about Islam and what it commands…. ironically, while you made many blanket generalizations about Islam and what it is and isn’t,  I did not make any essentialist claims about Islam as such in this whole piece, excepting regarding marital rape, instead discussing the prevalent attitudes in the Muslim societies that I was raised in, the beliefs in my family. Surely you can see the difference? This is a distinction I’ve stressed in many blog posts , because there is little use in discussing an abstract, Platonic form of Islam independent of the incredible range and diversity of Muslim lived beliefs, practices, and interpretation.  Thus I’ll ask what you claim to mean when you reference Islam in such a way– are you claiming to present the overall view of all Muslims, as if there is such a unified thing? Or do you mean something else by Islam, something independent of the way in which Muslims practice and legislate? So what do you reference when you say Islam?   Which denomination?  Which interpretation,  practiced in which way by which society? Because your version of Islam is strictly incompatible with a plethora of ways in which Muslims worldwide believe and practice, whose legitimacy you discount as soon as you begin to talk about it in an essentialist way.

And let’s be real here. I write a blog post discussing conversations I have with my family members, where I describe a way of viewing sex and virginity, calling it consistent with the views of the Muslim societies that I grew up in–and even this recognition of the provincial, the localized context of my discussion is not enough to validate the conversation, the weighty ideas it tussles with, the human lives it affects, the women who are victimized, who suffer–because the mere association with a Muslim context renders whatever real human concern it is presenting as immaterial in light of the possibility that Islam is being insulted–the horror. Instead, I am accused of attempting to both characterize and discredit the entirety of Islam, because there are consistent near-militant  reactions (sometimes not-so-near, given the incredible violence of some reactions to critical portrayal of Muslims) to even discussing the problems in Muslim-majority societies in a critical way. And I find that to be incredibly alarming and uncompassionate.

Case in point. You say:

“Had you chosen to be a porn star would be your choice, but making Islam out to be ruthless and uncouth is something I’m disgusted at…”

(first: lol) then: *shrug* times a kajillion. Your disgust is kind of ironic here and it also does not trump the need to discuss real-world problems that don’t disappear just because you think  your personal understanding of Islam doesn’t condone them. When religious codes continue to influence,  structure,  and produce such societies, the need to actively talk about what’s going on trumps any defensive feelings.  In the blog post you so ardently needed to respond to I described the status quo in my own country, but to you even a mere description is offensive because it doesn’t line up with your view of Islam. Tough deal. Maybe you should be disgusted at the the state of things in Muslim-majority societies rather than the fact that someone dares to describe them.

Funny about the porn star comment though–you imply I can choose something like that without there being problems but you object to me even describing Muslim societies where a woman making a choice to even engage in a sexual relationship is forbidden. See, there’s a fundamental disconnect here and it’s clear that you don’t see it. If these religious codes weren’t socially and legally sanctioned, did not actually control the choices of women, then I wouldn’t be here talking about this ish. I don’t care about ‘discrediting’ Islam–I care about keeping it where it belongs, in the private sphere. But you know, you present this binary, my freedom of choice on one hand and then leaving Islam alone on the other, as if it’s some sort of equivalence, as if one of these rights has actually been granted to women like me in Muslim-majority societies order for the other regarding speaking about Islam to be respected. As if it’s even close to being an equivalent trade off, giving women their basic rights versus not having someone criticize your chosen ideology.

But yeah, moving forward:

“As a muslim saying that hijab often entails a desire not to tempt and sway men into transgression, into sin; shows the little you know about the beauty behind the female dress and the rights and protection that has Allah ordained for us..”

I mean, I guess that’s nice for you that you see beauty in these ordained dress codes? That doesn’t really change the fact that in many Muslim-majority societies where covering is a fixed social norm, not tempting men into sin is the core justification for it–I’m not sure if you were disputing that or if you were claiming that this justification is in fact beautiful thing. If it’s the former, then you disputing it doesn’t make it go away. If your view is rather that you think covering up in order to not sway men is a beautiful thing–well, I can’t deny that it surely is presented as such, especially with dehumanizing pearl-in-oyster analogies or whatever where women are compared to pretty objects with no agency. You have strange conceptions of beauty, I suppose, and that’s your right, regarding your own body–but the fact that we disagree about this is only an issue because women like me are forced into complying to these dress codes. It wouldn’t matter what I or anyone else thought about the hijab if it was only and ever a free choice women made for themselves. See, it doesn’t matter if it’s a beautiful thing or not–even beautiful things can be oppressive if coerced. The beauty you see in it is utterly irrelevant.

And this is all really what much of these Muslim apologist criticisms end up boiling down to: an inability to accept any critique as legitimate or allowed (or even fucking informed–every goddamn LOL ever at a woman who doesn’t wear hijab attempting to school me on a thing I lived for 15 years), while at the same time failing to realize that the point of this entire operation is not that we give some essential deep-felt flying fuck about disproving your precious religion; it’s about wanting to reform the conditions in Muslim-majority societies. And I have plenty of Muslim friends and acquaintances who, fuck, I find their beliefs to be utterly ridiculous, as ridiculous as a  belief in pixie dust that gives birth to bluebells every moonset, but they also believe in reform and establishing the freedom of choice for women worldwide that comes with a fundamental recognition of human rights, so their personal beliefs are radically immaterial to me. It is when you begin to paint your religion in any of its forms as absolutely innocent of the blood of millions worldwide, to shed yourself of association to this that I turn back around with the snarling fury the topic deserves.

“A women virginity does belong to her yes, but it is her izat that needs protecting..Izat’s a beautiful arabic word that defines a women’s pride and dignity, not just virginity..Izat is what اAllah commands her mahram( husband) to keep safe and protected from the world, the gossip that should follow , and the label people would create out of envy..”

Sister, do you even Arabic? I mean, give me a second to laugh my ass off at you trying to explain these tired concepts to me in my own native language, which you evidently don’t know. The izat you’re talking about is not Arabic but AFAIK both Hindi and Urdu and also not specific to Islam, and used in other religions practiced in South Asia. We have equivalent notions, of course, but different words. And that’s not what mahram means either, but whatever. I mean, if you’re going to try to be pedantic and repeatedly claim I don’t know what I’m talking about and don’t understand or know Islam well enough, then at least don’t make fuckups with your basic terminology. Meta-analysis, seriously guys: this is just such a prevalent thing, where people bring in their own cultural contextual bits of knowledge, often folk knowledge, of what their version of Islam IS and try to present it as representative (it’s perfectly fine and legitimate to speak to its own context of course) precisely in order to claim that others who are addressing a different and/or broader context are ignorant or misinformed. And often, when without considering that yes, we know all of that tired stuff, we were raised Muslim

But let’s get to the core of your claim: so these norms or laws etc preventing extramarital sex to are meant to protect some dignity-pride-honor thingamajig  so that women don’t have to suffer from the judgment of the world. Yeah…that gossip and labeling and shit doesn’t arise from a vacuum. It’s not the default natural state to look at a woman who has had sex as having lost some precious dignity ish–it’s when you attach this concept to her sexuality that it becomes possible to dehumanize her for having sex. Look, you’re describing is people being assholes about women who have sex and then you’re stipulating that instead of it being the responsibility of others to not be transgressing dicks, a woman should instead limit herself and hide behind her husband. This is utterly backwards. A society that operates on these premises is like one that believes in keeping innocents locked up to protect them instead of expecting criminals to not commit crimes.  And really this is an incredibly common way of thinking in Muslim-majority societies–it’s exactly the same reasoning that thinks a woman should cover her body up in order not to be attacked or disrespected rather than refusing to condone any kind of attack or disrespect regardless of her dress. It is why much of what I’ve described are enmeshed social norms instead of ideas misguided individuals have them. Here’s an alternative idea: people need to be responsible for their own actions towards other people and held accountable for them instead of claiming that people need to be limited and hidden so that others don’t hurt them.  THAT is the basis of an egalitarian society,  not this protection BS.

“I’ve had first hand experiences of school friends engaging in pre marital sex,convinced that their partner would marry them..99 per cent of the time he marries a women who has never been touched..If it does happen that the couple marries, the “bitch” label he tags her with never ceases to get old or wear off..With that label she gets the bonus of frequent doubts of which and how men she been with before him, even though he was the only one..”

*headdesk* Uhhh… you realize that the only reason these assholes think this way and treat their girlfriends like this is due to the same exact misogynistic double-standard patriarchal norms espoused by Abrahamic religions among other value systems? You realize this whole “oh she had sex with me therefore she has lost her pride and dignity and shame and thus am justified in mistreating her” is an attitude wholly supported by your religion,  and the solution again is NOT “therefore women shouldn’t have sex” but rather “therefore we should stop demonizing women who have sex and treating it like some shame and disgrace”? As long as your views maintain that a woman’s sexuality is a matter of pride or dignity or whatever other imaginary concepts that justify shaming and attacking women,  then don’t be surprised when people behave consistently with that. As long as your views present virginity as a virtue and sexuality as a shame, don’t be surprised when people have lousy double standards like the ones you described.  Make no mistake,  the men who will sleep around but only marry virgins or who will doubt their wives for having premarital sex are not behaving so because it’s right or natural;  they’re following a misogynistic social norm and double standard that has been constructed by the very value system you think protects against it.

This may be a novel idea to you,  but it’s possible for women to have fulfilling sex lives,  wear what they want,  and still avoid being shamed,  abandoned,  harassed, or disrespected for those reasons. Instead of trying to put barriers and veils and limitations in order to protect them, you make sure men are taught to treat them as equals and find no shame in their choices.

“Now my question to you is, in the world we live in today, where rape, kidnapping, human trafficking and prostitution holds a large market, what security do you have as female traveling alone, or wanting to roam the streets alone.. How easy is it for you to be carried away and disappear in mid air and not be found, whereas when walking with a male beside you would be much more hazardous and safer?”

This is all backwards again.  The existence of these problems doesn’t mean that having the protection of a man must be the solution.  That’s putting a band-aid over a gaping wound instead of trying to heal it. And frankly, I’m not succumbing to that defeatist ish, like oh fucking well. may as well hide myself away and cling to a man’s shadow so some asshole doesn’t touch me. No, fuck those norms.

I have the RIGHT to travel without being attacked.  I have the RIGHT to walk on the streets alone. It is the responsibility of a society to create the norms that make all of these transgressions unthinkable, not shame and limit its women for acting as if they have the right to safety and freedom.  And truly,  the societies without these norms limiting and hiding and shaming women have the lowest crime rates and harassment rates,  because people are taught and truly believe that they do not have the right to touch each other without permission regardless of what people are wearing and who they are with and what they choose to do with their bodies. I refuse to be told I must hide so I am not attacked or shamed.  And if people think that it is clothing or a man’s presence that gives a woman the right to safety and freedom,  then they don’t really believe she has a default right to either of those things. They don’t believe in a woman’s right or equality. They don’t believe she has fundamental self-worth. They do not have respect for her; they’re only held back from behaving like rabid wild things because something is stopping them.

“No male that would pass you would turn around with the look of lust, and the thought of undressing you when you fully clothed…”

You really believe this, don’t you? That no male would…except that this is actually statistically false.  Harassment rates are through the roof in places where women are veiled.  Here are the stats. All those yellow and red countries with the high rape scales? Muslim-majority countries:


Source: http://womanstats.org/newmapspage.html

Multiple studies have also demonstrated that there is no direct causal correlation between dress and rape.  You believe a myth.  And it’s really unsurprising that attitudes towards women that place conditions upon whether and how a woman deserves basic safety or freedom actually contribute more to violence towards women than clothing does. There’s a fundamental problem with societies that teach that a woman must be safe if and only if she submits to a husband and dresses in a certain way. So really, the most basic justification given in defense of veiling is based on a statistical falsehood. If covering up is meant to serve to purpose of protecting women, it is failing utterly, miserably, and limiting and controlling women at the same time.

“Islam does not oppress women but protects us, it gives us the choice of whom we want to marry, and never deprives us of what we want and need..”

Yeah, this is a sort of half-hearted iteration of the ‘Islam grants women all her rights’ argument touted again and again, although the conditions in Muslim-majority countries contradict the claim. And I mean, I’m sure the people who say it believe it–you clearly think the limitations ordained upon you are a matter of protection and dignity and other crapola–you clearly think that there is something grand and wonderful in the things Islam allows you to do. And you know, it’s fine that you accept those standards for yourself, I guess, but they’re not human rights. They’re not the inalienable rights that human beings have to life, liberty, access to livelihood, safety, freedom from bodily harm, their own marital and sexual choices without condition. All these things painted as rights in so many mainstream interpretations of Islam are just shadows, pseudo-rights, like the whole husband not slapping his wife thing. Such magnanimity. Wow. And let’s be honest, women have the right to marry who they choose? Really? Even setting child marriage aside, in most sects of Islam the scholarly consensus is that women cannot marry without paternal permission. I hate to break it to you but if you need permission it’s not exactly a free choice.  They also can’t marry non-Muslims or women. I don’t think a paternally pre-approved Muslim groom is much of a choice. If you need permission to work, leave your husband’s home, have people enter your house, get a divorce–again, they’re not rights. Not if all these basic actions need to be approved by your owner, I mean your husband. And I think it’s telling that you present this idea that you can marry who you choose as if it’s some special or novel thing, like not being deprived of your needs is also special or novel… when really it’s the most basic of basic things–what kind of cruelty would it be otherwise? I would hope that a woman was not deprived of her needs and was given the choice to marry who she pleased–anything short of that would be utterly monstrous–oh wait.

You say to me “don’t make Islam something that its not,” which is again, the epitome of irony–because I am not the one who ordained that a woman’s testimony is half of a man’s, her inheritance is half of her brother’s, I did not write that deemed-infallible holy book that prescribes that there is ANY situation in which she can be struck in ANY way with ANY amount of force by her husband, I am not the one who claims that a woman’s sexual conduct justifies her torture or murder, or that a woman must submit to her husband’s sexual desires in exchange for safety from harm and discord. I didn’t make these injustices, set them as law and inviolable social code, watch them consume my life and those of my loved ones. I didn’t attach these concepts of honor and dignity to my body that justify violence against it while simultaneously being the only thing protecting it. And I don’t really know or care how you delude yourself into interpreting all of of these things are goods, and yes, I’ve heard all of the apologetic interpretations and explanations meant to make ‘sense’ out of these things, but whatever sense they make to you, they are not equality, They are not right. They are not just. And they should not be forced upon women who happen to be born or live in the countries where unfortunately they are a matter of legislature or social norm. I’m not going to stop talking about these things until there is no place left on this earth where a woman cannot freely and safely escape this Islam of yours if she so wills. I’m not going to stop talking about these things until I die.


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