September 26, 2014 | Ronda Jambe

How to be a feminist and a Muslim

This morning Fran Kelly had a woman on who was introduced as ‘a feminist and a Muslim’.
The conversation quickly turned to questions about the burka and its appropriateness in situations like Parliament House, or a bank.

The interviewee trotted out the old line: ‘it’s ok to wear the burka if the woman chooses to’. But her analysis did not extend to the fine line between social norms and social pressure, much less the sort of violence that is often used to enforce these ‘norms’.

In fact, she skirted the issue of violence against women and children, although this is a key issue for feminists everywhere.

She was also asked about the security and burka issue, and replied that taking off a face covering in a bank, like the compulsory removal of a motorcycle helmet or balaclava, is justified if the woman can then put it back on.

But no one gets to put their helmet or balaclava back on in a bank, so what’s the difference here? Is she saying Western women should therefore be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia? Cultural relativism is meaningless unless it is reciprocal.

Fran Kelly rightly pointed out that many Australians find the full burka confronting and a symbol of female oppression, but the interviewee didn’t address that in a meaningful way.

My position is that men should do as they ask others to do, especially as the sight of a man’s bare arms or hair tends to excite me. Semi-baldies, such as my spouse, are nearly safe.

And if I can’t drive, neither should they.

The interviewee, who says she doesn’t wear a veil, also alluded several times to her sect, the Allawites. This is the group Assad in Syria belongs to. Are we expected to think: oh, that’s ok, then, they’re a really enlightened bunch. A few chemical weapons against civilians can be overlooked, a million refugees and countless dead, in the name of exactly what?

By doing that, she just reinforced the factionalism that is tearing so many Muslim countries apart. She said there are different interpretations of Islam, but didn’t take a stand on the need to treat women equally to men, with the same rights to determine their manner of dress, whether they drive, vote, work, study or control their own fertility.

Exactly what does she think a feminist is? And why did she get a spot with Aunty?

Any person calling themselves a humanist, much less a feminist, must scream out against the violence being perpetrated against civilians. Cultural relativism does not trump human rights.

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 2:14 pm | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Ronda,

    “Cultural relativism does not trump human rights.”

    Agreed. Nor do so-called “religious rights”.

    “In fact, she skirted the issue of violence against women and children, although this is a key issue for feminists everywhere.”

    Not all apparently, some Western feminists also seem to ignore other cultures’ misogyny on the grounds of cultural relativism, or fear of being labelled ‘racist’, or perhaps simply fear.

    The term ‘Muslim feminist’ seems an oxymoron.

    Comment by RussellW — September 27, 2014 @ 8:23 am

  2. Hi Ronda, an excellent article and more power to your pen.
    I have very hairy arms, and the golden blond hair on them is around four to six inches long.
    Almost pornographic, and sure to send all women into an uncontrollable frenzy of sexual excitement, ripping at one another, to get at and ravage my body!
    I have to keep my arms covered at all times in the company of women, but particularly, those strange ones, who find such things, an impossible to resist sexual attraction!
    Oh my aching ribs!
    Seriously, perhaps the veil is appropriate for women living with the horrendous shame, of complicity in having sold prepubescent daughters, to old pedophiles!
    Given it is only reprehensible pedophiles, (now we know why he works like a horse) that would want such an arrangement, and probably underscores, the death rate in childbirth, or the number of woman, who’s tiny wombs were so damaged by this scurrilous behavior; are forever denied the right to conceive and bear their own children.
    Perhaps their only shining light or single happiness, in a world of virtual subjugation and slavery!
    There must be a light shone into every dark corner of Islam!
    If only to identify the entirely unlawful editing and revision of the Koran, that then permits some much of these previously unacceptable stone age behaviors, like child brides or genital mutilation.
    And a Burka can just as easily cover a man intent on no good, as a submissive woman! N.B.
    Cultural norms weren’t worth a pinch of salt, when we reeducated our own indigenous people, against their polygamy/underage partners/domestic violence/ritualistic male rape, (men’s business) none of which is acceptable in our society. [And possibly explains the very high STD/HIV aids rate, among some traditional Aboriginals?]
    Those who wish to continue these barbaric practices, remain free to go and find a country that still actually permits it!
    Cause we don’t.
    Finally, the oldest least revised Islamic tradition, the Sofie tradition, with the oldest, least revised Koran, just doesn’t behave this way.
    With many completely assimilated, given they also are a, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” religious philosophy.
    And quite happily follow the social mores of the host country; to the point, the only time you might suspect they are a Muslim sect, is when you see them going to prayer at their meeting places or Mosques!
    This is very courageous writing Ronda, even more so, when you have put your actual name to it! Nice to have you back.
    Cheers, Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — September 27, 2014 @ 10:53 am

  3. As others have pointed out, we are going to war to fight for denied civil rights and freedom.
    It would be hard to argue/justify that point; and then presume to ban the burka here at home.
    People must remain essentially free to worship who and how they please. [Excluding devil worship, ritualized rape and human sacrifice! And given the number of disappeared people, possibly all still happening?]
    And if a burka, is central to that religious freedom, we must not forbid it! [However unhappy that might make, man up and stand to attention when you talk to me, Jackie!]
    That said, there are some security issues, and therefore, we need to adopt biometrics, in order to confirm a persons true identity; through smart card confirming retina scans, palm print readers, and perhaps even a DNA data base.
    None of which would require a fervent burka wearing Muslim, to actually remove any item of clothing, save say gloves and or sunnies?
    I would also want to include C.A.F.R, in order to pick up those tiny telltale micro movements, too quick for the human eye, that alert us to intended duplicity/message sending miscreants; getting their intended, (hidden in plain sight) message out via national television!
    Plus non invasive, completely covert, thermal imaging deployed during routine questioning, i.e., “what is the purpose of your visit”?
    That also allows patent pork pies/fallacious false intent to be exposed, as unavoidable but highly inappropriate thermal images emanating from the brain.
    [Of no use whatsoever, if the scanned doesn’t have a brain! A serious or terminal condition, which simply has to be true for most Isil converts or supporters!?]
    Metal detectors have their limits,and won’t expose plastic explosives, fuses or matches; and detonators, can be concealed inside any number of seemingly harmless metal objects, or constructed out of undetectable ceramics/plastics.
    Albeit, plain as the nose on your face to trained sniffer dogs!
    Not all that long ago, three men wearing burkas, broke through Afghanistan security, without a single challenge or pat down?
    And took many lives before the Kabul killing spree was stopped!
    So to say, there are no security issues is just plain dumb!
    Even so, proper precautions, at the entrance of secured buildings, should eliminate the wearer as any sort of security problem or threat.
    Perhaps it’s time, we all of us were required to carry smart identity cards, with our relevant biometric details encoded and encrypted on/into them.
    Just so people wearing burkas or black, blue and battleship grey warpaint/camouflage/helmets/hoodies/what have you, can be identified, and only where such security is mandatory, without ever once ripping away at any of our current civil/religious rights!?
    My drivers licence, i.e., includes my retina scan; and as good as fingerprints, for incontrovertible ID purposes.
    And as such actually improves my freedoms, without detracting from any of them!
    I mean, such things actually make ID theft; the most prolific crime of the century, much harder!
    Also, a biometric data base, would enable better criminal exposure, during crimes committed in plain view of (smile, (watch the birdie and look up dummy) you’re on candid camera) CCTV etc.
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — October 4, 2014 @ 10:52 am

  4. “People must remain essentially free to worship who and how they please. [Excluding devil worship, ritualized rape and human sacrifice!”

    Don’t agree Alan, that’s far too narrow as a qualification, religious freedom is subject to all the laws of liberal democratic states. What’s wrong with Devil worship?

    “As others have pointed out, we are going to war to fight for denied civil rights and freedom.” Well, they’re wrong or just cynical, aren’t they, we’re going to war because we’re loyal US “allies”.

    Comment by RussellW — October 4, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  5. What’s wrong with Devil worship Russel?
    Well, in the first place, a flat planet is a mandatory first requirement. [And none is close in our part of the galaxy; and the galaxy hopping ford prefect, is out of service at the moment?]
    Second a number of nut jobs?
    Historically, the esoteric Arch Angel Lucifer, was only ever a messenger, if always carrying bad tidings; [and as has been our “human” habit throughout the course of human history,] was the heavenly messenger we shot, or massively maligned!?
    Moreover, throughout the course of human history and conflict or controversy, somewhere there is always fanatics at the helm and in control.
    It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about the ritual burning of so called witches, the crusades, the later inquisition, WW1, WW11, the rise of Nazis, fascism, Japanese warmongers, Italian fascism, Stalinism, genocide, ethnic cleansing, absolutism, racism, racial Superiority, apartheid, the KKK, or the human sacrifice of devil worshipers/witch doctors etc.
    At the helm, and causing all the problems are always, we know best fanatics of one sort and or another!
    And typically, the only way their rein of terror has been ended, is with implacable resolve, affirmative action and the exposure of the actual truth!
    These evils were only possible, due to the silence of supposedly decent folk. [Good men only need stand and do nothing for evil to prosper; and silence (it’s none of my/our business) is invariably read or taken as consent!]
    I mean, The overwhelming bulk of the German nation were never ever Nazi, and were shocked beyond belief, when they were forced to look at the death camps, and the inhuman brutal work of Nazis.
    And some of the kindest, most gentle people I’ve ever dealt with in my life, have been Japanese!
    The real conflict is with fanaticism/absolutism, and as such, arguably very visible in Isil, and to a lessor extent our own society, as patently subjugated women, who think their way of life and religious norms, (a lord and master husband) are the new normal!?
    And fanatics will self identify, by brooking no criticism or questioning of their authenticity, their fundamentally flawed belief system, or their perceived God of hate and fear.
    Be they flat earthers, or medieval witch burning, “control freak Christian” or clit cutting fundamentalists!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — October 5, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

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