Gene Simmons: My dog has more rights than most Muslim women - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-18-2004, 09:59 AM   #1
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Gene Simmons: My dog has more rights than most Muslim women

I heard it on the radio this morning. Gene Simmons is in trouble for making the remark that his dog has more rights than most women in the Muslim world. He said, his dog can walk side by side with him instead of ten steps back, his dog can eat beside him instead of in another room, and his dog can go out in public without covering her face. Now Muslim groups are slamming him and boycotting his records (but as the DJ pointed out, it's not like those people who adhere to those practices make up much of KISS's audience anyway)

Now hold on, before you start slamming him as 'ignorant', think about it. He has a point, even if he used a dog to make it. It bothers me that with all the political correctness and complaints about human rights these days that the way many Muslim women are treated is written off as just part of their culture and religion. All through history, it's been part of someone's culture or religion to opress some group, but it's not considered okay anymore. So why is this?
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:15 AM   #2
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Your question is one that nags at me quite a bit, as I consider myself to be both a feminist and a religious pluralist (to a certain extent, anyway). I understand that Muslim women living in Western countries often insist that head coverings (for example) are self-chosen and they want to wear the veil because they feel they are more comfortable that way. On the other hand, some Muslim women do find it oppressive, and in Western countries they have the freedom to choose against that. Azar Nafisi, for example, who wrote the great book Reading Lolita in Tehran, was expelled from her university for not wearing the veil--not because she is not a devout Muslim, but because she felt that the enforced wearing of the veil had everything to do with politics and nothing to do with Islam.

It's easy for me to say, from my Western perspective, that the treatment of Muslim women is outrageous. I try to be careful of being overly American in my viewpoints on this. Muslim women are not idiots, and the Qu'ran actually provides a number of protections and freedoms explicitly for women. That said, I believe in a humane, universal commitment to, at the very least, political equality. A government, even in a Muslim country, ought to extend the same rights to everyone regardless of gender. If an individual woman chooses to adhere to certain tenets of her faith by keeping her head covered, not voting, whatever, then that's her choice. But her government, I feel, is ethically required to give her a genuine option, and protect women's rights to choose all available options rationally and freely.

Does that make any sense? Basically I feel that whatever Muslim women feel is appropriate must be respected, but that Muslim governments must allow for some growth and change in how Muslim women choose to participate (or not participate) in the world.
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:32 AM   #3
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While they may not be idiots, I have a hard time believing most of them actually don't mind this treatment, and fear of reprisal is behind most of the compliance. In some places, a woman can be severely beaten by her husband or male relative or even legally killed for going against these traditions
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Old 05-18-2004, 12:47 PM   #4
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I struggle with this, too, especially after reading "The Princess Trilogy" about women in Saudi Arabia. It's about a Saudi princess who is fighting for rights for women in that country, where they don't have any rights or power. This princess, whom Jean Sasson calls Sultana, doesn't think the problem is Islam, per se; she is a devoted Muslim who talks her husband into going to Mecca on pilgrimage with her, among other things. She thinks it's politics on the part of religious officials who "want to keep women cowering at their feet"; she also blames secular Arab traditions. A particularly ultraconservative and harsh brand of Islam, called Wahhabism after its Sunni reformer-founder in the eighteenth century is practiced in Saudi Arabia, and has been spread by their power structure, which is exclusively male. They've gone into Muslim communities all over spreading this kind of Islam, and it's even in the United States. They also spew total hatred of Shia Muslims. Iran is a Shia Muslim state, and the majority of Muslims in Iraq are Shia. I don't think the problem is Islam itself; it's the damn politics, the tribal structure of Arab politics, which is different. Arab politics is based on their tribal structure. Arabs tend to think of themselves as members of a particular tribe rather than nationals of countries, like Iraq, Jordan, etc, etc, which were created by outsiders in the first place when the Ottoman Empire collapsed. I wish Simmons hadn't made this statement--although it doesn't surprise me, I've never thought of him as a particularly thoughtful person.
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Old 05-18-2004, 01:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by paxetaurora
Basically I feel that whatever Muslim women feel is appropriate must be respected
I essentially agree with this. However, the concept of true consent should be examined (BVS has touched on this in other threads) to understand if the feeling of appropriateness truly comes from the women, or if it comes from husbands, fathers, socitety, etc.
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Old 05-18-2004, 01:09 PM   #6
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I kinda agree with him...I mean some dogs do get treated better than some muslim women..and that's really sad. I think we're all human beings and we all have the right to be treated like one.
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Old 05-18-2004, 01:55 PM   #7
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He'd better watch it, he's an American and a Jew. He might just end up with a fatwa on his head.
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Old 05-18-2004, 04:18 PM   #8
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He said a lot more than the dog comment. I'll have to find the transcript but he also called the Middle East "God's armpit" and made some pretty harsh remarks about Muslims as a whole.
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Old 05-18-2004, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wild Angel
He'd better watch it, he's an American and a Jew. He might just end up with a fatwa on his head.

that's the first thing I thought too when I heard he said something. I was a huge Kiss fan for years and part of the reason I was so turned off by them is because I was tired of Gene running his mouth all the time.
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Old 05-18-2004, 05:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Kitten
While they may not be idiots, I have a hard time believing most of them actually don't mind this treatment, and fear of reprisal is behind most of the compliance. In some places, a woman can be severely beaten by her husband or male relative or even legally killed for going against these traditions
That's very true.

But I went to University with an Iranian girl, a religious Muslim, who never "covered up" in the West, nor did members of her family, but on vacations back to Tehran, they all did. I remember asking her once about it, and she said, well, that is just for show, when you go out in public, when we were in my grandmother's house, nobody bothered. She said that you have to understand a difference between their country, where you obey in public, and ours where you are essentially free in public.

One thing to note is that it is not just religion, but culture, and culture is something that is deeply ingrained. Who knows how Muslim women will feel in the West after living here for many generations. I don't think it's so easy to just dump everything you've known your whole life.

From a Western POV, where we really put a lot of value on individualism, I can't really conceive of ever wanting to wear a veil over my head. I don't like the idea and I don't see what it has to do with God, but I also don't have the benefit of having been immersed in that specific culture or religion to really understand it.
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Old 05-18-2004, 06:14 PM   #11
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There is a Muslim couple who frequents the same stores as me, and I always see the woman all covered except for her eyes. Honestly, the sight of this person completely robed and covered in flowing black cloth is a shock, and has scared little kids.

I have seen this happen in person. She walks far behind her husband but he makes her do all the work. But he pays, she probably isn't allowed to handle money. Then she carries out the bags. I guess she's never going to Americanize, or maybe he won't let her. They probably talk down us American women behind our backs, coming to the store in shorts alone without a man! I can't understand why people of that culture would even move here in the first place.
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Old 05-18-2004, 06:35 PM   #12
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We would never know if these women were bothered, if they spoke out they pay a high price.
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Old 05-18-2004, 06:45 PM   #13
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We had a political dispute here in Alabama over a law that required that hair be shown in all drivers' license photos. The law made it illegal for Muslim women to wear headscarves in their pictures, and also for Catholic nuns who wear habits to wear their headpieces. The local Muslims raised a stink about the law, and some Catholics complained about it also (including yours truly). Finally someone who's not known for liberal views wrote an editorial in our archconservative local paper that the law was repressive and contrary to freedom of religion. A week later the law was abolished and everyone was happy. Many Muslim women who hate veiling do like the headscarf; some of them complain that they feel "naked" without a headscarf. The office manager of a local mosque is a woman. She talked to the press at a Ramadan open house hosted by the mosque. Like anitram said, it's not just religion to them, it's culture.
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:04 PM   #14
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I wonder, is there anyone on this forum who actually is Muslim? Anyone at all?
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:10 PM   #15
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Yes there are a few who have posted in here.

And ladies your status is safe....the clerics have spoken.

[Q]A conservative Iranian cleric has denounced the "moral depravity" of owning a dog, and called for the arrest of all dogs and their owners.
Dogs are considered unclean in Islamic law and the spread of dog ownership in Westernised secular circles in Iran is frowned upon by the religious establishment.

[/Q]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/mid...st/2326357.stm
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