The Caged Virgin
An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and IslamBook - 2006
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[W]e Muslims have refused to acknowledge that a once peaceful, powerful, and robust religion carried within it elements of fanaticism and violence. We wanted, and still want, a Muslim solution for everything. We have always left the course of our lives, the organization of our society, our economic policy, the education of our children, and the relationship between men and women in the hands of God. "Insh'allah (if God [Allah] wills it) is the most common expression among Muslims.
We Muslims have completely lost sight of the balance between religion and reason. Poverty, violence, political instability, economic malaise, and human suffering are the result....[W]e are unwilling and unable to believe that Allah no longer has the answers to all our questions...
If nothing is wrong with Islam, why then are so many Muslims on the run? Of the top ten countries from which people have emigrated to the Netherlands, nine are primarily Muslim. Why do we Muslims move to the West, while at the same time condemning it? What does the West have that we don't? Why is the position of women in Muslim countries so abominable? If we Muslims are so tolerant and peaceful, why is there so much ethnic, religious, political, and cultural strife and violence in Muslim countries? Why can;t or won't we acknowledge the seriousness of the situation in which we find ourselves? Why are we Muslims so full of feelings of anger and uneasiness, and why do we carry so much hostility and hate within us both toward ourselves and toward others? Why are we incapable of criticizing ourselves from within? p 11
[W]ithout the emancipation of Muslim women, the social disadvantageous position of Muslims will persist in Western countries as well as the entire world. I see a direct link between the poor situation of Muslim women, on the one hand, and the lagging behind of Muslims in education and the job market, their high rate of juvenile delinquency, and their heavy reliance on social services on the other In reality, the upbringing of Muslim girls denies them personal independence and their own sense of responsibility, values that are essential for getting ahead in a Western country.
I am amazed that Muslims are not more offended by the invocation of Allah and "God is great" for murder than by cartoons. Why do Muslims not fly into flights of rage when people who go to help Iraqis are kidnapped, tortured, and beheaded in the name of Islam? Political cartoons that point up problems with an extremist religion are used to manipulate people into violence instead of reflection and debate. Freedom of expression for Muslims is a one-way street. Muslims can criticize the west, but the west cannot criticize the practices of Islam. (p xv)
While you may have heard of the death threats that were made against me..., you may not know that when I initially spoke on the immoral practices of the Prophet Mohammad, more than one hundred fifty complaints were made against me to the police and the government. Four ambassadors visited my party leaders - ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Malaysia. They carried a letter attached to which was a list of twenty-one countries belonging to the Islamic Conference - including Turkey - that supported the letter. The main complaint in their letter was that I had insulted the Prophet and had deeply hurt the feelings of more than 1 billion Muslims. Death threats followed against me and also against the leader of my party when he refused to take seriously this complaint and evict me from Parliament. (p xiv)
Later on I stayed in a refugee camp on the border between Somalia and Kenya. I saw how women who had been raped during the war were abandoned. And I asked myself, If God exists, why does He allow this? It was forbidden to think such thoughts, let alone speak them, but my belief was crumbling. Nonetheless I continued to call myself a Muslim.
September 11 was a decisive turning point, but it was not until six months later, after I had read "The Atheist Manifesto" by Herman Philipse, that I dared to admit to others that I no longer believed.......I thought a manifesto was a declaration of the devil. I could feel an inner resistance. But recently I felt ready. The time had come. I saw that God was an invention and that subjection to His will meant nothing more than subjecting yourself to the willpower of the strongest.
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