Oh, the misogyny!

(I know, it's a bit crass to echo Justin's title. But hey, this is a thought, not an echo.... A ripple, actually.)

Salman Rushdie (still unsilenced despite the many calls for his death by cultural NeoLuddites like Cat Stevens) thinks that fear of women's sexuality is a major cause of Islamic extremism:

BERLIN: British author Salman Rushdie said the West had failed to grasp the extent to which Islamic extremism was rooted in men's fear of women's sexuality, in an interview to be published Thursday.

Rushdie told German weekly magazine Stern that his latest novel, "Shalimar the Clown," dealt with the deep anxiety felt among many Islamic men about female sexual freedom and lost honor.

When asked if the book drew a link between "Islamic terror and damaged male honor," Rushdie said he saw it as a crucial, and often overlooked, point. "The Western-Christian world view deals with the issues of guilt and salvation, a concept that is completely unimportant in the East because there is no original sin and no savior," the author said, in comments printed in German.

"Instead, great importance is given to 'honor.' I consider that to be problematic. But of course it is underestimated how many Islamists consciously or unconsciously attempt to restore lost honor."

This finds confirmation in the views of a man considered the godfather of al Qaida, one Sayyid Qutb:
"The American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs and she knows all this and does not hide it…Then she adds to all this the fetching laugh, the naked looks, and the bold moves, and she does not ignore this for one moment or forget it!"
NPR has more:
As for Qutb's revulsion over American sexuality, Fandy says there is no evidence that Qutb ever had a sexual relationship in his life.
Well there was one woman -- a drunken American temptress -- who is known to have tried to seduce him. But the attempt failed:
Everything changed in 1948 when he was sent to study education in the US. It was a fateful decision. Perhaps those who sent him thought that it would broaden his horizons. What happened was that on the voyage out he decided that his only salvation lay in an unswerving allegiance to Islam. Almost immediately his newfound resolve was tested on the liner, as a drunken American woman attempted to seduce him. Qutb did not succumb, nor was he later won over by the charms of the American way of life.
I guess he kept his "honor."

Many Americans would assume a guy who acted like Qutb was probably gay, but these days they wouldn't hold a little thing like that against him.

(Small comfort that must be for those who think like him.)

posted by Eric on 02.05.06 at 02:23 PM


It's been my position for years that the core of all religious fundamentalism is a devil's brew of anxiety over heterosexual inadequacy and barely repressed homosexual urges. The same underlying dynamic to paranoia.

Don McArthur   ·  February 5, 2006 3:39 PM

From the description Mr Qutb gave above he sounds like a straight guy. With a boner.

David Ross   ·  February 6, 2006 1:24 AM

Without speculating about whether Qutb was straight or gay (something which cannot be known), he was certainly offended by female sexuality, and I think he proves Rushdie's point about misogyny.

I find the idea that people would wage war over sexuality deeply disturbing.

("Death to the tolerant"?)

Eric Scheie   ·  February 6, 2006 9:35 AM

April 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


Search the Site


Classics To Go

Classical Values PDA Link


Recent Entries


Site Credits