Myriam Francois-Cerrah recently wrote a detailed critique of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s book “Refusing the Veil” in the New Statesman. You can (and I suggest you do) read it here: http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2014/12/feminist-case-veil
I thought she made several specific valid criticisms of YAB’s views and presented a plethora of reasons as to why YAB’s thinking is both faulty and highly pernicious.
This was too much, however, for a certain clown by the name of Iram Ramzan who felt obliged to add her worthless two cents to the conversation. Having failed to secure a position as a “foreign correspondent”, which is hardly surprising as she rarely ventures further than London (she’s a Mancunian), this character spends her life on Twitter in the company of an assorted group of Islam-haters and faux-liberals desperately attempting to outdo them in their spite and hatred towards anything connected to Islam and anyone having the temerity to speak in its defence. Anyway, you can read her pathetic screed here (at Harry’s Place, where else?): http://hurryupharry.org/2014/12/14/the-veil-yasmin-alibhai-brown-vs-myriam-francois-cerrah/
And finally my pointless but nonetheless hugely cathartic rebuttal here (originally posted on Twitter via justpaste.it):
Loath as I am to waste any time whatsoever on the ramblings of a failed journalist, an aspirant foreign correspondent whose foreign reporting comprises the occasional excursion to the BBC’s London studios, I felt compelled to rubbish her latest “offering”: http://hurryupharry.org/2014/12/14/the-veil-yasmin-alibhai-brown-vs-myriam-francois-cerrah/ . Little wonder she can’t get a job with any publication of note (the Oldham Chronicle doesn’t count).
So a few observations….
– She avers, “we cannot deny that it [the face veil] was initially prescribed in ancient times by men to women as a sign of their subservience.” Well actually we can deny it. Many of us do deny it. Of course make such sweeping presumptions are fine for Ms Failed Journo even though she’ll happily upbraid “Islamists” for doing precisely the same. A standard artifice in the armoury of those too intellectually challenged to develop a cogent argument. Can be summarised as: “if I say something is undeniable that makes it fact”.
– “Quite. We should be able to criticise ideas, regardless of where they are taught. An idea should not be not be off limits simply because it is in a religious book.” Righteo. So you’ve obviously missed the perennial criticism (and insults) of just about every aspect of Islamic dogma and theology these past 1000 years. A completely spurious statement. I suspect it’s actually a thinly veiled barb at those of us who refuse to abjure the core tenets of Islam e.g. the infallibility of the Qur’an. But then why should we? If you choose to Ms Failed Journo then that is naturally your prerogative in a “free” society just as it’s ours to persevere in our “delusions”.
– “girls have always been controlled by their families and had many restrictions placed upon them” – no kidding? Of course, “you’re not going out dressed like that!” has an exclusively Muslim resonance to it, doesn’t it? I do apologise for placing “restrictions” on my daughter. In future I’ll give her £50 and tell her to go out and come back whenever she likes and with whoever – no questions asked. Moron.
– ‘Her words to describe the west as “materialistic, hedonistic, socially anarchic, sex-obsessed and atomised” could have been used by an Islamist.’ – so rather than attempt a coherent, cogent rejoinder the best she can offer up is: reductio ad islamism. As convincing an argument if ever there was one – at least it is when your target audience are rabid Islam haters.
– ‘…and those wear “tarty” clothes are right at the bottom’ & “Where do we draw the line between what amount of flesh is deemed ‘appropriate’ and ‘tarty’?” – for those Muslims who actually believe the Qur’an and the Sunnah constitute divine revelation the answer is contained therein. Her use of inverted commas around the word “tarty” would seem to suggest she doesn’t believe there is even such a concept. The word “tart” is slang of course for a sexually promiscuous woman/prostitute. Historically such women were (and still are) known for wearing clothes that spur male sexual interest. Now unless she’s denying that men are generally physically attracted to scantily dressed women in preference to those who cover their boobs and backsides I’m not sure what her point is. But hey who cares. So long as you’re taking a dig at Islam, it’s all good and the usual rabble over at HP will warmly applaud. In fact Ms Failed Journo will be in line for bonus plaudits seeing as her invectives are the expectorations of a browny with a Muslim name, and a woman to boot. A three hit combo at those vile Qur’an touting Muzzies!
– “…some turn to extreme versions of the faith, many more will turn away from it altogether.” – If I was a betting man I’d put a great deal of money on Ms Failed Journo ending up in the latter camp. In fact she likely already has but, as with certain others in this wretched clique, just doesn’t have the courage to admit it. Get in touch with Ayan Ali if you need help in that respect.
– “In YAB’s defence, she did say on Asian Network that she has a problem with young Sikh boys being made to cover their hair too.” No it’s not in her defence. Neither Ms Failed Journo nor YAB care a jot about what Sikh parents demand of their young boys. The point was made in a feeble attempt to preempt the rather obvious criticism that she targets the Muslim community exclusively. It was made in much the same vein as those Islam haters who while fulminating incessantly against halal slaughter occasionally throw in the “oh and I’m against Kosher also” line.
– “vitamin D deficiency in women who wear veils” – Lol. Let’s move on.
– “then Cerrah’s voice can be aligned with reactionaries and Islamists who will no doubt use her articles to attack any dissenting voices” – again the reductio ad islamism ‘argument’.
– “…which is really unfair as they loathe YAB just as much as the Islamists do.” & [Quoting another blogger] “…Myriam Francois-Cerrah has written a masterpiece in how to usurp liberal feminism in the cause of reactionary orthodoxism.” Ok, well Islamists and the reactionary orthodox don’t really have much truck with Myriam and her views are diametrically opposed to theirs on most issues. In fact…you can find me disagreeing rather robustly with her here: https://maskedavenger1.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/happy-muslims-a-confused-scholar-and-a-distinctly-unhappy-feminist/ Of course such criticism is telling in that it betrays the mentality of those who make it: if you are not prepared to disown Qur’anic teachings then you are a “reactionary orthodox”/”Islamist”. Mo Ansar – another victim of this Failed Journos spite – a target of considerable Islamist opprobrium has been accused of the same simply for refusing to abjure certain Qur’anic precepts. This despite repeatedly affirming his belief in a reformist interpretation that vitiates numerous explicit Qur’anic injunctions. For the likes of Failed Journo and her ilk that’s not enough though. Unless you are prepared to rip them up, to extirpate them from the Qur’an and “admit” they are inhumane and barbaric then you are an Islamist (or a closet Islamist).
– “But can it truly be a choice when women are told from day one that they are Islamically required (verse 24:31 in the Qur’an) to cover their entire body in the name of modesty?” Well yeah it can. Muslims are told explicity in the Qur’an and in the hadith not to drink alcohol. Many still do. Muslims are told explicity told not to commit zina (fornication/adultery). Many do that also. And so on. What precisely is her point? Islam should be denuded of all and any commandments lest it impede free choice? Bizarre and asinine in equal measure but commensurate, I suppose, to Ms Failed Journo’s limited intellect.
– “Women have been taught that a good Muslim woman must cover her hair and though a niqab is not mandatory, you are instantly seen as more pious if you do wear it.” – Oh wow. What an astute observation! Such perspicacity truly leaves me awestruck. You mean to say that those adherents of a religion whose lifestyles accord more closely with its dictates are deemed better members of the faith? I’d really never have guessed. I presume it’s like Catholics who unfailingly attend Mass and receive the sacraments are seen as more pious than those that can’t be bothered? Another vacuity to add to the list by Ms Failed Journo.
– “Cerrah does not like the idea of the state telling women how they must dress but fails to point out the elephant in the room, which is that her faith does.” – now given that Ms Failed Journo has previously claimed to be a Muslim it’s rather surprising (well actually it’s not) she refers to Islam as the faith of Ms Cerrah. Is this an implicit admission that it is not her’s?
– “Choice is the key word here. A lot of Muslim women, we are told, choose to wear the hijab or niqab without any pressure from their families. That might be true.” – Exegesis: play on non-Muslim fears and suspiscions of Muslim men forcing their womenfolk into restrictive dress codes. Simultaneously emphasise to non-Muslims that she is one of them with the “we are told”. Bottom line – Muslim women in hijab/niqab are victims that need saving. Preferably by gentle persuasion but start to prepare the ground for more forceful measures should they be required.
– “It says it all when more Muslims will defend a woman’s right to wear a niqab or hijab but will not support or defend her right to remove it.” – it says it all when a supposed Muslim who avails herself of any opportunity to launch a broadside against “her” community and it’s religious ideals and practises has precious little to say on the day a report is released detailing years of brutal abuse against thousands of Muslim victims.
– “It is not a choice if you cannot remove the hijab after you decide to wear it. A hijab is for life after all.” – Complete tosh. Plenty of Muslim girls have donned the hijab only to subsequently take it off.
I won’t be wasting any more time ever again with this particular clown as she’s simply not worth anyone’s time or attention. In my defence I was bored and am currently suffering from insomnia.
The peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon our master, Muhammad.