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"So does God hate women?" it asks. 

Well, what can one say. Religious authorities and conservative clerics worship a wretchedly cruel unjust vindictive executioner of a God. They worship a God of 10-year-old boys, a God of playground bullies, a God of rapists, of gangs, of pimps. They worship — despite rhetoric about justice and compassion — a God who sides with the strong against the weak, a God who cheers for privilege and punishes egalitarianism. They worship a God who is  a male and who gangs up with other males against women. They worship a thug. They worship a God who thinks little girls should be married to grown men. They worship a God who looks on in approval when a grown man rapes a child because he is "married" to her. They worship a God who thinks a woman should receive 80 lashes with a whip because her hair wasn't completely covered. They worship a God who is pleased when three brothers hack their sisters to death with axes because one of them married without their father's permission. 
  

If this sounds harsh, consider that Sharia adultery laws state that a raped woman must face the next-to-impossible task of providing four male witnesses to substantiate her allegation or be convicted of adultery. When rapists leave Pakistani women pregnant, the court takes the bulge in their bellies as evidence against them. In Nigeria, Sharia courts not only punish raped women for adultery, but order an extra punishment of a whipping for making false accusations against "innocent" men. In Israel, ultra-Orthodox gangs in Jerusalem beat up women seen in the company of married men. In the United States, the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints give teenagers to old men in arranged marriages and tell them they must completely submit to their wishes.  In Saudi Arabia, women live in a theocratic state that stops them walking unaccompanied in the street, driving a car and speaking to men outside the family. After unwisely taking a sprig of the bin Laden family to be her husband, Carmen Dufour described the consequences. 

At first, I wasn't even aware of what seemed so strange about this  country, but then it hit me: half the population of Saudi Arabia is kept behind walls, all the time. It was hard to fathom, a city with almost no women. I felt like a ghost. Women didn't exist in this world of men.

To move from ghosts to corpses, if the Taliban retake power in Afghanistan, they will once again ban women from public spaces, thus depriving them of employment, and thus closing the health and education services. Any teacher who presumes to teach them to read and write will be executed. Meanwhile the Islamic Republic of Iran has almost certainly renewed its terror tactic of raping women prisoners before killing them. Because religious law declares it illegal to execute a virgin, the guards arrange a "wedding" ceremony and rape the prisoner once it is over. 

"I regret that, even though the marriages were legal," a Basiji militiaman said as he recalled how he became a state-endorsed rapist as a young man. "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their ‘wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning, the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed as if they were ready or wanted to die."

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Eve
September 18th, 2009
8:09 PM
Good article. Pity the book's actually written badly. And I hope Hitchens isn't your hero, Cohen. You write far better than he does already.

M Sacks
September 18th, 2009
7:09 AM
In Judaism we make women shave their heads and wear wigs. They have no rights over property and we can have affairs with goyim because they are classed as non-human.

Anonymous
September 16th, 2009
4:09 PM
"I accept that this may seem an odd thing to wish for, but what the world needs now is an uncompromisingly militant feminist movement." Aye! Liberals and "progressives" are starting to act suspiciously as they did in the 20's

msmarmitelover
September 9th, 2009
9:09 PM
Just as the middle classes ferment revolutions, it takes a man to write about feminism. Or perhaps this article wouldn't be taken seriously if it were written by a woman? Well done anyway...good piece...

Amanda
September 9th, 2009
11:09 AM
Well said Nick Cohen! The fear of being thought racist for attacking customs and attitudes which are by any other standard profoundly inhumane is one the deserves the most vigorous opposition.

Andy D
September 8th, 2009
11:09 PM
Nick, when are you going to give evidence for your very serious accusations against Nick Davies? if you can't, when will you withdraw them?

winter
September 8th, 2009
10:09 AM
Just a thought, but might Stangroom and Benson's book not have been so widely criticised because it isn't actually a very good piece of work and was lucky to even get reviewed where it did, being as it is yet another anti-religion book written by unqualified bloggers - no reviews AT ALL in the right-wing press including Standpoint, after all. Having flicked through it in a shop, it seems that the accusations of clunkiness and poverty of argument are pretty much spot-on, as are those of Benson being a fundamentalist - it's pretty hard to deny, and I note that Nick Cohen doesn't actually do so, but instead claims that such accusations are lazy. And Buruma and Garton Ash are justified in their claims about hirsi Ali. She *is* an enlightenment fundamentalist, self-confessedly, and she *is* an absolutist. notwithstanding how badly she was treated in her earlier life, her views on Islam are pretty hardcore to say the least - calling it an intrinsically violent religion and claiming that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant because of the influence of Mohammad, for instance, views that i understand a lot of standpoint's readers share but which are intensely debatable at best and I sincerely doubt that Cohen would agree with them - at least in print.

gsw
September 7th, 2009
11:09 AM
Stating that the English police, in an English country, cannot interfere to prevent illegal domestic violence because ‘we haven't got the right to impose our values on another culture' is just one more example of NewSpeak. While claiming that Birmingham or Luton is 'another culture' is downright stupid and inexcusable.

Susie
September 7th, 2009
9:09 AM
There's something patronising about the implication that nothing is being done by women within the areas and countries concerned, so it is up to their Western sisters to show the way. No mention of for example Jordanian journalist Rana Husseini's recent book "Murder in the Name of Honour", which received much coverage in the British print media and on eg BBc Radio 4's Woman's Hour. In Iraq, there are many courageous Iraq feminists working in conditions of tremendous danger to fight the injustices suffered by women: one side-effect of the war in Iraq has been a sharp deterioration in the status and conditions of women. The issues around Iraqi women are examined in detail in the work of the Iraqi SOAS academic Nadje Sadig al-Ali including the books "Iraqi Women" and "What Kind of Liberation?" (the last written with Nicola Pratt). The Iraqi woman filmmaker Maysoun Pachachi has also been working hard to empower Iraqi women through training them in filmmaking to record their lives. Egyptian feminist and medical doctor Nawal Sadawi has for years campaigned against female genital mutilation. There are feisty women working in every country to fight the oppression of women. Issues of child brides being forced into marriage, and of the punitive attitude towards rape victims, are regularly covered in the media and condemned in countries including Yemen and Saudi Arabia. There is a massive tussle going on within all these socities, and women, and a good many men, are far from passive acceptors when it comes to violations of women's rights. the 2005 UNDP Arab Human Development Report, researched and written by a large team of Arabs, male and female, was on women's empowerment, and like the other AHDRs was highly critical of the status quo.

Rucker
September 5th, 2009
6:09 PM
Sue - your comment unfortunately ignores the actual ugly truth. It is not the regimes that enforce the subjugation of women. It's islam, the teachings of islam and the hadith.

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