I’m sorry, dear Muslimaat

A letter of apology to the #MuslimahPride social media jihadis

Dear Muslimaat,

I don’t have words (again) to express my guilt and apologise for the grime that I uttered last week. I’m sorry for being a loathsome misogynist, hypocritical fascist, perverted male-chauvinist, offensive orientalist, with a very palpable phobia. I’m terribly sorry for writing such a pathetic piece of animal excretion that kind people like you and your male guardians had to drag my entire family tree into the barrage of linguistic pleasantries. I’m really very sorry.

It’s amazing what a week of introspection can do. I now realise how ridiculous it was of me to try and promote Western, postcolonial and imperialistic ideals like gender equality and human rights. I realise how foolish it was to stereotype everything by quoting your authentic religious commandments and regularly reported events in Islamic countries. I realise how obnoxious it was to think that demonstrating against stoning women to death was a better cause than protesting against shameless infidels. Last week’s letter was clearly a remonstration against the fact that women spoke out, not against the fact that they could’ve spoken out against something more meaningful. In any case, who am I to judge what’s more deserving of a protest; women being stoned to death, or a protest against women being stoned to death. It’s obviously a cultural debate and has got nothing to with basic human rights.

Dear Muslimaat, I’m sorry the previous letter was brimming with a condescending tone. For, it has for ages been a part of the noble legacy of your religious creed. I’m sorry I tried to promulgate my thoughts in a disgustingly repressive way. For, propagating one’s ideals through words is as oppressive – if not more – as propagating them through threats of beheading and warnings of eternal hell. I’m sorry I said that most of the Muslim women are pressurised into wearing hijabs. For, almost all of them wear it by choice; especially the three-year-olds. I’m sorry I cited religion as a major tool of female oppression. For that undoubtedly means that I perceive Western secularism as being seamlessly successful in eradicating gender discrimination.

Dear Muslimaat, I’m terribly sorry I thought #MuslimahPride was a hypocritically egotistical and blatantly self-defeating demonstration against the fact that #Femen stole your voice. I was idiotic enough to think that if you aren’t oppressed and don’t need liberation, Femen never spoke on your behalf in the first place. I was imprudent enough to believe that you could’ve taught those infidels the “right way” of preaching freedom, instead of showcasing denial about the atrocities that your fellow women face for not choosing the way of life that you’ve ostensibly chosen. I was foolish enough to think that a protest in hijabs in support of women being coerced into wearing them would’ve been an astoundingly effective way of telling the world that despite your differences you stand with those who face death threats and need liberation. I’m sorry I thought “Nudity doesn’t deserve brutal death” would have been a far stronger message than “Nudity does not liberate me”.

Dear Muslimaat, I’m a very dim-witted person, as has been made clear by our previous interaction. And so, despite going through last week’s letter several times I failed to figure out how it was an advert for nudity. I’m sorry about being oblivious of the simple reality that nude protests promote nudity, just like hunger protests promote hunger. I’m also sorry for not realising that the right way of countering foreign protests against a burning issue is by citing your own example and how it’s not an issue that affects you personally. I shall now be looking forward to seeing all the women who haven’t been raped protesting against foreign rape activists. I shall also be looking ahead to Western poverty awareness campaigns being dubbed capitalistic and imperialistic demonstrations by everyone who can afford two meals a day. And I’ll personally demonstrate against any movements against bombings because I don’t think that I’ve ever been killed.

The women protesting topless in support of a Tunisian woman, who faces death for doing the same, is quite clearly a racist, colonialist and orientalist move. It’s a part of a global imperialistic conspiracy to demean the hub of development that the Muslim world is and an orientalist scheme to undermine the archetype of women empowerment that the Middle East is. It’s always inspiring to listen to Muslims clamour against imperialism, because of course their own ideology was spread throughout the world by exchanging candy bouquets.

It’s quite clearly an imperialistic myth that most women in Islamic countries are treated as inferior to men. It’s untrue that a majority of them are brought up with the sole purpose of being married away. It’s fallacious that most cases of honour-killing and female genital mutilation are recorded in Islamic countries. And it’s blatant fabrication that most Muslim women can’t decide anything for themselves without their male guardians’ consent.

Dear Muslimaat, I’m sorry I thought that enlightened and progressive ladies like your good selves could’ve found a slightly better cause to protest against than nude activism. Like for instance, Muslim women being raped on a daily basis in the Syrian conflict. But then I realised that the history of your ideology, scribed by historians of your faith, is filled with eulogy for raping war prisoners, so I guess that’s not that big a deal. I’m sorry I believed that a look at any of the recent Global Gender Gap reports would’ve given you a good push for an effective protest. I thought you could’ve protested against the fact that 17 of the 20 at the foot of the gender gap scale, 20 of the 28 with the biggest literacy gaps and 22 of the 27 countries with women being less than one-third of the adult workforce are all Islamic states. I thought if these stats don’t reflect Islamic teachings there could’ve been a protest against those who don’t let women study or work in your country and touting them as not being your representatives. But then I realised since you’re all fortunate enough to have the freedom to work and educate yourself, why should you bother with the majority that isn’t quite as fortunate. Plus Global Gender Gap reports and the likes of them are global imperialistic manoeuvres to defame your countries anyway.

The most important lesson that I’ve now learnt is of gender equality. I’m sorry I didn’t realise that gender equality actually meant a woman being half in legal terms, being peddled as a possession, a field that can be ploughed and property that can be purchased and enslaved. I’m sorry I didn’t comprehend that gender equality comprised of one-sided polygamy and permission to beat and rape wives. And most of all I’m sorry that I didn’t understand that gender equality included female rape victims being asked to produce a sufficiently large audience for their torment, for them to fight cases against the rapists.

In spite of all these reasons for lament, the biggest thing I regret is that it took me seven whole days to realise the fact that individuals’ bodies and lives do not belong to them, especially if they aren’t men. This is precisely why you’ll never protest against Amina Tyler being beaten up by her family or against her being stoned to death. I’ve now finally realised that Amina’s body, much like those of her female compatriots, is not hers and is the source of the honour of the 7th century Arabs, who’d shiver in their graves at the sight of a woman taking a decision, any decision, with her free will.

PS: Please google the terms “most” and “majority”. It might provide some perspective to the pair of horrendous letters that I’ve scribed.

Yours apologetically,

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

The writer is a financial journalist and a cultural critic. Email: [email protected], Twitter: @khuldune