Feminists and others on the Left are usually very good at “outrage,” especially when it can be expressed on behalf of what they believe is an oppressed group. Which is why it is both surprising and disappointing that they missed two amazing opportunities recently to be rightly outraged on behalf of women both in America and internationally.
Apparently they didn’t see the decision by the University of Michigan to ban the screening of “Honor Diaries,” a film featuring women’s right’s activists from all over the world taking on the issues of forced marriage, child marriage, female genital mutilation, and other forms of “honor” violence. It also appears they were unaware of the decision by Brandeis University to rescind its invite to Ayaan Hirsi Ali—a woman who has committed her life to fighting atrocities happening around the globe to women and young girls—to receive an honorary degree and speak at its commencement in May.
Where is the outcry for women’s rights?
The Feminist Majority Foundation, despite all sorts of press releases and blog posts about campaigns to end sexual violence and stop violence against women on college campuses, could find no room on its website for a comment on the Brandeis snub of Hirsi Ali or the banning of the “Honor Diaries” screening.
And over at the National Organization for Women? Just more of the same tired arguments on “equal pay” and the wage gap, multiple posts related to abortion and birth control and, for good measure, another rant against something Rush Limbaugh said. But the silencing of women’s rights activists on American college campuses? Not a peep.
Or what about Left-leaning groups such as the Center for American Progress (CAP), with sections on its website dedicated to “Religion and Values” and another to “Women’s Rights”? Nothing. Though, interestingly, I saw someone representing CAP in a television interview on the subject, making the case that Hirsi Ali’s views received more attention after she was uninvited from Brandeis than had she been allowed to speak. Is that what the folks at CAP call a win for free speech?
It appears that feminist organizations, and frankly the American Left, have been silenced by groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which, through intimidation tactics, shuts down any effort it deems to portray Islam in a negative light. CAIR and its allies like to claim that people like Hirsi Ali and the producers of “Honor Diaries” are Islamophobic. It’s important to note that CAIR was founded by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
Had Hirsi Ali been allowed to speak, one of the points she would have made is this:
The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.
The oppression that women in some predominantly Muslim societies continue to face is tragic. And regrettably, such “honor”-based violence is spreading as an increasing number of immigrants representing those communities are bringing their beliefs with them. It’s happening in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, and yes, the United States.
Sadly, in this real war on women, the American Left appears to be missing in action.