The Targetting of Muslim Women: Historical Context
The Muslim woman has been the target of decades of scrutiny and relentless attack the world over. From the criticism of her role, rights and responsibilities in Islam, or the ongoing fear mongering regarding her Islamic attire (whether the hijab or niqab), it is an onslaught that has only intensified, especially following the events of September 11th, 2001 and the resulting declaration of the ‘war on terror’.
This onslaught against the Muslimah of course began long before this. From the onset of the orientalist movement, to the agenda set by colonial nations (Britain et al) to see through the destruction of the Islamic state, one objective was always clear: they truly believed that targeting the Muslim woman was one of the most effective ways to colonise the thinking of the masses, indoctrinating them with their poisonous culture. This sinister, destructive agenda masqueraded as one that sought to ‘liberate’ Muslim women from the clutches of their oppressive conditions.
William Gladstone, four times elected British Prime Minister was recorded as saying before parliament as early as 1894: “The situation in the East will not be successful until we remove the Hijab from the woman and use it to cover the Quran.”
At around the same time in history in North Africa, Egypt in particular was the bed rock of the Muslim women’s ‘liberation’ movement, seeing a proliferation of thinkers and writers such as Marcos Fahmi and Qasim Ameen discussing the solution to the ‘woman in the East’ (i.e. the Muslim woman) and describing the ideal ‘new woman’. Namely one free from hijab, free to beautify, free to mix with men, free to marry non-Muslim men…free to progress and change into the ideal European woman.
It is about controlling Islam through reforming Islam and therefore controlling the Muslims, namely, to detach them from their Deen. Western policymakers see the role of the Muslim women in this as a vital one for they know that if the Muslim woman is to relinquish fundamental Islamic principles, then they would have succeeded in directly influencing the future Muslim generations.
This attack is certainly not limited to the Muslim world, with the Muslimah feeling the pressure from Western governments, Australia being no exception.
Attacks on the Muslim Women today:
Domestic policies towards the Muslim community, under the cover of “national security”, were introduced and tightened after the events on September 11 2001 following the US & UK's adopted strategies for the ‘War on Terror’.
These policies also have a special focus on Muslim women. On an international level Muslim women were used as a means to justify the invasion of Muslim countries, creating favour for a type of “moral-crusade” to liberate Muslim women from their ‘oppressive culture’ such as they did with the invasion of Afghanistan. While locally, to justify these invasions and wars, media sensationalism focusing on opportunistic politicians’ opinions on Islam, Muslim women’s rights (or lack thereof), dress code and other aspects were criticised and debated. Calls for bans, integration and close monitoring of the community with a pressure to reform Islam to a “moderate” Islam were part of the popular public discourse on Muslim women, their identity & role.
The fear mongering & bullying tactics inherent in secular-liberalism is clearly seen in the way the nature of these policies and discussions are made. Rather than bridging communities with an honest debate on which values breed a healthy & respectful society, these laws created more friction between the rest of society & the Muslim community.
In a fact sheet by Human Rights Law Centre on the impact of the Counter-Terrorism laws, it states, “Australia’s counter-terrorism laws have had a particularly adverse effect on Muslim women. Muslim women have reported being verbally and physically abused in public due to their visible association with Islam through their wearing of the hijab and their skin colour. These incidents have escalated with increased media coverage of terrorism associated with Muslim people. As a result, many Muslim women feel afraid to leave their homes or travel independently.”[i]
This begs the question, as Muslims in the thick of these discussions had about our Islam, is it Islam and Muslims that create fear, community tensions, distrust and isolation in society, or is it the system and values of capitalist secular-liberalism?
A Message to Our Sisters in Islam:
Dear sisters in Islam, we need to remain united in the face of this attack; to raise our voices on this issue exposing the falsity of women’s liberation in the West and show how Islam raised the status of women in society. These issues show that Muslims in Australia need to stand for their Islam, engage in this battle of ideas and convey the true face and values of Islam to the ordinary people, who are fed lies on a daily basis about Islam by the politicians and media.
Allah Ta’ala says in Surah Fussilat 41 v33:
[41:33] وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
“And who is better in speech than one who calls men to Allah and says “I am one of those who are Muslims”?”
Both men and women are equal in the sight of Allah (swt). Repeatedly in the Qur’an we are told about the infinite mercy of Allah (swt) and so we see, that it is not just the mere utterance of words but in reality the creation of a system, a way of life, which ensures that both men and women enjoy the fruits of His merciful religion, Islam.
We warmly invite you to join the call to establish the Islamic Khilafah state, the only system that not only allows the women to grow as an individual, share her expertise within wider society but also ensures the protection of her blood, honour and dignity, and that of all Muslims.
Sisters of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia
Following on from the recent report released by Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, our sisters Monthly Circle will discuss the impact of some of these polocies on the Muslimah. Insha'Allah we will hear first hand accounts from Muslim women directly impacted by these policies. We welcome our dear sisters in the community to come along and share their accounts with us.
Saturday,14 th December 2013 | 5pm-7pm
KCA Function Centre
Level 1, 925 Canterbury Rd, Lakemba
Wednesday 4th Dec 7:30pm
Location: KCA Centre, Level 1, 925 Canterbury Rd, Lakemba
Meghrib offered | All welcome
The Australian Federal Police arrested two Muslims on 3rd December 2013 for allegedly desiring to fight in Syria or organising for others to fight in Syria.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia has convened an emergency seminar to condemn these outrageous arrests and the wholesale criminalisation of the Muslim's support for the oppressed in Syria.
The Muslim community will not be fooled, and must take a loud and principled stance against the hypocrisy of the Australian government.
Join us as we discuss the global campaign to suppress the Islamic revival and denounce the criminalisation of all Muslim resistance to Assad tyranny.
Two Sydney Muslims have been arrested by the AFP this morning for allegedly intending to travel to Syria to fight against the Assad regime. This comes in the context of a broader crackdown by government authorities on Muslims seeking to travel to Syria to assist those oppressed by Assad’s bloody repression.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia emphasises the following in this regard:
1. The Attorney General, George Brandis, linking these arrests to Australia’s national security is ridiculous and irresponsible fear mongering. The Government seeks thereby to justify what is plainly an unjustified and hypocritical policy of effectively criminalising support for the oppressed. This crackdown is being sold on the line that joining the fight against Assad is a criminal offence. Why it was made a criminal offence was never debated nor justified and this question is religiously avoided by authorities as it reveals uncomfortable truths.
2. The Government has some explaining to do. Since when did making personal sacrifice to assist the oppressed become an immoral act? Why has it been made a criminal offence? Why is it okay for Australian troops to partake in conflicts overseas under the pretext of supporting the oppressed, but not so for Muslims? Why are the acts of Australian troops in conflicts abroad characterised as an ultimate sacrifice to be celebrated but the sacrifice of Muslims in wanting to assist the oppressed characterised as criminal, problematic conduct to be condemned?
3. AFP Deputy Commissioner Peter Drennan this morning justified the arrests by jumping on the moral high horse and lecturing Muslims about how there was, “no justification for violence” and that, “violent killing of people should not be glorified or justified for any reason.” Where was Mr. Drennan in the last decade when Australian troops were deployed to the Muslim world for this very purpose?
4. On the one hand the Government has criminalised support for forces opposing Assad, yet on the other is itself, through its foreign ministry, undertaking various political manoeuvres in support of the secular elements of the opposition. The truth is that government policy on this issue is not about violence or national security. It is about seeking to legitimise and push the political alternative for Syria the Government deems acceptable and de-legitimising and criminalising that which it deems problematic. It is about promoting and working for a secular lackey as the alternative to Assad and working against the potential of an Islamic government in Syria.
5. The notion that Muslims who go to Syria will become ‘radicalised’ and be a security threat when they return is nonsense. It is based in the all-too-familiar Islamophobic Orientalist narrative that sees Muslims as sub-human, somehow less civilised, unable to control themselves and hence needing the intervention of the civilised white man. Why are the same concerns about radicalisation and national security not raised in relation to other Australian citizens training and fighting in the armies of foreign allies or indeed Australian troops going to partake in invasions abroad?
6. We advise the Muslim community not to be intimidated by the cheap tactics of government authorities. The intent of these policies is to intimidate and silence. Our response should be to raise our critical voice in questioning why support of the oppressed in Syria has been criminalised. Syria is under siege by the regime of the tyrant Assad as well the ‘international community’ which seeks to suffocate the Islamic resistance in favour of secular forces. Our silence in this context would be a betrayal of the Muslims in Syria.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia
03 December 2013