Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Are Western women responsible for provoking Muslim men into raping them? Some Europeans certainly seem to think so.
Recently, after a 20-year-old Austrian woman waiting at a bus stop in Vienna was attacked, beat, and robbed by four Muslim men from Afghanistan—including one who “started [by] putting his hands through my hair and made it clear that in his cultural background there were hardly any blonde women”—police responded by telling the victim to dye her hair:
At first I was scared, but now I'm more angry than anything. After the attack they told me that women shouldn't be alone on the streets after 8pm. And they also gave me other advice, telling me I should dye my hair dark and also not dress in such a provocative way. Indirectly that means I was partly to blame for what happened to me. That is a massive insult.
She is not the first victim to be blamed. According to FrontPage Magazine editor Jamie Glazov:
Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker’s response to the assaults under her watch [when 1,ooo German women were sexually molested and raped by Muslim migrants] has been to reprimand the victims, suggesting that they had asked for it. She has vowed to make sure that women will change their behavior, so that they don’t provoke Muslims to sexually assault them again. There will now be published “online guidelines” for women to read so they can prepare themselves…. Oslo Professor of Anthropology Dr. Unni Wikan’s solution for the high incidence of Muslims raping Norwegian women is not for the rapists to be punished, but for Norwegian women to “take their share of responsibility” for the rapes because Muslim men found their manner of dress provocative. Norwegian women, she has counseled, “must realize that we live in a Multicultural society and adapt themselves to it.”
These responses overlook the fact that, from the very start of Islam 14 centuries ago, European women—even chaste nuns—have always been portrayed as sexually promiscuous by nature.
This is easily discerned by examining medieval Muslim perceptions of Byzantine women. (Islam’s initial contact with Europe in the seventh century was through the Christian empire of Byzantium; it came to represent European women in Islam). Consider the following excerpts from Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs, by Nadia Maria el-Cheikh:
One quality that the Arab Muslims inevitably assigned to the Byzantines was beauty…. This characteristic, beauty, is associated with Byzantine women in particular. Byzantine women are described as being white-complexioned blondes, with straight hair and blue eyes.
This view traces back to Muhammad. The prophet once asked a new convert “Would you like the girls of Banu al-Asfar?”—the “yellow haired people”—to entice him to join the jihad on Byzantium and reap its rewards, which, in this case, included the possibility of capturing blonde women. “O Abu Wahb,” Muhammad cajoled another, “would you not like to have scores of Byzantine [fair] women and men as concubines and servants?” Wahb responded: “O Messenger of Allah… if I see the women of the Byzantines, I fear I will not be able to hold back. So do not tempt me by them...”
Nor was this predilection limited to Arabs. In regards to the Turks, Bernard Lewis writes in Islam and the West, “Europeans saw themselves primarily as Christians threatened by a new assault from the old Islamic enemy…. Among the faults and vices ascribed to the Turk, two themes dominated: arbitrary power and unbridled lust. So universal were these themes and so striking the terms in which they were presented, in both letters and arts…”
Unfortunately for European women, they also came to exemplify Islam’s femme fatale. Continues the author of Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs:
In our [Muslim] texts, Byzantine women are strongly associated with sexual immorality… Our sources show not Byzantine women but [Muslim] writers’ images of these women, who served as symbols of the eternal female—constantly a potential threat, particularly due to blatant exaggerations of their sexual promiscuity….
Then there’s Muhammad’s assertion that there is no “fitna more harmful to men than women.” El-Cheikh explains:
Fitna, meaning disorder and chaos, refers also to the beautiful femme fatale who makes men lose their self-control. Fitna is a key concept in defining the dangers that women, more particularly their bodies, were capable of provoking in the mental universe of the Arab Muslims….
Cheikh documents how Muslims claimed that Byzantine (or “white”) females were the “most shameless women in the whole world”; that, “because they find sex more enjoyable, they are prone to adultery”; that “adultery is commonplace in the cities and markets of Byzantium”—so much so that “the nuns from the convents went out to the fortresses to offer themselves to monks.”
Concludes the author of Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs:
While the one quality that our [Muslim] sources never deny is the beauty of Byzantine women, the image that they create in describing these women is anything but beautiful. Their depictions are, occasionally, excessive, virtually caricatures, overwhelmingly negative…. Such anecdotes [of sexual promiscuity] are clearly far from Byzantine reality and must be recognized for what they are: attempts to denigrate and defame a rival culture through their exaggeration of the laxity with which Byzantine culture dealt with its women…. In fact, in Byzantium, women were expected to be retiring, shy, modest, and devoted to their families and religious observances…. [T]he behavior of most women in Byzantium was a far cry from the depictions that appear in Arabic sources.”
Little has changed some 1400 years after the founding of Islam: European women continue to be seen as naturally promiscuous and thus provoking Muslim men into raping them.
Thus last December in the UK, a Muslim father-of-four “dragged a young pub worker off the street and raped her for three hours, while telling her ‘you white women are good at it.’” Another Muslim called a 13-year-old British virgin “a little white slag”—British slang for “loose, promiscuous woman”—before raping her.
After the endemic sexual abuse of native British women at the hands of Muslims was revealed, a Muslim imam in the UK confessed that Muslim men are taught that women are “second-class citizens, little more than chattels or possessions over whom they have absolute authority” and that the imams preach a doctrine “that denigrates all women, but treats [non-Muslim] whites with particular contempt.”
This mentality is hardly limited to Britain. A Muslim man who almost killed his 25-year-old German victim while raping her—to shouts of “Allah!”—asked if she enjoyed it afterwards. Another Muslim migrant said that “German girls are just there for sex.” In Austria, an “Arabic-looking man” approached a 27-year-old woman at a bus stop, pulled down his pants, and “all he could say was sex, sex, sex,” until the woman screamed and he fled.
In short, the ancient Islamic motif concerning the alleged promiscuity of European women is alive and well, and continues justifying the Muslim rape of Western women.
Yet, even in this, Islam can turn to its Leftist ally for cover. For, just as the Left has worked long and hard to portray Islamic intolerance, violence, and terrorism as the West’s fault—because of the crusades, because of colonialism, because of cartoons, because of Israel, because of freedom of speech—it now adds “because of Western promiscuity” to the list of reasons that provoke Muslims to acts of violence and worse.