(/sites/default/files/uploads/2013/06/islamr.jpg)Five days before 9⁄11, a famous Norwegian social anthropologist (and Norway may well be the only nation on Earth where there is such a thing as a famous social anthropologist) instructed her countrywomen that the way to bring down the high number of rapes – most of which, even way back then, were already being committed by “non-Western immigrants” – was for them to stop dressing in a manner that Muslim men found provocative. Norway, she lectured, was steadily becoming “a multicultural society,” and Norwegian women, if they didn’t want to wind up being brutally ravished in an alleyway by some Pakistani gang, should choose their wardrobes appropriately. Period.
That anthropologist, whose name is Unni Wikan, didn’t score any points that day for heroically championing women’s equality, but she was, at least, being honest. The rise in rapes in Norway – as throughout Western Europe – was almost entirely a product of Islamic immigration. That was a fact she didn’t attempt to disguise.
Then, however, came 9⁄11. And in the years since, there’s been a desperate effort by bien pensant types throughout Europe to deny that the ever-increasing incidence of rape on the continent has anything whatsoever to do with Islam. Some try to dismiss or explain away the numbers entirely; others grudgingly acknowledge them, while fiercely denying that there’s any Islamic connection at all; some, while admitting that a disproportionate number of rapists are immigrants, attempt to blame the problem on ethnic European racism, the idea being that immigrants grow so frustrated over their mistreatment that they resort to rape.
All of which is absurd to anyone who’s remotely aware of Islam teachings about sex and of the high incidence of rape in Muslim societies that is a direct consequence of those teachings. We’re talking about a religion that treats the male sex drive as a virtually holy phenomenon, and that allows men to have multiple marriages and divorce at will, even as it demands that females deny themselves even the most innocuous sorts of human contact in the name of preserving family honor – and that punishes a single infraction with death. In the view of Islam, when a man rapes an immodestly dressed woman, the rape isn’t his fault but hers; and when a Muslim rapes an infidel in the “House of War,” it’s recognized as a form of jihad. As forgiving as Islam is of virtually every imaginable heterosexual act that might be committed by a Muslim male, it’s equally unforgiving of a Muslim woman who happens to be caught alone, doing nothing whatsoever, with a male who’s unrelated to her, or who, for that matter, commits the inexcusable sin of being raped.
The only thing worse than being raped, moreover, is tattling about it. A couple of years ago, a Pakistani woman, Rooshanie Ejaz, contributed several very frank essays on rape in Muslim countries to the website of Norway’s Human Rights Service. Noting in a March 2011 piece that “sexual abuse is actively hidden in Pakistani society, and in Muslim society generally,” she said that “a large percentage of the people I have grown up with have experienced some form of it….Whether the act is committed by a cousin, uncle, house servant, or stranger, the victim is likely to be subjected to further abuse and emotional torment if she opens her mouth about it.”
One distinctive aspect of Islamic theology is its prescription of rape as a punishment – a punishment usually imposed upon some innocent female to avenge a crime committed by a male relative. In another 2011 piece, Ejaz cited a Pakistani village court’s recent decision in the case of a young man who’d been “seen with a young girl from a tribe superior to his”: it ordered several of the girl’s male relatives to gang-rape the guilty party’s sister, Mukhataran – who afterwards (as if the gang-bang itself weren’t enough) “was paraded nude” through the village. Sharia justice of this sort is commonplace in the Muslim world; the only thing special in this instance was that Mukhataran complained to the authorities and argued her case all the way up to the Pakistani Supreme Court – which, in the end, freed five of the six defendants, even as a chorus of prominent media figures and government leaders expressed sympathy for the rapists and dragged Mukhataran’s name through the mud.
Pakistan did pass a Women’s Protection Law in 2006 that allowed women to file rape charges even without the four male witnesses that sharia law requires. Before the law came along, 80% of Pakistani rape victims who dared to go to the cops ended up behind bars for adultery while their assailants remained free. Yet the law was a feeble instrument in a country drenched with Islam; and in late May, the Council of Islamic Ideology, an official body whose job it is to rule on the theological correctness of Pakistani legislation, announced that “DNA tests are not admissible as the main evidence in rape cases” and that, indeed, lacking those four male witnesses, you’re better off keeping quiet.
This rule doesn’t just apply to Pakistan, of course. In Afghanistan, where freedom from Taliban rule cost the U.S. and its allies thousands of lives and gazillions of dollars, the number of rape victims being sent to prison is actually on the rise. In April, the Daily Mail ran a harrowing account of a women’s prison in Kabul that’s full of inmates being punished for crimes of which they were the victims. (According to women’s-rights activists, “life for women is almost the same” in Afghanistan as under the Taliban.) Then there’s Iran, where, according to a 2010 Guardian article, the government uses “rape and the threat of rape as weapons against its opponents.” A 2009 piece in the Huffington Post quoted a young Iranian woman’s observation that rape victims in her country routinely keep silent about their victimization because “a young woman who has been raped can never be touched again.”
What about Syria? An April headline in the Atlantic didn’t pull punches: “Syria Has a Massive Rape Crisis.” A Syrian psychologist who works with rape victims said that she always tells families rape is “a way to break the family” and that she urges them, “Don’t let this break you – this is what they’re trying to do.” (To which the women respond: “Tell that to our husbands.”) A Toronto Star piece acknowledged that rape victims in Syria risk “being cast out or even killed to protect the family’s honour.” – yet managed, as so many of these reports in the Western media do, to omit entirely the words “Muslim” and “Islam.”
In wartime, Islam actively encourages the use of rape as a weapon and/or reward for the soldiers of Allah. On April 3, the Washington Times reported that Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-Ajlawni had issued a fatwa permitting Muslims who are fighting Assad’s regime to “capture and have sex with” non-Sunni women. Raymond Ibrahim observed the next day at Front Page that Aljawni wasn’t “the first cleric to legitimize the rape of infidel women in recent times”: a top Saudi preacher had recently green-lighted the gang-rape of captives, and an Egyptian imam had explained how to turn captured infidels into sex slaves. Yes, rape is almost invariably a side effect of war; but rape instigated by clergy and carried out in the name of God is an Islamic specialty.
In Libya, the number of rapes rose during its revolution – and has kept rising ever since. “Gaddafi used rape as a weapon,” one Libyan women’s-rights activist told the Guardian this month. “It was organized and systematic.” While rape victims aren’t imprisoned quite as often now as under Gaddafi, “there are still strong disincentives against speaking out, making it hard for victims to access help or to seek justice.” In March, two Pakistani-British women – who’d just participated in the latest convoy seeking to break Israel’s Gaza blockade – were gang-raped in Benghazi by a pack of Libyan soldiers.
So it goes. And yet when the growing incidence of rape in an increasingly Muslim Europe is discussed by politicians, academics, and mainstream journalists, such data are almost never adduced, the theoligical and cultural background to these phenomena almost never mentioned. In the last year or two I’ve written here about Oslo, where everyone found guilty of rape assault between 2006 and 2010 was “non-Western” (i.e. Muslim), and Sweden, with Europe’s second-highest percentage of Muslims and its highest rape figures; I’ve covered Britain’s wave of Muslim “sex grooming” and Laurent Obertone’s documentation of Muslim rape in France.
All these developments have, of course, a common root – which it’s impossible to understand without a basic awareness of Islamic teachings about sex, gender roles, jihad, and so on. It’s all there, in the Koran, the fatwas, the sermons and public statements by those European imams who aren’t pretending to be building bridges and preaching love. No one who’s reasonably well acquainted with Islamic belief and practice should be surprised in the slightest by Europe’s rape epidemic. Unni Wikan (though her prescribed response to it was nothing but multicultural mush) saw it all quite clearly twelve years ago; Europe’s elites, however, persist in their refusal to recognize this epidemic as part of their continent’s transformation into a Muslim province. And so the statistics continue to soar.
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