Wednesday 25 January 2017

Beware of Linda Sarsour

'Brooklyn hijabi' and alleged feminist Linda Sarsour was a co-organiser and leader of the notorious Women's March on Saturday, described as one of the biggest protests in American history.

She recieved alot of criticism afterwards which was described as "Islamophobic" or "right wing" across many media sites that reported on it.

I will concede that some of the blowback she experienced on social media was unpleasant and indeed motivated by bigotry and racism. I condemn this obviously and view it as tragic, as it diverts attention from very legitimate criticisms of her hypocrisy and faux-feminism.

However, the reason she is on the end of legitimate criticism is not because she is Muslim. It's because she is an apologist for oppressive Islamist fundamentalism and an identity politics poser, which many media sites failed to mention. There is an immense, and rather sick irony for someone who minimizes the oppression of her 'fellow Muslim sisters' to lead a Women's March to defend the gains of feminism against Donald Trump.

You don't believe me? Well, let us look at some of her previous tweets.

Her basic message is "Don't worry! Women being barred from driving isn't a big deal because they get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave, while women in America don't have the benefit of paid maternity leave".

The hardships of women in Saudi Arabia goes far beyond them not being allowed to drive. It's to do with a state, a legal system and even a culture that doesn't treat them as human beings of equal worth. That views motherhood and domestic surbordination as the only thing that is worthy of a woman. So yeah, it's not a coincedence that Saudi women are compensated with a sort of generous maternity leave.

In this tweet she attempts to downplay the issue of forced veiling in Saudi Arabia. Of course, veiling is not THE issue for Saudi women, but it certainly is AN issue. The issue is the fundamental right of women to choose what they wish to wear, not for the nanny state acting in the name of Allah ordering women what to wear. As a "feminist" how does she fail to see this very simple principle?

This is a such a doltish and dishonest tweet. She appeals to women in high positions in the Muslim world (all of them women of privilege by the way, to use a word butchered by her and her ilk) as though it somehow alliveates the conditions of the average Muslim woman.

The same moronic logic is used by those who say because Barack Obama was president of the United States therefore America is "post-racial". I know she doesn't accept this logic in regards to race relations in America- in fact she poses as a defender of black lives and black bodies to gain ebonic points- but she will use this logic in regards to gender relations in Muslim majority countries.

Never mind honor violence; never mind the injustices rape victims are subjected to by shariah courts; never mind all the discrimination and repression of women. But, of course, women in high places, therefore "what's this whole sexism issue Islamophobes bang on about?"

"Shariah law is reasonable". Really? Does she not realise that in countries that adopt shariah apostates and homosexuals are executed; women alleged to have committed adultery are stoned to death; women who could not gather the testimony of four "pious" witnessess neccessary for a rape conviction are at risk of being stoned to death and religious minorities are repressed. Of course, all that matters to Linda is interest free loans. The experiences of those who have to endure the injustice of actual existing shariah is barely a concern to her.

Romanticism for shariah is an easy position to hold when you don't live under it and have to experience its full consequences.

If her Shariah apologism wasn't bad enough for you. You then have self-proclaimed Liberal personalities and celebraties defending her as a symbol of decency, tolerance and compassion, against her critics. Who by definition are 'haters', 'trolls and 'bigots'. A lame and abject hashtag #IMarchWithLinda was started to express their solidarity.

When was the last time Naomi Klein said anything intelligent?

Further praise and support came from New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera condemned “online trolls” attacking Sarsour.

NY Daily News columnist Shaun King described Sarsour as "one of the most effective, skilled, passionate organisers in the world". At least the white ally showed up.

Even Bernie participated in this orgy of adulation. I like Bernie and I wished he was the Presidential candidate instead of Hilary Clinton. But he is plain wrong on this one. As demonstrated previously, Linda is not a progressive. I am pretty sure they are tweeting their support for Linda out of ignorance of Linda's less than progressive stances on Saudi Arabia and shariah- or at least I hope so. So I will not condemn Bernie and the others too harshly.

From their point of view they see a poor hijabi activist, who superficially agrees with their progressive program, getting a hard time from 'bigots' and 'haters' with their 'gendered Islamophobia', naturally they spring to the defence of the percieved victim. Still, they ought to know better.

I, however, cannot respect the SPLC's (an organisation I have respect for) tweet of solidarity with Linda. Not after they unfairly put secular liberal Muslim Maajid Nawaz and liberal ex Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali on their nonsensical Islamophobe watch list (hit list more like).

I have problems with both Ayaan Hirisi Ali and Maajid Nawaz and don't agree with everything they say. But I would definetly have them over the charlatan Linda Sarsour. Any day of the week, it's not even a contest. Those two are far more deserving of the SPLC's support than this merchant in victim politics. It's saddening to see the SPLC regress like this.

Linda Sarsour is the product of this primitive and solipsistic identity politics that has permeated American politics for the past couple of decades. It has allowed her, with her pseudo radical bluster, to impose herself as the representative of American Muslim women (especially young ones) and for mainstream liberals to take her seriously.

What is most worrying was not Linda herself, necessarily, but the uncritical praise and support she recieved from squishy progressives.

It is worrying because it gives credence to this toxic, quasi-orientalist idea that in order to be seen as an 'authentic' Muslim and an ally of progressives, liberals and radicals, you have to be a faux-militant, Malcolm X wannabe, rabble rousing 'unapologetic' hijabi.

If you deviate slightly from this construction - like a Muslim woman who has the daring idea of not wearing the hijab and is a consistent advocate of human rights- then mainstream progressives and Hollywood liberals will not take you seriously, or even notice you, since you are not 'Muslim' enough for them.

Linda does not represent Palestinian women or Arab women or Muslim women, nor should she be regarded as such. She is a poser; a showboat run amock, dying for the camera. And worse, someone who attempts to minimize the oppression of women and the marginalised in Muslim majority countries. Pointing out her hypocrisy is not 'right wing', 'Islamophobic' or 'fake news', its actually being consistently progressive.

I don't take her seriously and I hope, comrades, you don't either.