‘Westernised’ women being killed in Iraq

// 13 December 2007

Another awful result of this disastrous war:

Religious extremists have killed at least 40 women this year in Basra because of their “un-Islamic” dress, according to Iraqi police.

The police said women were being apprehended by men patrolling on motorbikes or in cars with tinted windows before being murdered and dumped in piles of rubbish with notes saying they were killed for “un-Islamic behaviour”. He said men had been victims of similar attacks.

This is sickening, I don’t really know what else to say.

But it does get me thinking. All around the world, women are worth no more than the judgements men place upon the way they look. To these women, that meant death. Which is why those of us who have the good fortune to live in countries where we won’t be killed for what we wear must appreciate and protect our freedom. We must refuse to let anyone but ourselves determine what we look like. This includes defending Muslim women’s right to choose to wear the veil. Being dictated to by Christians in government is just as bad as being dictated to by Muslim fathers or husbands. And, guess what?, many Muslim women do genuinely freely choose to wear the veil. I may not be a big fan of Islam, or of religion in general, but until they begin to infringe on my freedom, I have no right to tell them what to do.

It is also why we must stop judging other women based on their appearance. For me, that includes not sticking stickers on adverts featuring Victoria Beckham that read ‘you are normal, this is not’ and commenting that she ‘really needs to get laid’: something I noticed on the Somewhat Strident facebook group. While I’m all for subvertising, stickering, and the creative use of a thick marker pen (only on my own property, of course), demonising women really isn’t the way forward.

That’s what misogynists do.

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