American Feminists Indifferent to Islamic Gender Apartheid

In the 1980s American feminists held strong, vocal, and successful demonstrations on college campuses to protest against racial apartheid in South Africa.

In 2015, American feminists rally against trigger warnings, demand safe spaces, and fight for stretch mark acceptance.

In the 21st century, the struggles of women outside of the US are largely ignored by feminist groups who, though they claim to support gender justice, do nothing about blatant Islamic gender apartheid in the Middle East.

Rarely have I heard girls who classify themselves as feminist challenge tragic issues of gender apartheid occurring in the Middle East such as arranged marriage, polygamy, forced veiling, female genital mutilation, wife beating, and honor murders. Rarely have I heard girls who classify themselves as feminist recognize the name of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a vocal critic of the repressive practices of Islam.

Instead, I hear these same self-declared feminists attempting to defend Islam’s persecution of women by saying that critics of these practices are “racist” and “Islamophobes.” And as for Sharia law, there is mostly silence from feminist soapboxes, regardless of the many violations of women’s rights which Sharia law contains; for example, death as punishment for adultery and marriage contracts for girls as young as 8 or 9.

It is a blatant certainty that Islam is in need of serious reform, particularly for gender equality, and nobody has more of an opportunity to help than American feminists. Unfortunately, nobody is more eager to ignore or excuse the actions of Islamic gender apartheid than American feminists.

What we need is a return to the idea that ALL women’s rights must be protected, regardless of race and culture. What we need is fierce and collective rallies, reports, commentaries, petitions, proposals, and vindications of the social, political, and economic rights of Islamic women. American feminists have a moral obligation to include Islamic women in a new, reformed, fight for global gender equality.