Forbidden Love by Norma
Khouri (who now lives in Australia) is the true story of Khouri’s best
friend in Jordan who fell in love with a Christian man, and as a result was
murdered by her father, in an “honour killing” for which he has effectively
gone unpunished. It is to be published next month in the US as
The problem? How do you praise the book
while maintaining solidarity with a sisterhood that views the corrupt West –
and particularly the US under George Bush - as the main source of the
As Tim Blair
Feminism is a Western
cultural achievement. Many feminists – being of a mind-set that holds the
materialistic, capitalist West in contempt – have a problem with this. It
puts them on the same team as the wicked Western imperialists. Thus the
silence from Western feminists on Muslim treatment of women.
So hats off to
Diana Simmonds, who
reviewed the book in The Australian (review not available online),
and handed out some valuable pointers in how to approach such a sensitive
1. Make clear your contempt for President
…George W’s inane obsession with Saddam
2. Demean September 11.
It [the conflict with
militant Islam] began, not as sentimentally supposed on September 11, 2001…
3. Highlight your
solidarity with the Third World.
…but on August 7,
1998, when the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. These
terrible events have been overlooked because the casualties were mostly
Kenyans and Tanzanians – just like the Mombassa hotel bombing, in which a
few Israelis were killed amid a massacre of Kenyans. Who, after all, gives a
damn about the black folk?
4. Highlight your
solidarity with Third World women.
Let’s face it, despite
platitudes, the West doesn’t give a fig about Third World peoples – its
women in general, and women in Islamist societies in particular.
5. Attack the
Australian government’s policy on refugees.
…and because of the
treatment (dreadful) of asylum seekers in this country,…
6. Emphasise that your
unhappiness with the treatment of women in some Muslim countries doesn’t
mean you harbour Christian or Jewish leanings.
This is not an
endorsement of Judeo-Christian beliefs.
7. And then, finally,
having used half your allotted wordage to establish your credentials, you
are ready to discuss the book.
In fairness to Diana
Simmonds, her review makes some fine points.
The irony is that
Western feminists are the first to defend Islam when someone is non-PC
enough to suggest its militant configuration is the worst threat to our way
of life and to women since the rise of Nazism in the 1930s.
And she concludes:
is a desperate cry for help. If we in the West allow Khouri’s anger and
optimism to go unanswered, our grand-daughters could be the ones to suffer.
But how many readers
of the review will have gotten that far?