Book Reviews

A Review of Geral­dine Brooks’ Nine Parts of Desire : The Hid­den World of Islam­ic Women”

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Cyber­Mus­li­ma” (Pseu­do­nym)

Nine Parts of Desire

I intend­ed this to be a short essay piece, a review of sorts point­ing out the most griev­ous sec­tions of this book. How­ev­er, as I read on, look­ing for quotes to use, I found that I could nei­ther high­light any one part of the book nor could I make it short. This book is so wrong, and there is almost no one to counter it, not pub­licly any­way. I con­sid­ered it my intel­lec­tu­al and Islam­ic duty to point out the many half-truths and dis­tor­tions that appear in this book.

The first clue as to the nature of this book comes in the Acknowl­edge­ments” sec­tion. Among the jour­nal­ists and edi­tors the author extends her grat­i­tude towards is Mil­ton Viorst. You may not be aware that Mr. Viorst him­self recent­ly pub­lished a book about Islam called In the Shad­ow of the Prophet. I read this book when it first came out about two months ago, and was so aggra­vat­ed by the hatred and anti-Islam­ic pro­pa­gan­da which was con­tained there­in that I returned it to the library unfin­ished. See­ing Mr. Viorst’s name among the names of Ms. Brooks’ friends imme­di­ate­ly put up a red flag.

As your Mus­lim sis­ter I will not mis­lead you, which is what Geral­dine Brooks attempts to do in this book. Ms. Brooks’ ini­tial moti­va­tion for writ­ing this book is a mys­tery. In Chap­ter 5, Con­verts”, on page 93 she final­ly reveals a major clue to her moti­va­tions : her con­ver­sion in 1984 to Judaism. She goes on to explain her moti­va­tions for becom­ing a Jew :

My con­ver­sion had more to do with his­to­ry than faith. If I were to mar­ry a Jew, it seemed impor­tant to throw in my lot with his often threat­ened peo­ple. I did­n’t know then that I would spend the best part of the next decade in the Mid­dle East, where being on my hus­band’s side made me an auto­mat­ic ene­my to many of those we lived among.” 

Fur­ther on in the book, she men­tions that :

…Being Jew­ish remained an abstrac­tion : some­thing that had defined the kind of wed­ding I’d had…a cer­tain awk­ward­ness at Christ­mas­time, and a label…” 

So here we have an author who admits that she chose a reli­gion based on pol­i­tics rather than faith, and who auto­mat­i­cal­ly assumes the man­tle of Jew­ish vic­tim­hood, nev­er stop­ping to pon­der the fact that many Jews through­out the Mid­dle East and Amer­i­ca auto­mat­i­cal­ly view Mus­lims as the ene­my. Her inabil­i­ty to report objec­tive­ly stains the entire book, as her jour­nal­is­tic integri­ty is marred by the fact that she nei­ther dis­clos­es her moti­va­tions nor her reli­gion ear­ly on, and that she auto­mat­i­cal­ly sees Islam and Mus­lims as the ene­mies. Through­out the book, from the begin­ning to the end, she takes spe­cial care to play up quotes from the Mus­lims talk­ing about the destruc­tion of Israel, or Zion­ism, or some oth­er such stuff, as if to alert us that these peo­ple are nut cas­es just because they don’t believe in the spe­cial sta­tus of Israel.

Anoth­er prob­lem preva­lent in the book is the fact that the author spends a great deal of her time report­ing on Iran and Shi’ism. Shi’a’s make up only about 5% of the Mus­lim world, and yet, as with most jour­nal­ists, she acts as though they are the end all be all of Islam­ic mat­ters. The time that Ms. Brooks does spend on the Sun­nis, she often men­tions them in a dis­mis­sive tone, as if the sharia of the major­i­ty of 1 bil­lion Mus­lims is unim­por­tant. A Chris­t­ian raised Jew­ish Aus­tralian-Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist with an Iran­ian bias ? Well, you just nev­er can tell.

Third­ly, as with all West­ern jour­nal­ists who report on Islam and Mus­lims,” Ms. Brooks nar­rows her focus to the Mid­dle East, name­ly Iran, Egypt, Pales­tine, Sau­di Ara­bia, and Jor­dan, with a lit­tle on Lebanon and oth­er Gulf States. She bare­ly acknowl­edges that Mus­lim coun­tries like Chech­nya, Indone­sia, and Malaysia exist. She hard­ly even men­tions Turkiye ! I won­der why one would write a book about the hid­den lives” of Mus­lim women, and then not even both­er to see the liv­ing con­di­tions of most of the world’s Mus­lims ! After all, 10% of the world’s Mus­lims are Russ­ian or Chi­nese ! There are 30 mil­lion Mus­lims in India alone. And what of Bosnia, Chech­nya, and Alba­nia, Europe’s Islam­ic trio ? (of course, writ­ing on those coun­tries, she would be forced to admit that it is not just the Jew­ish peo­ple who face ugly things such as geno­cide, nor would she be able to Arab-bash.) Why not even talk to Mus­lim women in Cana­da, the U.S. (where she now lives), the U.K., France, and Aus­tralia ? Once again, a jour­nal­ist from the U.S. has seen fit to declare who is part of the Mus­lim world” and who is not. These jour­nal­ists nev­er even both­er to sep­a­rate the Mid­dle East­ern sphere from the Mus­lim world. True, most of the peo­ple in the Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries she vis­its are Mus­lims. How­ev­er, the major­i­ty of Mus­lims do not live in the Mid­dle East.

Ms. Brooks starts her insults ear­ly on in the book. On the third page, she writes how the muezzin’s call to prayer shat­ters” the morn­ing still­ness. Per­haps if you are used to wak­ing up to Howard Stern or some oth­er inane morn­ing show on the radio, the muezzin’s call is an unwel­come change. But I sus­pect that for mil­lions of faith­ful Mus­lims who are lucky enough to hear the real thing, it is a wel­come start to the day. She then dives into a some­what ques­tion­able back­ground of Islam, via a short biog­ra­phy of the Prophet(P). Among the things that she claims is that Khadija(R) nev­er wore hijab (Ms. Brooks refers to hijab as veil”). She offers no proof for this fact, when it is actu­al­ly more than like­ly that the Moth­er of the Believ­ers did wear a head-cov­er­ing of some sort. After all, Mary(R) (ra) wore one 600 years earlier.

Ms. Brooks tries to assert that hijab was not a style thought of until after Khadija(R) died. She fur­ther insults the Prophet(P) and his first wife by writing :

[Khadi­jah] nev­er lived to hear the word of God pro­claim : Men are in charge of women, because God has made the one of them to excel the oth­er, and because they spend of their prop­er­ty [to sup­port them.] Such a rev­e­la­tion would have come strange­ly from Muham­mad’s lips had Khadi­jah still been alive and pay­ing the bills.”

The author then attempts to give us some insight as to her rea­son­ing for writ­ing this book in the pro­logue. She tells the sto­ry of when she first arrived as a reporter in Cairo. Her assis­tant, an Egypt­ian woman named Sahar, was at first, an Egypt­ian yup­pie”: high heels, make­up, elab­o­rate hair do’s, styl­ish clothes. After a year of work­ing along­side the young woman, Brooks felt she knew her well.” Then, one day, at the begin­ning of Ramadan, Sahar showed up for work and Brooks found her­self face to face with a stranger”:

The elab­o­rate curls were gone, wrapped away in a severe blue scarf. The make­up was scrubbed off, and her shape­ly dress had been replaced by a dowdy sack. Sahar had adopt­ed the uni­form of a Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ist. It was like watch­ing a nature film run in reverse : she had crum­pled her bright wings and fold­ed her­self into a dull cocoon.” 

Brooks’ inabil­i­ty to see past Sahar’s looks illus­trates that, as a non-Mus­lim woman, she is more con­cerned not only with her looks, but with oth­ers’ looks as well. She does­n’t say if Sahar’s per­son­al­i­ty had changed, if she had gone from being out­go­ing and smart to being with­drawn and dull. She men­tions only her appear­ance. She goes on fur­ther to por­tray Sahar as a robot of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, mere­ly mouthing slo­gans instead of engag­ing in debate with Brooks. She also men­tions how she, the for­eign­er liv­ing in Egypt, made adjust­ments to her sec­u­lar life” in order to accom­mo­date” Sahar and her new iden­ti­ty.” And yet, in the vein of her often con­tra­dic­to­ry writ­ing, Brooks grudg­ing­ly and briefly admits that Sahar seems com­fort­able with her new self.”

Typ­i­cal to West­ern jour­nal­ists, the author’s first focus is on the hijab, which she calls The Holy Veil.” She asserts that Mus­lim or Arab women did not wear hijab until the mar­riage of Muhammad(P) and Zeinab(R). She por­trays the Prophet(P) as con­ve­nient­ly tim­ing the rev­e­la­tions of the Qur’?n. Through­out the book, her sen­tences are laced with sar­casm, the intent : to make fun of Islam. On Khomeini :

…I was famil­iar with.. his pen­chants for con­demn­ing nov­el­ists to death, dis­patch­ing young boys to the war front as human minesweeps, and per­mit­ting lit­tle girls to be mar­ried off at the age of nine.” 

On a hotel swim­ming pool :

The glass-walled ele­va­tor, designed to give a view of the swim­ming pool, had been news­pa­pered over…so that reli­gious women would­n’t be offend­ed by the sight of glis­ten­ing male torsos.” 

On a room­ful of women in chador :

…I began to feel I’d been locked up by mis­take in some kind of con­vent from hell.” 

Brooks does briefly talk about the peri­od in the 30’s and 40’s when many Mus­lim women in the Colo­nial-occu­pied Arab lands took off their hijabs, and when the Shah of Iran had them forcibly removed from the women there. She only briefly men­tions how the chador-observ­ing women at that time were pub­licly humil­i­at­ed, denied entrance to shops, and kicked off of bus­es. Is that not an exam­ple of oppres­sion of Mus­lim women ? Does that not vio­late their choice to wear what they want ? Or does the choice only mat­ter when you choose to wear design­er clothes ? Would their opin­ions mat­ter more if they were wear­ing tank-tops and jeans, or even knee-length suits ? She describes Fati­ma Mernissi as one who does not flaunt her piety” by wear­ing a hijab, there­by insult­ing the great major­i­ty of Mus­lim women who do wear hijab. How is it that when one is obey­ing what she feels is a com­mand­ment set down by Allah(T), that is flaunt­ing her piety ? I find it amaz­ing that through­out her jour­ney, Brooks could not seem to find more than one per­son who states that they wear the hijab or chador because they believe it is a com­mand­ment from Allah(T).

Brooks, who admits ear­ly on that she had to rely on trans­la­tions of the Qur’?n in order to write about Qur’?nic injunc­tions, insists that the rewards of Par­adise are reserved for men only :

One of the Koran’s many descrip­tions of par­adise reads like a brochure for a heav­en­ly whore­house. In a fer­tile gar­den with foun­tains and shade, male believ­ers will be enter­tained by gor­geous super­nat­ur­al beings with com­plex­ions like rubies and pearls’, whose eyes will be inca­pable of notic­ing anoth­er man…”

Brooks’ igno­rance of tas­feer and Ara­bic pre­vent her from know­ing that the vir­gins are of both sex­es, and that the male inhab­i­tants of Par­adise will be as beau­ti­ful and untouched as the women. The author does­n’t seem to ful­ly under­stand that just because Mus­lim men and women do not put their sex­u­al­i­ty on dis­play for all to see, just because they don’t go on tele­vi­sion or radio talk­shows and talk about what they like to do in bed, that does­n’t mean that they don’t enjoy what Allah(T) has made halal with­in the bound­aries of mar­riage. She does­n’t seem to under­stands that Mus­lims keep their sex life pri­vate, there­by mak­ing it more spe­cial. Unlike non Mus­lims, we don’t see the need to exploit our sex­u­al­i­ty end­less­ly, or to talk about it over lunch with the girls. Why does she assume that pri­va­cy is repres­sion ? She then tries to fur­ther explain what she sees as the sex­u­al deprav­i­ty of Mus­lim men by writ­ing a lengthy piece about mut’a mar­riage, a prac­tice that is con­sid­ered haraam by 95% of the world’s Mus­lims. She asserts that it is used by many young Ira­ni­ans as a way to have sex with­out real­ly being mar­ried, and yet the only exam­ple she can come up with to prove this the­o­ry is that of a Euro­pean bohemi­an” of Zen, yoga and oth­er beliefs who had no inten­tion of con­form­ing to Islam­ic sex­u­al rules,” yet became an Iran­ian cit­i­zen. The woman tells Brooks that she uses mut’a mar­riage to take lovers. (One won­ders why she both­ered to leave Europe and come to Iran if that is all she is inter­est­ed in).

Brooks’ con­sid­ers Islam’s treat­ment of those who trans­gress the bound­aries of halal sex as bar­bar­ic and hor­ri­fy­ing, describ­ing ston­ings, burn­ings, and whip­pings. Yet Mus­lim soci­eties and com­mu­ni­ties are vir­tu­al­ly free of the prob­lems and penal­ties that come with sex­u­al lib­er­a­tion”: large num­bers of abor­tions from unwant­ed preg­nan­cies from a non com­mit­ted rela­tion­ship, sex­u­al­ly trans­mit­ted dis­eases, includ­ing AIDS, unmar­ried teen moth­ers and fathers, and the psy­cho­log­i­cal sex­u­al game play­ing and iden­ti­ty crises that have cre­at­ed an entire self help indus­try in this coun­try. She nev­er con­sid­ers that it is Allah(T) who has made these laws and not some grouchy mul­lah whose sole pur­pose in life is to oppress women by tak­ing away their abil­i­ty to sleep with any Abdul, Yusuf, or Musa who comes along. Yes, pre­mar­i­tal sex, extra­mar­i­tal sex, and homo­sex­u­al­i­ty are for­bid­den in Islam, just as in Judaism and Chris­tian­i­ty. Why are Mus­lims con­sid­ered back­wards if they fol­low the laws set down by God ? It is Jews and Chris­tians who have fall­en away from their reli­gious laws, putting their opin­ions above God’s, by becom­ing so lax in their atti­tudes towards pre-mar­i­tal, extra­mar­i­tal, and homo­sex­u­al sex.

Fur­ther­more, Brooks nev­er men­tioned that Allah(T) allowed for the fact that untrue alle­ga­tions may be made against a per­son regard­ing sex­u­al crimes, and that there must be four wit­ness­es to the actu­al act, or a con­fes­sion, before any pun­ish­ment can take place. Instead, she takes an almost unbri­dled glee in describ­ing the so-called hon­or” killings that occur in Pales­tine (and oth­er places in the Mid­dle East). She asserts that if it was not for the Israeli occu­pa­tion of Pales­tine, these killings would be secret and unbri­dled. She ends her chap­ter on sex by say­ing that :

Many Mus­lims are con­tent to claim that hon­or killings and cli­toridec­to­my are not Islam ; that they are cus­toms that come from the nation­al cul­tures and have noth­ing to do with the faith. With this asser­tion, many main­stream Mus­lims wash their hands of the twin bru­tal­i­ties that shape the lives of per­haps a quar­ter of the women of Islam.” 

Brooks can, of course, offer no proof that these top­ics are not a con­cern for Mus­lims, espe­cial­ly Mus­lim women who are in a posi­tion to orga­nize, such as Amer­i­can Mus­lims. She claims that those Mus­lims who point out that prac­tices such as cli­toridec­to­my are incor­rect­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Islam are lazy and unwill­ing to do any­thing to stop it, and should be tar­get­ing oth­er mis­guid­ed” Mus­lims, instead of protest­ing the way that Islam is por­trayed by non Mus­lims. Brooks nev­er men­tions that only one form of FGM can be even sup­port­ed as Sun­nah (not fard), and that the two more extreme prac­tices that she describes in her book are def­i­nite­ly haraam. She nev­er men­tions that none of the Moth­ers of the Believ­ers, whose exam­ple Mus­lim women and girls are encour­aged to strive towards, were cir­cum­cised. She nev­er men­tions that in the very Islam­ic com­mu­ni­ties where the most severe forms of FGM takes place, illit­er­a­cy is ram­pant and most are igno­rant of the true laws of the Qur’?n.

And yet, there are times when Brooks inad­ver­tent­ly sends a mes­sage dif­fer­ent from the one she intend­ed. She describes, at great length, a polyg­a­mous house­hold in Pales­tine, includ­ing how the hus­band had offered the first wife the option of divorce, because he intend­ed nev­er to have inti­mate rela­tions with her once he was mar­ried to the sec­ond wife. The first wife, who did­n’t want to lose her chil­dren, opt­ed to stay. Brooks describes the small house that even­tu­al­ly held the three adults and four­teen chil­dren from both mar­riages. She spec­u­lates on how hard it must have been for the first wife to opt for a life of celiba­cy at the age of twen­ty-three, even though she did it for her chil­dren. She men­tions that the hus­band has had eleven chil­dren (and count­ing) with the sec­ond wife, and yet, does not have the mon­ey to sup­port them all, forc­ing some of the chil­dren to go to work to sup­port the fam­i­ly. And yet, when Brooks finds a moment of pri­va­cy to ask the first wife how she feels about this :

…her rosy face broke into an enig­mat­ic smile. She wrapped my hands in her two…work-worn ones, and whis­pered sim­ply, Insha’Al­lah.” then she went to wash and began her prayers, as the life of the house­hold swirled around her. In a few moments…she knelt, touch­ing her head to the floor.” 

This is a woman who has done what is ulti­mate­ly required of her by Islam. She sub­mit­ted to the will of Allah(T) even when she did not like what would be required of her. She made small­er sac­ri­fices on Earth in order to gain big­ger rewards in Jennah.

Then there is the chap­ter slan­der­ing the Prophet(P) and his wives(R). She acknowl­edges that, except for Aisha(R), the wives were old­er women, and most­ly wid­ows. She does take the time to point out that his house­hold did­n’t get rich off of the spoils of their mil­i­tary vic­to­ries, liv­ing instead in aus­ter­i­ty, mod­esty, and near pover­ty in a house adja­cent to the masjid. How­ev­er, she does por­tray the wives as most­ly jeal­ous women who had noth­ing bet­ter to do than back­bite each oth­er and com­plain about their lifestyle and the Prophet(P) as a char­la­tan whose main inter­est was hav­ing sex with his many wives. She includes quotes from Aisha(R), Fatima(R), and Ali(K), and yet does not tell us where we can find these quotes to attest to the tur­moil of the Prophets(P) house­hold. She inti­mates that some of the rev­e­la­tions of the Qur’?n were timed awful­ly con­ve­nient­ly to coin­cide with mat­ters in the Prophet’s(P) life, there­by insin­u­at­ing that the Rev­e­la­tions were not divine, but of a more earth­ly ori­gin, name­ly with Muhammad’s(P) desires and needs. She ends the chap­ter by por­tray­ing Aisha(R), one of Islam’s great­est women who con­tin­ues to be an inspi­ra­tion for Mus­lim women every­where, as a sad, lone­ly, and bit­ter woman, plagued by jeal­ousy and obsessed with sectarianism.

In a whole chap­ter about those who choose to become Mus­lims, Geral­dine Brooks inter­views two Amer­i­cans in Iran, both Shi’as. I find it hard to believe that in the entire Mid­dle East, not to men­tion the U.K, U.S., and Aus­tralia, where she also lived, she could find only two women who chose to become Mus­lims. By doing so, of course, she down­plays the attrac­tion that Islam has for the thou­sands of West­ern women who con­vert every year. Although one of the women she writes about has an envi­able lifestyle : a hus­band and fam­i­ly she loves, a nice home, and peace attained through Islam, I feel that one pos­i­tive por­tray­al is not enough to counter all the oth­er things that she writes about, most of them false­hoods or dis­tor­tions. The only oth­er con­vert she writes about is Jor­dan’s Queen Noor, the favorite Mus­lim of all West­ern journalists.

Ms. Brooks is obsessed with prov­ing that Islam is repres­sive by com­par­ing it to the sec­u­lar tra­di­tions of the Unit­ed States and oth­er West­ern coun­tries. What­ev­er rights women in the U.S. have, then all women must have. What­ev­er clothes or behav­ior we take on here, must be tak­en on by all oth­er women. It nev­er even cross­es her mind that for one thing, these ideas are racist and cul­tur­al impe­ri­al­ism at its finest. Who is to say that what goes on in the US is right for every­one ? Who is to say it is right at all ? And who are Amer­i­can fem­i­nists to export their inter­pre­ta­tion of the state of human rela­tions to oth­er coun­tries with­out even exam­in­ing the tra­di­tions of women with­in oth­er cul­tures and reli­gions ? What arro­gance to assume that we know bet­ter than every­one else !

She seems to think that bel­ly-danc­ing in Egypt is the most lib­er­at­ing thing a woman can do, a cel­e­bra­tion of what a wom­an’s body does : ” the nat­ur­al move­ments of child­birth and sex.” Why extol bel­ly-danc­ing as the most valu­able cul­tur­al asset to come from a Mus­lim coun­try ? Because it keeps in step with the Amer­i­can ide­al that if it feels good, do it. In fact, she sub­jects us to a lengthy sto­ry of her own expe­ri­ences at bel­ly danc­ing, as though that has any­thing to do at all with the sta­tus of Mus­lim women. She relies upon Nawaal Saw­dawi, who is Egypt­ian, as a reli­able source about Islam and women, nev­er both­er­ing to inform the read­er that Ms. Saw­dawi is not only not a Mus­lim, she is an athe­ist whose favorite past-time is to degrade Islam.

She final­ly ends the book in a chap­ter enti­tled Beware of the Dog­ma”. She brings out Salman Rus­die and parades him around for the read­er as an exam­ple of a man who suf­fers under Islam’s delu­sions. Mind you, Salman Rus­die and his nov­el have noth­ing to do with the sta­tus of women in Islam. It just seems that Brooks could not resist let­ting us know that she knows some­one who was sen­tenced to death by Khome­i­ni. She writes :

…Pro­gres­sive Mus­lims… ask us to blame a wide range of vil­lains : colo­nial history…Bedouin tra­di­tion, pre-Islam­ic African cul­ture. Yet when the Koran sanc­tions wife beat­ing and the exe­cu­tion of apos­tates, it can’t be entire­ly exon­er­at­ed for an epi­dem­ic of wife slay­ings and death sen­tences on authors. At some point every reli­gion, espe­cial­ly one that pur­ports to encom­pass a com­plete way of life… has to be called to account for the kind of life it offers peo­ple in the lands where it predominates.” 

This is pre­pos­ter­ous and heav­i­ly biased. First of all, all reli­gions claim to be a com­plete way of life. It is sec­u­lar­ists who sep­a­rat­ed Church and State, not the Bible, or the Torah. Sec­ond­ly, thou­sands of women in this coun­try are beat­en or killed by their hus­bands and boyfriends every year, and the major­i­ty of them are Chris­t­ian. Would she lay the blame for that at the feet of Chris­ten­dom ? Would she attribute the epi­dem­ic of child abuse in this coun­try to the verse, Spare the rod, spoil the child,” that appears in the Bible ? And what of Judais­m’s own hijab ? Is she not aware that in parts of Israel and the Unit­ed States, women who do not adhere to a strict dress code are beat­en and pub­licly taunt­ed ? Why is it a hor­ri­ble thing when Islam asks its women to veil, but not when Judaism asks them to shave their heads, wear wigs, and scarf on top of that ? What about the prayer that Jew­ish men recite every morn­ing, where­by they thank God for not mak­ing them a woman ? Ortho­dox Jew­ish girls are raised much in the same way as Mus­lim girls, i.e. to remain vir­gins, and the women are expect­ed to stay at home as wives and moth­ers as Mus­lim women are. Why does she not call Judaism to account for that ?

She writes :

Once I began work­ing on this book, I looked every­where for exam­ples of women try­ing to reclaim Islam’s pos­i­tive mes­sages, try­ing to car­ry for­ward into the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry the reformist zeal with which Muhammed had remade the lives of many women (oth­er than his own wives and the Mus­lim army’s war cap­tives)… It turned out to be a frus­trat­ing search.” 

Who is Brooks (or any­one for that mat­ter) to tell any Mus­lim that they must doubt the laws of the Qur??n in order to be civ­i­lized ? Who is she to tell any­one else what the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness is ?

Why frus­trat­ing ? Because Brooks could find no one whose vision of Islam, and whose lifestyle matched what she thinks it ought to be. She eas­i­ly dis­cards the hap­pi­ness of those with whom she does not agree. Brooks is inca­pable of under­stand­ing that Islam­ic cul­ture is not sec­u­lar cul­ture. As the inher­i­tors of the last divine rev­e­la­tion, Mus­lims take Islaer ances­tors. When she writes of coun­tries such as Chi­na, Cuba, and Indone­sia who argued that the human rights con­ven­tions being imposed on them by the UN were cul­tur­al­ly irrel­e­vant, she says : A human right is what the local despot says it is,” as though only the UN, with its American/​European dom­i­na­tion, is qual­i­fied to tell the whole world what is a human right and what isn’t, with­out reser­va­tion. She tells us of the thing that West­ern­ers, the great we” she expects to be read­ing this book, hold sacred,”: lib­er­ty, equal­i­ty, the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness, and the right to doubt.” Who is Brooks, or any­one for were cul­tur­al­ly-irrel­e­vant, she says : A human right is what the local despot says it is,” as though only the UN, with its American/​European dom­i­na­tion, is qual­i­fied to tell the whole world what is a human right and what is not, with­out reser­va­tion. She tells us of the thing that West­ern­ers, the great we” she expects to be read­ing this book, hold sacred,”: lib­er­ty, equal­i­ty, the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness, and the right to doubt.”

Who is Brooks (or any­one for that mat­ter) to tell any Mus­lim that they must doubt the laws of the Qur’?n in order to be civ­i­lized ? Who is she to tell any­one else what the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness is ? Per­haps for some­one who leads a self-con­fessed sec­u­lar lifestyle, it is bel­ly-danc­ing in front of a drunk­en crowd, or hav­ing the free­dom to have sex with who­ev­er you choose. For a Mus­lim, the hap­pi­ness comes in hav­ing the right to choose to do these things, but know­ing that you have made the right choice by abstain­ing from them. She says that Mus­lims are plagued by hate­ful rea­son­ing” when it is she who is under the spell of her own hatred and mis­un­der­stand­ing towards Islam, Mus­lims and our traditions.

Exter­nal Link :Endmark

1 Comment

  1. I agree entire­ly with the review­er. This is yet anoth­er way to show Islam and Mus­lims as back­ward and cal­lous by using con­ve­nient quo­ta­tions and facts. Every reli­gion can lament about the oth­er, we can tear each oth­er’s flesh apart with our blas­phe­my but it will still not shake the peo­ple who believe strong­ly in their faith. Islam has been mis­con­strued and insult­ed because we (Mus­lims) are firm in our belief and do not change the Word of God at our convenience.
    In con­clu­sion, I would like to say that if a Mus­lim want­ed to write some­thing against Chris­tian­i­ty or Zion­ism or any oth­er reli­gion, he could eas­i­ly use the tools Geral­dine Brooks has used i.e. to con­ve­nient­ly use (or should i say, mis­use) vers­es or facts or events, but again, Mus­lims pre­fer to spend their time on per­fect­ing their reli­gion instead of bring­ing anoth­er down.

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