Questionable Motives

January 22, 2010

Does god hate women?

“The control of women is dual. The goal is to deny access to woman’s genitals to all men in the world minus one and to guarantee access to one.”

In the chapter of your book called Holy Groupthink, you explore the idea that religions “…often declare some kinds of people subordinate to other kinds of people, and they also often deny the right of humans to contradict such claims.” You then give an example of a UN meeting in 2008 where a delegate was giving a statement in regard to rights of women and was interrupted twenty seconds in by delegates from Egypt and Pakistan who insisted the delegate had no right to discuss Sharia law in the UN council and that “Islam would not be crucified” in such a manner. You go on to say that this sort of thing amounts to “protecting an abstraction, a particular religion,” and “specious protection for a social construct at the expense of real people.”

“Some people are reluctant to criticize Islam because Muslims in the West are a vulnerable minority. This is true, and well worth keeping in mind, but it’s short of a conversation-stopper. Just for one thing it falls foul of the blindness about groups mentioned above. ‘Muslims in the West’ are not just people who want to live by the most conservative possible versions of Islam, nor are they all men who want to impose the conservative versions on ‘their’ women. Some Muslims in the West are women and girls who want to get out from under those rules, so being all politely respectful of Islam no matter what is not automatically doing all Muslims in the West a favor.”

Maia Caron interviews one of my favourite atheists, Ophelia Benson, here.

Blog at