The women’s rights catastrophe in the Muslim world has reached America. Islamist groups and preachers in the U.S. are directly legitimizing the abuse of women or indirectly through advocacy of sharia law, and Muslims and non-Muslims, men and women, must hold them accountable.
Exhibit A is the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), a group based in California that fashions itself as an authoritative voice of matters of Islamic law. It issues fatwas, or religious declarations, in response to questions from Muslims seeking guidance. Its website has a fatwa bank that will shock anyone concerned about women’s rights.
A fatwa published in 2010 justifies the practice of female genital mutilation:
“Some extremists from the West and their devout followers in the Muslim world would like to brand all circumcision as female genital mutilation (FGM) … all of their propaganda about female circumcision is no more than bigotry.”
One fatwa published in 2007 justifies marital rape:
“As for the issue of forcing a wife to have sex, if she refuses, this would not be called rape, even though it goes against natural instincts and destroys love and mercy, and there is a great sin upon the wife who refuses.”
One reason AMJA advises Muslims against joining law enforcement is because they “might have to arrest a Muslim man whose wife said he ‘raped’ her or forced her.” Another reason is the possibility of “gender mixing.”
AMJA is not a fringe organization whose influence is limited to the walls of its headquarters.
Its Secretary-General is Salah As-Sawy. He is also a co-founder of American Open University and was its Vice President from 1995 to 2004. He is also a co-founder and President of Mishkah Islamic University of North America.
Another AMJA Fatwa Committee member is Dr. Waleed Al-Maneese, Vice President of the Islamic University of Minnesota and president of the board of trustees of Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center. He is also on the board of trustees of the North American Imams Federation.
Then there are the Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in America.
“[I]n some cases a husband may use some light disciplinary action in order to correct the moral infraction of his wife, but this is only applicable in extreme cases and it should be resorted to if one is sure it would improve the situation. However, if there is a fear that it might worsen the relationship or may wreak havoc on him or the family, then he should avoid it completely,” Siddiqi is quoted as saying.
The article then references Jamal Badawi, a member of the Executive Council of the Fiqh Council of North America. He is a founder of the Muslim American Society and used to be listed as a Member At Large of ISNA. A U.S. Muslim Brotherhood document identifies him as a member.
The article quotes Badawi:
“There are cases, however, in which a wife persists in bad habits and showing contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations. Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriage, at least in some cases. Such a measure is more accurately described as a gentle tap on the body, but never on the face, making it more of a symbolic measure than a punitive one. “
The website hosting the article, IslamicFinder.org, is read by many Muslims trying to understand their faith. The Islamic Center of Jersey City in New Jersey links directly to this article from its website. The mosque’s website also defends polygamy:
“If they [non-Muslims] ask you about polygamy, ask them about the sexual promiscuity that is rife in their societies that has brought humiliation to so many women and allowed men to absolve themselves of their responsibilities towards them and towards their children?”
Another mosque at fault is the Islamic Society of Boston, which has deep Muslim Brotherhood ties. In 2004, its website approved of hitting wives and children that are at least 10 years old. It also said to “Hang up the whip where the members of the household can see it.”
“Hitting is not the way to discipline; it is not to be resorted to, except when all other means are exhausted, or when it is needed to force someone to do obligatory acts of obedience,” the website said.
The Muslims of the Americas is another example of the problem. The organization says it owns 22 “villages” around the country, with its Islamberg headquarters in New York being the most notorious. The members are strident followers of a radical cleric in Pakistan named Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani.
The isolation of the 22 communes makes it impossible to know the full extent of what goes inside them. However, a former high-level member of MOA that lived at Islamberg for two years has broken his silence.
The former MOA member says he has first-hand knowledge of women being abused and forced into marriages. He claims he personally saw a 50-year old woman get beaten for a perceived moral infraction. Two women that used to belong to MOA also told a filmmaker of widespread abuse.
This article is just scratching the surface. These are examples of blatant, public support for abusing females. This doesn’t count the silent supporters of these doctrines. Nor does it include those who indirectly promote these doctrines by advocating Sharia or by exalting Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Yousef al-Qaradawi.
These are the same organizations that scream “Islamophobia!” whenever confronted, frustrating the moderate Muslims that want to confront the very real issues in their communities. Contrary to the Islamists’ slurs, standing up for Muslim women is not “Islamophobia.” It’s one of the most pro-Muslim things you can do.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.