Concerned about the Islamic oppression of women? The divine sanction for the beating of women (Qur'an 4:34)? The commodification, the polygamy, the child marriage, the female genital mutilation, the honor killing? Ah – that just confirms that you're a racist, bigoted Islamophobe – at least as far as the British feminist writer Laurie Penny is concerned. And Penny is by no means alone: her article just provides a particularly egregious case study of the general tolerance of Western feminists for Muslim misogyny.
"Islamophobes," wrote Penny with admirable certainty in the Guardian last week, "could not care less about women of any creed or colour." These wicked fellows only criticize the Sharia mistreatment of Muslim women because of their bigotry and hatred. According to Penny, "misogyny only matters when it isn't being done by white men." Penny complains:
As a person who writes about women's issues, I am constantly being told that Islam is the greatest threat to gender equality in this or any other country – mostly by white men, who always know best. This has been an extraordinary year for feminism, but from the Rochdale grooming case to interminable debates over whether traditional Islamic dress is "empowering" or otherwise, the rhetoric and language of feminism has been co-opted by Islamophobes, who could not care less about women of any creed or colour.