There is something not neutral, not innocent, something disturbing, about the Western women who choose to live in Muslim countries for a short or long period, and when they do, and find it neceesary (or sometimes eveb without finding it necessary) to the dress code for local women, do so uncomplainingly, willingly adapt, at times with a certain secret pleasure. While women in Iraq, or at least the most advanced women in Iraq, have been trying hard not to have the chador, abaya, whatever you want to call it, right down to the eyeslit of the niqab, imposed on them again, some Western women appear almost gleeful in the requirement, as they see it, to dress that way. Is it that they find the chador liberating, in fact -- or is it something else prompting their pleasure? The most advanced women born into Islam (starting with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Homa Arjmand, Azam Kamguian) try to become free of this male-imposed dress when they can; the most un-advanced, most primitive women in the non-Muslim world, on the other hand, find themselves not only finding nothing wrong in "Islam's treatment of women," but justifying and even celebrating what some of them call a "portable seclusion," instead of addressing the attitudes and behavior of Muslim men toward women (any female traveller to Muslim countries can be called to the witness-stand) that might make such "portable seclusion" necesary.
You see: it's fun. This dressing up voluntarily in Islam-mandated clothes is just plain fun, apparently, for some Western women. They do not assume the garb reluctantly, but are excited by the make-believe of it all. It's a kind of civilizational slumming, or rather, a rapid abandonment of all supposed principles that supposedly meant so much to them at home. Where be that famous feminism now?
There was Giuliana Sgrena, the shrill-voiced hysteric (I heard her on the RAI), with her illogic and malevolence toward the United States and toward the West, well-watered by Il Manifesto. There was Margaret Hassan, who spent decades in Iraq, who threw her lot in with "the Iraqi people" and even married an Iraqi (an Iraqi whose reaction to the news of her death was strangely muted), and was executed because, alla fin fine, she was an Infidel. There were the two Simones, as Oriana Fallaci called them, part-Sgrena part-Hassan in their crazed blend of unappeasable anti-Western animus and identification with Islam, and their enjoying their roles as "Muslim women" without having to be Muslims to enjoy it.
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