Friday, 13 April 2007

Why men flock to Islam, not church

One evening I was speaking to a group in upstate New York. I posed the rhetorical question, “Why do men flock to Islam while avoiding Christianity?” I didn’t expect an answer, but one woman blurted out, “If Christianity required women to walk behind their husbands and wear burquas, then we’d have a church full of men.”

So is male dominance the key to Islam's rapid growth? Must a religion oppress women to attract men? I posed these questions to David DeMeo, professor of Middle Eastern and Arabic studies at Harvard. I sum up his response this way: Islam is a religion that delivers results for men. Too often, Christianity does not. Read more

1 comment:

Fern said...

"Islam is a religion that delivers results for men".

Well, yeah, that's one way to look at it. The author of this article, goes on to say:-

"The professor believes that Islam’s emphasis on responsibility and accountability is attractive to men. “It does impose clear behavioral demands and hold men to task,” he said. “These are primarily in areas that society today bemoans a lack of responsibility - alcohol, sex, parenting, etc."

This is a deeply flattering picture of Islam. Take the "clear behavioural demands" in sexual relations, for example. A man may take up to 4 wives; Shi'ite Islam mandates temporary marriage - effectively licensed prostitution. Several of those working within muslim communities in the UK have alleged that laws against bigamy are regularly ignored with men contracting multiple marriages. It's not exactly sexual continence, is it? Look at any Islamic society and what these 'clear behavioural demands' amount to is policing the conduct of women.

Islamic dress for women, especially enveloping garments like the jilbab, have their roots in concepts of male honour and the belief that women are solely responsible for men's sexual behaviour. Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi, described by Ken Livingstone as a 'moderate' runs a website called IslamOnline where a panel of experts answer questions on Islam:-

"One question asked: "Are raped women punished in Islam?" A panel, headed by Mr al-Qaradawi, replied: "To be absolved from guilt, the raped woman must have shown some sort of good conduct . . . Islam addresses women to maintain their modesty, as not to open the door for evil."

Far from teaching that men are responsible for their own behaviour, Islam holds women responsible.