Saturday, October 28, 2006

It’s time to go, Pru Goward

The most offensive thing, by far, to have come out of the Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali women-are-meat comments and reaction is Sex Discrimination Commissioner (and endorsed Liberal candidate) Pru Goward’s call for al-Hilali’s deportation.

Al-Hilali is an Australian citizen. Whatever his sermon may have implied, re scantily-clad women deserving to be raped (of which more about in a moment), the implications of Goward’s call are unmistakable and profoundly shocking. Muslim-Australian citizens, she is surely saying, remain on Australian soil only on the whim of White Australia. A white-trash Cronullan thug couldn’t agree more with these racist sentiments. Remember also that both Cronullan thugs and Goward are/were motivated by the same stated higher purpose: protection of “their” women from Muslim men.

It’s yucky, despicable stuff. Never mind, for the moment, allegations that al-Hilali incited rape. Pru Goward is plainly inciting White Australians to demonise Muslim men, and so quite possibly inciting reactive Muslim terrorism, one small link along the causation chain.

So what did Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali say?

The last quarter of the sermon in question was devoted to a matching, evenly-weighted pair of gender-specific themes. First came exclusive male responsibility for not turning to crime, however heavy the pressure of excessive spending (actual or desired) from their wives might be. Second came the now-notorious female counterpoint to this: women’s responsibility for covering-up, to prevent adultery and perhaps also rape.

It’s not what you’d call a pro-feminist message on either account, at least at first blush. Males as prudent financial controllers and providers, and females as . . . prudent sexual controllers (??). The latter is a generous interpretation by me, admittedly, but certainly also a salient reminder that a woman’s having sex or shoes on tap appears to be a universal, inverse binary.

But is Al-Hilali actually saying that a women can have neither (shoes or sex), except at her husband’s (or more generally, a man’s) whim and/or insistence? The male-as-provider stuff can be easily, and uncontroversially rebutted: although such was the dominant Australian view for two centuries until c.1980, it is now rare. However, if a current-day couple do practise such a financial arrangement, it is presumed to be consensual – that is to say, mutually beneficial, in a way which is (in secular Australian terms, at least) no-one else’s business.

So the “shoes” are not a Muslim-male-demonising, or even a religion-specific thing. What is it about the sex, then? Here, it is al-Hilali’s veering wildly from women’s responsibility for preventing adultery, into ditto for preventing rape, which brings him undone.

Preventing adultery – which I would define for modern secular usage as “sex outside an ostensibly monogamous, ongoing relationship” – can be considered a particularly female burden (or gift?), based on biology alone. If adultery leads to pregnancy and birth, it carries with it a high probability of paternity fraud. Paternity fraud, a chain of deceit that usually takes place over a whole lifetime, is a crime that only women are biologically able to commit. As with any other crime, paternity fraud (for which adultery is a necessary pre-requisite) cannot be dismissed as no-one else’s business. In other words, al-Hilali’s exhortation, as far as adultery goes, has sensible, if oblique application to modern secular Australia. Thus, women can be, and often are, equal financial providers (whatever Islam may say about it), but they can’t help but be dominant in adultery.

Rape, needless to say, has nothing to do with consensual adultery. While al-Hilali’s later, explanatory sermon specifically reinforces that Islam does not condone rape (surely an unsurprising point, Pru Goward and her white-trash constituency aside) there is no doubt that his “65 years” in Long Bay Jail, and following comments on Al-Rafihi, rape and “meat” carry appalling inferences. I doubt that any of these amount to inciting rape by Muslim men, however.

For his revolting inferences, Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali has since apologised – and rightly so. The damage that the racist Pru Goward has done meanwhile would seem irreversible, and only just beginning.

Update 2 November 2006

Greg Price writes in an Oz OpEd:

Kim Beazley rejected Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali's comments . . . [but] tempered his condemnation with the apologetic comment that in Australia, 30 years ago, views similar to the sheik's were widespread. Former ABC journalist Peter Manning made a similar point . . . although he put the era of depravity . . . in the 1950s.

. . .

In what decade did Australians subscribe to ideas [such as “honour” killing]?

Five words for Greg Price:

She was asking for it. (And see them in Google News, as well)

These words, and all that they unmistakably connote, were (it embarrasses me to say) quite common among White Australian men of my age group well into the 1980s.

In what decade did boomer Pollyannas like Greg Price get their memories erased?

I personally can't stand Pru Goward either. After going from Sex Discrimination commissioner to the Liberal Party, its clear that she is evidentally just one of these aweful career politicians willing to say anything for anyone that I'd personally like to see dissapear from the face of the Earth. I also agree that its funny (in an ironic sort of a way) that making a rankly sexist comment can attract so much attention, but if you make a rankly racist comment (as Sex Discrimation Commissioner), no-one cares less. All non-whites go home, including those born here and citizens.

All this talk about meat makes me hungry.
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