My Lord hath so bewhored her

December 30, 2013 at 10:04 pm (Feminism, islamism, Rosie B, women)

On the gender segregation issue here’s an interview with Marieme Helie Lucas, an Algerian feminist and sociologist:-

Maryam Namazie: What is the nature of the recent sex segregation scandal at Universities UK where the representative body issued guidance saying side by side sex segregation was permissible? Why does it occur and by whom is it imposed? Also, it’s more than just a question of physical separation isn’t it?

Marieme Helie Lucas: Just like with the niqab, it’s an extreme-Right political organisation working under the cover of religion to promote sex segregation as a pawn in the political landscape and using all possible means to make itself visible and impose its mores and laws. The idea is to permanently demonstrate that the law of god (as interpreted by them) supersedes the law of the people. It is a blatant attack on the very principle of democracy and one woman/man, one vote, particularly relevant in the aftermath of Nelson Mandela’s death.

So please don’t think that those demanding gender segregation are for harmless religious and/or cultural sensibilities be accommodated. Think of it as a political  demand from a particularly repellent ideology- and then you will less squeamish about opposing it.

The whole interview is excellent.

Also from Maryam Namazie, a principal organiser of the campaign against the UUK’s guidelines:-

“Gender apartheid is an Islamist demand to increase power and influence by asserting medieval rules on women and the society at large. The groups lined up to defend UUK’s indefensible position are all hard-core Islamists who hide behind ‘Muslim’ and religion to push forward their regressive and misogynist far-Right politics: Hizb Ut-Tahrir, FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Societies), Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), and Islamic Human Rights Commission…”

Loonwatch wrote an article about the campaign being simple Islamophobia dressed up. The author of it, in the comments, said Maryam Namazie took part in this exchange:-

Commenter:- “Maryam Namazie is an old fashioned whore….

To protest against the niqab, her higher intellect made her take all her clothes off…just brilliant…”


I don’t think we should call Maryam Namazie a “whore.” It distracts us from her revolting ideas. And it’s an insult to whores.”

(My old fashioned ways would be to sternly slap down someone who called a female opponent a whore, however noxious I found them.)

Other women called a whore are Muslim women of a questioning and liberal turn:-

I am the latest in a bunch of women, specifically Muslim women, who have come under attack from a group of misogynist men. Their aim is supposedly to combat Islamophobia yet ironically their appalling behaviour is unIslamic and actually fuels anti-Muslim sentiment.

It’s rather funny how our ‘Muslimness’ is questioned to destroy our credibility. Accuse a Muslim person of drinking alcohol or eating pork and you have instantly ruined their reputation. And if you’re a woman, well, that’s ten times worse. The combination of being an ex-Muslim (which I am not by the way) and a ‘whore’ is lethal.

Update:-  Commenters pointed out that I had quoted the “whore” comment in Loonwatch incorrectly and I’d suggested Maryam Namazie is a Muslim. I’ve amended accordingly.


  1. My Lord hath so bewhored her | OzHouse said,

    […] Dec 30 2013 by admin […]

  2. Babs said,

    Great interview. Loonwatch is an ironic name for a website that defends Islamism and all the loony shit that it stands for.

  3. Babs said,

    Not sure if you’re implying Mirayam Namazie is a Muslim but I have a feeling she’s atheist who renounced Islam long ago.

    • Rosie said,

      I’ve just re-read the post and see that it could read that way. I’ll amend it.

  4. Sarah AB said,

    Although part of that Loonwatch discussion seems to have been deleted I think it’s important to make a distinction between what Iram is talking about (final inset quote of the post) and the comment made by Ilisha (of Loonwatch). It was someone else who used the whore analogy and I’m sure originally there were further comments/votes which made it clear no one liked that approach at all. Ilisha really dislikes Maryam Namazie but was not endorsing the use of sexist terms to criticise her – it’s annoying some of the exchange has been deleted – I can’t think why that happened – as it was all much clearer originally.

    Although I would not of course say that Lucas’s trenchant opposition to segregation is not a valid perspective, I do think it is also reasonable to question that perspective. I did sign Maryam’s petition myself though.

  5. daniel young said,

    The sadness about the religious culture,was roaming around pubs today,scarce roam.The ladies behind the bars did not know who had been their from the night before,just a usual capitalist casual fill in another two day wage tax relief for their profits.The whore in my day,was not those serving me but the employer,who did not see the prostitution of his workers,just his blood profit need.Asked one of the workers,came in here around some nine months ago,there was a lady working here,no she said,haven!t seen her here.So eejit,says,how long have you been working here,she said almost three weeks,eejit said so you have two months to go no she said,my boss has said if i can behave he will keep me on.So eejit said.back on the dole then in two moths time,she looked at me then like i came from another planet.

  6. Andrew Coates said,

    Maryam Namazie is a member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran, or as call them Hekmatists (after their – deceased thinker – a man respected and not all an authoritarian ‘guru’). .

    They have a very honourable background.

    Their ideology is a fusion of human rights, Marxism and secularism, with a very perceptive analysis of islamism based on their direct experiences in Iran.

    I suspect Sarah that you may find the reason why reactionaries dislike them, and her, so much has a lot to do with this background. .

  7. Rosie said,

    @ Babs – I wasn’t implying Maryam Namazie is a Muslim. She’s an atheist who campaigns on secularism.
    @Sarah – I did see the comment by Ilisha. Someone said MN was a whore and Ilisha replied “worse than a whore”. I didn’t take a screenshot of it. I wouldn’t quote a random commenter in a thread. Threads fill up with vile crazies – as you well know.

  8. Ilisha said,

    The author of it, in the comments, said Maryam Namazie was “worse than a whore.”

    No, I did not say that. The original comment is intact in WordPress, so I can copy and paste here.

    Someone else first wrote:

    Maryam Namazie is an old fashioned whore….

    To protest against the niqab, her higher intellect made her take all her clothes off…just brilliant…

    In response, I wrote:

    I don’t think we should call Maryam Namazie a “whore.” It distracts us from her revolting ideas. And it’s an insult to whores.

    I have yet to see sex workers harassing and demonizing Muslims. I have nothing against them, and do not agree with insulting them.

    As I said in a later comment, the admin asked me to delete that portion of my comment. I did, and when I was asked to put it back, I wrote:

    Sorry….The admin says out of bounds. 🙂

    Therefore, Loonwatch cannot be blamed. It was my comment, and if it were up to me, it would have remained intact.

    It’s unfortunate you are not able to distinguish between “forced segregation” and the option of separate OR mixed seating. Insisting that mixed seating is always offered is an alternative to gender-based seating is an easy way to resolve this (non-)issue.

    Namazie and her ilk are not satisfied to let people make their own choices.

    She is quite similar to the intolerant religious extremists she presumably opposes. Like Namazi, they think their way is the only “right” way, and like her, they also think they have the right to impose on everyone else.

    If I had shown up to one of the lectures in question, I would have probably chosen mixed seating. That was before this manufactured “controversy.”

    Now I would INSIST on separate seating in the women-only section. Maybe I’d show up in a burqa, just to drive home the point. Maryam Namazie does make choices for me.

    • Rosie said,

      I’ll amend the original post but as Jim says I don’t think the sense of it changes. If someone called a woman opponent of mine a “whore”, however noxious I thought the woman, I certainly wouldn’t answer in friendly spirit. I’d delete it, or wait for the admin to do so if I couldn’t. I might tell off the person who used it, or I might say, please don’t call XY a whore, whether modern or old-fashioned. Basically, I would be disgusted and angry. The old feminist in me, I suppose – which has been pretty much outraged over the last few weeks.

      I’ve also been utterly astounded that people can find the idea of attending a public meeting with Women there, Men there, Mixed there anything but grotesque. Why on earth should people be sorted out according to their femaleness or maleness at such a place? A meeting is not a public toilet. It’s not a wedding or a religious service, where people are often assigned distinct roles according to gender.

      As for the “choice” issue. If you were so desperate to sit only next to a woman, you could probably arrange that in a de facto way. If you tell someone “don’t sit next to me please” most people will go off somewhere else. If you think special, elaborate provision should be made for YOUR choices, too bad. If the University authorities then think they should enshrine in their guidelines such a grotesque arrangement at the behest of some misogynistic speaker they should be told to shove it – as they were, from all sorts of people from all parts of the political spectrum.

      Those who have so much desired this set up have been a fairly repugnant lot:- Hizb Ut-Tahrir, FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Societies), Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), and Islamic Human Rights Commission. Their innocuous, even benevolent sounding names are cover for a bunch of repellent theocrats. I’m thoroughly delighted that there was just about universal opposition to this proposed policy.

      • Sarah AB said,

        Yes, I do agree that I would respond in the same way as you to the use of ‘whore’ as an insult. I am also viscerally opposed to gender segregation in such a context and am pleased about the universal opposition to the proposed guidelines. But I think visceral responses have to be weighed against other considerations, and there are many things which are legal but which are also dangerous or deplorable.

        That’s why I hesitated over segregation where it was partial/voluntary even though I did not hesitate in condemning the UUK guidelines.

  9. Jim Denham said,

    I’d say any fair reading of “it’s an insult to whores” amounts to “worse than a whore”: Ilisha is playing with words to avoid the central issue, just as she does when she tries to make out that the gender segregation imposed by clerical fascists that she advocates is the same as voluntary “safe space” arrangements, as sometimes chosen by lesbians and others. She’s clearly a patsy and apologist for Islamist fascism.

  10. Sarah AB said,

    I think there is an important difference in fact. ‘Worse than a whore’ implies that you think whores are bad. ‘An insult to whores’ does *not* necessarily imply that – it could do, but I felt Ilisha made it clear at the time that she did not go along with sneering at sex workers.

    For me perhaps the main problem with Ilisha’s post was that she had not (as far as I remember) really engaged with the UUK guidelines issue in depth, I explain why, on that Loonwatch thread, I signed the petition even though I had explored (admittedly with some uncertainty) a possible case for partial and voluntary gender segregation over on Bob from Brockley’s blog as a guest post earlier in the year.

  11. Rosie said,

    I find the least offensive pro segregation arguments I’ve read are a kind of muddled cultural sensitivity. However, I do wonder how these women who insist on – sorry “choose” – segregation manage to attend lectures or travel on public transport or how they consider their future careers. Is their ideal that similar provision should be made for their choices there?

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