6 January 2016
The assault by a group of a thousand men on women and their sexual harassment on the New Year celebrations in Cologne has become a hot topic in the German media and public opinion. According to reports, the men who committed this despicable act are refugees from Islam-stricken countries. This situation can be used as an excuse by racists to intensify attacks on immigrants from Islam-Stricken countries, and for anti-immigrant acts or policies. We must stand against racism; and the slogan “no to sexism, no to racism”, raised in the demonstration on 5th of January in Cologne, shows that the left and progressive forces are well aware of the danger that racism poses.
On the other hand, the traditional left and the supporters of “cultural relativism” are trying to portray this mass attack as a routine matter and an instance of the usual sexual harassment in German society. However, this analysis and position does not address the problem either. This organized attack by a thousand-strong men on women, which involved calling women prostitutes, cannot be described as a usual sexist act that happens in everyday life in society by any logic or reasoning. This kind of analysis and position, rather than being based on realities, is rooted in “postmodernist” ideology of ‘cultural relativism’ and ‘respect for other people’s culture’; views that have led the liberal and so-called left forces in Europe to defend the political Islamic movement and its manifestations in Western societies, such as building mosques, Islamic Hijab, Sharia Laws, Islamic schools, etc. The real issue is neither cultural, nor related to refugees and immigrants from Islam-stricken countries, nor is it explainable and justifiable in the frame of the usual sexism and patriarchy in western societies. This is an assault by political Islam on women, women’s rights and women’s freedom in German society. This is the export of Islamic misogyny to Western societies, similar to the assault by the thugs of Islamic Republic of Iran on women. The incident in Cologne is not the same as usual sexism in Germany; it is of the kind that is usual in the Islamic Republic.
Misogyny is a pillar of political Islam as a definite movement, and it is not a part of the values and culture of Muslim people, or, more accurately, people who have been labelled Muslim. Refugees and ‘Muslims’ who migrated from Islam-stricken countries have themselves been victims of such conditions. The people of Islam-stricken countries, in particular the people of Iran, know very well that misogyny and assault on women is an important feature of political Islam, and which the Islamic states use to intimidate the society and force it into submission. As stated by Mina Ahadi, in her speech in the demonstration on 5th of January in Cologne, this assault on women is a clear example of organized terror on women by Islamic forces. Now, the political Islamic movement, in addition to exporting Sharia Laws, Hijab, Burka, Mosque and Islamic schools to Western societies, is attempting to also export Islamic misogyny. We cannot stand up to this assault with cultural relativism, ‘respect for Islamic culture’, and so on. On the contrary, this kind of position makes the Islamists export their ultra-reactionary policies to Western societies from a self-righteous and aggressive position. Conceding to Islamism does not counter racism; on the contrary, it paves the ground for it and reinforces it. Splitting culture and civilization into Islamic, Western and Eastern cultures and civilizations is itself another way of racism; a racism that instead of throwing “the others” into the sea, advertises their tolerance!
Freedom, humanity, civilization and citizenship is not divisible into “self” and “others”; it is one and universal. And gender discrimination, sexism and the view of woman as a sex commodity, of any kind and in any “culture”, is reactionary and anti-human. Islam, like any other religion, has given a divine and holy appearance to this misogyny, and like a preserve of reaction, has protected it throughout history. Misogyny was a pillar of political Christianity in the Middle Ages; it is a pillar of political Islam today. The issue is not immigrant or refugee or foreigner or German or Islamic culture or Western culture. The line is not drawn here. The issue is to defend the values, civilization and culture of humanity against racism and Islamism. Only by raising the flag of defence of universal human values and culture can we stand against both racism and Islamism.
Translated by Habib Baktash and Bahram Soroush