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You're a funny guy, Ben

Reader comment on item: "Pasha Bordello" Accepts Islamist Demands
in response to reader comment: Sex worker ' French Kiss' speaks with forked tongue: Praise of Muslim clients belies Islamist misogyny and hypocrisy

Submitted by FrenchKiss (United States), May 9, 2006 at 23:39

Forked tongue indeed. I wonder how such a thing would affect business? Could be good, could be bad…who knows?

I never said anything to suggest that Muslim women didn't suffer terrible abuse and inequality. What I said was that the claims that Muslim clerics are pimps and that Islam allows for child prostitution by means of trickery is a load of crap. I also said that not all Muslims are the same, and that I've enjoyed the company of Arab and Persian men -who were presumably Muslim though we did not discuss religion.

Apparently you haven’t met many middle easterners, or you would know that they don’t all look or act like the Ayatollah. In Iraq, before the occupation, 30% of all university students were women. Women held jobs as doctors, engineers, teachers and cabinet members. Yes, Iran was thinking of legalizing prostitution in 2002, but I’m sure that has changed since the conservatives regained power in the last election.

Allowing for legalized prostitution would have made them more progressive than the USA, where women who choose this profession are criminalized and put in jail. It is disgusting that Dr. Hughes talks about freedom, when that’s the last thing that comes to mind when I hear her name. The woman tells lies to gain support for abolition, and surely she must know it. And the women she claims to be helping continually suffer for it At least the evangelicals have the decency to claim that they’re doing it to force their values on the world, and not claiming that they’re doing it for our sake. Women are harmed on a regular basis because of these laws, but she is so obsessed that she will go to any length to stop it, including demanding that funding get cut off for NGOs that distribute condoms to sex workers.

Considering what is going on in Kashmir right now, with fundamentalist Muslim women demanding the death penalty for a woman who ran a house of ill repute, and university students looting and burning down her homes, I think it’s fair to say that the people wouldn’t stand for it if the religious leaders of Iran were pimping young girls. I wonder what they would think of Donna Hughes' baseless allegations if they knew of them.

What is ironic here is that the “white slave” hype of the late 19th early 20th century (which has been totally discredited by historical evidence) was used to vilify Jews and Chinese in this country. So this trafficking sham used as a tool to encourage bigotry in the general population against a certain group of people is nothing new. From the book The War on the White Slave Trade published in 1910:

Out of the Bowery and Red Light districts have come the new development in New York politics- the great voting power of organized criminals…And no part of it was more noteworthy than the appearance of Jewish dealers in women, a product of New York politics, who has vitiated, more t6han any other single agency, the moral life of the great cities of America in the past ten years. It is an absolute fact that corrupt Jews are now the backbone of the loathsome traffic in New York and Chicago.[ p.188]

Of course Jews were not kidnapping innocent young girls and forcing them into prostitution or sexual slavery. But this myth was so widely believed due to outrageous, fantastical stories being published in Christian and women’s publications, that anti-Semitism ran rampant in this country.

I am 100% opposed to underage and/or forced prostitution, but the numbers don’t support the claims being made about their prevalence. In 2004 (the most recent year I could find statistics for) there were 1,247 minors arrested for prostitution in the US, 145 of whom were under the age of 15. That may sound like a lot, but compare it to 2,998 minors arrested for forcible rape (1,135 under 15); 29,020 minors arrested on weapons charges (10,302 under 15); 43,274 minors arrested for aggravated assault ((15,130 under 15); and 138,375 minors arrested for drug abuse violations (23,711 under 15) and it becomes clear that we have much bigger problems on our hands. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_4/persons_arrested/table_38-43.html

In the US we’ve been deporting women right and left that were rounded up in brothel raids. A few have to stay to testify that they paid huge sums to be smuggled here, but then we’ll send them back to S Korea, where the police are cracking down on prostitution because our country threatened them with sanctions. It’s somewhat laughable that people are concerned about Islamic values being shoved down our throats but no one minds us forcing our values on others. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/korea/FL22Dg01.html

I believe strongly in freedom of speech, and I am glad that President Bush defended the Danish cartoonist who offended the Muslim community, insofar as his right to those freedoms go. I also support the right to peaceful protest to the drawings, but feel that many followers of Islam went too far. But an ad is not the same thing, and while I don’t think the brothel owner should have been forced to remove the flags, I feel that he should have out of respect for the feelings of others- something many of us could do with more of. I also believe strongly in freedom of religion, and even though I personally view all religions as a bunch of ancient superstitious nonsense that leads to intolerance of others, I do support everyone’s right to their faith, or lack thereof. That doesn’t mean I think it’s okay to kill women for disgracing their families and abandoning their faith. If you don’t want to be blamed for all the atrocities carried out in the name of your religion, on an individual or institutional level, then I suggest you quit blaming all Muslims for the crimes carried out by a few Islamic radicals.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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