Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Kamel Daoud: Sexual Misery under Islam

Kamel Daoud

Kamel Daoud is a columnist for the newspaper Quotidien d’Oran and is author of the novel The Meursault Investigation, a recent response to The Stranger, the famous short novel published in 1942 by Albert Camus. This article of his, "The Sexual Misery of the Arab World," was translated from the French by John Cullen for the New York Times (February 12, 2016). In it, Daoud argues that the Muslim separation of women from men poisons men's minds about sex, about love, about the afterlife, and especially about how to treat women in this quotidian world:
The attacks on Western women by Arab migrants in Cologne, Germany, on New Year's Eve evoked the harassment of women in Tahrir Square itself during the heady days of the Egyptian revolution. The reminder has led people in the West to realize that one of the great miseries plaguing much of the so-called Arab world, and the Muslim world more generally, is its sick relationship with women. In some places, women are veiled, stoned and killed . . . . [S]ex is a great paradox in many countries of the Arab world: One acts as though it doesn't exist, and yet it determines everything that's unspoken. Denied, it weighs on the mind by its very concealment . . . . These contradictions create unbearable tensions. Desire has no outlet, no outcome; the couple is no longer a space of intimacy, but a concern of the whole group. The sexual misery that results can descend into absurdity and hysteria . . . . [O]ne hopes to experience love, but the mechanisms of love - encounters, seduction, flirting - are prevented: Women are watched, we obsess over their virginity.
Daoud notes the choice constructed by Muslims in pitting the West against Paradise:
One result is that people fantasize about the trappings of another world: either the West, with its display of immodesty and lust, or the Muslim paradise and its virgins . . . . [For Muslims in Islamic lands, o]rgasms are acceptable only after marriage - and subject to religious diktats that extinguish desire - or after death. Paradise and its virgins are a pet topic of preachers, who present these otherworldly delights as rewards to those who dwell in the lands of sexual misery[, that is, in the lands of Islam]. Dreaming about such prospects, suicide bombers surrender to a terrifying, surrealistic logic: The path to orgasm runs through death, not love . . . . [Now], with the latest influx of migrants [to Europe] from the Middle East and Africa, the pathological relationship . . . with women is bursting onto the scene in Europe . . . . [in] a clash of cultures playing out on the West's very soil . . . . People in the West are discovering, with anxiety and fear, that sex in the Muslim world is sick, and that the disease is spreading to their own lands.
Such is Daoud's analysis, and it looks rather spot on to me. A Muslim such as Daoud had to be the man to offer this analysis because Muslim men are the problem here, and political correctness bars a Western man from pointing to the depth of Muslim sexism, or bars the Western man if he doesn't want to be accused of 'racism' - as if the religion Islam were a race!

Now that the issue has been broached by a Muslim man, however, someone like me can join in on the discussion without having to be concerned about inviting pee-cee condemnation, for I'm just asking questions about a point made by someone else,

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