بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I’m sure you’ve all encountered this argument before. Recently, the British government made the accusation that the hijab sexualises and objectifies young women (this was made in objection to Islamic schools mandating hijab at the age of nine). This argument seems to be pervasive in Western literature, and many ex-Muslims also make similar claims. I believe the general attitude can be summarized in this meme recently posted on Facebook by an atheist page:
Below I have a one line response for quick situations, and a more detailed response that elaborates.
The One Line Response
It seems Muslims are obsessed with modesty, not sex. Not a hard distinction to make.
Alternative: Gluttony vs diet. Both are obsessed with food in their own way, but one is harmful while the other healthy. (Credit: Shaheed Bolsen).
Modesty and sex are related – they are opposites. A lack of modesty means more sexualization and an increase in modesty means less sexualization. Evil people are obsessed with increasing sexualization and therefore decreasing modesty and make absurd claims like watching pornography is “healthy” when in fact it is extremely harmful and dysfunctional, as is drunk hookup culture, homosexuality, etc. Muslims, on the other hand, are obsessed with modesty because modesty is good and they promote sexuality within appropriate confines.
The absurdity of this argument is like saying people who are pro-life are “obsessed” with abortion, when in fact they are obsessed with saving human life. Furthermore, aren’t people who are so-called pro-choice also obsessed with abortion? They are literally on opposite sides of the debate. It’s just a word game to call both “obsessed with abortion” without acknowledging they are on opposite sides of the fence.
Furthermore, as Edward Said pointed out in his groundbreaking work Orientalism – the Western discourse on Muslim sexuality says more about their society than anything objective about Islamic society. If you look at the literature and art of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, Muslims – and especially Muslim women – are depicted as hypersexual beasts who follow their passions and engage in orgies with harems of women. This was in contradistinction to the Christian European who followed the virtue of chastity, unlike the barbarian “Other.”
As European social values changed and they began to celebrate sexuality and immodesty, the discourse on Islam changed. All of a sudden, Muslims were these backward, repressive prudes who believe in outdated things like the virtues chastity, marriage, and the sacredness of the sexual act.
Well, which is it? The truth of the matter is that the Muslim world as a whole is probably less modest now than it was at any other point in history, primarily due to Western influence both legally with their puppet regimes, as well as culturally with the hegemony of MTV, Hollywood, Instagram, and online pornography. Yet, the perception from the Western cultural paradigm is that Muslims are too modest and require so-called sexual liberation.
What this shows is that Western perceptions of Muslims are hardly based on fact. What it is based on is the prism through which the West views Islam vis-a-vis its own values, which change decade by decade. 20-30 years ago, the Muslim world was not “homophobic,” but today it is.
Lastly, we must examine further: which values are better? Is it good to celebrate – practically worship – sexual pleasure, and outward beauty? Is it good to engage in drunk hookups? Does one feel like a fulfilled person after they’ve gotten another like on Instagram? Are the millions of young men suffering from a completely dysfunctional porn addiction happy? Are the billions of people who have experienced heartbreak, as a result of sexuality becoming just another consumer commodity, happier? Are the millions of children who were aborted, grateful? Are the hundreds of millions of children from broken homes, or born out of wedlock, better off?
Or is it good to celebrate self-control, moderation, chastity, sexuality within the confines set forth by the Creator? Is it good to encourage young people to have stable marriages and to use the spare time they’d otherwise be spending chasing tail on projects actually beneficial to themselves and society? Is it good for children to grow up in stable, happy families?
Western civilization has in fact internally collapsed since the sexual revolution and the spread of fahisha. Right now, their countries are being taken over by immigrants who have healthier cultures regarding family, because the birth rate has plummetted so drastically. Unless they import millions of young workers every year, their whole infrastructure will collapse as they will lack the economic power to fund their social security systems. This external influx of immigrants has essentially delayed the effects of their debauchery such that many Muslims are confused and don’t realize that this way of life is totally unsustainable. But Judgement will come. Destruction and suffering are always the end result of open rebellion and disobedience to Allah.