Does Anyone Actually Listen to Phyllis Chesler’s Islamophobic Rantings?

Sheila Musaji

Posted Apr 28, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Does Anyone Actually Listen to Phyllis Chesler’s Islamophobic Rantings?

by Sheila Musaji

An article by Phyllis Chesler was recently published by Israel News - The Islamification of America in which she expresses her concern that America will become “Eurabia”

The article is full of innuendo and twisted “facts” that are typical of such Islamophobic ranting.  However, some of the carefully crafted “points” need to be discussed because they are now coming up regularly.  She talks about “A similarly dangerous, multi-cultural tolerance also exists in America.”

She uses the example of the ACLU attempting to overturn the State Department’s decision not to admit Prof. Tariq Ramadan to the U.S. as one example of this “Islamification”, she rails against Ramadan and even compares him to Hitler - however, the only example of Ramadan’s guilt of anything at all that she can bring up is who his grandfather was. 

If we are going to start holding people responsible for the sins of their parents or grandparents, then a lot of people need to worry.  Actually, the last time I can think of that people were seriously concerned about the ancestry of a segment of their community was in Nazi Germany when even a little “Jewish blood” could be dangerous.

She has some ideas about how to protect ourselves from the threat of Islamification:

What is to be done about this state of affairs? First, we have to re-evaluate the meaning of free speech, both in terms of hate speech and in terms of wartime realities. Along the same lines, we must find some legally and politically sound ways to slow down or to eliminate entirely the growth industry of jihadist hate speech in America. Islamists do not hesitate to falsify, exaggerate, and censor our culture, e.g. the Danish cartoon incident. We cannot allow our traditions of freedom and tolerance to be taken over by intolerant forces in the service of repression or terrorism. This is not easy to do but it must be done—and done quickly—by the best lawyers and legislators in our land.”

Analyze what she is saying - she wants to take away free speech in the United States, and she is appealing to the best lawyers and legislators in our land to help her do this.  And, based on her own writings with which I have disagreements - my guess is that her highly subjective idea of what constitutes intolerant speech would include mine.

Second, we must begin to insist that Muslims allow the same free speech and religious practices to religious minorities in their countries that they wish us to extend to them in the West. This means that if Muslims want religious freedoms in the West, they have to grant such freedoms to Jews, Christians, and other religious minorities in Muslim countries.”

I am an American Muslim and there are a few million AMERICANS who happen to be Muslim.  How are to be held somehow accountable for what happens in other countries that happen to be predominantly Muslim.  How can we be denied our rights as American citizens become in some FOREIGN country someone is denied rights?  Even within a country “collective punishment” is an immoral idea - globally it is ludicrous.  Are all Muslims on earth responsible for what happens in Sudan for example?  If we follow this line of thinking, then are all Italian-Americans responsible for what Mussolini did?  Are all German-Americans responsible for what Hitler did?  Are all Serbian-Americans responsible for the Bosnian genocide?  And, should these and many others have lost all of their freedoms until they could guarantee that the same freedoms would be given to everyone in the country that either they or their ancestors came from? 

Third, we should not allow a falsely positive or superficial picture of Islam to be taught in public schools (and inserted into textbooks), nor should we teach a balanced view of Islam as long as Islamic schools, both here and abroad, refuse to teach anything true about Judeo-Christian culture.”

Let’s see now, in some FOREIGN country there are schools teaching things that misrepresent “Judeo-Christian culture” and so we should begin to misrepresent them in our schools in order to even the score.  As long as there are some schools somewhere that are not teaching a balanced view, then we should also not teach a balanced view.

Her final non point “Finally, we endanger countless Muslim women and girls and freedom-loving Muslim men as well, when we extend religious freedom to Muslims who believe it is their religious right to subjugate, torment, mutilate, and murder women and dissidents.”

That is the wonderful thing about MY COUNTRY, AMERICA - we are a country of laws, and those laws are for everyone.  If there is some member of any religious group who holds distorted or extremist religious views, and they attempt to carry out those views, they will be prosecuted by the law. 

Note:  I looked through a number of Phyllis Chesler’s articles, and found many that were just as Islamophobic, and was puzzled by her seeming hatred of Islam and Muslims, and then I came across an article “How my eyes were opened to the barbarity of Islam” in which she tells the awful story of her marriage to an Afghan man and her time spent in Kabul in a terrible marriage in pre-Taliban, but certainly feudal Afghanistan.  The bio at the end of this article says that Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the City University of New York.  It is a shame that her psychology background didn’t help her to see her transference of justifiable anger towards her husband and his family (or even towards tribal Afghan culture) onto all of Islam and all Muslims.

Update 5/2/2008

Pamela Geller is upset about this article on Chesler.  On April 30, 2008 Geller posted an article titled “Attacking Chesler: American Muslim Female Takes on Chesler”.  As could be expected she didn’t understand how I could possibly say anything negative about Chessler’s anti-Muslim writings.  Geller called me a “tool of jihad” who is tearing a “truthteller apart” while “doing nothing for my sisters”.  However, she did not directly address any of the specific points that I made in my article.  (Note:  Geller’s article still comes up on a Google search, and in a search of my name on her site, but if you click on the link you will only get an error message.  The article has been pulled).  My response to Geller’s claims in her article was the first item in this collection of information on Geller, who along with her partner Robert Spencer seem to be the most prolific Islamophobes. Please see my article   Pamela Geller Attempts to Make a Point, Muslims Shrug (SIOA/AFDI/Atlas Shrugs) for a complete background on this. 

On May 2, 2008 Geller published an article titled Blah, blah, blah in which she accuses me of “deception, taqiyya- the deliberate dissimulation about religious matters that may be undertaken to protect Islam. And while this kind of double talk has the left doing the Islamists bidding, many of us know exactly what this shiz is. You can fool some of the infidels some of the times, but you can’t fool all of the kufirs all of the time.”

She opens this article with “Musaji over at American Muslim didn’t like my defending Phyllis Chesler.”  And she has included this link embedded in the words “defending Phyllis Chesler”.  This is a link to the now removed article that was written by Geller on April 30th.  Geller herself is sayng that she had written an article to which I responded, but the article is not there? 


In 2009, Phyllis Chesler wrote an article Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence  in which she falsely claimed that in an article I had written The Death of Aqsa Parvez Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action, I had “dismissed the problem”. 

Here is how Chesler worded this claim In 2007, after Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her father in Toronto for not wearing hijab (a head covering), Sheila Musaji wrote in the American Muslim, “Although this certainly is a case of domestic violence … ‘honor’ killings are not only a Muslim problem, and there is no ‘honor’ involved.”[9] Mohammed Elmasry, of the Canadian Islamic Congress, also dismissed the problem.

What I actually said was:  Although this certainly is a case of domestic violence, some are referring to this as an example of an “honor” killing.  The facts are not in yet as to whether or not this is the case.  And, as with all forms of domestic abuse, domestic violence and family violence, “honor” killings are not only a Muslim problem, and there is no “honor” involved.  There is no “honor” in violence or murder.  And, further in the article, I said The truth is that family murder is ‘too awful to contemplate’, and yet we must contemplate this crisis and find ways to reach distressed families before any more lives are lost.  The idea found in some cultures that somehow if a families “honor” is damaged, they can restore that “honor” by taking some violent action against the individual or individuals perceived to have been the source of that loss of honor, is only one of many possible justifications for such reprehensible and evil acts.  There is no “honor involved” because such acts of violence are simply dishonorable.

Her selective, out of context, incomplete “quote” made it seem as if I had said the opposite of what I actually said, and it was repeated (plagiarized) by Chuck Norris, and many other Islamophobes, exactly as she wrote it, and using it in the same way, to falsely claim that I was “dismissing the problem” or pretending that such crimes don’t exist in the Muslim community.  It would be impossible for any reasonable person to read my actual article and come away with that conclusion. 

Originally published 4/25/2008