Untimely Observations

A New Theory of Islam and Globalization

Another crazy story from the Middle East/South Asia.

Kabul, Afghanistan (TML) – The Muslim world is full of violent, graphic and alarming stories of “honor killings,” in which young woman are killed by male family members for dishonoring the family.

"Honor rape,” in which the gang rape of a woman is used as a tool of social punishment, is spoken of less.

Almost unheard of is an “honor killing” or “honor rape” of a man.

But the northern Afghanistan province of Jowzjan is grappling with just that, after the sons of the region’s governor and police chief were found having sex with two women almost a month ago in the Dasht-i Leile desert, north of the provincial capital Shiberghan.

According to local media reports, a man named Yama, the 30-year-old son of the Jowzjan governor, and his friend Hashmatullah, the 28-year-old son of the provincial police chief, were seen by local herdsmen having sex with 24-year old Shokreya and 22-year-old Jamila.

The herdsmen allegedly stole the men’s guns and money and gang raped them in retribution for the “dishonor” they had committed by having sex with the two young women.

“The farmers tore the clothes off the two young men with sickles and raped them,” a local official told Pajhwok Afghan News. The herdsmen later described to local organizations that the attack was an “honor rape.”

As the story goes, the two men were left naked in the desert, only to return home covered by the women’s burqas and unable to sit down due to their injuries. The two women were reportedly unharmed, but told to leave the area within two weeks.

Muhammad Hashim Zare, the provincial governor, has refused to comment on the case, but his spokesperson Mahboobullah Zare has claimed that the governor is being targeted as part of a political smear campaign.

Brig. Gen. Khalilullah Aminzada, the police chief, has claimed that his son was not in the desert at the time of the alleged incident, and blamed the accusations on local farmers.

The response to this is usually to just chalk it up to Islam.  But how powerful of an explanatory force is this?  I’ve only heard of “honor rape” occurring in Afghanistan and Pakistan, though never in Egypt and Somalia.  On the other hand, those two African countries practice female genital mutilation, while Muslims in South Asia don’t.  How can Islam be responsible for both FGM and honor rape at the same time, when some Muslims practice one but not the other and most partake in neither, but nobody does both?

My theory: Islam makes you immune to globalization.  You distrust the infidel West, are confident in your society and refuse to change your culture to conform with modern norms.  Thus, all kinds of arcane practices abhorrent to the Western mind survive even though they have nothing to do with Islam.

China, for example, got rid of foot binding in the early twentieth century, probably after their elites started encountering other peoples who found it repulsive.  Had they been Muslims, the forces of reaction would’ve been stronger and maybe prevented this reform.  Modern professional Muslim haters would see foot binding as yet another piece of evidence in the case against Islam.

This is relevant to the Alternative Right as many of us curse the homogenizing of the world that globalization is bringing about and like the idea of different cultures confidently asserting themselves against international liberal activists.  But undoubtably cultural relativism has a dark side and barbarism is too common to be the fault of any one faith.