Richard Dawkins’ tweet saying a feminist revolution needs to happen in Islam did not go over well with Muslims.
Richard Dawkins, noted Atheist author,must have expected widespread support when he tweeted that “Islam needs a feminist revolution”.
Islam needs a feminist revolution. It will be hard. What can we do to help?
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) July 23, 2015
But what he got instead was backlash from within the Muslim community, from both women and men alike, reports Antonia Blumberg for the Huffington Post.
The full text of his tweet was “Islam needs a feminist revolution. It will be hard. What can we do to help”?
Yasmin Choudry, a British philanthropist, politely told Dawkins to mind his own business by saying that change needs to come from within the Muslim community.
Muslim writer Hind Makki says this attitude is nothing Muslim women haven’t dealt with before. European colonists told Muslim women of the early 20th century that they needed help from both European and Muslim men.
LOL Richard Dawkins makes post claiming Islam needs a feminist revolution. Dawkins. Dude needs a feminist revolution from himself.
— Matt Sainsbury (@MattSainsb) July 24, 2015
@TheWhackyPaki When have I ever made a blanket statement about all Muslims? That's how you hear it, but I attack Islam, NOT Muslims.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) July 28, 2015
@RichardDawkins Stop portraying Islam as something bad. It's a religion of peace, only you fail to see that.
— اسماء اللہ الحسنہ (@ARP_Kashmir) July 27, 2015
Muslim activist Linda Sarsour states that non-Muslims need to stop commenting on perceived Muslim issues and that Islam is not only a feminist religion, but also provides her with a blueprint for championing women’s issues.
Dawkins attempted to clarify his position with another tweet asserting “the idea that an uncovered woman invites assault degrades women…” who “should be free to wear anything or nothing & stay unmolested”.
But what Dawkins might fail to recognize is that many Muslim women choose to wear the hijab and are proud to do so.
Reza Aslan, Iranian-American professor at the University of California, Riverside, addressed similar comments made by political commentator and comedian Bill Maher, who also called out the Islamic community for its treatment of women and other violent actions.
Aslan, appearing on CNN, explained that the barbaric treatment of women was not a problem in all “Muslim countries,” so it isn’t an Islamic issue at all. He said that Saudi Arabia might have the worst track record for its treatment of women, but Turkey, another Muslim nation, has elected several female heads of state.
Finally, Aslan attacked the media for what Dawkins appears to have done as well: assume generalized problems in the Muslim world from specific actions in countries which happen to be Islamic.
Perhaps the tweet from well-known Muslim author Qasim Rashid gave Dawkins the best advice on how he can help… by “being quiet & listening”.