What’s Wrong with the World

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Not Ready for Civilization

This from the "not ready for civilization" file:

A Muslim husband in the Netherlands delayed an emergency Caesarian operation because the only anesthesiologist available was male. After two hours he was persuaded to allow it, but only if his wife's arm was covered up while the injection was administered. And after that, the anesthesiologist was forced to stand out in the hallway and shout instructions to a nurse in the operating room.

I have noted before that the supposedly "pro-life" Muslim values go to the wall when they come into conflict with the desire for hyper-control of their women and the related, perverted sense of sexual "honor." The wife's and child's lives and health were of less importance to this man than his horror at the thought that a male might see some part of his wife's body uncovered.

Nor is this the only incident of this type. Muslim husbands have physically assaulted male doctors who dared to attend their wives.

Such outrageous behavior puts the doctors into an intolerable position. What should be done about it on the spot might be open to argument. Myself, I'd consider calling the cops to restrain the crazy husband. But it is yet more evidence of the incompatibility of Muslim culture with Western culture.


Comments (15)

This should be a regular feature here at W4: Not Ready for Civilization.

Islamic culture and Western culture: like Na and H2O.

Islamic culture and Western culture: like Na and H2O.

That's your analogy of what's incompatible?


That's your analogy of what's incompatible?

Now calculate the adiabetic temperature rise.

Or, check the pictorial version.

Thanks, Zippy, that's what I'd been told happened, but having flunked high school chemistry (fact), I didn't want to be the first to say so.

Maximos, I like your idea about a regular feature. It might suffer (?) from a surplus of material, but by all means, jump right in. We could make it a new subject header, under "Islam." :-)

My chemistry professor in college showed us that trick. It made a pretty good "boom". I'd thought he did it with Potassium, but I probably misremember.

I've often wondered about the source of that "perverted sense of sexual honor." It's true that no man likes another to gaze upon his woman with lust. Even a Western man (especially a young one) is easily tempted to violence in defense of what he perceives to be an offense against his honor and that of his woman's. But such temptations are indulged under the authority of no religious precept. We know that the actual precept is to purify one's heart and mind, that a lustful gaze does most harm not to its recipient, but its sender. But in Islam, or at least in a significantly representative portion of it, the protection of one's honor seems to have a religious sanction, in which the responsibility shifts from curing the problem in one's heart to covering it up. A woman's beauty compels our wicked thoughts. The woman becomes the problem, and so she is covered from head to toe and hidden away whenever possible, so as not to be the occasion of another's sin, and thus an offense to my honor. The real offense is to the woman's dignity, but this seems important only insofar as it trespasses upon my right of ownership. In other words, it's all about me.

This is the impression I get. It's manifestations are fanatical (as the linked article shows) but, as I say, I don't know where it comes from.

I don't know where it comes from either. But I have a strong hunch that it predates Islam by millennia.

I have this vague memory of coming across a precept somewhere which stated that in cases of infidelity a young man kills his unfaithful mate, but an old man kills her lover. I just did a brief google search, looking for the origin of this memory, but came up empty.


Well, sure, it's natural to males not to want other men lusting over their women. Obviously what we have in Islam is a twisting and exaggeration of that in exactly the way you say, Bill--the problem is th ewoman, it's all about the guy's ownership, etc. A natural manifestation of the male sense of sexual honor in his wife and daughters, a manifestation that doesn't involve this kind of crazy control-freakishness, would be preferring that they dress in _moderate_ modest dress, but not in such a way that they can scarcely move or see or talk to people, are incredibly hot in the summer, never get sunshine, etc. An unnatural manifestation is the inability to realize that medical situations are different and that the doctor is a professional who is there to help your wife. While most men are likely to see red (and I'm sympathetic to this) if some guy makes a pass at their wife or girlfriend, only men with abnormal ideas see red if a male doctor wants to help their wife deliver a baby.

That's very nicely put, Lydia.

The ultimate origins of the rather fanatical and distorted Islamic conception of modesty lie in the indigenous cultures of the Arabian wastes, and more broadly in the the Near East. These cultures have practiced endogamous marriage from times that long precede the arrival of Mahomet, since in their tribal societies, marrying-out can be a threat to the stability of the family and its properties. Cousin marriage functions to keep the family together, and to pool family resources, as well as to create large networks of kin and contacts. The threat of a male from outside the family unit seeing even the innocuous and utterly unsexual skin of a female is that he might become inflamed with desire for her, and that this might lead to a breakdown of the generational integrity of the family, with all that this entails in tribal society (lineage, property, etc.).

All of the elaborate rules in Islam regarding these matters are developments of this primitive sociology, given divine warrant.

There's probably a great deal of truth in that, Maximos. I've certainly seen it said in a lot of places. The fusion of religion and tribalism is a real fusion in Islam, and this is one reason why people who try to treat Islam as a theological entity only are missing the boat. For many reasons it really is a full-scale way of life. To think of Islam, for example, chiefly as a form of non-Trinitarian monotheism and then to argue that the cultural aspects--such as this fanatical idea about keeping women hidden from outgroup males--are inessential, is to misunderstand the whole nature of the religion, IMO. This, I believe, was part of the disagreement between me and Jim Kalb in our exchange that I link in the main post.

If Jeff's right about the indigenous tribal culture (and there must be something to it; I remember Stanley Kurtz writing at NR about the practice of cousin-marriage), I can't help but wonder if there is something vaguely incestuous in their behavior, as though by covering the woman up and hiding her away (so that not even a doctor can see the skin of her arm), they were attempting to conceal some dark secret, as though the behavior is a cloak for a guilty conscience.

Surely Christianity had to confront such tribal instincts at various points in its history, and at least in those places where the religion took, the universality of its message forced the instincts to give ground. One would think that the same thing would happen when the tribal cultures of the near East confronted the monotheism of Islam. Instead, it almost appears that the religion came into being to reinforce that culture (to give it "divine warrant" as Jeff puts it). What a mystery. You'd think that after so many centuries the pathetic state of their women would move their hearts in a different direction, out of sheer mercy if nothing else, that after a while they'd just get damned tired of it.

I've read about Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa and how the mothers there hope their daughters will marry Christian men who, on average, treat their wives better than other African men. St. Paul himself, though rather a curmudgeonly university-donnish misogynist by personality, is quite clear: "Husbands love your wives as your own bodies...Be not bitter against them," and so forth. A somewhat radical message for its time.

The idea that men should grow tired of the whole "thing" of oppressing their women has also struck me. I recall reading about the Islamicization of Adam Gadahn, the California Muslim convert indicted for treason. The wife of the man who indoctrinated him said that when he first came to their apartment and she served him food, he would thank her. The other men would get on his case: "Don't talk to her! Why are you talking to her!" Basically implying that he was unmanly for being polite to the woman serving the food. Probably he's learned his lesson by now. But in a sense it seems to me some of the men are weirdly oppressed by all of this, too. This seems especially true w.r.t. the horrific practice of FGM. Surely men cannot really be happy about the fact that their wives are mutilated, have sometimes generally poor health as a result, are often in pain throughout their lives, and have no desire for sexual intercourse. Generally I wd. think it would be much easier for a man to have a wife with none of these problems. And who wants to have a duty to live in constant fear that some other man might see a square inch of his wife's skin? What an exhausting bore. It's as though the "system" of thought has taken on a life of its own and is controlling over all the people under it, to all their detriment.

Yup to all of that. As a father of daughters, I find it all incomprehensible.

But in a sense it seems to me some of the men are weirdly oppressed by all of this, too.

There definitely seems to be a kind of self-hatred in it. Islam, lacking an Incarnate God, seems to (perhaps ironically) reduce to a kind of one-sided Manichean view of the incarnate world. A God distant enough from Creation results in a Creation which - to the extent it ever does anything other than submit in utter self-nullification - is utterly depraved and without value. Thus self-hatred.

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