Here's what official Islamic State “wear a hijab, or else, ladies” paperwork looks like

It’s not a symbol… just a representation… Okay.

This is fundamentally untrue.


So I am for these things because I like women to make their own decisions about what works for them in their lives?

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You know what I find interesting about all this… they have fucking paper work, and corporate structures (al-Qeada, too). What does that tell us about these organizations, I wonder…

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Of course, now lots of people will assume you’re with the ISIS fuckers, because we can’t possibly have any nuance in our discussion around the “war of terror” because “CLASH OF CIVILIZATION!!!”

But yeah, women can make up their own minds. Doesn’t mean ISIS aren’t douche nozzles… It just means not all women who wear hijab are oppressed.


You know that ISIS or ISIL is an acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and the ash-Sham/Levant?

Well, that’s the western acronym, with the Arabic being DASH, though I can’t remember what it stands for… But yes. I promise I’m not that stupid.

But look, they are claiming an anti-western point of view here, but they are still working within particular corporate structures generally associated with the west (al-Qaeda even more so). I find that very interesting. If Foucault were here, he’d help us understand what it all means. Likely that these structures are so ingrained in world organization, that even the “enemies of the west” can not get out of those structures of power.


DAESH and it’s stands for essentially the same as ISIS/L.

They see themselves as religious, political and military authority and therefore use the same methods.


Thanks. Most people stick with ISIS/L, but if DAESH annoys them, we should use that.

As who? Western states? You’d figure they’d reject western-style bureaucracy as un-Islamic? They seemed to have embraced it.

I know this is apples and oranges largely, but I still think there might be enough in common to even say it:

I’ve been told by a number of islamic women that they think FGM is liberating and that it’s the only healthy way to live, and that it gives them power and respect.

So… I don’t really want to dismiss their opinion, but I can’t understand how having one’s clitoris cut off and sometimes the vaginal opening reduced to a pinhole can possibly be positive in any way.

I mean, we all know that FGM is specifically designed and to take any sexually derived enjoyment and power away from women. Yet they’re taught that having their genitals mutilated forever without consent is really “good for them” and it’s drilled in culturally so hard that contradicting their view with historical evidence amounts to religious blasphemy, and makes everyone in that culture ignore you, or hate you.

Now, I really honestly don’t mean to derail, and I honestly think there’s a relevant thread here, but if not, I’d like it explained, and drop this angle.


My former boss sure wasn’t. (Actually she wore a scarf.) I never talked to her about it, but my impression was that it was part of her identity, like it or not, and why should she give it up?


I’m not sure about that, statecraft isn’t a purely Western notion. In China, going back several centuries IIRC, civil service was seen as an elite profession, and preparation for the civil service exam was very grueling. I know that China is far removed from IS, but it’s also far removed from Europe. I suspect that the Ottoman Empire had quite a bureaucracy but I couldn’t guess as to whether it was homegrown, or influenced by their neighbors to the West – or to the East. FOr that matter I think scribes were held in high esteem in Ancient Egypt.

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I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two, though, so yeah, apples and oranges. But I see you’re point… to an extent.

Regarding FGM, something I do abhor, you should check out Heather Sharkey’s book on the Sudan and colonialism. I think she deals with this issue in a sensitive way that explains much without approving of the practice - it does get us far down the road of understanding a woman might say this - the fight against colonialism was empowering, embracing practices which are marked as distinctly one’s own in the face of colonialism, at least:

As for veiling, there is also the famous Fanon essay about the wearing of the veil in the midst of the Algerian resistance to French colonialism. I wish it were online, because it’s excellent and again places this culture practice within colonialism. But here is a thought piece on Fanon’s article which probably is far more eloquent about it than I could ever be:

this line seem particularly pertinent:

Fanon inverts the veil and shows how by fighting the French, women also asserted their place in Algerian society, and by virtue of struggle struck at both the mystifications of the colonial project and patriarchy in their own country.

Actually, I just watched Argo last week, and I was struck by the images of women in the chador, with guns throughout the movie. It was a powerful image that speaks volumes, back at the Americans, but also to the men of the revolution - “we are just as important as you are. It’s our revolution too.” And of course, Iran has a relatively high level of educational attainment, after a century of being kept out of education (under all governments - catch up began after the death of the Grand Ayatollah Khomeni. It’s not without restrictions, but women do well in education in Iran - a country with the veil and a high level of patriarchal structure:

Not saying that Iran is a paradise, but it’s a country which values education and women are getting an education and active in public life.

ETA: Also, another book, Samira Haj’s Reconfiguring Islamic Tradition is a good book on how lots of the things being embraced within some reactionary communties are actually entirely modern. She has a great chapter on Wahhab, who was the founder of the tradition followed by the House of Saud. I guess there is also Laura Deeb’s great book, Enchanted Modern, which looks as Lebanon and Hezbollah, specifically from the point of view of women.


We have a very specific kind of state craft now, and I think a high level of bureaucracy aimed at structuring the individual into a modern citizen/subject is a pretty modern invention. I’d argue older bureaucracy are of a different kind - but maybe the oldest parallel might be the Chinese, but even then, not quite the same. I think (from all the stuff I read about the Ottoman empire, keeping in mind the Islamic world was a minor field and one of the profs was an Ottoman historian :wink: ) they had a very specific system, built up over a couple of centuries, that successfully kept peace in the empire for a long time. It was of it’s time, and did draw from the past and other empires, but it was uniquely Ottoman. In the mid-19th century, you do have westernized reforms. But the empire wouldn’t have kept these sorts of records that you’re seeing here. Those (as well as the structures of al-Qaeda) strike me as far more modern, precisely because they are so interested in such a high level of control over the individual subject, as opposed to the Ottomans who wanted control to come from specific communities, especially religious communities.

I could be wrong, but that’s how I view it. Just because someone gestures to the past doesn’t mean they are actually reconstructing it. A good example is the Saudis, who have built an incredibly modern city in Mecca and in doing so, destroyed much of the (Ottoman) past.

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Interesting aspect there, about using the veil as a symbol of the culture outside of just religious oppression and the desire of men to cover women up rather than become mature enough to interact with the other half of the species without always blaming women for their own behavior.

I have a bunch of reading on my plate now. Thanks!

Sorry about bringing FGM into it, because yes, while the veil and FGM are polar opposites in terms of physical harm, I still think that a lot of women’s mentality on those two are a product of… Stockholm Syndrome?

And there’s still the point that, if you want to wear the veil, that’s no big deal, and entirely personal. But a pack of savages executing military coups and working toward world domination saying “all women must wear the veil and not look like men or infidels, or we’ll kill them” isn’t really liberation or freedom. It’s oppression. On that we can agree.

So I guess… I have mixed feelings? On the one hand, everyone should wear what they want, it’s absurd to object to the act of wearing the veil itself. I’m more concerned about the coercive aspects and the fact that it’s often enforced by specifically men for lazy, sexist, misogynistic reasons excused by religious purity law. And in the process I know I’m close to mansplaining, which is not what I want. I want women to do what they do for their own reasons, not because some religious/military authority threatens them with hell/death if they don’t obey.

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But you are talking about a large number of women. I don’t think that’s really fair either. I think it’s fair to say that yes, these can be used as tools of oppression, but they aren’t necessarily tools of oppression.

Yes, but we need to get off this idea that ISIS represents Islam, which is where the danger lies.

Women shouldn’t be coerced by anything, but it’s a fact of life in a million different ways, not just in this case. Women are coerced here, in this country, too. It’s often not backed by violence, but then again… look at the Duggars and their organization. Of course we wouldn’t assume that all Christians are like this, but there they are.

It’s complicated. But I think we can get to a better place then where we’re at with this issue (not you and me, but as a country, I mean).


I could diatribe on how both ISIS and the Christian dominionists like the Quiverfulls and the WBC have a lot in common, and list chapter and verse showing how according to their own respective scriptures they are actually the best practitioners of their religions and all the moderates that don’t cause trouble are actually apostates and hellbound according to their holy books. But I’ll leave that for another day.


That’s likely for the best! :slight_smile:

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So, what you’re saying is… what exactly? Again, it’s not the actual Fanon piece, but you should give it read anyhow:

Sorry, just in a glib / cynical mood.

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There is no such thing as “western style bureaucracy”. Bureaucracy is necessary to establish rule over large populations. The Ottoman Empires bureaucracy e.g was as byzantine (pun intended) as todays “western” systems.