Posted by “Nada” on the facebook Support page!

A worthy rant by Naseem Tarawneh on the silence that pervades our society of shame. Please note however, that the Gharaybeh mentioned in this post is not the same person from the Muslim Brotherhood, but an activist.

“After young female University of Jordan students create a video about the sexual harassment they experience on campus (and on the street), and the subsequent backlash of the video that saw people essentially calling these girls whores (a label applied, by the way, by both sexes), to say nothing of their professor losing her deanship…we have Dr. Qursheh orchestrating a protest/sit-in to protest the video under the (delusional) banner that such videos or forms of expression only “damage the reputation” of the university and of Jordan. Enter the Muslim Brotherhood…Gharaybeh…arguing that Qursheh is only encouraging sexual harassment and affecting the reputation of the university.

Putting aside that two male Islamists are arguing about sexual harassment in Jordan (something that is, in itself, indicative of a larger problem with who’s running the narrative) – Qursheh is, frankly speaking, an idiot.

I don’t use this word to refer to people I disagree with ideologically, but sometimes, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck, and the wisest thing one can do is to call it out. The fact that this is 2012, and that an adult who preaches Islamic values, and is also a public figure who has worked for the state, is organizing something that aims to shame young girls in to silence is, frankly speaking, idiotic. It is is indicative of something I’ve argued before: what is really killing women in Jordan (be it harassment, rape, incest, or honor crimes) is silence. Silence from men, and a culture of silence created by men that is promoted and encouraged by Islamists such as Qursheh who are more than eager to thrust an Islamic stamp of approval on such silence. And this is to say nothing of the silence of women who are shamed in to it, and are not prepared to put their foot down…yet.

It baffles me. It absolutely baffles me. As a Jordanian, as a Muslim, as a brother, as a husband, it really does baffle me how religion is wielded as a weapon of silence and shame, which is simply another form of oppression. And what is more baffling is the amount of support someone like Qursheh has amongst a constituency of people (both men and women) who are more than happy to have their social and cultural conservative values empowered by religion and are unable to tell the difference.

This is obviously part of a much larger societal problem, but this silence needs to be broken. Men need to speak up, women need to speak up, Muslims, and yes, Islamists also, need to speak up and say this isn’t part of the religion. Breaking this threshold of silence is the only way (in my opinion) to shift the level of awareness within society. We have to desperately abandon this whole concept of “don’t talk about it because it will embarrass us”. What is embarrassing is that men are socialized to apply an absurd moral code on their daughters and sisters, but then feel they have the freedom to harass the daughters and sisters of other men. What is embarrassing is that men are socialized to think and act as if they have some sort of ownership over women. What is embarrassing is that someone would use their own religion as a tool to shame young girls in to silence, and to subsequently provide religious cover for men to continue along the same path. What is embarrassing is this silence.

I think the time for a radical social shift has come. Allowing this idiocy to run amok because people are too ashamed to stand up and call a duck a damn duck means that figures such as Qursheh and even more hardliners are left to run the show. It’s like being too embarrassed to admit you have a termite problem in your house, and sitting their in silence while it slowly collapses on you.

Apologies for the long rant.”

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