Islamophobic pseudo-feminism

This video is about Islamophobia in the USA.

By Vassilis Saroglou, Bahija Lamkaddem, Matthieu Van Pachterbeke, and Coralie Buxant, of the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium, department of psychology:

The specific values to which majority members ascribe may play an important role in determining their attitudes relative to the Islamic veil. Indeed, previous research suggests that differences in values priorities are indicative of willingness for contact with the outgroup (Israel: Sagiv & Schwartz, 1995), the majority’s perception of Islam as not favoring terror (Belgium: Saroglou & Galand, 2004), and attitudes towards immigration policies and immigrants (nine European countries: Leong & Ward, 2006), especially those of a different race/ethnic group and from poorer European and non-European countries (15 European countries: Schwartz, 2006). Overall, these studies converge on the idea that less tolerance of outgroups in general and immigrants in particular is typical of people who attribute (a) high importance to conservation values, especially security, but also conformity, (b) high importance to self-enhancement values (power and achievement), and (c) low importance to the values of universalism-egalitarianism.

If we assume then that the anti-veil attitudes of majority members reflect a general ethnic and anti-immigrants prejudice, we should expect Islamic veil and subtle prejudice 6 these attitudes to relate positively to conservation and self-enhancement values, and negatively to universalism. These expectations fit with what we can call “an anti-immigrant subtle prejudice/racism hypothesis”.

The above predictions are derived from previous evidence from social psychological research. However, a number of different predictions can be derived from arguments against the veil that are present in the social debate in Western European societies.

Opponents of the veil often advance moral arguments to reject the wearing of the Islamic veil. Specifically, they argue for the need to respect and protect gender equality and the need to guarantee young girls’ and women’s autonomy in the face of Muslim cultural, religious, and family pressure.

From this perspective, we would expect negative attitudes toward the Islamic veil to correlate positively with the values of self-direction (valuing independent thought and action-choosing) and self-transcendence values, especially universalism, a value that includes universal prosocial ideals such as social justice, equality, and protection of the welfare of all people. We call this hypothesis the “moral defense of autonomy and equality hypothesis”. …

Moreover, results did not confirm what we have called a “moral defense of autonomy and equality hypothesis”: anti-veil attitudes were unrelated to high importance placed to the value of autonomy as an important principle in life and were negatively related to the value of universalism.

Indeed, people attacking Islamic women for wearing headscarves are very often against equality for women in general. This rightist kind of people often calls feminists “femi-nazis”. Then, when it is about Islam, they suddenly, hypocritically, discover women’s equality values, becoming pseudo-feminists.

A Suitable Enemy, book on racism and Islamophobia, by Liz Fekete; here.

Greece: Police, far-right thugs attack Muslim immigrants: here.

Facebook has done away with a Muslim-bashing group that had been set up at the popular social networking service: here.

Katha Pollitt doesn’t like face-veiling either but how does criminalizing Muslim women’s clothing make them more equal? Here.

5 thoughts on “Islamophobic pseudo-feminism

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