Western Feminists Snub an Iranian Heroine
Activist Darya Safai writes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights seems not to apply to women in certain Islamic countries.
Dorsa Derakhshani may be today’s bravest feminist. As the 18-year-old Iranian chess grandmaster competed at a January tournament in Gibraltar, she refused to don a hijab, in defiance of her country’s Islamic authorities. She was later removed from the national team. Her 15-year-old brother, Borna, was also booted, for facing off against an Israeli chess player.
It would be nice to report that Western feminists rallied to Ms. Derakhshani’s defense, but they didn’t. America’s liberal feminists have been busy planning a “Day Without a Woman” to protest President Trump’s alleged misogyny.
In Iran, the Interior Ministry investigates more than a million women every year for refusing to cover their heads. In 2014 several bareheaded young Iranian women posted a video of themselves dancing and singing to Pharrell Williams’s “Happy.” They were arrested for “hurting public chastity” and sentenced to a year in prison and 91 lashes. (The sentences were suspended contingent on three years of good behavior.)
Feminists and progressives have a habit of ignoring Islamism’s female victims, preferring to focus on phantom reports of Islamophobia in the West. Enormous attention has been paid to “burqa bans” in European countries. But how many readers have heard of Ms. Derakhshani?
Sweden claims it has a “feminist foreign policy,” yet during an official trip to Iran last month several female cabinet members covered their heads. How will Iranian women escape Islamism’s chokehold if European feminists submissively bow to men who refuse even to shake a woman’s hand?
Days before that state visit, an Islamic court in Iran’s Lorestan Province sentenced a man and woman to death by stoning for adultery. The Swedish feminists issued nary a peep in protest of this gross violation of human rights.
In the guise of cultural relativism, Western feminism appears to have evolved into a new kind of racism. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights seems not to apply to women in certain Islamic countries.
Yet Western moral preening never ends. Also days before the state visit, Sweden’s deputy prime minister, Isabella Lövin, publicized a picture of herself signing a decree as seven female officials stood behind her desk. It was meant as a parody of Mr. Trump’s all-male signing ceremonies. Why are Sweden’s officials so agitated by America’s mouthy president yet so taciturn about Iran’s brutal Islamists? Why should his machismo concern them more than millions of oppressed and debased women?
You won’t get answers to these questions from progressives on either side of the Atlantic. A prime example is Linda Sarsour. Born in Brooklyn to Palestinian parents, she styles herself a leader of the anti-Trump movement. In 2014 she tweeted: “I live my life under Sharia law everyday.”
Such women will never stand up for the basic rights of their counterparts in Muslim countries. Such women don’t deserve to call themselves feminists. That’s an honor that rightly belongs to the likes of Dorsa Derakhshani.
Ms. Safai, a Belgian-Iranian women’s rights activist, is founder of “Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums.”