Over the past days and weeks I have posted some stories about the progress or rather regress of gender equality in the Islamic world today, particularly the one entry related to Salwa al-Mutairi’s modest proposal. While Islamphobes like to jump on such stories as providing proof of the backward nature of Islam, it seems that these recent occurrences are indicative of the persistence of male-dominated mind-sets and phallocratic attitudes in traditional societies all around. In traditional societies, tradition is called upon to provide “justification” for “change” – case in point, the strictures of Islam are used to justify the further entrenchment of the prevailing phallocracy, by that by means of advocating the institution of sex slavery to safeguard the sanctity of male-dominated marriage or the outright encouragement of female obedience in the household, as highlighted by Al Jazeera: a ‘new Islamic club that teaches women to be “obedient wives” has just launched a branch in Indonesia. The group already branches in 18 countries across the world, including Jordan and Malaysia. Some critics say the club promotes gender inequality, while its members argue it does not, but rather endorses the duty of women. Syarina Hasibuan reports from Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, where the club has attracted hundreds of members’.
The Culture Wars have finally arrived in the Islamic world now . . . previously, such things were thought of primarily as an American or Christian phenomenon, but not anymore now. In this day and age, the organisation promoting Obedient Wives in the Islamic sphere also has a Facebook page with so far 16 people liking it (24 June 2011). The news agency Reuters reports that ‘Indonesian Gina Puspita traded a career in aircraft engineering for a mission to preach Islam and help young women build happy marriages through good sex. The French-educated mother of three hosts religious programmes through the Obedient Wives Club which is based on the belief that a fulfilling sex life is the cure for “Western-style” social problems such as divorce and abuse’.  Miss Puspita in good old-fashioned traditional way calls upon the foundation of the traditional structure of life in Indonesia and Malaysia to counter “Western-style” innovations . . .
It turns out that Miss Puspita has been at it for quite some time now. Three years ago her organisation was busy promoting polygamy. The BBC then reported that ‘the main aim of the [Global Ikhwan] club is to promote the virtues of polygamy, as well as to support those who are struggling with their choices’. Miss Puspita adds that “polygamy is a way for us to find happiness and love in this world. There are a lot of advantages for women in polygamous marriages – we learn how to control our desires and jealousies, and this brings us closer to Allah”. And in this way, Gina Puspita proves yet again that citing the name of god to prove the just nature of an unjust practice is as effective today as it has ever been in the past . . .
In fact, my above mention of the Culture Wars was not entirely gratuitous, as RT’s Alyona Minkovski points out on her eponymous show: ‘The Christian Patriarchy Movement has spawned the stay-at-home daughterhood movement. It’s a branch of evangelical Christianity that takes beliefs about men as leaders and women as homemakers to anachronistic extremes. The Young Turks’Ana Kasparian explains why a lifestyle like this could survive in America (2 December 2010)’.
 “Contemporary Sex Slavery: Salwa al-Mutairi’s Modest Proposal” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (16 June 2011). http://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/contemporary-sex-slavery-salwa-al-mutairi%e2%80%99s-modest-proposal/.
 “Global Ikhwan” Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Global-Ikhwan/187968044547977#!/pages/Global-Ikhwan/187968044547977?sk=info.
 “Preaching good sex, Obedient Wives Club spreads word” Reuters (24 June 2011). http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/features/preaching-good-sex-obedient-wives-club-spreads-word_559961.html.