Why won't the sisters speak out over Sharia courts?

There’s no slight too inadvertent, no insult too small that today’s self-appointed feminist warriors won’t take to their keyboards or the streets to protest about.

Perhaps you’ve been caught ‘misgendering trans women’ (whatever that means), as happened to an unsuspecting Germaine Greer.

Or dared accept responsibility for your own actions, as ex-Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde did when she admitted being partly to blame for a violent sexual assault she suffered at the age of 21.

Not standing up for the sisterhood: There’s no slight too inadvertent, that today’s self-appointed feminist warriors won’t protest - but not the big issues, such as Sharia courts, writes SARAH VINE (stock image)

Not standing up for the sisterhood: There’s no slight too inadvertent, that today’s self-appointed feminist warriors won’t protest - but not the big issues, such as Sharia courts, writes SARAH VINE (stock image)

It is virtually impossible to do or say anything vaguely challenging these days without incurring the wrath of some mauve-haired maven spouting incomprehensible, politically correct dogma.

Today’s young feminists brook no challenges or dissent, relentlessly patrolling the internet in search of insubordination, seeking out anyone who fails to pay lip-service to their cause or demonstrate sufficient sisterly solidarity.

And so we had poor Professor Tim Hunt, the Nobel prize-winning biochemist, hounded from his post at UCL because of some ill-judged jokes about lady scientists crying in the lab. And Alexander Carter-Silk, the so-called ‘leering lawyer’, who will spend the rest of his life regretting a passing compliment paid to a junior colleague called Charlotte Proudman about her picture on the networking website LinkedIn.

The most important thing to the feminist warriors is making sure everyone shares your outrage and that any dissenters are brutally punished in the public domain.

That’s why the rather ugly term feminazi is so appropriate: it drives home the paradoxical intolerance of their world-view.

Yet here’s a curiosity. For all their self-righteous fury, these guardians of feminism never seem to go after anyone really significant and challenging.

Anything really difficult or serious tends to find their attention mysteriously otherwise engaged.

Earlier this week, a report came out that painted a disturbing picture of the way sharia (or Islamic) courts operate in this country.

Compiled by a Dutch academic who, uniquely, was allowed to sit in on two sharia courts in London and Birmingham, the study concluded that not only do these courts flout the law, they are, at their core, fundamentally misogynistic.

‘In a toxic mix of religious fundamentalism, culture and tight-knit communities, sharia councils uphold the theory and practice of the stronghold men have over women’, concluded author Machteld Zee. In one case, a sharia court refused to intervene even though a woman said her husband was denying her a divorce unless she gave him £10,000. In another, a woman who claimed her husband was abusive was told by a laughing judge: ‘Why did you marry such a person?’

Now here, you might have thought, was something worthy of real outrage. How dare these men set themselves above the law; and how dare they treat women seeking help with such callous contempt?

Not only are these courts run by men; the victims of their oppression are Muslim women, a notoriously vulnerable group.

So did the fearless keyboard feminists sally out, flinging recriminations from their screens like stones from David’s sling?

Not a bit of it. No Twitter storm, not even a light breeze, in fact.

Perhaps it’s simply that they agree with the likes of Shaykh Haitham Al-Haddad, a hard-line Saudi Arabian-born scholar who sits on the Islamic Sharia Council of Great Britain and who believes that ‘a man should not be questioned about why he hit his wife’.

Or perhaps they’re so paralysed by political correctness and notions of respect for ‘multicultural practices’ that they turn a blind eye to something anyone who really cares about women’s rights should be screaming about from the rooftops.

Either way, to paraphrase that fellow at Leytonstone the other day: If you fail to take a stand against sharia, you ain’t no feminist, love.

Apparently the man who allegedly attempted to behead a passer-by at Leytonstone Tube station on Saturday night, is not an Islamist terrorist, he’s mentally ill. What’s the difference?

A celebrity? Get me out!

Vicky Pattison, the middle-class, university educated daughter of a charity boss and civil servant, was crowned queen of ITV’s celebrity jungle on Sunday night. 

To her poor parents it must have seemed a positive step up from some of her other ‘achievements’, which include having sex on live TV for the MTV show Geordie Shore. What’s even more outrageous, however, is the fact that this sordid episode was, according to my Mail, detailed in her autobiography, published last year.

Leaving aside the fact that the woman is only 28, it used to be the case that to publish an autobiography you had to have actually been or done something.

Winner! Reality TV star Vicky Pattinson has taken yet another crown - the one in the I'm a Celeb jungle

Winner! Reality TV star Vicky Pattinson has taken yet another crown - the one in the I'm a Celeb jungle

I don’t know, won a war; been leader of a Western democracy; invented the internet. Now, it seems, simply putting it about a bit on the telly is enough. I don’t know who I pity more: her, or the rest of humanity.

I watched a Channel 5 show called Benefit Beauty Queens — about mothers who use their benefits to enter their little girls in beauty pageants — and I’m still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor.

One of them, a single mother of five with another on the way (father not specified), receives just over £2,000 in tax-free benefits a month, the equivalent of £24,000 a year, net.

The starting salary for a junior doctor is £22,636 — before tax.

Talk about a society with twisted priorities.

An idiot in ermine

Baroness Butler-Sloss, in her infinite wisdom, has decreed that religion — and Christianity in particular — is an entirely outdated concept that should no longer be taught in schools.

What nonsense. If anything, Christianity is the perfect religion for the times we live in because it preaches tolerance and forgiveness above all else. Its churches may not be packed with genuflecting evangelists, but anyone who doubts the wider good it does and the message of hope it represents is a fool.

Or a member of the House of Lords. 

Dame Helen's a real twerk 

Attitude: Helen Mirren - a true rebel queen

Attitude: Helen Mirren - a true rebel queen

First a foul-mouthed outburst on the subject of playing the Queen, then this crude gesture to photographers. Is Dame Helen Mirren  turning into twerking pop star Miley Cyrus? At 70, she certainly rivals Miley for attention-seeking obnoxiousness.

 In my experience, the main reason women have such a bad sense of direction is because there’s usually a man barking orders in her ear.

I’ve been saving up to renovate our bathroom in the New Year; but after this week’s Turner Prize — won by a collective called Assemble for their work restoring a run-down estate in Toxteth — I think I might just apply for an Arts Council grant instead.

The picture on the front of yesterday — and today’s — Mail, of a Keswick householder doggedly pushing sludge around her hallway is the very image of resilience. 

I have 1,000 times more respect for her than any of the politicians squabbling over who’s to blame for this tragedy.

 England’s chief medical officer says women need time off work to deal with menopausal symptoms. I’ve a better idea — wire us up to the National Grid. Some days I feel like I generate enough excess heat to power the Christmas lights on Oxford Street.

Bono's song for Cumbria? 

Since storm Desmond battered the inhabitants of Carlisle and Cockermouth on Saturday, Britain has its own army of refugees, ordinary people who suddenly find themselves facing a very bleak Christmas.

So when can we expect Bono to pen a Song For Cumbria? And how long until Bob Geldof offers flooded-out families emergency accommodation at his home?

Which reminds me: How is Saint Bob getting on with finding Syrian refugees to share his mansion?

The chattering classes are choking on their chia seeds because Tyson Fury’s up for a BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. The new world heavyweight champion espouses some fairly colourful views, but he’s the son of Irish travellers who makes a living hitting people. What do they expect, Nick Clegg in a frock?

 ‘You hit like a vegetarian,’ Arnold Schwarzenegger once told a hapless adversary — and yet now he, too, is urging people to give up meat. Talk about eating your words.

I’ve had the misfortune of meeting Tamara Mellon, ex-CEO of Jimmy Choo, who recently declared bankruptcy on her eponymous ready-to-wear brand. All I can say is it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.


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