Sara Khan condemns Maajid Nawaz’s harassment of a stripper as “hypocrisy”

Sara Khan of We Will Inspire

Feminist and women’s rights activist, Sara Khan, has publicly condemned Maajid Nawaz after the Daily Mail revealed that he harassed a dancer at an East London strip club during the holy month of Ramadan.

Khan, who up until yesterday, was an open advocate of the Quilliam Foundation described Maajid Nawaz’s actions as an act of “hypocrisy” which represented the “objectification of women for sexual purposes”.

She posted the following statement on her Facebook yesterday:

“Misogyny, objectification and hypocrisy about women on ALL sides. Maajid Nawaz by going to a strip club is happy to pay for women’s objectification for his sexual purposes. If you believe in women’s dignity and rights, you don’t just challenge Islamists’ abuse of women; you challenge all those capitalist corporations and services which seek to make huge profits on the exploitation of women’s bodies and for sex.

“I believe in the rights and dignity of sex workers by the way who are regularly abused and denigrated. You challenge unequal pay. You challenge all the inequalities that continue to exist between men and women in our country.” Indeed, many who work for and other sites can face issues from clients (though many transactions happen safely and without incident), and throwing their hard work under the bus is a shallow stance to take.

It took Khan two days to condemn Maajid after hundreds of Muslims and non-Muslims took to Twitter, demanding she distanced herself from the Liberal Democrat PPC for Kilburn and Hampstead.

Her delay in condemning in Nawaz was perceived by many as an alleged double-standard in her treatment of Imams, Muslim community leaders and “Islamists” who she consistently condemns for being “misogynists”.

Sign up for regular updates straight to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on the latest news and updates from around the Muslim world!

As expected, Khan’s half-hearted condemnation of Maajid was followed by an extensive and elaborated condemnation of Muslim community leaders, groups and imams who she accused of paying prostitutes for sex and being against women’s rights.

She wrote in the same Facebook status which addressed Maajid:

“On the other hand I have seen how male community leaders and imams have paid for services of prostitutes, who have had secret nikkah without their first wife’s knowledge and permission, and who silence women’s voices and marginalise them in all walks of life. What I find distasteful is the pretence on ALL sides by those who claim to care about women’s rights but who have been shown to abuse and denigrate women in one shape or form. Often Muslims say “the West” oppress women by sexualising them; but so do many Muslims on a daily basis. That’s why women have to cover, that’s why women’s voices are allegedly “awrah,” that’s why women should be segregated because women ARE sexual objects and responsibility and blame therefore falls on them. We are told this is because women and women’s sexuality are responsible for the moral fabric of society. Such normalised attitudes yet so wrong.

“Yes, Islamists, Salafis, HTs also violate women’s rights. Ironically for decades they would shake in horror at the very word “feminism” and berate, condemn and abuse Muslim feminists. They still do. They regularly attack Muslim feminists in particular, to prevent misogyny and inequality ever being challenged. Now, since the Maajid Nawaz story, they claim to be speaking out for women’s rights. Really? Really? I didn’t hear them condemn their preachers and sheikhs who continue to condone stoning women to death, domestic violence, FGM and even child marriage. The hypocrisies on ALL sides have no bounds.

“One of the reasons why we set up Inspire was not only to challenge extremism but to address gender discrimination and the abuse of women’s rights and their objectification. And we will continue to do so within Muslim communities but also in wider society too. Hence we support the Everyday Sexism project, and many other women’s campaigns and groups. Which is why I oppose Maajid’s use of strip clubs, but also the deceitful “concerns” of people who have never genuinely supported women’s rights or feminism – but who are now jumping up and down pretending to claim the higher moral ground.

“Finally the very virtue that so many have attacked me and Inspire because of Maajid Nawaz – despite his personal life having nothing to do with me shows how these critics oppose supporting women’s rights. Some of these same critics a few months ago abused me and suggested I should experience physical violence for advocating that mosques should have better facilities and representation for women. If you claim to stand for women’s rights then address the abuse, inequality, misogyny, discrimination and objectification of women in not only Muslim communities but also in wider society.”

Add your comments below

Previous articleIs Pakistan an independent or a US proxy state?
Next articleLib Dem sources: “Maajid Nawaz’s political career is over”