Shorter Pamela Bone: feminists are such cowardly hypocrites for being against FGM and rape in war whenever any culture does it instead of just specially castigating Islamic societies where such brutalities occur.
I posted over at Hoyden About Town a few days ago with more background to Bone’s article about how she bravely spoiled a literary evening by insisting on asking the keynote speaker, Professor Germaine Greer, a question about Darfur that had nothing to do with literature. I also noted how real live feminists are actually supporting and financing the efforts of grassroots organisations in cultures with traditionally oppressive traditions, to reform those traditions without having to reject the entirety of their culture, exactly along the lines of how abolitionists gradually persuaded Western societies that the Biblical verses traditionally used to support slavery could be set aside as incompatible with the larger tradition and without having to reject Christianity entirely.
Persuading people that rejecting harmful cultural traditions doesn’t mean having to reject cherished positive cultural traditions is the only way that has ever and will ever work when proposing great social change. (Well, that or bloody conquest which totally eradicates the traditional cultural hierarchy, but given the civilian casualty rate and forceful property acquisition habit in bloody conquest, how is that really going to help oppressed women rather than harming them more?)
Columnists such as Bone ignore the genocides and rapes of Rwanda and the Congo as they point to Darfur as some sort of particularly Islamic excess of brutality, just as they point to genital cutting in Egypt and ignore it in Burkina Faso. There is absolutely no need to especially denounce Islam qua Islam for practises which shared by many groups and which are oppressive to women no matter what religious/tribal/cultural justification is made for them.
Note: title changed as per Helen’s suggestion in comments.