Azar Nafisi: Is Islam hostile to women?

The Prophet's first wife was his boss.
  • Transcript


Question: Is Islam hostile to women?

Azar Nafisi: : You know Islam like other religions . . . If you look at any other religion . . . I mean a lot of mandates in Islam are taken from Judaism or from Christianity in the same manner that Christianity was very much influenced probably just not by Judaism, but also by Iran’s ancient religion which was Zoroastrianism. Many of the mythologies are the same. So I think that these religions that came about, you know, 2,000 years ago or 1,500 years ago would not fit our . . . our modern interpretations of women. So I try to see it within two different contexts. If I see it within the context of its times, I see that for its times Islam did give women certain powers and certain rights that they didn’t have in their own societies. People bring examples of the prophet’s first wife, ..., for whom he worked. She was a very successful businesswoman actually, and .... I mean they . . . They figures that are very courageous women. But there are aspects of the religion that have come to the modern times which I feel are reactionary. I think polygamy is reactionary. I think in looking at Saudi Arabia where a girl is raped and then punished by law for being raped, her rapist is let free, but she is punished; where men and women are beheaded because of what they call adultery; you know all of this is against not just women – against humanity, you know? So there are those differentiations and modifications that we need to make.