gender terrorism



Western feminists are NOT silent

Francesca Tronetti, MA Anthropology, Women & Gender Studies

Doctoral Student in Philosophy and Religion at CIIS

While flipping through YouTube videos I came across a segment of the Michael Coren show from May 25th of this year in which he and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch discussed Amina Filali, a young Moroccan girl who committed suicide after being married to her rapist for a year.  The marriage was ordered by a judge, a practice which is common in Islamic states if the woman is not killed to redeem the family’s honor.

During the show Spencer said, “We’re absolutely immured to this, the human rights organizations don’t care, the Western feminists don’t care… The Western feminists are really incredible about it.  You see all these feminists who are very quick to criticize Christianity, criticize Judeo-Christian values, criticize the West, the United States and Canada and Europe for its alleged mistreatment of women.  But when you come to Islam then they suddenly start making excuses and they say women who are wearing burqas and are essentially slaves of their husbands, well their happy and it’s ok.  And it seems clear that the idea of multi-culturalism trumps feminism.”  Now I had several problems with this segment besides the fact that it only involved two white Western men discussing women in the Middle East.

The idea that Western feminists are passive and forgiving on this issue, that we make excuses and allow women to be subjugated because of multicultural indoctrination, i.e. liberalism, is ludicrous.  No woman who heard that story would say to themselves, ‘well it’s their culture so it’s alright.’  In Western culture we had similar practices; though these practices were typically not part of the legal code, instead they were just how things worked.  Western feminists, even non-feminists are outraged when women and girls are treated in this manner, not even as second-class citizens but as third-class creatures.  I suppose since women did not gather together and march through Washington on national television that Mr.’s Spencer and Coren assume we do not care.

Feminists, male and female do care; but we pick which battles we will make public and which we will keep in secret.  Feminists work behind the scenes in global groups to support women.  Yes, there are well publicized letter writing campaigns to free rape victims from being sentenced to prison for adultery.  But, there is more subtle support such as fundraisers to donate money and resources to women’s groups in Islamic states to create schools, legal defense funds, clinics, and a network of safe houses and embassy staff to help women leave these countries.  Women in Great Britain pushed for the creation of the Forced Marriage Unit, a police unit which intercedes on behalf of women and girls who are being forced into marriage to men outside the country, or are already in an abusive forced marriage and protects their rights as human beings.  Feminist groups in the United States and Canada work within their local communities to make police and social services aware of the plight of women and girls in forced marriages and help to keep girls in the West from being shipped off the marry strange men in Islamic countries where they will have no rights in court, no protection from abuse, and no support system to help them.

Consider the case of Bibi Aisha, an Afghan girl of 12 who was married to a Taliban fighter to settle her father’s debts.  After she attempted to flee his family’s home she was taken before the courts and for dishonoring her husband he was allowed to cut off her nose and ears, while his brother held her down and leave her to die.  The members of her husband’s family would not help her, her own uncle turned her away. Finally a member of her family took her to a non-Afghan hospital to save her life.  A hospital run by a U.S. Army medical unit.  The doctors and nurses there saved her life, taught her some English and with the help of the organization Women for Afghan Women Bibi came to the United States, underwent surgery to have a permanent prosthetic nose and became a symbol of the treatment of women in Afghanistan.  Feminists who support groups like Women for Afghan Women and Women Living Under Muslim Law are supporting protections for women in Islamic states.

It simply is not feasible for Western feminists to try to force a change in the status of women in Islamic states.  These are not states in which majority rule will decide law.  These are states in which a specific interpretation of the Holy Quran has given men complete and total power over women.  A state in which a man can rape a woman or young girl without repercussions, where a father can sell a daughter to settle his debts, and where a feud between families does not have to be settle by the men fighting but instead by one group of men raping a woman from the other group.  Those in power believe they are right in the eyes of God and no amount of public outcry or petitions by Western women will change their beliefs.

But do no mistake the quietness of feminists for acceptance.  We are working to change things for women in Islamic states.  We provide money and support for schools for girls, for lawyers to help child brides out of arranged marriages and when specific cases of barbaric treatment of women hit the news we have even forced the king of Saudi   Arabia to pardon a rape victim.  We publish the biographies of women who have escaped these countries, we make it known how the women are treated in these countries, and we make it known to our own leaders what we will and will not tolerate when it comes to dealing with the countries.  But mostly, we have Muslim and Middle Eastern women take the lead on the work in their countries, because they understand better than any well read anthropologist what the true situation is and how to combat it.  Western feminists work from behind the scenes, not pushing our immediate agenda for total equality overnight because we know that is not going to happen.  Instead, we support our feminist brothers and sisters around the world in a variety of ways, and work to change the lives of Muslim women in our own countries because we know our laws and we know which buttons to push with our governments.

Michael Coren clip: “Michael Coren & Robert Spencer On The Suicide Of Amina Filali” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb1FWUPCIgI


I have tried to maintain an “arms length” between my secular writings and opinions and those of the Religion I am a major part of.  That is why my wordpress and eblogger accounts do not have my name but nicknames.  Although my secular writings do not violate the IRS standards, I have been cyber-stalked for at least four years by an Attorney named Daniel Vincelette who apparently believes that I am not entitled to free speech and operates under the delusion that the Constitution does not apply to either myself or him.

Daniel Vincelette is a religious bigot representing a Town that has an open history of bigotry towards minority religions.  He makes his living attacking religious groups and non-profits engaged in charitable works.  He is the worst sort of lawyer, the type who argues directly against the law in the apparent hope no one will check his legal citations.  He has the ethical standards of a cobra and in fighting our legally mandated property tax exemption he has singled me out as his target.  None of the other priestesses in our tradition have be subjected to his “investigations” despite that fact we all have equal standing in our tradition because we are horizontally organized.  He tracked down this blog, my other, very personal “Telling My Stories” blog and the personal webpage I have maintained as a sub-domain on our primary domain for over a decade, which I own personally and donated the space to our Religion.  He scours every word I write on the internet hoping to find anything to discredit me personally and has introduced parts of all my blogs and personal page as “evidence” on several occasions.  This has had a very chilling effect on what I write, how much of my own stories I am willing to tell because this unethical individual has made this very very personal.

He doesn’t have a case and he knows it so he has attempted to make this about me rather than the facts of the case in current litigation.  He just keeps throwing mud hoping against hope no one will notice that none of it is relevant and something might stick by way of continued character assassination.  Apparently he learned this from TGs online.  He has repeatedly attacked my clergy credentials despite having multiple copies of my certificate of recognition by the State of Ohio.  He also totally ignores the fact that under New York Law, my “credentials” are solid automatically by virtue of being the founder of our movement!  He continually questions my educational background and constantly tries to hold us to “Christian” standards in our 501(c)(3) standings knowing that we meet every standard and for a year this current case has been in litigation, he and his associates have stonewalled giving any actual reason for our continued denial of what is mandated by New York law.  But during the course of this stonewalling they have let slip the actual reasons, pure mysogyny and bigotry and have done so on the record.

All of this has a transgender element to it.

New York Tax Law, Article 4, Title 2 states the following:

§  420-a.  Nonprofit  organizations;  mandatory  class.  1.  (a)  Real
property owned by a corporation or association  organized  or conducted exclusively  for  religious, charitable, hospital, educational, or moral or mental improvement of men, women or children purposes, or for two  or more  such purposes, and used exclusively for carrying out thereupon one or more of such purposes either by the owning corporation or association or by another such corporation or association  as  hereinafter  provided shall be exempt from taxation as provided in this section.

Please note this is inclusive rather than exclusive on only one of the mandated exempt classes.  Very specifically so as in “or two or more such purposes” but Vincelette maintains that our housing women in need somehow violates the “exclusive religious use”.  For the first three years this has been the basis of his “legal opinions” which clearly show as evidence he is aware of the charitable housing use of the property for years prior to our incorporation and the signing over of the property to the Religious corporation!  Apparently he thinks no one knows he’s lying about the law or can look it up.  He is obsessed with the fact that we housed newly transitioned transsexual women in need under the apparent delusion that this is not charitable work.  He actually provided proof we were doing this charitable work from the day we first acquired the property to “prove” we are not engaged in exclusive religious activities!

In 2009 the Town changed tactics and claims, once again contrary to the law, that we failed to apply for building permits for work that did not require them and failed to apply for a “change of use”, the requirement that was not part of the building and zoning code of our Town.  This was accompanied with the statement that a 130+ plus year old building would be required to be brought up “fully to code” which, given the nature of the code and the construction of the buildings, nothing more than an open attempt to place us in a position that a sound historic building be condemned and thus denying us use and forcing us to move.  This just happens to be in direct violation of a Federal law, The Religious Land Use and Institutionalize Persons Act of 2000 which was enacted to prevent exactly this sort of abuse by municipalities of zoning codes.

So, we have two equally illegal reasons given for denial of exemption, both openly contrary to law.  In court last fall Vincelette’s associate handling the case at the time denied, on the record, the existence of the Town Assessor’s memo regarding the zoning issues despite it having been introduced twice into the record before that.  She then revealed the actual reason, again on the record.  Mind you, she was so sharp she did not know which county Supreme Court she was in or which Town she was representing at the opening of this hearing.

During the Dec. 2 hearing, Pulver (the Judge hearing the case)asked Smith (acting attorney for the Town of Catskill) for the precise arrears amount owed by the Maetreum, to which she responded that “the issue we are looking at isn’t so much the dollars and cents of exactly what the taxes are, which I don’t have off the top of my head, the issue is opening the floodgates. Once you relax the requirements, and if you stretch them too far, then you’re going to have just a multitude of organizations who under the spirit of the law go —”

At that moment, the official court transcript shows Smith was interrupted by Pulver, who again asked how much the amount of taxes owed was. Smith said she didn’t know and did not further qualify her statement.

The issue was “opening the floodgates”….in other words recognition of a Federally registered 501 (c)(3), New York Religious Law incorporated minority religion.  The other word for this is religious bigotry towards a non Judeo-Christian religious organization to send a message to any other minority religious group they would fight against their rights to the death if they tried to claim their rights under law.  Interestingly enough, this actually would qualify as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act.  It also violates at least three other Federal criminal laws directly.

Any doubt this is what is going on was totally erased when I had an informal discussion with the new “Code Enforcement” officer for the Town who told me, in no uncertain terms in front of two witnesses, one a reporter, that we were targeted because we didn’t “keep our heads down” as a group “that was different”.  He then went on to explain that he would find something, anything and we had “a big yellow flashing light over our property” for having the nerve to seek justice under the law.

Print this out Vincelette and place it on the record.  At this point we have an additional iron clad Federal Religious Discrimination suit against you and Catskill and we will pursue it if need be.

Vincelette’s newest strategy is to “outspend” us knowing we have limited funds because he is well aware he has no defense.  You can help us by paypaling a donation, fully tax deductible, to centralhouse@gallae.com

In the recent past Catskill allowed a Pagan bookstore owned by a lesbian couple to be driven out by local Baptists and a minority Christian group that had owned property directly across the street from us to be driven out as well with false accusations of child labour law violations.  This spring they rolled over and allowed Wal-Mart to bully them into millions in property tax exemptions in addition to the sweetheart deal they got in the first place.  Smith spoke the truth.  This has nothing to do with the money (except to us) and everything to do with an agenda of open bigotry.

Shame on you Catskill, the rest of us should boycott everything inside your borders.  And Daniel, in the ancient world we Cybelines were known not only as physical and spiritual healers and seers but also for the ability to curse.  We are not Christians, remember?  I’ve danced with the Witch of the Catskills who protects these mountains from those like yourself….fair warning.  Look up the legend.

footnote: a little preliminary number crunching would indicate our annual exemption would average each household in Catskill about 1.36 dollars a year, the legal bill for denying us the exemption stands currently at around 4.64 dollars per average and the Wal-Mart give away raised property taxes an average of 356 dollars per year. We will gladly provide every property owner in the Town of Catskill a quality cup of coffee at our Cafe if they feel cheated.  From public figures given at Town Meetings, the entire budget for fighting challenges such as ours has been spent to defeat our exemption this year.


By way of introduction I will reveal that Maura Hennessey, Irish lesbian activist extraordinaire, has visited our home in the Catskills and along with a board member of HRC we shared an evening of spirited and delightful debate on feminism past and present. Her “friend of operative history” is a mutual one.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was an epoch of foolishness; it was an age of wisdom…”

In short, it was the 1970’s. A brash, angry and outspoken woman named Greer was caught up in and in fact one of the public faces of the feminist movement in the British Commonwealth. In Boston, a young graduate student was working upon expanding the ideas of her doctoral supervisor and rumoured lover. Her work on gender and feminism would be perceived as largely theoretically sound to a point, making a sudden leap to come to a conclusion nearly inconsistent with the first few chapters of her work. Her name was Janice Raymond.

“To understand what came after, it is important to know what came before.” In this case, it is important to understand the milieu in which both of these women arrived at the conclusions that are forever associated with their names.

Feminism arrived with not so much a trumpet blare as a cannon blast. Partly it was fueled by the availability of contraception, which meant that “good girls could…and did” and partly it was a reaction to the sociological experiment known as the Eisenhower years . The sexual revolution was on and with it a rapid and vertigo-inducing shift in ideas about women, women’s roles, women’s rights.

Donna Reed and June Cleaver were replaced by Angela Davis and Bernadine Dohrn(or Bernadette Devlin, if you were overseas). The stereotyped conservative, deferential housewife was exposed as a mockery of women, contrived to encourage a TV-opiated television audience to accept and to accomodate the dominance of men

Roles and stereotypes were ripped away, derided and condemned as what they were, sociological chains wrapped around women to keep them in their places serving comfortable a patriarchy deluding itself that it was exercising noblesse oblige in caring for their servant-wives and servant-daughters.

Into this age, this milieu and this sociological revolution came the higher awareness of transsexuality. The public began to hear of cases more frequently. These women now in the public eye were conventional in speech, in behaviour, in belief and in behaviour with perhaps the exception of Dr Richards. They were by and large heterosexual and socially conservative. Much as women of the fifties were shaped by the social constructs of men, the presentation of trans-women of the 1970’s was as well. Donna Reed and June Cleaver had returned, only now they emerged from the operating room. The culprit was the standards used for operative selection, permitting only women attracted to macho men, demure, feminine, attracted to frilly things. Man had become God and created woman in the image of his own fantasies and his own misogynistic desire for dominance. Man wrote the criteria for the surgery, insuring only women from the fifties languishing in the 1970’s could achieve their goal of mind-body agreement.

New women were coming into existence, it seemed, garnering public attention, and these new women were caracitures of the goals of women radicals, the antithesis of the feminist desire to shatter glass ceilings and glass walls, to end the control of men over their reproduction and thier bodies. The new women would in the end use conservative ideals, conservative life choices, and conventionalism to survive “in a man’s world.” By and large they are not to be blamed, this was the price of surgery and men had written the rules.

To women like Raymond and Greer, it seemed as if the Stepford Wives had arrived upon the scene. Worse, they seemed to have equal media access to send a decidedly anti-feminist image in nations where women were struggling for independence of men and equality to men. The anger and rage towards the men who had created post surgical Mrs. Cleavers spilled out in poisonous draughts upon their creations, whether or not they were truly ‘caricatures.’ An entire class of women was condemned in a fashion just as separatist, just as elitist and just as noxious as that of the men who Greer and Raymond were declaring their separate identity from.

Raymond and Greer condemned an entire group when their anger was at the man made social image of women carefully selected and crafted by male medical professionals. Over time, women freed themselves of the expectations of men and trans-women found medical professionals who would do likewise…

But ….the Stepford Wives, the ‘Desparate Corrected Housewives,’ these are still with us. Anti-feminist, conservative, demanding purity in their ranks, we know them by various names. Embracing a conventionality of the 1950’s, defining their group as heterosexual, frequently anti Lesbian their socialisation as women seems to be out of 1950’s and early 1960’s television; one wonders if they would appear in black and white or in colour were you to meet them.

I remark upon the socialisation because for the past 40 years women have had, unless living in a polygamous Mormon compound or a fundamentalist enclave, broader views of roles women can play, women’s sexuality and even women’s spirituality than is to be found amongst the heirs of Greer’s and Raymond’s targets. Worse, they choose, out of some desire for separatism and ‘legitamacy’ the lives, beliefs and roles of the trans-women of decades ago who had no choice but to be what their masters in the medical establishment meant them to be or they would never see the inside of an operating room.

They condemn Lesbians, they condemn radicalism, they condemn women’s spirituality which even Girl Scouts are exposed to and either overtly or covertly participate in. Though overinclusive, there remains a truth to Greer’s condemnation, though she points it in the wrong place.

There are caricatures, but in limited numbers, clinging to conventionality, defining others out of their cohort, roundly condemning women’s radicalism of spirit, spirituality, politics or sexuality. They are not amongst us, for they desire separateness of identity while claiming at the same time the title of women. While a conventionalised and more reactionary Greer points in one direction, the true anti-feminist caricature is to be found in the opposite.

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