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Introduction The Orientalist attack upon Islam emerged from Europes newfound confidence as a consequence of the Renaissance and

the Enlightenment. After centuries of intellectual obscurity, feeling of awe and inferiority to that of the Islamic civilisation, Europes intellectual revolution gave the West a new identity and basis to transform itself into a power that could challenge the Islamic civilisation. This came to fruition with the Industrial Revolution at a time when the Islamic civilisation was in a period of decline. The Industrial Revolution transformed Europe and enabled the major Western powers to challenge the agrarian based Islamic civilisation. With new methods of wealth creation Europe was able to supersede the Islamic civilisation, which could not compete with Europes industrial might. Consequently this gave the major Western powers the economic advantage and a feeling of intellectual superiority because the Industrial Revolution emerged from their intellectual revolution while the Islamic civilisation remained behind Europe in the scientific discoveries necessary for technological progress, and industrialisation. This reinforced the European conception of the Islamic civilisations inferiority and provided the major European powers the confidence to robustly challenge the Islamic civilisation both intellectually and materially; with Europes newfound wealth they were able to invest far more in education and research, developing new models for organising secondary and higher education. The Islamic civilisation simply could not compete with Europes educational innovations, investment and research, and the subsequent wave of new ideas and inventions that were emerging from Europes intellectual centres. This exacerbated the Islamic civilisations feeling of inferiority, as they were unable to respond in like to Europes ascendancy and confidence that came with it. The rapid rise of the major European powers shook the Islamic civilisation. From being the centre of learning and intellectual advancement the Islamic civilisation was no longer an intellectual powerhouse; rather Europe had become the worlds intellectual engine and model of progress. Orientalism Europes superior investment in education and research enabled the major Western powers to invest vast resources into studies and research that would challenge the Islamic ideology. The new academic discipline of Oriental Studies the academic field of study that embraces Near Eastern and Far Eastern societies and cultures, languages, peoples, history and archaeology - became the intellectual spearhead of the Wests onslaught against Islam. The field emerged during the Renaissance and established itself in Europes leading universities. Scholars studied and researched Islam, producing research papers and books on an unprecedented scale; between 1800 and 1950, an estimated 60,000 books were published about the Arab world alone (Nader 1986). This academic discipline coincided with Orientalism, a cultural movement of writers and artists that both imitated and depicted aspects of Near Eastern and Far Eastern cultures. Consequently the intellectual attack upon Islam emerged from Europes leading

universities and from its writers, poets and artists - particularly travel writers and artists who provided distorted and lurid accounts of their experiences in the Islamic world. Over time, the term Oriental Studies and Orientalism were increasingly used interchangeably, and for the purposes of this paper, we will take Orientalism to mean both the academic and cultural aspects, which is epitomised in Edward Saids pioneering work Orientalism a book that provides a powerful analysis of how the West represents the Orient and Islam. The Orient that appears in Orientalism, then, is a system of representations framed by a whole set of forces that brought the Orient into Western learning, Western consciousness, and later, Western empire. If this definition of Orientalism seems more political than not, that is simply because I think Orientalism was itself a product of certain political forces and activities. (Edward Said) It was through the medium of Orientalism that the West intellectually attacked Islam, and the Muslim woman. The primary mission of these writings was to depict the colonised Arabs/Muslims as inferior/backwards who were urgently in need of progress offered to them by the colonial superiors. It is in this political context that the veil and the Muslim harem as the world of women, emerged as a source of fascination, fantasy, and frustration for Western writers. Harems were supposed to be places where Muslim men imprisoned their wives, who had nothing to do except to beautify themselves and cater to their husbands huge sexual appetites. (Hoodfar) The Decline of the Khilafah The depiction of the Muslim woman as an oppressed victim provided the Orientalists with the framework to launch their intellectual attack. However what is of particular interest is that this attack did not emerge until the late 18th and early 19th century despite centuries of interaction between the West and the Islamic world. From the Crusades up to the late 18th century Muslims were largely depicted as barbarians, but with the decline of Islamic power, and European colonialism spreading across the Islamic world, we find that the intellectual attack upon Islam went through a fundamental change. By the 19th century the focus of the Muslim orient had changed from the male barbarian, constructed over centuries during the Crusades, to the uncivilised ignorant male whose masculinity relies on the mistreatment of women, primarily as sex slaves. In this manner images of Muslim women were used as a major building block for the construction of the orients new imagery, an imagery, which has been intrinsically linked to the hegemony of Western imperialism (Said 1978, 1993; Kabbani 1986; Alloua 1986). (Hoodfar) Therefore it was no coincidence for the West to launch their dishonest intellectual attack upon the Muslim woman as the Uthmani Khilafah declined. The publication of the earliest version of One Thousand and One Nights in the West coincided with military defeats for the Uthmani Khilafah according to the writer Rana Kabbani,

author of Europes Myths of the Orient clearly, it is quite evident that the decline of the Uthmani Khilafah and its destruction enabled the West to initiate an attack on the Muslim woman, and the very fabric of Islamic society. The attack upon the Muslim woman allowed the West to disrupt the social structures of Islamic society, influencing every aspect of societal life, from the Islamic conceptions of its political system and the participation of women within the political system, to the participation of women in economic and social life. It should be understood that the attack on the Muslim woman was not simply an isolated attack on Islam but rather it was an attack to shake the Ummahs confidence in Islam as a system of life and method of progress. The Western conception of women was intrinsically equated with Europes progress and ascendancy, while the Islamic conception of women was dishonestly equated with decline and the Dark Ages. This had a huge psychological effect upon the Ummah culminating with many intellectuals in the Islamic world adopting the Western concept of the woman, or they redefined Islams concept of the woman according to secular philosophy, justifying Islamic rules according to secular philosophy or justifying secular concepts according to deliberate and misguided misinterpretations of Islamic texts. In Egypt, during the first half of the 20th century, feminist women became an intellectual and political force; organising and participating in anti-colonial and democratic struggles, they debated the Muslims womans position in society and Islamic dress that is symbolised, and described by the West, as the veil. The veil in this context refers to the khimaar and the jilbaab, the clothing, which covers the body from the head to the ankles, with the exception of the hands and face. Therefore the dawah carrier must build the correct understanding in the Ummah about the Wests attack on the Muslim woman, and how this attack was an attack to ultimately destroy the Khilafah, and how today this attack is used to prevent the reestablishment of the Khilafah, as they equate the Khilafah with regressive and declined thinking. This powerful psychological strategy prevents many in the Ummah from correctly diagnosing the problem in the defunct Islamic lands and from seeing how this attack upon the Muslim woman is intertwined with the struggle to resume the Islamic way of life. Consequently many sincere Muslims respond to the intellectual attacks by building their arguments upon points that are either peripheral to the issue or are built upon a secular basis with many arguing upon the principle of freedom - or they detach the discussion from the actual essence of the attack, which is an attack on the implementation of the Islamic way of life in state and society. This is the context, in which the Ummah must understand the attack upon the Muslim woman, and how she should respond to this attack, by linking and building the discussion to what is the correct system of life for human beings. The Structure of the Orientalist Attack upon the Muslim Woman The attack upon the Muslim woman has proceeded upon a variety of intellectual fronts. Keeping in mind the framework of the Orientalist attack the Muslim woman as oppressed and the objective of the attack - to encourage the implementation of capitalism, and prevent the implementation of Islam in state and society I shall now explore in further detail the structure and origins of the attack upon the Muslim woman.

In origin, the intellectual attacks against the Muslim woman are derived from the principle of the Muslim womans oppression, which they falsely argue emanates from the Islamic culture, and how this oppression of Muslim women prevents progress in the Muslim world i.e. this is evidence of Islams incompatibility with progress and what they describe as modernity. While the Wests progress has been achieved by separating religion from life, further equating progress with equality between the sexes, they falsely claim the emancipation of women in the West, and they also falsely claim that the emancipation of women can only be achieved through the adoption of the secular way of life. This is the basis from which every concept and argument is built to attack the Muslim woman and this is symbolised by their attack on the veil. The veil became a focus of attack by equating the veil with the oppression of the Muslim woman. They also linked the veil with the segregation of the sexes, and the cry for formal education. Equating progress with the unveiling of the woman, and the unveiling of the woman with acquiring an education, and the desegregation of the sexes, they sought to attack Islams capability to build a modern and progressive society. To the Musulman, a woman was an inferior being, a chattel, to be bought and sold, kept secluded behind the screens of the womens quarters, or, if produced in public, to be hidden behind the draperies of the litter, or muffled and secreted in long shapeless robes, face covered by the veil; the property of the man as was his dog, his servant, his horse, to wait on his pleasure, to sleep at his feet; yet withal, if the husband be rich, to be cosseted and adorned with jewels and fed with sweetmeats, to spend days in idleness and chatter. (D Anderson) These attacks combined with the colonisation of the Islamic lands shook the Ummahs confidence, as they sought to restore the Ummahs lost glory and independence by adopting the Western way of life. The elites in the Muslim world saw how the veil had emerged as a symbol of backwardness in the West, so they sought to change this perception of the Islamic world, and attain the material progress achieved by the West by unveiling the Muslim woman. In Egypt and Turkey many women from the upper class lead the feminist movements, which also influenced the whole Muslim world. Many of them argued that the veil had little to do with Islam, describing the veil as a cultural practice imposed by men to prevent womens advancement. They drew many of their arguments from Qasim Amin who wrote Emancipation of Women and The New Woman, books that attacked the shari'ah rules and distorted the meaning of Quranic texts and hadith to justify secular conceptions of the Muslim woman. By 1914, fourteen specialised magazines on womens issues, founded and edited by women had already appeared in Arabic. Among their important demands were universal suffrage, education for all women, and reforms to the Personal Status Law. The feminist movement managed to galvanise women of popular urban classes for nationalist issues and the improvement of the economic situation of both the nation as a whole and women in particular. (Hoodfar)

Egyptian women in 1923 declared the removal of the veil at an international feminist conference in Rome (Ahmed, 1992), making Egypt the first country to de-veil without state intervention. However this was soon followed by state enforcement in Turkey and Iran, as the prohibition of the veil falsely came to symbolise the struggle between modernity and progress as represented by the secularists, and backwardness and decline as represented by the Islamic thinkers and scholars. The juxtaposition of the veil with education is also clearly demonstrated in the prohibition of the veil in Turkeys universities or in countries such as Tunisia where the enforcement of secularism is severe. It is quite ironic that the West managed to present their attack on the Muslim woman in the context of progress and concern for the welfare of Muslim women when in origin the attack was heavily influenced by their own sexual desires, their obsession with women of the East, and their mission to colonise the Islamic lands. Indeed the colonisation of the Islamic world was, and is, intrinsic to the sexualised descriptions of Muslim women where the colonialists saw it as their mission to liberate Muslim women, equating the veil, and their misconception of the harem as oppression to satisfy their own fantasies, and justification for Western imperialism. Women are invariably depicted as prisoners, frequently half naked and unveiled and at times sitting at windows with bars, with little of hope of ever being free. (Alloula, 1986). Western representations of the harem were inspired not only by the fantasies of A Thousand and One Nights, but also by the colonisers mission of subjugating the colonised. (Homa Hoodfar) If it could be suggested that Eastern peoples were slothful, preoccupied with sex, violent, and incapable of self-government, then the imperialist would feel himself justified in stepping in and ruling. Political domination and economic exploitation needed the cosmetic cant of mission civilisatrice to seem fully commendatory... The image of the European coloniser had to remain an honourable one: he did not come as exploiter, but as enlightener. (Rana Kabbani) The sexual fascination with women of the East is integral to Orientalism. Art, travel literature and fictionalised accounts of the Islamic world all served to satisfy an insatiable thirst for the exotic East. Many Westerners imagined a harem as a brothel consisting of many sensual young women whose sole purpose was the pleasing of a powerful man to whom they had given themselves. Much of this is recorded in art from that period, artists such as Eugne Delacroix, Jean-Lon Grme and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painted works depicting their distorted conceptions of the Islamic world. In the 1860's fake photographs of Middle Eastern women was also big business. The pornographic photographs taken indoors purported to be real life scenes. The women models were most likely prostitutes, but the postcards were sent as evidence of the exotic; they were like trophies, the spoils of war. Algerian author Malek Alloulas book on French colonial postcards Colonial Harem - explores the clichs and prejudices presented by the French when they ruled Algeria. The pornographic postcards show Algerian women, and in one of many despicable examples they depict a woman in a niqab with her breasts showing. The veiled woman as Rana Kabani

describes is a recurrent colonial fantasy. In the work Algeria Unveiled, by the French psychiatrist, philosopher and revolutionary - Frantz Fanon whose work is influential in the fields of post-colonial studies and critical theory, he describes how the unveiling of the Arab woman had become an obsession for the European colonisers. Thus the rape of the Algerian woman in the dream of the European is always preceded by a rending of the veil . . . . to the colonialist offensive against the veil, the colonised opposes the cult of the veil. (Frantz Fanon) Orientalism it can be clearly said is the cultural expression of the Wests intellectual insincerity and hatred for Islam. Conclusion In our struggle to resume the Islamic way of life, we find that the styles and construct of argument may appear to have changed but they still originate from the very same principles that initially shook the Uthmani Khilafah. Today the West continues to attack the veil both under the pretext of liberating Muslim women, and protecting secularism, as evidenced in France, with the banning of the hijaab in educational institutions. However the subject of the veil is discussed in the same context of the oppression of women and progress, just as it was during the late 18th and early 19th century. However the sexualised nature of the attack is not as explicit because of the academic studies, which have researched and critiqued imperialism and Orientalism it is now more apparent to the Western intellectual who has awareness, of the dishonest depiction of the Muslim world. Consequently the West realise they cannot attack Islam with the same styles, in what are, and what will always be, pseudological constructs. The social scientist Irene L. Szyliowicz also observes this glaring truism, highlighting how historians and social scientists are demonstrating that the traditional portray of Muslim women has been biased, based on male chauvinism, Western judgements and European ethnocentrism. This presents the dawah carrier with even more evidence to demonstrate the intellectual dishonesty of the attacks upon the Muslim woman and ideology of Islam. The dawah carrier also needs to obliterate the principles and framework in which the West has constructed their fallacious arguments against the Muslim woman and Islam to demonstrate Islam as the correct method of womens emancipation, societal organisation and progress; while highlighting the intellectual contradictions and disparities of the capitalist ideology. References Ahmed, Leila. (1982) Feminism and Feminist Movement in the Middle East, Women Studies International Forum vol. 5 no. 2 Alloula, Malek. (1986) The Colonial Harem, Minneapolis: University of Minessota Press Anderson. D. (1966) Miss Irby and her Friends, Hutchinson, London

Ballantine, J. (1986) The Life of David Roberts, R.A. Compiled from his journals and other sources, Edinburgh Besant, Annie. The Life and Teachings of Mohammed, (Madras: 1932) Bullock, Katherine. (2002) RETHINKING MUSLIM WOMEN AND THE VEIL Challenging Historical & Modern Stereotypes, International Institute of Islamic Thought Hoodfar, Homa. The Veil in their Minds and On Our Heads: The Persistence of Colonial Images of Muslim Women, RFR.DRF vol 22 no. 3/4 Kabbani, Rana. Imperial Fictions: Europe's Myths of the Orient, (Pandora: London, 1994) Nader L. (1989) Orientalism, Occidentalism and the Control of Women, Cultural Dynamics vol. 2 Ibrahim Ahmed Bawany (Ed.), Islam - Our Choice, (Ankara: Turkish Religious Foundation, 1997). Byron Porter Smith, Islam in English Literature, (New York: Caravan, 1977). Moore, L. C. (2003) The Veil of Nationalism: Frantz Fanon's "Algeria Unveiled" and Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers. Kunapipi: Journal of Post-Colonial Writing, 25 (2).