Calling a Woman a “Skank”: The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2 No. 16

The_Spectacular_Spider-Man_Vol_2_16In The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2 No. 16, the Insect Queen wears revealing clothing: a low-cut black dress that exposes more than half of her breasts.1 In response, Spider-Man calls her a “skank.”2 Urban Dictionary defines skanky as “looking cheap, dirty and nasty. Also acting slutty.”3 An important theme in the story is that if a woman wears clothing that violates public standards of modesty, people have the right to call her a stigmatizing name.

For Christians, dressing modesty in public is a virtue. 1 Timothy 2:9 says, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety…”4 It is also a virtue for Muslims. The Quran 24:31 says, “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms…”5

For Christians and Muslims, dressing immodestly in public is a sin because whether the woman intended it or not, it can cause men to experience greater sexual temptation, e.g., to commit adultery or have pre-marital sex. Men, having free will, are responsible for how they choose to respond to their sexual desires. Nonetheless, a woman who wears revealing clothing is responsible for increasing men’s sexual attraction to her.

Throughout history, women who dress immodestly have been called stigmatizing names, e.g., a slut or whore. Calling someone a stigmatizing name is a form of social pressure, so they will conform to society’s standards of right and wrong. The resulting feelings of guilt and/or shame become a deterrent against committing the stigmatized behavior again. Thus, for good or ill, the stigmatization of women who wear immodest clothing is a means of social control, reinforcing traditional values on modesty.

In The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2 No. 16, the Insect Queen does not dress modestly. Spider-Man stigmatizes her for how she dresses, and also for kissing him against his will. He says, “You have the right to remain skanky. Anything skanky you do will be held against you by the court of public opinion.”6 Spider-Man is saying that when a woman dresses or behaves like the Insect Queen, she has the right to do so, but people also have the right to form a negative judgment of her. However, the comic was published in 2004; it is now 2017, and times have changed.

In making fun of the Insect Queen for her clothing and behavior, Spider-Man is politically incorrect. In the “court of public opinion”, he would be accused of slut shaming.7 In America today, it is considered offensive to call a woman a skank, even if in reality, she dresses like one. Furthermore, with decreased public shaming of women for what they wear, it has become more common for women to wear extremely risqué clothing, especially among celebrities.8 Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your moral viewpoint on modesty.

Notes

  1. Paul Jenkins, The Spectacular Spider-Man No. 16 (Marvel Comics: August, 2004), 2, 4, 18.
  2. Jenkins, Spectacular Spider-Man, 5.
  3. Urban Dictionary, s.v. “skanky,” accessed June 23, 2017, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=skanky
  4. 1 Timothy 2:9 (New International Version).
  5. Quran 24:31 (Yusuf Ali). https://quran.com/24/31
  6. Jenkins, Spectacular Spider-Man, 15.
  7. JR Thorpe, “The Long-Term Effects Of Slut-Shaming,” Bustle, June 22, 2017, https://www.bustle.com/p/the-long-term-effects-of-slut-shaming-64302
  8. Natalie Matthews, “See the Evolution of the Naked Dress in 36 Photos,” Elle, July 26, 2015, http://www.elle.com/fashion/celebrity-style/news/g26/naked-dress-celebs-red-carpet

How the Palestinian Authority Encourages Terrorism

dalalThe Palestinian Authority (PA) is the interim “self-governing authority” that represents the Palestinian residents of the West Bank.1 In March 2017, the PA honored Dalal Mughrabi by naming a youth camp in Jericho the “Brothers of Dalal.”2 This is shocking because Mughrabi was a terrorist. By celebrating her as a national hero, the PA is encouraging acts of terrorism.

Dalal Mughrabi took part in the worst terrorist attack in Israeli history. As reported by the Times of Israel, “On March 11, 1978, Mughrabi and several other Fatah terrorists landed on a beach near Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus on Israel’s Coastal Road and killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded over 70.”3 Mughrabi was killed by Israeli forces, and following her death, many buildings and streets in the West Bank have been named after her.4

Naming a youth camp after a dead terrorist is an example of moral inversion: declaring evil to be good. A Palestinian Authority official, Ramallah Laila Ghannam, praised the initiative for “remembering the pure-hearted Martyrs.”5 The PA should be condemned by the International Community for honoring Mughrabi. She was a criminal, not a martyr.

Unfortunately, honoring dead terrorists is common practice by the PA. A 2010 report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) included “100 examples of places and events named after 46 different terrorists.”6 Instead of condemning Palestinian terrorists for killing Israeli citizens, the PA celebrates them as heroes, even though they killed innocent people.

Honoring and celebrating terrorists sends a message to Palestinians that if you carry out acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens, the PA may one day honor and celebrate you. Naming a youth camp after Mughrabi is a tacit endorsement of terrorism by the PA. They are encouraging Palestinians to follow her example, and do what she did. Further, by calling a dead terrorist a “martyr”, the current leadership of the Palestinian Authority stands for radical Islam. And the goal of radical Islam is to destroy the state of Israel.

Notes

  1. “Palestinian Authority,” The Reut Institute, accessed March 12, 2017, http://reut-institute.org/Publication.aspx?PublicationId=563
  2. Brooke Singman, “PLO names youth camp after terrorist who murdered 37,” Fox News, March 7, 2017, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/07/plo-names-youth-camp-after-terrorist-who-murdered-37.html
  3. “Palestinian Authority holds youth camp in terrorist’s honor,” Times of Israel, March 6, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinian-authority-holds-youth-camp-in-terrorists-honor/
  4. “Israel Balks as Palestine Honors Militants,” CBS News, March 24, 2010, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/israel-balks-as-palestine-honors-militants/
  5. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “PLO names youth camp after terrorist who led murder of 37,” Palestinian Media Watch, March 5, 2017, http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=20557
  6. Itamar Marcus, “From Terrorists to Role Models: The Palestinian Authority’s Institutionalization of Incitement,” Palestinian Media Watch, May 2010, http://palwatch.org/STORAGE/special%20reports/PA%20honors%20terrorists%20Final%20Eng.pdf

Two Reasons Why ISIS Practices Beheading

isis-daily-mailIf there is a top 10 list of the most shocking crimes of the 21st century, the beheading of people by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) should be on that list. There are two primary reasons why ISIS practices such barbaric cruelty: as a means of psychological warfare, and because they believe it is the will of Allah.

The first reason ISIS beheads people is to instill fear and terror in the Iraqi army. According to Shashank Joshi, “the Islamic State’s fighters have used their reputation for terror to dissuade Iraqi forces from ever seeking battle. Which poorly paid soldier wishes to risk decapitation, impalement, or amputation for the sake of a distant, crumbling government? Fear is a uniquely effective weapon.”1 Every soldier who goes to war knows that he may die in battle, but the thought of having your head chopped off is much more terrifying than to die from a bullet to the head or heart.

The second reason ISIS beheads people is because they believe it is the will of Allah. There are two verses in the Qur’an that command Muslims to chop off the heads of “those who disbelieve”:

  • Qur’an 8:12 – When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.2
  • Qur’an 47:4 – So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.3

To argue that the Qur’an does not command beheading is disingenuous. There is nothing figurative or symbolic about smiting someone on the neck. As Timothy R. Furnish makes clear, “Mahmud b. Umar az-Zamakhshari (d. 1143 C.E.), in a major commentary studied for centuries by Sunni religious scholars, suggested that any prescription to ‘strike at the necks’ commands to avoid striking elsewhere so as to confirm death and not simply wound.”4 During the 7th century, Muhammad and his followers waged war with the sword. If you “smite” a person’s neck with a sword, the obvious will happen: Their head will come off.

The historical record shows that Muhammad approved of, directly ordered, and possibly participated in numerous beheadings.5 The most horrific example is the Raid on the Banu Qurayza in 627 A.D. Ibn Ishaq, the 8th century Muslim historian, records that after the Jewish tribe “surrendered to the apostle’s judgement”6, Muhammad appointed Sa’d b. Mu’adh “umpire in the matter”7 who ruled that “the men should be killed.”8 Muhammad declared it was “the judgement of Allah”, and “then he sent for them and struck off their heads.”9 The total number of men beheaded was “600 or 700 in all.”10 If the historical record is accurate, then Muhammad has at least one thing in common with ISIS: He had no objections to beheading his enemies.

It must be emphasized that the beheading of people by ISIS does not reflect the views of the vast majority of Muslims today. Moderate Muslims have strongly condemned the actions of ISIS.11 However, to argue that beheading people is un-Islamic is false. This is because there is no such thing as one “true” form of Islam, or any other religion. All religions have doctrines that are based on human argument and interpretation of their sacred texts. Determining the “true” interpretation of Islam will always be a matter of debate.

The leader and founder of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has a doctorate in Islamic studies12, believes that his version of Islam is the correct interpretation. Further, as the self-proclaimed caliph, he believes he is on a divine mission from Allah, declaring in a 2015 speech, “O Muslims, indeed we fight in obedience to Allah and as a means of coming closer to Him.”13 Baghdadi’s leadership in directing his followers to behead people is not un-Islamic. It is simply the belief and practice of radical Islam.

Notes

  1. Shashank Joshi, “Where does the Islamic State’s fetish with beheading people come from?,” The Telegraph, September 14, 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11071276/Where-does-the-Islamic-States-fetish-with-beheading-people-come-from.html
  2. Qur’an 8:12 (Shakir). http://quran.com/8
  3. Qur’an 8:12 (Shakir). http://quran.com/47
  4. Timothy R. Furnish, “Beheading in the Name of Islam,” Middle East Quarterly 12, no.2 (Spring 2005), 51-57, http://www.meforum.org/713/beheading-in-the-name-of-islam
  5. “List of Killings Ordered or Supported by Muhammad,” accessed October 9, 2016, https://wikiislam.net/wiki/List_of_Killings_Ordered_or_Supported_by_Muhammad
  6. Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, trans. Alfred Guillaume (Pakistan: Oxford University Press, 1955), 463, https://archive.org/details/TheLifeOfMohammedGuillaume
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, 464.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Matt Payton, “More than 30,000 Muslims from across the world meet in the UK to reject Isis and Islamic extremism,” Independent, August 15, 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/more-than-30000-ahmadiyya-muslims-from-across-the-world-meet-in-the-uk-to-reject-isis-and-islamic-a7191306.html
  12. William McCants, “Who Exactly is Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the Leader of ISIS?”, Newsweek, September 16, 2015, http://www.newsweek.com/who-exactly-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-leader-isis-368907
  13. S.J. Prince, “READ: Full English Translation of ISIS ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s New Speech,” Heavy, December 28, 2015, http://heavy.com/news/2015/12/new-isis-islamic-state-news-pictures-videos-so-wait-indeed-we-along-with-you-are-waiting-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-speech-english-translation/

Why Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is a not a Moderate

 U.S. President Obama participates in joint news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at Muqata Presidential Compound in RamallahMahmoud Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) on January 9, 2005.1 Although his four-year term expired on January 8, 2009, 2 he is still serving as President. Not only has he usurped democracy by suspending elections, but he recently endorsed acts of terror against Israeli citizens. The West views Abbas as a moderate,3 but in reality, he is a radical Muslim.

On February 3, 2016, Abbas met with 11 families of Palestinian terrorists who carried out attacks against Israel.4 As reported by The Times of Israel, the 11 terrorists included “Baha Alian, who killed three Israelis on a bus” and Alaa Abu Jamal who “careened his car into Israeli pedestrians, exited the vehicle and stabbed the victims.”5 Abbas showed his support for the dead terrorists by telling the families, “Your sons are martyrs.”6

To call a terrorist a martyr is to endorse the killing of innocent civilians. This is not the view of moderate Islam—it is radical Islam. The Islamic teaching of martyrdom is based on verses in the Qur’an including 4:74 – “So let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. And he who fights in the cause of Allah and is killed or achieves victory – We will bestow upon him a great reward.”7 By calling 11 dead terrorists “martyrs”, Abbas is suggesting that they will be rewarded by Allah for their actions.

Terrorists who kill civilians are not martyrs—they are criminals. To intentionally kill an innocent civilian is an act of evil. Abbas is guilty of moral inversion: declaring that evil is good. He should be condemned by the International community for his support of terrorism. If he were the leader of a Western nation, he would be forced to resign.

Notes

  1. “Abbas achieves landslide poll win,” BBC News, January 10, 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4160171.stm
  2. “PLO elects Abbas ‘Palestinian president’,” The Sydney Morning Herald, November 24, 2008, http://www.smh.com.au/world/plo-elects-abbas-palestinian-president-20081123-6eza.html
  3. Uri Savir, “The end of Abbas, the end of moderation,” Al-Monitor, October 7, 2015, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/10/israel-abbas-moderate-leader-true-partner-peace-end-era.html
  4. Elior Levy, “Abbas meets with terrorists’ families hours after attack,” Ynetnews, February 4, 2016, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4761949,00.html
  5. “Abbas meets families of terrorists just after deadly Jerusalem attack,” The Times of Israel, February 4, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-meets-families-of-terrorists-just-after-deadly-jerusalem-attack/
  6. Ibid.
  7. Qur’an 4:74 (Sahih International). http://quran.com/4