Since this thread has (in some posts) turned to the role of women in Islamic countries in general, I post here a letter from an Iranian women she wrote when Michel Foucault in October 1978 greeted the Mullahs' taking power in Iran as a 'possibilty of a political spirituality'.
Atoussa H.'s Letter to Le Nouvel Observateur, 6.Nov.1978
Living in Paris, I am deeply upset by the comments used often by the French Left to address the arrival of an 'Islamic government' replacing the Shah's despotic regime. Michel Foucault, for example, seems to be moved by the 'Islamic spirituality' (no. 727, October 16) which is supposed to replace the brutal dictatorship, according to him, for the better. After 25 years of silence and oppression, should the Iranian people only have the choice between the Savak (the Shah's secret police, W. H.) and religious fanaticism? To have an idea of what Qur'an's spirituality, literally applied by Khomeini's moral order, signifies, it is worthwhile to re-read some of the original text. [...] From 'Surat 2': 'Your wives are like a field for you, Come to your fields as often as you want.' To clarify: Man is the sovereign, woman the slave, he can use her according to his whims, and she has nothing to say. Originated in the Prophet's jealous guarding of his wife Aisha, women must wear the veil. This does not just concern spiritual ideas, but a choice of society. These days unveiled women are often insulted and the young Muslims don't hide that in the regime they want, women can do nothing but to shut up. He has written also that the minorities have a right to liberty under the condition that they do not harm the majority. When do minorities begin to harm?
Spirituality? Return to popular sources? Saudi Arabia claims itself as the source of Islam. And the hands of thieves and the heads of lovers fall [...] One could say that the Western left is weary enough of humanism to find Islam desirable... For others. Many Iranians such as myself are distressed at the idea of an 'Islamic government.' They know what it means. Everywhere in Iran, Islam has always served the feudal and pseudo-revolutionary oppression. Often too, as in Tunisia, Pakistan and Indonesia, Islam - alas - is the only means of expression available to the oppressed people. The progressive Left in the West must realize what kind of barrier the Islamic religion can become in the societies eager for change, and not allow themselves to be seduced by a remedy that is perhaps worse than the illness.