The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

On Sexism in Hizbullah’s Ideology

Translated from today’s Daily Brefing (For a free demo please email

On June 7, Raed Sharaf wrote the following opinion piece in the pro parliamentary majority daily Al-Akhbar: “Hezbollah’s Deputy of the Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem, stated on the past May 23, that the need for the mingling between the Muslims and the others cannot possibly call for implementing a law that contradicts God’s sharia and that he (i.e. Qassem) and his party will not “negotiate and let go of some personal statuses in our relationships with the others.” In a second part of his talk, he indicated that the Lebanese laws must not interfere with the details of marital life event if the latter includes violent sexual practices within the couple because this “deals a blow to marital life…”

“Qassem’s statements fall in the context of the politics of mobilization followed by Hezbollah…that work on containing a society that is politically affiliated to them and that mostly includes the people who were born as Shi’is. Thus, the party supports the social practices of the poor people who happen to be Shi’is. Those practices allow them to persist…in their poverty [ellipses as published]… Qassem’s sexist statements might be stemming from this social basis. Since he is socially close to the men of the lower steps of the economic ladder, he believes that the “civil” (non religious) suggestion to deal with the issue of the domestic violence embodies a “symbolic injustice” against these men…

“In addition, the “institution of marriage” is also one of the facets of the poor people’s resistance to their poverty as [marriage] creates spaces of emotional stability in light of a cruel and humiliating social system… Understanding this fact might explain the easiness with which Sheikh Qassem had mocked the problem of domestic violence against women…

“These analyses are mere hypotheses. And if they are true, then this is unfortunate but not surprising. But the sure thing is that the first part of Qassem’s statement transfers Hezbollah’s political behavior from the category of “unfortunate…” to that of “hypocrite.” Indeed, Qassem’s statement alluded to a very radical stand that “accepts no negotiations…” Sheikh Qassem objected to civil marriage because it contradicts God’s rules, and this is not surprising. He then said: “Personal status in Lebanon belongs to every sect, mainly the Islamic personal status…”

“Thus, Sheikh Qassem is justifying the entire Lebanese sectarian system as if its sectarian divisions are actually God’s will rather than being man made (as if they are not a heresy). Furthermore…he exposes sectarian marriage as being a right for the Muslims… What the party is saying in a very easy manner through the speech of Naim Qassem is actually [similar] to the current speech of the Lebanese regime. [It is saying that] the fate of the people with “Shi’i identity” is to be decided by them alone. And the fate that the party has selected for the “Shi’is” until further notice – and in cooperation with the “Harirism” and the controlling class – is poverty, and house arrest in the Dahiyeh area, and the marriages that obey God’s rule.”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm


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