Hate clerics are a threat to all women, says Judy

Monday 16 March 2015

A few years ago when Richard and I were doing our early evening show on Channel 4 we invited a radical Islamist to appear.

I can’t remember why now. Since then the number of shocking pronouncements made by these fellows have become almost infinite.

Suffice to say that this particular holy man had said something outrageous that merited discussion.

He entered the studio during a commercial break all pristine white robes, serene face and beatific smile.

Before we went live we greeted him politely. He shook Richard’s hand. He refused to shake mine.

I was reminded of that by the story this week of the female Lebanese news anchor told by a Islamist cleric living in London to “shut up” and that it was “beneath” him to be interviewed by her.

The anchor, Rima Karaki, an author and professor, was interviewing Hani Al-Seba’i , a suspected terrorist who once praised the 2005 London bombings as a “great victory” for Al Qaeda.

Karaki was asking him about reports of Christians joining Islamic groups.

Waffling, he was warned by Miss Karaki that they were short of time.

He became angry and said: “I will answer as I please.” “In this studio, I run the show,” said Rima.

To which Al-Seba’i replied: “Are you done? Shut up so I can talk. It’s beneath me to be interviewed by you.

You are a women who...” Karaki, still cool, held up her hand and said: “How can a respected sheik like yourself tell a TV host to shut up?

Either there is mutual respect or the conversation is over.”

She then cut him off, leaving him literally in the dark at his end of the satellite link.

I rejoiced that she did that. I only wish when we interviewed that radical imam that I’d had the nerve to tell him to get lost when he refused to shake my hand.

I didn’t because I wanted to be civilised and polite even though his refusal to touch me because I am a woman was abhorrent.

I have always regarded myself as a feminist, albeit one whose views have been mellowed and softened by age, marriage and family life.

I thought I’d become wiser but one of the side effects of Islamic State and its disgusting actions has been to bring all my old feminist instincts to the fore.

The way women are treated by IS, those silly jihadi brides eloping to their doom, Boko Haram in Nigeria and their appalling kidnapping of young girls, they all make me spit with fury.

It was International Women’s Day on March 8, an event which to be honest has passed me by for the past couple of decades.

At home I thought we 1970s women’s libbers have largely achieved our aims.

That’s arguable of course even in the UK but what is obvious is that feminism is needed now more than ever.

Radical Islamism is inimical to women. It’s about time the sisterhood rose again to defend all those of our gender in the grip of vile oppression and contempt.

Read Richard and Judy's Daily Express column in full here.
Add a Comment
  • Well done Judy for airing your opinion on the disgusting manners of these ignorant men. I suggest we all read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" it depicts the terrible treatment and degregation of women in Afghanistan. It is a very sad and sometimes dark story but I think it opens your eyes to the truth.

    diane fitton