Nazi Paikidze, the current U.S. Women’s Chess Champion, has decided to boycott next year’s world chess tournament because of the Islamic requirements of the Iranian government.
Paikidze, like many other female chess competitors, is unhappy about the Islamic Republic’s rules which state that all competing women must wear the hijab while participating in the event. She says that no matter what impact her decision has on her career, she will not give the harsh regime power over her freedom.
“I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression,” she told a group called My Stealthy Freedom, which campaigns against Iran’s laws regarding female attire. “Even if it means missing one of the most important competitions of my career.”
Paikidze has been publicly rebuked by Susan Polgar, the Co-Chairperson of the Commission for Women’s Chess for the World Chess Federation FIDE. On Twitter, Polgar chastised Paikidze for speaking out.
“If you have a problem,” she wrote to the young chess star, “you should address [international chess officials] formally and not on twitter.”
To which Paikidze replied: “Thank you. I already did.”
The controversy comes just as Raymond Ibrahim of the Gatestone Institute issued a report that shows just how little respect for women there is inside the world of Islam, especially fundamental Islam of the sort preferred by Iran.
“Islamic law, always harsh, is still harsher for women,” Ibrahim writes. “According to the Koran, men have ‘authority’ over women and may beat them if they are ‘disobedient’ (4:34). According to Mohammad, the prophet of Islam, women are less intelligent than men – two women are needed to equal one man’s testimony – and the majority of hell’s population is made up of women, who are linked to donkeys and dogs in their ability to distract a man from his prayer and thereby annul it.”
In Western feminism, there is a growing schism between those who wish to adhere to the liberal principles of moral relativism – the “when in Rome” approach – and those who are disgusted by Islam’s treatment of women. One side wants to forgive Islam’s oppression to show how respectful they are of different cultures while the other sees no reason to respect a set of laws intended to keep women subservient to men.
But you have to wonder about the first group of feminists, who tell us to respect the hijab while simultaneously telling us that access to abortion is a fundamental human right. Do they really believe what they’re saying, or are they simply choosing whichever side of the issue that puts them on the opposite side of Christian conservatives? And when you see the arguments they put forth, it becomes very clear that it is the latter.