January 1, 2008

Stupid Sara

Sometimes non-Muslims are so blinded by their hatred for Islam that they blame Islam for things our religion has nothing to do with. Consider the post Islam's War on Women by one Sara Coslett. Sara had noticed some demographic statistics for certain Middle Eastern countries that show a sex ratio favoring men:

I wonder how is it [sic] that in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar the ratio of men to women is greater than 2/1, in Kuwait 1.5/1, Bahrain 1.34/1, Oman 1.26/1, and Saudi Arabia 1.22/1.

These particular ratios are for the population as a whole but, Sara, taking them at face value, doesn't dig deep enough. Instead, she comes up with two pathetic reasons for the skewed sex ratios:

Two possibilities come to mind. First, Muslim countries are notorious for practicing female infanticide.

Except, this isn't true. If Sara had said India or China are notorious for practicing female infanticide, I'd have quickly agreed with her. The problem is, the countries Sara highlighted don't have very high abortion rates to begin with. According to Johnston's Archive, which tracks historical abortion statistics, we find that the abortion percentage for all residents, in and out of the country, were extremely low for the six countries in question. While not all countries have a full listing for their statistics, the abortion percentage for Qatar was 1.3% in 2004, 0.05% for Kuwait in 2001, and 0.07% for Bahrain in 2004. The abortion ratio wasn't available for either the UAE or Saudi Arabia; however, the total number of abortions in 2006 for both countries among residents was 63 and 5, respectively. Note that all of those abortions were obtained overseas, meaning no abortions were performed among residents at all inside those countries. (No statistics are available for Oman.) With numbers so low, there's no reason to believe abortion is a cause for the skewed sex ratio.

In fact, it is not. If we next look at the CIA's World Factbook, we can look at the sex ratio at birth. Here, we find that for Bahrain, there were 1.03 boys born for every girl (2007 est.), 1.04 boys for every girl in Kuwait (2007 est.), and 1.05 boys for every girl in Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (2007 est.). Compare this to India (1.12 boys per girl; 2007 est.) and China (1.11 boys per girl, 2007 est.), and you see that Sara's argument with regard to female infanticide holds no water.

Sara's other argument is even more absurd:

The other possible reason for such a disparity between males and females is that census counters do not include females when polling the population. We know that Muslims regard women as property, so like a slave, they would not be considered a human and thus not counted.

Even if one were to accept Sara's argument at face value, the fact of the matter is that other sources, such as the World Factbook would provide fairly realistic estimates for the male-female population (see the "Age Structure" statistic).

Of course, there's one possibility that Sara hadn't considered, and that's immigration. Looking at NationMaster statistics, we see that immigrants make up the following percentages of the national population: Bahrain - 40.66%, Kuwait - 65.83%, Oman - 24.45%, Qatar - 78.34%, Saudi Arabia - 27.51%, and the UAE - 70.85%. And, as any expat will tell you, the vast majority of all expats are men. It's not surprising, then, that the sex ratio in the six Middle Eastern countries Sara highlighted should favor men: they're the ones who moved to these countries in search of work.

But Sara would rather blame Islam; that way she doesn't have to think too deeply about why things are the way they are:

It is obvious to me Islam has declared war on its female population.

Stupid Sara.

Update: Since writing this post last night, Sara has re-written her original post, plus written another. The problem is, while Sara realized that she made a mistake after reading my post, she compounded the original error by falling on another bogus claim:

Clearly something tragic is happening to females after age 15. Therefore, instead of two possibilities I realized there was a third - honor killings.

Most of the remainder of the re-written first post is merely a rehash of her original post. The second post, Erratum: Islam's War on Women is a strange mish-mash of retractions, corrections, and old allegations. On the one hand, she admits to forgetting about the impact of immigrants into the six countries she originally highlighted. She also admits that she was wrong "...in my assumptions that the Muslim practice of honor killings and a disregard for women as people..." However, she also makes some odd statements, such as:

Surprisingly I noticed Mr. JDsg did not refute or even mention anything about honor killings.

What Sara disregarded was the fact that she had not written anything about honor killings in her original post. What was there to refute or mention? Even so, honor killings is not going to be a high enough number to explain the skewed sex ratios. Honor killings do, of course, happen, but the number of killings committed is not going to be that high. This is merely Sara grasping at another straw.

Sara concluded her new post by writing:

While population data is a poor example for Islam’s War on Women, the war does continue.

That's it, Sara, keep beating your dead horse. You've been wrong in just about all your other "reasonings." Show us how more wrong you can be.

Update #2: Looked at Sara's blog once more, just to see if she had followed up on the comments I had made there the other day. No, she hasn't responded, and she's shut off her comments once again to only those who have "registered" (the usual cowardly BS tactic used by right-wing blogs who don't want to hear that the emperor wears no clothes.)


Rob Wagner said...

Unfortunately, they apparently disabled their comments section to prevent reasonable people from objecting to this garbage. For a website that purports to be for intellectuals, well, it just goes to show you that any yahoo can interpret statistics anyway they want without evidence to back up their argument.

JDsg said...

Exactly. I had originally thought of making the title of this post "Lies, Damn Lies, & Statistics," but I was too irritated toward the end to be that nice to her. And the only reason why I wrote this on my blog was because of their restrictive comments policy; I certainly wasn't going to "register" on a website like theirs.

thabet said...

Stupid Sara has responded to your post.

"While population data is a poor example for Islam’s War on Women, the war does continue."

Stupid Sara.

thabet said...

Looking back over her posts, she clearly has some sort of psychological dysfunction when it comes to discussing 'Muslims'.

JDsg said...

Thabet: Yeah, you only have to look at her post titles to see that. She has at least opened up comment to the post I commented about and her follow-up. I just finished writing two comments on her blog, one to demand statistical evidence for her new "reason" for the skewed sex ratio (honor killings) and another that further buries her notions of female infanticide as a cause.

RZ said...

If you take a look at all her posts on Islam, you can see she's just another one of those right wing nut heads.

JDsg said...

RZ: You're absolutely right.

George Carty said...

Does female infanticide exist in the Islamic world on any significant scale ? It would be doubly shocking if it did, as it is one of the practices which the jahili Arabs were most notorious for...

Aaminah said...

Asalaamu alaikum.

Wow, I think Sara smokes crack, LOL. I love it when non-Muslim western women decide to make it their obsession to save Muslim women. They never seem sincere, we are just a "pet" to them, and how is their that so much better than what they are accusing Muslim men of? It's interesting to know that we Muslim women are so terribly pathetic that we need everyone to do for us...

George, yes, infanticide still exists, but it's not just Muslims in the ME that practice it, and how high the rates really are I certainly could not say. I don't however understand why a society that believes that every woman should be able to abort no questions asked (minus consent of the father, and often minus consent of the parents of a minor even), and a society that has a relatively high rate of infant abandonment and child neglect/abuse would dare to claim that another society is unfair.

Umm yeah, and honor killings are hardly a "muslim" phenomenon. They may be called by other names, but they exist in most cultures to some degree and no more in Muslim culture than in Druze, Zoroastrian, Hindu or others. Clearly it is not a spiritual choice.

izzymo said...

Oh, friggin' goodness, that's dumb. You know, I think the level of hate is so intense that it's actually preventing some of them from thinking! Where's the rationality? I mean, you could check that crap on Wikipedia for crying out loud! If Islam was so steeped in the killing of women--you think we would all be dead by now! I'm laughing but I shouldn't because these people take their ignorance to the voting poll. May God help us all!