There has already been quite some discussion about Taharrush gamea, this phenomenon which nobody wants (me neither), but which many have obvious difficulties to understand.
The last contribution which came to my attention was Fredrik Sonck’s suggestion (in Hbl of 21.01., p.25) that one should translate the term simply as “grupptrakasserier”, which to my mind does not help much in the way of understanding the (possible) motivations involved … . And if one wants to do something against it it might in fact be helpful to get a clearer idea about the motivations.
The thing which comes first to my mind in this context is some discussion which I had with a friend with whom I had been going to school and who had since spent his professional life as a teacher in an area of Bremen which was known as “difficult”, among others because of the very high percentage of pupils from immigrant backgrounds in the schools. We were discussing Islam, and after pointing to the fact that the largest Islamic nation we have is Indonesia (with whom we have hardly any trouble) I was breaking out into the sweeping suspicion that it were my impression that “all those Middle Eastern guys have simply been too much celebrated from the very beginning for the simple fact that they were boys instead of one of those contemptible girls”. Upon which he calmly corrected me by saying: “Arabs, just Arabs.” This was based on his decades of experience at school, according to which, e.g., Turks were really not as bad as Arabs in just this respect. And on top of this discussion there are of course impressions from what I have been reading sometimes. What, e.g., to think of a father who invites the wider family to witness the enforced drowning of his daughter in the house’s swimming pool because he thinks that she has in some way brought shame on the family – without any Saudi court lifting a finger afterwards? And then there are of course the impressions from reading the Old Testament, which comes from that region and whose standards may well have survived in some of the local societies.
Altogether, the impression arises that especially in the Arab world women are quite generally considered as a lower category of (hardly) human beings. From which, in turn, comes to mind that Taharrush gamea might very well be something similar to lynching as earlier practiced in the southern states of the USA, i.e. an activity by which a mob of members of the “superior” category of mankind is demonstrating to all of the “inferior” members that they should not even dream of having any means or rights against those “superiors”. And the motivations involved could, accordingly, have more to do with an intention to humiliate than with sex. – All of which does not change much about our opinion that any such behaviour should certainly be stopped.