Hmmm - that is a bit blanket. I personally know no left-wing feminist activists who do NOT condemn the practices discussed here - nor any left men who do not.
I, for instance, sometimes get into trouble with hard-line cultural relativists for doing so, though.
This is not to say that understanding cultural relativism can make critiquing other cultures a fraught endeavour, and that there have not been people (like bloody Greer it seems!!!!) who have lost their way in looking at the realities. (Sort of like the men who claim that circumcision is as bad as female genital mutilation.)
I think one of the dynamics happening with aspects of Islam is that, as denunciations of Islam became increasingly rabid and hysterical on the part of some right extremists (you need only look at some of the stuff here - which is mild compared with what is in the community) - then criticising the oppression of women in many Islamic nations began to feel like joining in with the prejudice.
It is complicated, too, by the response of many politicised Islamic women, that we in the west are the ones oppressed - by being debased and sexualised in the western culture.
I think personally that such responses are part of the fact that, in responding to westernised despots, like the Shah of Iran, many Islamic women saw returning to a traditional form of Islam as a political act - as did the likes of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Radical Islam then becomes as much a political act as a religious one - a stage from which I devoutly hope Islamic nations recover some time soon.
I am also reminded of the dynamic behind, for instance, black women in the African National Congress, during the apartheid years, who lived with disgusting treatment of women, making a clear decision NOT to fight that battle, until the battle of gaining political control of the country had been won.
Or, in Aboriginal activism, the period when raising the brutal realities of physical and sexual violence by Aboriginal men against Aboriginal women and children was not to be discussed - in case it gave more ammunition to white racists.
Ditto with domestic and sexual violence in the lesbian community (at least in Oz) - which was, for a long time, not discussed for the same sorts of reasons.
And the "Asian values" thing - (remember that, Msolga?) which highly controlling Asian governments used to make any human rights criticisms made by the west seem bullying and chauvinistic (problem is that sometimes they damn well ARE - which is the other difficulty - sometimes our criticisms ARE ignorant and arrogant). Asian human rights activists drew our attention to the fact that "Asian values" when it came to human rights ought to be no different from the value placed on freedom anywhere else - and that the term was simply an excuse for despotism in the hands of many using it.
But - I DO think that cultural - and indeed, moral - relativism, in its extreme form, can be used to render us impotent in discussing, and opposing, various forms of bad behaviour. And, for ex-colonial powers, or their scattered progeny, cultural judgments can be a minefied for anyone with any passing knowledge of history.
That being said, what we DO with our condemnations are indeed difficult.
I was looking at lots of stuff on female genital mutilation, for instance - and wandering in saying "that's BAD!" is certainly not going to do anything - opposition to such practices DOES need to be done in a culturally sensitive way - as the women from the culture, who are doing the active opposing, say - these things are genuinely seen by their adherents as the right and "natural" thing to be done. Although, I suspect that nudging aid according to whether the leaders of the countries where these outrages occur are actually ACTING on the laws which have already been made outlawing the mutilation or not could be - and possibly is being - done.
I do think that we ought not to be allowing practices which grossly offend our values to be done when people are living in our countries. I mean, there was once, here, actually a debate about whether doctors ought to be allowed to practice female genital mutilation - the argument being that it would be done far more hygienically and humanely that way. We said no - that this was against core medical and community ethics.
As for sharia law - we would, presumably, not be allowing murder of adulterous women to occur? Or mutilation for stealing etc? I see no harm where there is no intense conflict between it and broad community values - but....I DO think we have the right to have our values broadly adhered to - as we would have to adhere to at least the form of values in a fundamentalist Islamic culture.
The cultural relativism thing, too, in the hands of fools is a dangerous thing - and there is no legislating against fools!
I will give you an example - the welfare department here, in struggling to deal with its former role in stealing the stolen generation, worked hard to develop skills in cultural sensitivity. A fine and dandy thing in the hands of the reasonable.
However, in the hands of fools - well, I will tell one story. Someone from my office was seeing a little boy from an immigrant family. A lot of his behaviour made sense when we discovered that, when he was naughty, he was being tied to the family's Hills hoist and flogged with the garden hose, until he bled.
When this was discussed with the family, they were happy to admit the practice, well satisfied that they were doing the right thing to try and help their son.
The abuse was reported - when contacted by the local welfare office, by a well known idiot, the people working with the family were stunned and appalled to hear that no action would be taken "because whipping children was part of the family's culture."
Of course, we did not rest there - but, well - the issue is a lot bigger than feminists and Islam...
And - here is another article from pamela herself, saying the same - that the problem is a lot bigger than feminists and the left not speaking out about these things: