The Errors of ‘The Last Jedi’ and Islam Are No Match for the Mother of God

Our Lady, the Mother of God, is the one who brings balance to the force.

(photo: Register Files)

“Allah was not born, nor has he given birth,” was one of the phrases that was hammered into my head as a child. If one is familiar with Islam, it would not be a surprise that the mere suggestion of Incarnation is blasphemous. This unthinkable notion not only brings Allah down, but also exalts women —who will be filling Gehenna, the Muslim hell, because of their inferiority in virtue to men.

Growing up in a Muslim culture, a girl is always reminded of her inferiority. Sometimes it is subtle. Often it is too evident to misunderstand. The treatment of women in countries ruled by Sharia Law does not need to be described in detail. Even in more secular Muslim countries like Turkey, the teachings of Islam cannot be eradicated, especially in rural areas. The feeling and the constant reminder that a woman is lacking follows her everywhere.

Later, as an atheist, I believed that women could do everything men could. I was finally free of the shackles of shame and oppression that Islam had ingrained in me for years. Actually, on second thought, women were better than men. The world, led by men, had produced nothing but war, suffering and poverty. Women were wiser and more balanced than the warmonger men who try to bring every hiccup to a conclusion with guns. Sound familiar?

There are two ornaments in my car. One is a Benedictine cross, the other a tiny Millennium Falcon. When we left the movie theater on a rare date night, The Last Jedi left both me and my husband furious. Not only because of the meandering plot, but something dear to my heart was broken to pieces. I felt like my 20-year-old self had taken over the Star Wars franchise, just to put men in their place. How was it possible that there was not one decent man in this entire movie?

Poe is a clueless man who tries to solve every problem with a blaster. He is an incompetent and insubordinate soldier who does not appreciate the wisdom of his female superiors, ending up starting a very badly organized mutiny. Then, there is Finn, who is a coward and more useless than his former Stormtrooper version, who missed his mark more often than not. Kylo Ren is a moody teenager, prone to temper tantrums. Luke, the master Jedi, is no different from his villainous nephew in moodiness and lack of perspective. Even Yoda, who makes a very brief appearance, returns from the nether to burn books. Really?

On the other hand, women can do no wrong. Leia, who had been portrayed as Luke’s equal in the previous installments, is in charge of the rebellion, fighting the good fight, while arrogant Luke skulks off to an Irish island. Holdo, literally towering over Poe, tells him what a trigger-happy flyboy he is. When her escape plan fails, she becomes the only hero who is willing to sacrifice herself to save others, while Luke is willing to participate in the fight only via astral projection. Rey, miraculously, figures out everything about the Force and how to use it, even though generations of Jedi before her had to go through rigorous training.

Staring at these women who found their value and place by insulting men, I found myself in a strange place, where the hijab, a symbol of oppression for millions of women, is exalted, while abortion is promoted under the guise of choice. But taking a step back from this most confusing picture reveals that the essence of both problems is the same: lack of a proper understanding of original sin and its solution.

In Islam, there is no original sin. Every man is utterly capable of fulfilling Allah’s demands all by himself in order to attain his place in Heaven. However, from what is taught in the Quran and in Hadith, women are more prone to sin and lead men to sin. It is as if original sin tainted only women, thus making them inferior to men. There is something inherently wrong with the female kind. That is why women always need the permission of men for almost everything they do; that is why women need to cover themselves; that is why two women’s testimony is worth one man’s.

In a similar way, in today’s secular world, only men are tainted with imperfection. Female attributes, such as dialogue and compromise, are valued above all else, as if there is nothing worth fighting for. At the same time, women need to gain validity and value by becoming men, because mere womanhood is somehow found lacking and weak. To prove that women are equal, because an atheistic world view has no other means to measure, women have to have access to everything men do, such as priesthood or combat fighting. (Not working in mines or sewers, however.) The original sin of the secular world is passed on only with the Y chromosome, and all the blessed ones with double X should rid the world of the male pestilence.

In the balance sits the Christian understanding of the creation and fall of men. Man and woman were both created in the image of the Triune God. Both Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and lost the grace of living face to face with the Almighty. They are equal in their origin and in their sin. When Islam says that man is not worthy to be created in the image of Allah, the Book of Genesis says the Lord loved His creation so much that He exalted them above all other. Because of that height, the consequence of the original sin was dire. The fall was equally devastating for men and women.

While Christ was new Adam, Mary was new Eve. God was not only willing bestow his image on the men, but also He was willing to become man through a woman. The Second Person of the Trinity chose to occupy time and space through the fiat of a young Jewish woman in a tiny insignificant town. Because of the means of the Incarnation, Mary was made the Queen. Her “yes” negated Eve’s “no.” This amazing —and very offensive to Muslims— title of Our Lady is the one that strikes a balance in the mayhem that Islam and secularism forge for our age.

These deviations from God’s original plan essentially distort the unity between men, women and their Creator. The harmony God intended in the beginning is lost when either man or woman is glorified at the expense of the other. Instead of falling prey to the disfigured vision the world without Christ promotes, the perfection of the Holy Family (starting with Mary’s humble obedience) should be our model. Joseph, the protector of the Infant Christ and His Church. Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant. Baby Jesus, the Son of God. There is no need to pull the men or the women down in order to gain power or validity. The God who created the men in his image restored the order through Incarnation.

Our Lady, the Mother of God, is the one who brings balance to the force.