by Nonie Darwish
Many Americans believe that Muslim women are all victims of Islamic culture, its fundamentalist laws, and that, if given the chance, they would all choose freedom from Sharia. That view, however, is a simplistic way of looking at a complex situation.
For example, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar last Saturday, March 23, 2019, has given a speech at the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) fundraiser in Woodland Hills, California. A large rally was outside protesting her anti-Semitic statements and her support of CAIR. Omar said in her remarks “There are very fascinating people outside who for so many years have spoken about an Islam that is oppressive and Islam that lessens and isolates its women and today they gather outside to protest a Muslim woman who is in Congress.” She was bragging about a Muslim woman reaching power, but forgot to thank America for it. She also called on Muslims to “raise hell” in the face of human rights violations (she means against Muslims). That while making no comment on the worldwide terror by those who want to enforce Sharia on others.
There is no doubt there are very powerful Muslim women and have always existed since the inception of Islam. But those women have always been the kind to enforce Sharia, but never criticize it. Women such as Ilhan Obmar who rise to power in Muslim communities around the world are not the kind of women who reject the legal oppression of women under Sharia. But what is hard to understand is that these same pro-Hamas and pro-jihad women are also rising to power in the West as well.
Powerful pro-Sharia women traditionally never stood against honor killing, the legal right of men to beat their wives, polygamy, that the testimony of a woman in court is half the value of a man, etc. They never “raise hell” when Christians are beheaded on the beaches of the Mediterranean at the hands of Muslims and when Christian girls are kidnapped and converted to Islam by force.
Muslim women, including Omar, have greatly benefited and achieved great power and success but only when they enforce Sharia and call for jihad. On the other hand, women, even in the West, who rebel against Islamic law end up going nowhere or shunned.
One must live in denial if they believe that Islam honors women as is often said. But because of the severity, humiliation and inhumane torture of rebellious women in Islam, many women managed to survive under Sharia not by rebelling against it, but by embracing it and even enforcing on other women.
Muslim women learned to work around Sharia to get some respect and protection. But for the more ambitious women who want status and power in the Islamic community they had to become part of the Sharia enforcement apparatus. In other words, if a woman wished for more than just to be “protected,” or treated with dignity and respect, she had to enforce Sharia on other women. This is at least partly how the militant, pro-Sharia, hijab-wearing, jihadist woman have emerged. And that is one reason they all say that the hijab empowered them.
Rebelling against Sharia and its culture is extremely difficult — often considered synonymous with rebelling against a husband, a family, a culture, the Islamic state, and even Allah himself. The Koran not only entrusts husbands to strike their disobedient wives, Sharia laws recommend punishing other forms of rebelliousness and disobedience of women with death.
“God, family and country” is a Western value system from which the priorities of citizens are structured; within radical Islam, the order of priorities is different. There, it appears as, “Allah, jihad, and more jihad” (for instance, here, here and here). Muslim women could easily conclude that in Sharia, jihad, most commonly thought of in the Arab and Muslim world as holy war in the service of Islam, takes priority over the life of a wife, husband, son, family and even children.
Unlike women in the West, women within the Sharia system acquire power not by rebelling against the system (Biblical values in the case of the West) but by protecting and conforming to it (The Islamic legal system).
That should explain why Arab/Muslim women appear to have become as militant, if not more so, than men. The West is often staggered at some Arab women who appear on television wearing their hijab and bragging about their “shahid” [martyred] husband or son. This complicity is a woman’s ticket to success, financial security and respect in a poor Islamic economic political and social system totally in the hands of Islamists.
A prominent example of a woman given preeminence in Arab society for putting Jihad and Sharia above the life of her children was Umm Nidal, the mother of three Palestinian suicide bombers. Accorded the highest honor in Palestinian society and media, and elected to the Palestinian parliament, when she died in 2013, her funeral was attended by “thousands” of Palestinians as well as the Hamas leader, Ismael Haniyeh.
Muslim women are often used as guards over the Sharia jail against other women. ISIS, for instance, established a merciless cadre of women, the Al-Khansa brigade, who would roam the streets of Raqqa, terrorizing females who fell short of the standard of strict Sharia. They were sometimes instigate the public flogging of other women who, for instance, might not have been fully covered from head to toe. “Watch this video of hijab women attacking a woman who is not wearing hijab.
Traditionally, women and girls are sometimes tasked with monitoring and closely controlling their sisters or other females in the family, to ensure that the females do not tarnish the family’s reputation. Often Sharia-observant woman might report the “bad” ones to their fathers or brothers to enable them to “take care of” the family honor, or even “take care of” it themselves.
Some mothers participate in, or cover up, the so-called honor killing of their daughters. It is they who customarily teach their daughters not only to obey Sharia but also to be subservient to their brothers or other male relatives. Mothers or older females are the ones who take young girls to be circumcised (genitally mutilated). This is often the way an average Muslim woman in a conservative environment gets most of her Sharia-enforcement education — from other women.
Because Islam now exists in the West, there are at least three distinctive profiles of how Muslim women adapt in Western society:
- Ostensibly Western religious Muslims who act as apologists for radical Islam. They claim that their hijab is the symbol of their freedom, yet they support causes and beliefs that act against freedom. Linda Sarsour, for example, has called for jihad against President Donald Trump. Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the US House of Representatives, has announced that she will be fundraising for a CAIR, a group linked to the terrorist group, Hamas.
- The seemingly secular Muslim woman but still focused on anti-Semitism and whose natural inclination accepts the notion that Islam would eventually conquer the West and destroy Israel. Another newly-elected U.S. Representative, Rashida Tlaib, apparently belongs to a group, Palestinian American Congress, which calls Jews “Satanic”. She also — while tweeting about other American groups that, “They forgot what country they represent” – ironically sounds as if she forgot that she is representing Americans, not Palestinians.
- Then, there is a different kind of Muslim woman, such as those who escaped from Sharia and life in the Muslim world. Rahaf Mohammed, recently had a dramatic escape from Saudi Arabia and now lives in Canada. Princess Latifa, was not so fortunate. After planning for seven years to escape from Dubai, she was captured a few weeks ago on a boat in the Indian Ocean and has not been heard from since. Three Saudi princesses also appear to have been met with punishment. They were locked up in 2014 for having spoken “in opposition to women being illegally detained and placed in mental wards.” After that, it seems, “the king had enough and no longer considered them his daughters.” They have been presumably left to die.
Most of the women in the third group when escape to the West are mostly unknown and in all likelihood just grateful to be living in freedom, away from Sharia. But, even in the West, they are usually looked down upon by the Islamic community; some of them could be living in semi-isolation if they are not successful in integrating into a Western society. A few have defied the code of silence and spoken out. The brave Rifqa Bary, after her father threatened to kill her for leaving Islam, ran away from her parents’ home in Ohio when she was 16, and wrote a book, Hiding in the Light.
After 9/11, several former Muslim women spoke out from inside the safety of Western society about their escape from Islam. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dr. Wafa Sultan and this author are some who would belong to this group. Asra Q. Nomani has written, “One of our greatest challenges here in America is that progressives don’t always stand with the progressive Muslims because in the interest of freedom of religion and civil liberties and political correctness, they don’t want to offend cultural choices by Muslims. I know that people have gone to these interfaith sessions at different mosques and they see that the women end up in the basement, but they don’t want to challenge anyone because they think, “Oh, well this is your way”.
But as someone who has escaped life under Sharia, I am deeply saddened to watch the hostile reaction of Western liberals and feminists at outspoken women of Middle East origin who escaped Sharia and openly criticize it. We are not welcomed on college campuses by those who view themselves as progressive. When Hirsi Ali was disinvited by Brandeis University she said: “They simply wanted me to be Silenced.”
The progressive left in America has made their pick as to whom to give voice, power and respect out of the three profiles of immigrant women from the Middle East and it is not the third category. They have fantasies about multiculturalism that defies the reality looking straight at them in the eye.
First published in the Geller Report.