Monday, June 02, 2008

Perhaps Not Just Prone

That would be the position of women in al-Qaida, according to the number two seeded terrorist, Ayman Al-Zawahri. Women can also take care of the male al-Qaida members' children and houses. That's it, pretty much:

In response to a female questioner, al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman Al-Zawahri said in April that the terrorist group does not have women. A woman's role, he said on the Internet audio recording, is limited to caring for the homes and children of al-Qaida fighters.

His remarks have since prompted an outcry from fundamentalist women, who are fighting or pleading for the right to be terrorists. The statements have also created some confusion, because in fact suicide bombings by women seem to be on the rise, at least within the Iraq branch of al-Qaida.

A'eeda Dahsheh is a Palestinian mother of four in Lebanon who said she supports al-Zawahri and has chosen to raise children at home as her form of jihad. However, she said, she also supports any woman who chooses instead to take part in terror attacks.

Another woman signed a more than 2,000-word essay of protest online as Rabeebat al-Silah, Arabic for "Companion of Weapons."

"How many times have I wished I were a man ... When Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri said there are no women in al-Qaida, he saddened and hurt me," wrote "Companion of Weapons," who said she listened to the speech 10 times. "I felt that my heart was about to explode in my chest...I am powerless."

All this reminds me of that Stokely Carmichael quote about the proper position of women in SNCC:

In 1964, Ruby Doris Smith Robinson presented an indignant assault on the treatment of women civil rights workers in a paper entitled "The Position of Women in SNCC," to a SNCC staff meeting. Stokely Carmichael reputedly responded, "The only position for women in SNCC is prone."

If you can forget the extremely distasteful context of terrorism in this topic the messages are fairly similar. Even liberation organizations and terrorist organizations are boys' tree-houses and girls are not allowed. The "liberation" is somehow oddly not for women at all. Just think where the women ended after the French Revolution was over (with a worse legal position than before it) or what happened to women's position when the old Soviet bloc crumbled.

But of course most of us wouldn't have been surprised by Al-Zawahri's response at all. Isn't radical Islam really strongly invested in forcing women back into seclusion, away from paid employment and back under the rules of the Sharia law which doesn't treat women equally with men? Why would these women expect anything different from those who hold such opinions?

Hat tip to upyernoz who wrote about this topic under a title which translates to "the mujahida (the
word mujahid, holy warrior, with a feminine ending tacked on) needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."