Op-Ed: Tale of 2 Women: Pakistani Terrorist & Somali-Dutch MP
Prof. Phyllis CheslerThe writer is the author of fourteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has published three studies about honor killing and is work on a fourth. Her new book, An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) will be out in the fall. Professor Chesler may be reached at her website www.phyllis-chesler.com
No matter who finally wins the next American election, one of the most pressing issues will be America’s relationship to central Asia. This includes a potentially nuclear Iran, an already nuclear Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Yesterday, the Taliban video-ed their close-range execution of 15 blind-folded Pakistani soldiers. The executioners shouted out “G-d is the greatest” and “This will be the fate of all infidel armies.” The Taliban had abducted these Muslim Pakistani soldiers a month ago in retaliation for the death of twelve of their comrades.
Yes, this is the same Taliban with which America is now willing to negotiate. They are, if possible, even more primitive than the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, or the Iranian mullahs.
An Afghan friend of mine predicts that the Taliban will take the entire southern part of the country which “they already occupy.” Further, he said, “They have no history of culture, they are rural and still live in the 8th century and probably always will. The Afghan north has a rich cultural history which includes Persian, Buddhist, Zoroastrian cultures. Maybe the division of my country into two is inevitable.”
Nevertheless, a new book (Wanted Women. Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui), which compares the two well known women, is far more sympathetic to the Pakistani-born, American-educated Aafia Siddiqui, who became an Islamist terrorist and a rabid Jew hater (she is known as Lady Al Qaeda), than she is towards the Somali-Dutch feminist and apostate Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who eloquently opposes Islamic jihad, Islamic gender and religious apartheid; she also supports the Jewish state.
The author, Deborah Scroggins, sees both women as “rebels,” as two sides of the same coin. Scroggins does not like the tall, eloquent, African, Hirsi Ali, whom she views as a “racist” an “Islamophobe,” and a “neo-conservative.”
Siddiqui is a terrorist, she exercised free choice and chose this path—she received a Ph.D in Neuroscience from Brandeis University. But, to Scroggins, Siddiqui is still a victim. After all, she is a religious Muslim, veiled to the eyeballs, and she has been sentenced to 86 years in prison. Many Muslims view her as a freedom fighter and, therefore, as innocent and as unjustly imprisoned.
Hirsi Ali may be black, but she has escaped her fate and succeeded in very Western terms. She is no victim. Therefore, Scroggins finds her unacceptably “imperious.” Scroggins views Ayaan’s desire for happiness and for security as arrogant and selfish.
Scroggins represents your typical left point of view. The West has caused jihad due to its allegedly imperialist, colonialist, racist, and capitalist policies. Anyone who does not blame the West, especially America and Israel, is politically suspect.
Scroggins, like so many of her kind, has absolutely no idea about the long and barbaric history of Islamic imperialism, colonialism, racism, slavery, and its practice of gender and religious apartheid.
Siddiqui married the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), one of the masterminds of 9/11. She disappeared into Pakistan for many years. And, then she was found wandering in Afghanistan, in Ghazni, where she was arrested by American soldiers after they found her carrying bomb-making and chemical warfare instructions. In captivity, she picked up one of the soldiers’ guns and shot him.
Hirsi Ali championed the West, democracy, women’s rights, human rights, religious tolerance, etc. over and above the Islam that she had been exposed to in the Middle East. She became an apostate, a member of the Dutch Parliament, and ultimately, a woman who needed round-the-clock security against all the Islamist death threats against her.
Scroggins insists that Hirsi Ali lied about needing asylum in the West. That she was never in any danger, certainly not from her family and not from an arranged marriage.
And yet, Scroggins herself shares the following original interview that she conducted with Ayaan’s cousin Omar. He is very angry at Ayaan and angrier still at how the West has embraced her. He says:
“The West! We don’t insult their religion. You must not insult the deepest beliefs of other people…If I [expurgated] word, ed.] on your face, is that freedom of expression? It is not! It is an insult.”
According to Scroggins, Omar is shouting. He says he does not need to see her film or read her book “to know that her family had the right, perhaps even the duty to kill her. She is bringing problems between Muslims and the West…a close relative can kill her now. And I must say, I am a close relative to her.”
Thus, Scroggins herself gives us one instance of how one male relative of Hirsi Ali sounds. And yet, Scroggins continues to disbelieve Hirsi Ali’s claims in this regard.
Finally, but only on the very last page, does Scroggins admit that the entire premise of her comparison is deeply flawed. After finding the two women morally equivalent for 467 pages; after presenting Aafiya as a more sympathetic figure than Ayaan; only on page 468 do we read the following:
“That is not to say they are equivalent figures, morally or otherwise. They are not. Ayaan…fights only with words whereas the evidence leads me to conclude that Aafiya was almost certainly plotting murder during her missing years and perhaps prepared to further a biological or chemical attack on the United States on a scale to rival 9/11.”
And yet, throughout the book, Scroggins shares Aafiya’s political analysis and condemns and challenges Ayaan’s views.
Why is it that the Western left constantly and ardently goes about apologizing for and demonizing American and European gender egalitarianism? What Scroggins views as “religious freedom” comes at the expense of national security and all the democratic ideals which western democracies have enacted, which include women’s rights and individual rights.
Why does Scroggins not apply the same acute criticism she directs towards western-style democracies to non-Western cultures? Certainly, there are instances when the West has incorrectly intervened, but it is morally unjustifiable and astonishingly hypocritical to jettisons Western ideals of egalitarianism to evoke sympathy for terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, and crimes against women. .