Prof. Phyllis CheslerThe writer, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum and recipient of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award, is the author of sixteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has written four studies about honor killing, Her latest books are An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) and Living History: On The Front Lines for Israel and the Jews.Professor Chesler may be reached at her website www.phyllis-chesler.com
Feminists, Hollywood celebrities, and Democratic legislators have denounced President Trumps Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” Demonstrators have surged at airports, class-action lawsuits have been filed, judicial restraining orders have been issued.
I do not view this Act as a “Muslim Ban” since 49 other Muslim-majority countries are not specifically excluded here. Only seven failed Muslim states, well known for training Jihadists, as well as Iran, are named. But I want to focus on something else that no one has mentioned.
As a feminist, scholar, and activist, I think this Order is long overdue.
As the author of four studies about honor killing at Middle East Quarterly, I especially welcome this Section:
“The United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes towards it and its founding principles….or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, or other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own), or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
91% of the honor killings committed in the West are Muslim-on-Muslim crimes.
Not all honor killers are Muslims. This is a tribal custom which neither Hindu, Sikh, nor Muslim clerics have chosen to abolish. Hindus, also perpetrate honor killings—but they confine this barbaric practice to India. Those who emigrate to the West do not bring this custom with them. Only Muslims do. In fact, 91% of the honor killings committed in the West are Muslim-on-Muslim crimes.
Not all honor killers are male. Since women internalize tribal practices too, they also play a role as collaborators or as hands-on perpetrators in the honor killing of their daughters and daughters-in-law.
Mothers were involved in at least three high-profile honor killing cases in the United States.
In 1989, in St. Louis, Missouri, Palestina Isa’s mother, father, and sisters all conspired against the sixteen-year-old. Her mother joined her father, (an Abu Nidal terrorist from the West Bank), in brutally stabbing her to death. Palestina's crime? She was academically gifted, full of life, and, although her family hated "blacks," Palestina was friendly with an African-American boy.
In 2008, Dallas, Texas, seventeen-year-old Sarah and eighteen-year-old Amina Said were lured by their mother and then shot to death by their taxi-driver, gun-toting, domestically and sexually violent Egyptian-born father, Yaser Said. Their crimes? Wanting to lead a Western-style life, refusing an arranged marriage, and having boyfriends who tried to protect them.
In 2010, Iraqi-American Noor Almaleki, 20 years old, raised in the United States, left the Iraq-based husband her parents had insisted upon, returned to Arizona and to an American lifestyle. She had a boyfriend. She lived with her boyfriend's mother, also an Iraqi woman, who tried to protect her from her parent's rage. Her father ran her down driving a two ton Jeep Cherokee and her mother helped him make his getaway to England. Faleh Almaleki was extradited back to the United States where he stood trial.
Because there are many more Muslims in Europe, there are significantly more honor killings there.
Feminists insist that some American men are also domestically violent and view focusing on honor killings as “Islamophobic”. But honor killings are not the same as Western-style domestic violence.
American fathers do not routinely kill their young daughters; a tribal honor killing primarily targets teenage girls and young women.
American batterers are not assisted by their families of origin. An honor killing is always a planned family conspiracy.
American batterers do not usually murder their victims. With rare, lucky exceptions, an honor killing always ends in a murder.
Domestic violence is not glorified in America; however imperfectly, it is prosecuted.
In a classic honor killing, the perpetrators are often seen as heroes who have rescued their families from being “dishonored.” In most cases, especially in rural and agricultural areas, the families of rebellious girls may have a hard time attracting mates for their sons and daughters and may suffer social and economic ostracism.
Here’s why I also welcome this Executive Order.
In my opinion, forced face veiling constitutes gender-based violence. Wherever we find women in niqab, (face-veiled), or wearing burqas, we must assume that they are living in families in which daughter- and wife-beating, as well as forced marriages are normalized.
Although the Qu’ran does not mandate face or body veiling (it mandates only “modesty” for both men and women), such families are more likely to follow a fundamentalist form of Islam, and thus, might be more susceptible to being radicalized against infidels and Western ways.
I do not oppose head coverings: hats, caps, kippahs, wigs, a Catholic nun’s traditional headgear etc. because one’s identity is not concealed, the wearer is not trapped inside an ambulatory sensory deprivation isolation chamber. However, I fear that today, hijab (the Islamic headscarf), advertises one’s acceptance of Islamic supremacism and woman’s subordinate status. Contrary to the recent Women’s March against President Trump in D.C., where non-Muslim women donned hijab, I view doing so as a form of appeasement, not as a sign of political resistance to racism or totalitarianism.
The same feminists who’ve betrayed Muslim feminists, dissidents, and gays who are fighting Islamist totalitarianism, are the very feminists who are proudly donning hijab and vowing to register as Muslims. They are sadly misguided.
Anti-Islamist vetting and complying with Constitutional limitations will not be easy but this Order is a necessary first step in that process.