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Posted in: Afghanistan, Muslim Women

Published on May 13, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

The High Cost of Western Idealism

Saving Schoolgirls From Being Poison-Gassed in Afghanistan and Honor-Murdered in Sweden


Yesterday in Charikar, Afghanistan, for the second time in two weeks, 50 innocent schoolgirls were poison-gassed at school and had to be hospitalized. Many girls lost consciousness and collapsed. Some girls were dizzy, nauseous, and threw up. Amazingly, Noor Jahan, a ninth grader at the Ura Jalili Girls High School said:

"I am pretty sure whoever has done this is against education for girls, but I strongly ask the parents not to be discouraged by such brutal action and send their children to school."

Such attacks on Afghan girls schools have escalated within the past year. However, this barbaric, Taliban mentality is alive and well among some Afghan immigrants in the West. The Afghan-Canadian brother, Hasibullah Sadiqi, who killed his sister and her fiancé in Ottawa and who is now standing trial, came to Canada when he was five months old. Nevertheless, Hasibullah enacted ancient tribal, (or radically Islamic codes), despite the fact that he had been living in the West for more than twenty one years.

Many male immigrants look as if they've assimilated to western ways. They dress in western attire, speak the language of their adopted country, study, socialize with, and work alongside native citizens. They may do all these things even if they wear Muslim, Sikh, or Hindu religious attire.

When it comes to many female immigrants, especially if they are Muslim, things are different. The women are forced into (or "choose") to wear hijab, niqab, burq'a, or chador. Their movements are closely supervised and monitored. They suffer daily threats: If they do anything that is viewed as "too western," or do anything against their parents wishes, they will be beaten, cursed, grounded, stalked, spied on, and threatened with death.

While this may sound unbelievable—trust me, it's true. For example, an attempted honor killing trial has just begun in Gothenberg, Sweden. Such a trial is extremely rare. Both the plaintiffs and the defendants are Kurdish Iraqis. Accused are three women (a mother and two aunts) and three men (a father and two male cousins). Everyone, including the daughter and her chosen fiancé, are religious Muslims.

The crime? "Jian," (not her real name), dared to choose "Azan," (not his real name), as her fiancé. They were eventually married by an imam—not in a civil ceremony. But, Jian did not follow her family's wishes that she marry a cousin whom she did not know. Jian and Azad are both testifying in the trial on video from an undisclosed location.

"Esther" posted this information at Islam in Europe and Daniel Pipes called it to my attention. The news coverage is in Swedish. But here is a translation of some facts:

In the summer of 2007, Jian's family discovered she had a boyfriend. From that moment on, "her father drove her to and from school, she was not allowed to go out without an aunt following her. Jian says her parents and relatives beat her, threatened to kill her and cursed her. They called her a 'whore' and told her she was dirty and worthless. Her father told her he'll kill her with a pistol and her mother told her they'll kill her on the spot. They threatened to kill Azad and cut him up in the bathtub. Jian says that the only thing preventing them from doing so was the fact that everybody would then know about the relationship…Azad kept asking for permission to marry Jian; her father refused him over and over."

In February of 2008, the social services took Jian into their custody. After two months, Jian "ran away from the shelter (presumably to see Azad). She was found by her parents and two male cousins. The four were in a car, Jian's mother was driving. She beat Jian with a shoe and threatened her with a broken glass bottle and screwdriver. The abuse ended when the police showed up."

Still, the six defendents insist that they would never do anything to harm either Jian or Azad and merely restricted Jian because they felt Azad had manipulated and brainwashed her into the marriage in order to avoid deportation. Clearly, their definition of what "harm" consists of is very different from a western definition.

Now is the time to start wrestling with certain questions. What does it cost, in terms of social services and welfare, to feed, house, educate, and provide medical care for a large percentage of the 30-50 million Muslim immigrants who live in Europe? These immigrants are also rapidly procreating and rapidly marrying cousins from the Old Country. Their care and feeding will eventually bankrupt Eurabia. In addition, it will cost even more to protect immigrant girls and women from being battered and honor-killed. To its credit, Britain has set up a special police division to handle honor-related violence. And, right now, there are 100 girls being sheltered in hiding to protect them from honor-related violence in just one Swedish county. (Vastra Gotaland). Protecting each one costs "1,500-3,500 kroner a day. " Multiply that by every county in Sweden.

Some argue that if we do not find ways to educate and ameliorate the suffering of the wretched of the earth, that we will not only fail our own principles; in addition, the wretched will take us down in terrorist and nuclear attacks, and endless wars.

Can the West uplift the Third World without bankrupting itself? Are we obligated to try to do so anyway, no matter the cost? How many Americans will have to die in order to protect the schoolgirls of Afghanistan? Is our blood and a version of the Marshall Plan going to be enough to save Afghan women in an era of radical Islam? Can Canada afford an increasing number of prosecutions for honor murders and the cost of jail as well? Can the Crown do so endlessly, without limit?

I do not have the answer. In fact, I only have more questions: What if one of the girls we save is as brave and as inspiring as Afghan ninth grader, Noor Jahan? (See above). With a little help, there is no telling how much good Noor may be able to do in the world. And, what if one of the women we save is as determined to live, to seize happiness with both hands, as is "Jian" in Sweden? Do we surrender her to the forces of evil or do we try to rescue her?


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