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Posted in: Islamic Gender & Religious Apartheid, Feminism

Published on Nov 04, 2008 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

The Lights are Going Out For Women in the Muslim World


The American people are voting in droves today. There are incredibly long lines at all my neighborhood polling sites. Feminists are especially concerned with womens’ reproductive rights. They believe that the Democrats share their views.

While this is true, it may be true only for American women, not for women living elsewhere, especially in the Islamic world. Feminists took President Bush to hard task, (and rightly so), for his having de-funded programs that helped women abroad if they also counseled women about abortion.

Islamic fundamentalism is even more dangerous for women. If America is not resolved to stop jihadists, both militarily and educationally, then the lights will continue to go out for women all over the world.

In Kandahar, Afghanistan, the Taliban slaughtered an Afghan midwife in Kandahar whose name was Zarghouna. Her fate will be the fate ever so many more brave Muslim women if the free world allows the jihadists to win.

The Taliban warned Zarghouna to stop giving out condoms (!) and birth control pills since that would lead to adultery. According to journalist Tom Blackwell:

“The Taliban have also fired off threatening letters recently telling the clinics that they cannot allow male doctors to examine female patients, though often women health workers are simply not available. The clinics do get female guards to interview women patients and pass on the information to the male physician, but that does not seem to satisfy the insurgents.”

I would not call them “insurgents.” I would call them dangerously ignorant, reactionary, fascist, terrorist, murdererous, and misogynist. But all my name calling will not bring Zarghouna back.

Dr. Fazal Rahman, head of the Afghan Health and Development Service, pointed out that the family planning programs have “helped curb the huge problem here of low birth-weight babies, since fewer children in a family means fewer mouths to feed and better nutrition for everyone. Family planning also aids women who are too weak or sick themselves to go through pregnancy.”

Which Presidential candidate is more likely to bring change, not only to America, and not only to the perception of America in the world, but also to the world’s women? But even the most sympathetic of American Presidents may not be able to influence anything that goes on in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia.


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