Sisterhood is powerful

I love it when women push back against exclusion and demand their rights, don’t you?

Muslim extremist women are challenging al-Qaida’s refusal to include – or at least acknowledge – women in its ranks, in an emotional debate that gives rare insight into the gender conflicts lurking beneath one of the strictest strains of Islam. 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.

Well I should think so. The nerve of that guy! A woman’s role is limited to house and children, indeed – doesn’t he know it’s the 21st century?! Jeez – wake up, dude, we got past that awhile ago. Women can do anything! Free to be you and me! Our bodies ourselves – our bodies belong to us and we can blow them up just as well as men can. We probably do it better – we’re better at planning and patience, you know.

“A lot of the girls I speak to … want to carry weapons. They live with this great frustration and oppression,” said Huda Naim, a prominent women’s leader, Hamas member and Palestinian lawmaker in Gaza. “We don’t have a special militant wing for women … but that doesn’t mean that we strip women of the right to go to jihad.”

All right! Way to go Hamas, not stripping women of their right to explode themselves and others. Solidarity forever.

Mr. Al-Zawahri’s remarks show the fine line al-Qaida walks in terms of public relations. In a modern Arab world where women work even in some conservative countries, al-Qaida’s attitude could hurt its efforts to win over the public at large.

Uh…so it comes as a newsflash to these women that al-Qaida isn’t really a feminist outfit? Have they been paying full attention?

On the other hand, noted SITE director Ms. Katz, Mr. al-Zawahri has to consider that many al-Qaida supporters, such as the Taliban, do not believe women should play a military role in jihad.

Well quite. This is what I’m saying. Many al-Qaida supporters do not believe women should drive cars, or have jobs, or get medical attention when ill, or refuse to marry when told to, or leave the house. Playing a military role kind of fits into that larger picture, if you see what I mean.

Mr. Al-Zawahri’s stance might stem from personal history, as well as religious beliefs. His first wife and at least two of their six children were killed in a U.S. air strike…“I say to you…[I have] tasted the bitterness of American brutality: my favourite wife’s chest was crushed by a concrete ceiling,” he wrote in a 2005 letter.

Oh…that’s a shame. So sad that it wasn’t his least favourite wife instead. Poor guy.

Women bent on becoming militants have at least one place to turn to. A niche magazine called “al-Khansaa”…has popped up online…Its first issue, with a hot pink cover and gold embossed lettering, appeared in August if 2004 with the lead article “Biography of the Female Mujahedeen.”

Excellent! Kind of Sex and the City for the abaya set.

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