Haleh Esfandiari is an Iranian American who escaped the revolution in ’79. Currently directing the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Esfandiari was held captive by the Iranian regime for 105 days in 2007. One of the few voices willing to speak up for the women being oppressed under the ISIS regime, she recently turned a critical eye toward Arab and Muslim governments in the region in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:
Arab and Muslim governments, vocal on the threat ISIS poses to regional stability, have been virtually silent on ISIS’s systemic degradation, abuse, and humiliation of women. To the men of ISIS, women are an inferior race, to be enjoyed for sex and be discarded, or to be sold off as slaves.
…Zakia Hakki, an Iraqi judge and a woman herself, says that the fighters leave behind pregnant women who, as “soiled goods,” are ostracized by their own societies, while their children are treated as illegitimate. These raped women become targets for honor killings in their own families and communities. The governments of Iraq and Syria have also failed to protect these women and give them any assistance; nor have Western NGOs been effective in looking after these abandoned women and children. ISIS’s men not only leave behind dead bodies in their wake but also women and children who are scarred for life.
In its propaganda, ISIS emphasizes women’s modesty and piety. It created the al-Khansaa female brigade to protect the morality of women and to ensure they appear totally veiled in public. The irony will not be lost on anyone.
Esfandiari’s damning evidence adds fuel to the fire most feminists are unwilling to take on. But, it is her cultural analysis that demands the West’s wholehearted attention (emphasis mine):
Volunteer fighters from around the world, including from Western countries, who have joined ISIS are complicit in these crimes against women. These young men who grew up in Western cultures seem to have absorbed nothing regarding the value of human life and respect for women. Why are there are no demonstrations in Western and Muslim societies against this barbaric onslaught on women and girls? How much longer will the Muslim and Arab world watch these horrors against women and children before speaking out and acting forcefully to protect them and rid the region of the ISIS calamity?
With regards to the lack of outcry in Muslim societies, it would seem Esfandiari answered her own question. Raymond Ibrahim provides further proof of the anti-woman attitude prevalent among eastern Muslim cultures, including those that have immigrated to the West. And while non-Muslim women are the primary targets of Muslims in Western societies, certain Muslim women are considered fair game back east:
Last year, Jordanian Sheikh Yasir al-‘Ajlawni said Muslims fighting to topple “infidel” president Bashar Assad in Syria are permitted to “capture and have sex with” all non-Sunni women, including Shia Muslims, Alawites, Christians, Druze, and Yazidis.
How much longer will the Muslim and Arab world stand by? Probably about as long as the mainstream feminist world will turn a blind eye to these heinous crimes against women. Their cultural Marxist ideology is justified by the likes of female Kuwaiti political activist Salwa al-Mutairi. Citing the opinions of Islamic clerics from Mecca, al-Mutairi advocates for the Muslim sex slave trade the way most Western feminists defend Slut Walks:
Muslim state must [first] attack a Christian state—sorry, I mean any non-Muslim state—and they [the women, the future sex-slaves] must be captives of the raid. Is this forbidden? Not at all; according to Islam, sex slaves are not at all forbidden. Quite the contrary, the rules regulating sex-slaves differ from those for free women …in the Chechnya war, surely there are female Russian captives. So go and buy those and sell them here in Kuwait; better that than have our men engage in forbidden sexual relations. I don’t see any problem in this, no problem at all.”
But if it isn’t mainstream feminism, with its tacit defense of Islamic sex slavery, that makes the West a safe haven for female and human rights, what does? What is it about our neck of the woods that would inspire an Iranian to remark on the power of the Western world to inculcate minds against such virulent anti-women attitudes? Perhaps it is time for us to revisit the Hebraic text that informed the creation of the West and find out.