- The Washington Times - Friday, September 10, 2004

Women’s Lib has at last come to the Muslim Arab world. A manifesto titled “Our Goal is Paradise” calling on Arab women to get with it and become jihadist warriors has just been published in the new Arab on-line magazine Al Khansaa. The manifesto’s opening pronouncement in the name of Muslim womanhood is a foretaste of its religio-political bugle call:

“We will stand covered by our veils and wrapped in our robes, weapons in hand, our children in our laps, with the Koran and the Sunna of the Prophet of Allah directing and guiding us. The blood of our husbands and the body parts of our children are the sacrifice by means of which we draw closer to Allah, so that through us, Allah will cause the Shahada [martyrdom] for His sake to succeed.”

The manifesto, according the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translation, is directed at Arab wives and mothers. It recalls as jihad models two women suicide bombers, Ayat Al-Akhras, who targeted a Jerusalem supermarket March 29, 2002, and Reem Al-Riyashi, who carried out her suicide mission at the Erez crossing in Gaza last Jan. 14.

According to Daniel Pipes, jihad means “holy war.” Or, more precisely, the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand Muslim-ruled territories at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims.

The new magazine is published by Al Qa’ida’s Arabian Peninsula Women’s Information Bureau. It is named after Al-Khansaa bint Omar, a poet of the pre-Islamic period. She converted to Islam and is considered the “mother of the Shahids [martyrs].” When her four sons died in battle, the story goes, she did not mourn but thanked Allah for “honoring” her with their death.

In a rather schoolmasterish tone, the article analyzes the reasons Arab women don’t involve themselves in jihad, and warns that “the Jihad Warrior Woman must be in top condition, not overindulge in eating and drinking.”

The article taunts Arab women who “cry in sadness over [their] sisters in Iraq, over women prisoners in Palestine, over bereaved mothers in Chechnya, and over orphans in Afghanistan, and in the rest of the Islamic lands. We hear her threaten the enemies and plan to help [Muslim women]. Then, in time of emergency, she turns back; she clings to her work and her status, and it is difficult for her to leave them.”

The article calls for women’s fitness, especially for the “female Jihad warrior to be in physical top condition, not overindulge in eating and drinking, and frequently carry out the elective fasts [i.e. fasts other than during Ramadan]. She must do exercises. … After the female Jihad warrior has reached this [level of] fitness, she must maintain it in order not to lose it, must refrain from remaining awake at night and from poor nutrition, physical fatigue, and the other factors that will cause her to lose what she has achieved.” If there were any modernity in Arabdom, Saudi Arabia could profitably finance fitness centers throughout the Middle East.

What gives this magazine article its Women’s Lib attribute is that it tells Arab women “when Jihad becomes a obligation, then the woman is summoned like a man, and need ask personal permission neither from her husband nor from her guardian, because she is obligated and none need to ask permission in order to carry out a commandment that everyone must carry out.” In other words, when it comes to an act of terror, the Arab woman need ask permission of no man, husband, father, brother, to don the suicide belt.

It is a sorry day that Women’s Lib in the Middle East can only come via an act of terror whose name should be not “suicide bomber” but should be called “homicide bomber” in sad recognition of its victims.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times. His updated biography “Herman Wouk, the Novelist as Social Historian,” has just been published.

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