Every day, women are under attack by extremism that supports and approves of oppression, mutilation, and murder of women. According to leaders and followers of extremism, they have the right to commit violence against women. extremism views oppression of women as a legitimate “right,” violence against women as a legitimate “right,” and murdering women as a legitimate “right.”
Humanity’s inalienable human rights include equality and liberty, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and the freedom to pursue happiness. No one has the “right” to oppress women, no one has the “right” to violence against women, and no one has the “right” to murder women. Humanity must defy the dark and twisted vision of extremists who believe that they can act without challenge and without consequences.
We need to defy this extremist view against women – for the mothers of the world, for the daughters of the world, and for the sisters of the world. We must demand that humanity and its leaders stop the slaughter of women by extremists. As extremists call for their “right” to murder women, we must demand from ourselves and from our leaders that we Save Women Now.
This global threat against women must be confronted by both men and women, not just by being “sorry” about random violence or about “extremist” actions against women, but by demanding that our representatives acknowledge that extremism threatens them, and by calling for global action against extremism.
Concerned citizens are speaking out on this issue in a public rally on March 8, International Women’s Day, at 1 PM at the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington DC. All those concerned about this issue are invited to join this public rally and to sign our petition calling for world leaders to acknowledge and act on the threat of extremism against women. We also ask that concerned citizens support the important work of women leaders reporting on these crimes against women, such as author and feminist Phyllis Chesler and many others. We need to support courageous leaders in this important effort to save women around the world.
In October 2008, a thirteen year old girl named Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was murdered by supporters of this extremist ideology — that murders thousands of women and girls every year. She was stoned to death as a crowd of 1,000 watched her punishment at the hands of fifty extremist men. Her “crime” was that she was victim of gang rape. Her death by stoning was the result of extremists’ support of an extreme version of Sharia law. As she begged for mercy, their reply was they were doing the will of Allah. The United States Senate responded to this act of terrorism with U.S. Senate Resolution 711. Senate Resolution 711 “condemned” this action. There was no recognition of the extremist ideology behind these attacks. The U.S. Senate’s only real call for action in this Senate Resolution 711 was to ask Somalia to “strengthen the rule of law” in that nation. Since then, the new president of Somalia has adopted Sharia law for all of Somalia — while not action to challenge the extremist version of Sharia law that extremists used to justify murdering this child.
Being “sorry” is not enough. Politicians’ “condemnations” are not enough. Ignoring the extremist ideology behind the slaughter and oppression of women in America and around the world is not enough. The failure of our leaders to acknowledge and act against extremism has emboldened extremists’ war on women. If we don’t speak out, if we don’t demand more of our national and international leaders, more women will be murdered by extremists, more women will attacked by Islamic supremacists, and more women will be oppressed by extremists.
We demand that our representatives in the United States government recognize the institutionalized extremist ideology that has declared war on the women of the world. We are circulating an online petition among free people demanding such acknowledgement of this Islamic supremacist threat to women and calling for action against Islamic supremacism in the United States of America and around the world.
We see the affects of extremism on women in America. In this nation that is the “land of the free,” extremists do not fear beating and murdering women. They defy equality and liberty even in America. What do they have to fear when our government leaders refuse to acknowledge that extremism even exists?
In an America where our government leaders pretend that Islamic supremacism does not exist, women are threatened, beaten, and murdered for their refusal to submit to those who believe that women are second-class citizens. In New York, one woman was beheaded and another was beaten and told she would be treated “like a dog.” In Pittsburgh, a woman was threatened to be killed for “defaming” Islam. In Atlanta, a daughter was murdered for her Muslim father’s view of “honor.” In Dallas, teenage girls were murdered by their Muslim father for the “crime” of having boyfriends. In Cleveland, a woman is murdered by her male cousins in name of Islam.
When a successful American Muslim who leads a television station designed to promote “moderate Islam” beheads his wife, we are still told to ignore the pervasive threat of extremism against women. We are asked to believe that “honor killings” are the result of poverty and ignorance, when such an educated, powerful, assimilated role model for Muslims in America beheads his wife.
Repeatedly, we are told that “honor killings” are cultural and have nothing to do with Islam. We are told to ignore when murderers that commit such crimes state that they do so for “Allah.” We are told to ignore the Islamic governmental leaders around the world that defend such “honor killings” against women, as they emerge from mosques. We are told to ignore the governments of extremist nations as they reject protection of women from honor killings. We are told to ignore an extremist ideology, where imams counsel Muslims on how much, not whether, to beat their wives. We are told not to notice when a group instructing our government leaders in Washington DC on how to fight “extremism” — praises an extremist imam who defends violence against women as a “scholastic giant.”
We are told that we simply don’t understand how some cultures view “honor.”
In America, we do recognize honor. America recognizes “honor” in our Declaration of Independence, which also declares our commitment to the inalienable rights of equality and liberty. We understand that there is no “honor” in the cowardly murdering and beating of women and girls. We understand that there is no honor in the oppression of women. We understand that supremacist ideologies that reject equality and liberty for women are un-American.
It is because we do understand the meaning of “honor,” which demands the support of equality and liberty for all, that we demand that American government leaders acknowledge the existence of extremism and act on the threat of extremism to women. Now.
3. The Global Femicide Against Women
This year for International Women’s Day, March 8, the United Nations has designated the theme as “women and men united to end violence against women and girls.” This week there have been meetings in New York City and other parts of the world calling for an end to general violence against women. We join with the United Nations in denouncing all such violence, but we also demand that the United Nations do more than conduct campaigns against generic violence.
We demand that the United Nations leaders and international leaders acknowledge and act on the global threat of extremism against Muslim and non-Muslim women in the world. The ideology of extremism that rejects equality and liberty also rejects respect and decency towards women. The pursuit of “non-judgmental” tactics and talks alone to end violence against women, while ignoring the ideology of extremism that is at root of much of the violence against women in the world, will always be nothing more than band aids in a raging war.
Yakin Erturk, the UN’s rapporteur on violence against women, has pointed to the failure of the international community to effectively pressure those who ignore extremists’ femicide against women. Ms. Erturk states that: “There is no time left to lose any more as this is a growing crisis. Women must demand that their governments implement agreements on women’s equality, rights and an end to violence against women, which have been signed but have yet to be carried out. In these countries, those who speak on behalf of Islam still justify things like stoning or killing a woman for this or that reason as being part of their religion. I have heard this at the most official of levels… Islamic countries have become stigmatized as being misogynist societies which are inherently anti-women.” AFP has reported that she also told them that “laws protecting women are not enforced or are weakened due to pressure from religious groups.”
But we cannot ignore that the unwillingness for such governments to act, the endorsement of violence against women by some government officials, and the pressure to prevent enforcement of laws protecting women — all come from the same ideological source of extremism. The United Nations, American government leaders, and government leaders around the world must acknowledge that this femicide is more than random violence or “backward” people — it is an institutionalized attack on women rooted in extremism.
extremists around the world mock the very humanity of women. They refer to quotes by Muhammad and the Qur’an to defend their actions against women. They devalue women in their extremist culture and law. They view that words of women do not have the value of that of men. They suppress women’s ability to learn. They demand that women hide their face. They even justify their “right” to murder women.
A greater disgrace is the unwillingness of international leaders of the world to stand up for the rights of women under attack by Islamic supremacists. Such leaders have chosen to look the other way as women are murdered around the world by extremists; such leaders have decided that such women are expendable.
On February 28, 2009, the Chechen president emerged from his mosque to tell reporters that he defends the “right” of extremists to murder women in so-called “honor killings.” He told reporters that such women deserved to die for their “loose morals.” The Russian government accepts this Chechen government leader as their answer to keep “separatists” from gaining power in Chechnya. The message from the Russian government is clear – women are expendable.
On February 17, 2009, the Pakistan government surrendered to the extremist Taliban’s goals to spread extremist Sharia law in the northwest part of Pakistan. The Pakistan women have been a constant target of Islamic supremacists. They are murdered, beaten, and oppressed. Nearly 8,000 cases of abuses against Pakistani woman, including so-called “honor killings,” were reported in 2008. A million pregnant Pakistani women are abused every year. Our State Department has defended Pakistan’s surrender in the spread of extremist Sharia law in that nation. Our so-called military leaders have said that they will take a “wait and watch” attitude towards the growth of extremists in Pakistan that denounce democracy and who oppress and murder women. The message from the American government about Pakistan is also clear – women are expendable.
In Chechnya, Pakistan, Somalia, and around the world, international and American government leaders have adopted a “non-judgmental” approach to the growth of extremist Sharia law used to justify the oppression, violence, and murder of women. The international message from such leaders is clear — women are expendable.
So the unforgivable femicide by extremists continues around the world, day after day after day — without challenge, without defiance. Such atrocities do not just happen in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Africa, and other parts of Middle East. In Jordan alone, “considered one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East,” a third of the violent deaths are due to extremist “honor killings.” In Turkey, there is no stigma attached to the 1,000 extremist honor killings in that country. In Syria, extremist men may face only three to six months in prison for murdering a woman – that is how devalued women’s lives have become — and extremists want to eliminate that law as too onerous on extremist men. Syrian extremist also men get a certificate of “good character” for “defending their honor” after they murder a woman in Syria.
The extremist war on women is not just a Middle Eastern, Asian, or an African problem — it is the world’s problem:
— in Canada where a young girl, Aqsa Parvez, is murdered for “honor” and lies in an unmarked grave
— in France where Muslim women are set on fire for not following “Islamic tradition”
— in the United Kingdom where women are threatened and killed based on an extremist view of honor — where just a kiss could be a death sentence and where women live in fear of extremist retaliation
— in Germany where women and girls are murdered and set on fire for having “un-Islamic values”
— in Denmark and Sweden, where women refuse to accept “arranged marriages”
— in Italy where women are murdered for not being “a good Muslim girl”
— in Israel where Arab women are poisoned, strangled, and shot for defying extremist traditions
— and in America where a series of murders in Dallas, Atlanta, New York, Cleveland, and other cities prove that women are not safe from extremism here.
It is our problem.
The names of the endless victims of extremism’s war on women may not be remembered by many of the public: Amina and Sarah Said, Methal Dayem, Aqsa Parvez, Sandeela Kanwal, Lidia Motylska, Morsal Obeidi, Hatin Surucu, Banaz Mahmood, Caneze Riaz and her daughters, Uzma Rahan, Samaira Nazir, Hina Salem, Sazan Bajez-Abdullah, Rudayena Jemael, Hesha Yones, Ibtihaz Hasoun, Fadime Sahindal, Zahida Peeveen, Ghazala Khan, Dua Khalil, Rim Abu Ghanem, Sabia Rani, Shafilea Ahmed, Randa Abdel Qader, Sonay Mohammad, and so many, many more, including many that we will never know their names.
There is no monument to remember these women victims of extremism, nor does our government recognize the attacks on them as terrorism. We rightly recognize and remember the 3,000 victims of the 9/11 terrorism attacks, but the 5,000 victims of “honor killings” have no day set aside to remember them, and many of our world leaders would just as soon forget about them. We need to call an end to that. I propose that we re-define March 8, International Women’s Day, as a day where we annually remember the victims of extremism’s femicide, as a new Save Women Now Day in defiance of the extremists around the world. Women’s lives, hopes, dreams, freedom, and equality are never expendable, no matter how inconvenient it may be for some world leaders who would rather look the other way on extremism.
On a new Save Women Now Day, we must demand a new course for our leaders – one that rejects tolerance of women as expendable victims, one that rejects ignoring the ideology of extremism that threatens them, and one that rejects any appeasement of Islamic supremacism where the safety and human rights of women are traded away to avoid confrontation with those who stand against equality and liberty.
The thousands of victims of extremism’s war on women may be inconvenient for those international leaders who would trade women’s lives to avoid confronting and angering extremism. We must challenge our leaders and our public to never forget that the extremism violence against women and girls is the most despicable act of terrorism. We must demand action to end the extremist terrorism against women and girls around the world.
In America, we have some people who are in the foreign policy and counterterrorism communities with a vested interest in avoiding confrontation with extremists. They believe that we can find some type of “reconciliation” or “engagement” with extremist political organizations as a way to reduce violence and the threat of terrorism around the world. They have failed to learn lessons from history that there is no appeasing a supremacist ideology – of any kind. Supremacists always have one goal in defeating equality and liberty, and that is to continue to expand and to always seek “more” – as we have seen with the continuing war on women expanding around the world by extremists.
When challenged on such appeasement, they will tell you that your concerns are groundless, that they are the “experts,” and if you seek to prioritize the human rights of equality and liberty, they will complain that you are an “ideologue.” In their eyes, “confrontation” is a dirty word. As thousands of women and girls are murdered around the world by extremists, they don’t view that as “terrorism.” There is no “counterterrorism” policy on the endless stream of murders, violence, attacks, and oppression of women around the world by extremists, because our government leaders don’t recognize that extremism exists, and they don’t view its war on women as “terrorism.”
We need to tell American and international leaders of the world that they are listening to the wrong “experts.” It is not merely “experts” in tactics that we need. It is not “experts” in Islamic studies that we need. It is not “experts” in appeasement that we need. We need experts in equality and liberty. Those experts are you – the people. We need those responsible for equality and liberty to speak as the ones willing to commit our nation to defending the human rights of women around the world. We need the public experts in equality and liberty to tell our national and international leaders that we won’t silently tolerate a heinous war on women and girls by extremists any longer.
We once faced another war, at another time, with a great president named Franklin D. Roosevelt. When our people were attacked by Aryan Nazi supremacists and fascists, FDR did not see victory based on the recommendations from “experts” on supremacism, nor did he see victory based on recommendations from “experts” on fascism. FDR understood that such supremacists and fascists may have started the war, but “the massed, angered forces of common humanity will finish it.” Those are the experts we need to get America back on the right side of history, common humanity’s experts in equality and liberty. We need the voice of those who understand that there is no appeasing extremists. We need the voice of those who understand that the defense of equality of liberty for all women and all men – is always our first priority. It is, after all, what we are fighting for.
Moreover, we need the courage of all humanity in fighting the Islamic supremacist enemy. There are many many courageous women who have sounded the alarm on the war on women by extremism. History will never forget these profiles in courage. But we need more than courageous women in fighting this global war of extremism against women and humanity. We need many more men to take a stand.
For those men who tolerate and accept, for those men who choose to consciously ignore, and worst of all, for those men who embrace and support the actions of Islamic supremacists in oppressing, humiliating, mutilating, beating, and murdering of women in America and around the world — I only have one question. What type of men are you?
As we defy extremism’s war on women, we need the courage of all free humanity, both women and men, to stand united in their responsibility for equality and liberty. We need both women and men to say to those extremists who seek to oppress, attack, and murder the women of the world — your days of evil are numbered, and we will not tolerate you any longer.
Those who think this is not their problem — I challenge you to look to your mother, to your wife, to your daughter, to your sister, to your neighbor, to any woman that you know in the world. Do they deserve this? Does any other woman in the world deserve this? Is this the future we want want our children to inherit? A world where extremists devalue women as human beings?
This war that extremism is waging on the women of the world will only continue, will only succeed, and will only claim more victims — if we choose to continue to tolerate it and remain silent — if we choose that defying them is not important enough — if we choose to ignore the hope that our defiance of Islamic supremacism could bring to women around the world.
We are that hope for the hopeless, that voice for the voiceless, and that courage for those who live in fear. As human beings, we are the ones responsible for equality and liberty. The hopes of the women in the world start with you. This is why we must rally in public, this is why we must generate petitions to our leaders, this is why must reach out to our fellow human beings to remember that equality and liberty are our responsibility.
But to win this war against extremists, we need our greatest weapon that we can find in the essence of humanity itself. We will need to grasp and hold on tight to that essence of humanity as we fight an extremist ideology that defies equality and liberty, that defies human rights, and that degrades women and men around the world. We will need to embrace the true essence of humanity as we challenge the darkness of an extremism that mocks the dignity and the hope of a humanity where all men and women are created equal. No matter how they threaten us, no matter what they do to us, no matter who they kill, our resolve to fighting the evil of extremism must remain steadfast. We must remember who and what we are as human beings.
There are many who believe that the root of humanity is in our fallibility, in our weakness, and in our inability to do the just and decent thing. But I submit that the essence of humanity is something altogether different.
I believe that the essence of humanity can be found in those who understand that all men and women are created equal. I believe that the essence of humanity can be found in those who fight to defend humanity’s inalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that the essence of humanity can be found as a light of hope, courage, and wisdom within each human being. I believe that the essence of humanity can be found in the bravery of love and mercy to our fellow human beings.
So in defying extremism, I believe that we need to reach deep inside of ourselves and find the place that is that essence of humanity – find the unique spark that makes us human beings – find that fearless rock of courage within ourselves that is what it truly means to be human. It is in the essence of humanity itself that we will find that there is no choice in defending our mothers, our sisters, our daughters – in defending women around the world – from extremism.
Because it is in the heart and soul of humanity itself that we find the essence of who and what we are — beings that can rise to confront the challenges of darkness — beings who can spread the light of truth about humanity’s inalienable rights of equality and liberty — but most of all, even in the darkest hour — we find we are people who will…
Fear No Evil
[Postscript – see also Sources documents for additional reading and background information.]