Monday, August 15, marked the one-year anniversary of the
Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. It also marked one
year of desperate work for myself and a network of feminists
and allies from across the globe. My dear friend and colleague,
Mandy Sanghera, organized and co-led the rescue of nearly
500 at-risk women from Afghanistan. These refugees have been
settled primarily in Europe, although a few have made it to
the United States.
this month, I published an article in 4W discussing this harrowing
journey, which ultimately culminated in my meeting one of
our rescued women, Meena Safi, in New York. I had singled
her out for special attention. The article, titled “Finally
Meeting Meena: The Culmination of a Year of Rescuing Afghan
Women”, was translated into German. The comments at
the site raise an important point, namely, that Germany has
already spent a small fortune (50 billion according to one
commenter) in bringing Afghans and other Muslims to Germany.
And what has that yielded?
PUSH BACK AGAINST REFUGEES, FEARING RADICAL ISLAM
on the German translation of our story were quick to push
back against inviting more Afghan refugees to Europe, despite
the dangers feminists like Meena will face at home:
Afghan community in Europe is large and how they deal with
women is no longer a secret. Honor killings. Rapes. Afghans
can only be helped in Afghanistan—and they have to
do it themselves. They should have fought against the Taliban,
but they offered no resistance. Everything could have been
different, but they didn’t want that.
wave after wave of resisters in Iran have been shot down,
arrested, tortured, and murdered by the Mad (and often drug-addicted)
Mullahs. The combination of Islamism, corruption, nepotism,
illiteracy, poverty, and both Arab and Pakistani-funded religious
madrassahs have made such resistance almost impossible.
comment points out that refugees from communism did not try
to turn Western Europe into a parallel, communist society
and did not seek to overthrow democracy. He suggests that
we start deporting “Salafists and Islamic fundamentalists
to their home countries and make room for real refugees.”
His concern is not misogyny but radical Jihad.
commenter also suggests that Europe deport the “Green
and Leftist magical thinkers to the Orient where they can
pursue their multicultural dreams and realize their social
utopias. Judith Butler could teach the Taliban about gender.”
anyone questions the influx of Muslim immigrants, many of
whom have created parallel societies, they are swiftly accused
of being xenophobic, racist, nationalist, and Islamophobic.
Sometimes, this allegation is accurate, sometimes not.
MUSLIM MISOGYNY UNIQUE FROM OTHER FORMS OF GLOBAL PATRIARCHY?
a feminist point of view, we know that girls and women are
sexually harassed, raped, and battered by native European
men all the time; they are also trafficked and pimped out
by such men. Few Caucasian, Christian, and native-born European
men are known to have launched crusades against such home-grown
criminality. Are Muslims being scapegoated, or is there something
unique about Muslim male misogyny that merits their condemnation?
consider some misogynist behaviors that only Muslim men practice
have committed the majority of honour killings in Europe.
While infidel Western men are known to murder their wives,
they rarely murder their teenage daughters, are not encouraged
to do so by their female relatives, and the entire family
plays no role in such a killing. Intimate family murderers
are not considered heroes and do not justify this crime as
part of their culture. Sikhs also honor murder but far less
rarely; Hindus also do so but only in India.
Muslims being scapegoated, or is there something unique about
Muslim male misogyny that merits their condemnation?”
addition, many Muslim male immigrants routinely batter their
wives and daughters in order to keep them in line; force their
wives and daughters to face veil, and to keep apart from infidels.
They often closely monitor their activities, and insist that
a male relative accompany them to school, medical appointments,
or work. They also insist on their daughters’ marrying
much older men whom they do not know, as a way of enabling
male relatives from their home country to become citizens
in a European country.
there are other unique acts committed mainly by Muslim men.
are the Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs in the UK, which for
years, tricked and kidnapped mainly but not only British infidel
girls from broken homes and from group homes—many as
young as eleven or twelve. They gang-raped and addicted them
to drugs and forced them to have sex with as many men as possible.
Unforgivably, the British police and social workers looked
the other way. When some such traffickers were finally brought
to justice, their families death-threatened their victims
as well as anyone who came to court to support them.
non-immigrant pimps are just as brutal—but their families
do not support them, privately and publicly. Their families
do not justify their right to prostitute girls and women because
their victims are infidels.
are other misogynist behaviors that might be unique to Muslim
men. For example, in 2016, a thousand young Muslim men assaulted
every girl and woman they could grope, rape, lick, undress,
and terrorize in Cologne, Germany, and in other German cities,
such as Hamburg.
a radical Islamist point of view, every unveiled, unaccompanied
woman with tight-fitting or Western clothing is seen as fair
kind of large male lynch-like assault on women also takes
place in the Muslim world, for example, the 2011 Egyptian
Revolution in Tahrir Square, Cairo, during the presumed Spring
Uprising—and in Algeria, in a case that I closely followed.
After mosque one Friday, hundreds of men sexually and physically
assaulted a group of poor, civilian women, ostensibly for
the crime of cleaning the offices of foreign companies.
cruelty and violence is not justified anywhere on earth.
could list many instances of Afghan male rapes of boys in
Germany and France, and gang-rapes of underage girls in Austria
and Belgium. Native Europeans are also pedophiles but they
do not justify their normalized prison-style rapes as “normal
in their culture.”
creation of parallel societies also known as “no-go”
zones are ruled by criminal gangs and religious fundamentalists.
They are lawless—and known to harbor terrorists.
one reality. But there is another.
REFUGEES DO NOT EXIST IN A VACUUM
since the Taliban took down Afghanistan a year ago, various
countries and volunteer teams have worked frantically to help
women get out. Quickly, inevitably, we learned that even the
most accomplished of feminists, women who were also judges,
lawyers, physicians, business owners, government officials,
etc. would not leave without their sons, husbands, fathers,
and brothers. Many women, especially from more collectivist
cultures, see themselves first and foremost as daughters,
sisters, wives, and mothers—not individuals in their
own right the way so many Westerners do (perhaps to our detriment).
in no way regret participating in a team that rescued Afghan
women and their families. That work continues on. In fact,
based on the promises of a woman in Spain, we persuaded about
ten to fifteen women to flee Afghanistan for Pakistan, Iran,
or to any other country outside of Afghanistan. (One must
be outside of Afghanistan in order to apply for asylum). We
were promised that they would be interviewed for asylum in
Spain. That has not yet happened. And these women are in desperate
straits. While they wait, they need food and medicine drops,
rent money—and asylum in a Western country. Based on
our previous experiences, we are not sure we can safely fundraise
for food and medicine drops. However, we are also in touch
with a European network for refugee women that has actually
begun to get women out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and hope
to work with them.
women see themselves first and foremost as daughters, sisters,
wives, and mothers.”
the one-year anniversary of the Taliban take-over of Afghanistan,
the women with whom we are still in touch and who are trapped
behind Taliban lines, began sending us messages of despair.
They have been living in isolation, in hiding for a year;
they are being hunted by the Taliban; can only go out wearing
a burqa and/or accompanied by a male relative. If a woman
fails to follow these rules, her husband or a family member
will be punished. Women cannot work. Girls can only attend
school until the sixth grade. One woman writes:
lost everything last year and we are still faced with an unknown
destiny. Women are banned from any activities in society.
I raised my voice but was reduced to silence when my family
members were threatened. The international community is responsible
to force the current government to allow girls to attend school
and women to work.”
woman writes: “We should call August 15th, the BLACKEST
A third woman says:
love to study. I have big dreams. Since the Taliban took
over, I haven’t gone to any classes. Women have hearts,
they can feel pain. (Referring to the burqa, she asks) How
can we wear a large woolen sack? How can we breathe in it?
Why such cruelty? Islam doesn’t say a Muslimah woman
should wear a burqa. The face isn’t part of one’s
private parts. Women are also human beings, they have the
right to live. I hate the Taliban and I hate their rules.
fourth woman writes: “We are suffering but have been
forgotten by the world.”
are right—but not completely so. Our world is exhausted
both by the pandemic, the climate crisis, economic downturns,
political chaos, Putin’s war—and by the huge influx
of refugees from Ukraine. Also, while Afghan women may collaborate
in breaking their daughters’ spirits, they rarely pose
a threat of Jihad violence in the West.
women’s suffering is profound. Can we afford to bring
them and their male relatives to the West? Can we afford to
abandon the women, the male dissidents, and gays to their
tragic fates? Were Western boots on the ground, which ensured
women’s educational and professional development, an
entirely misguided colonial or imperial undertaking? I welcome
one of mine: Since the world is as we know it to be, every
act of kindness, every life saved matters.