Recently, the media reported that 14 terrified young girls and women were kidnapped by ISIS when they attacked the Druze city of Suwayda, Syria. ISIS has threatened to treat these Druze women and girls in the same manner that they have treated Yazidi women and girls should the Syrian regime not halt its offensive against the Yarmouk Valley. As a feminist and Jewish woman, I have the following to say to ISIS and other radical Islamists who have a similar mentality: Minority women and little girls are not toys with whom you can do with whatever you like.
Women and girls, just like men and boys, are breathing living human beings and deserve to be treated as such. They have feelings and are in pain when you hurt them. They can articulate themselves just as well as a man can and in many cases, better. Furthermore, according to an article that was recently published in the Atlantic, many young girls across the Middle East do better in school than their male counter-parts. However, despite this, women only make up a tiny fraction of the work force in most Arab countries, while men who did not perform as well in school are the ones who end up with the jobs.
ISIS and other radical Islamist groups seek to allow women and girls to do nothing in addition to being wives, mothers and in the case of minority women, sexual slaves. The Me Too Movement should be up in arms but it is not, preferring to focus its wrath upon people who sexually abuse American women. To date, there is no sign of intent to broaden the movement to include minority women in the Islamic world who continue to be oppressed merely because they were born into the wrong gender and the wrong faith. Other Western feminist organizations ignore the real plight of islamic women and falsely charge Israel with suppressing them.
The recent abduction of Druze women and girls did not come in a vacuum. According to Israeli Druze diplomat Mendi Safadi, in recent days, senior level Syrian and Russian officials met with the Druze leadership in Swaida, demanding that tens of thousands of young people who deserted from the army go back or be declared terrorists. He claimed that after the Druze leadership refused, they were threatened: “You will bear the consequences and be responsible for what happens to you.” Afterwards, Safadi reported that the Syrian regime attacked the Druze people in Swaida, committing a massacre.
Following this report, Israel’s Communications Minister Ayoub Kara declared, “I condemn every terror attack, massacre and murder of the Druze in Syria. The news of the many that were killed is outrageous, worrisome and saddening. In the name of the State of Israel, which worries about refugees and asylum seekers, we also give increased protection to the Druze in Syria and work so that bad things don’t happen to them.”
Soon thereafter, ISIS entered into the area and massacred 255 civilians. However, this is only the latest incident of anti-Druze violence within the country. Ever since the Syrian Civil War broke out, the Druze have faced intense persecution. When Jabhat al Nusra entered Idlib, they massacred Druze and hundreds more were forcefully converted to Islam.
The Druze who are being persecuted by ISIS only received a fraction of the limelight that the Yazidis and Christians received, who themselves were neglected in comparison to the American victims of certain famous celebrities in the US. While Ifeel for anyone who has been sexually abused anywhere in the world, why do the lives of little dark-skinned Druze girls in Syria matter so little to American media outlets?
Unfortunately, the Druze girls kidnapped in Syria are not the only ones neglected by the Me Too Movement and the international media. Not long ago, a little indigenous girl around age 9 was raped and brutally murdered in Bangladesh merely because she was born into the wrong community. The Islamists cut off her hands, her sexual organ was cut and a branch was inserted into her body.
According to Shipan Kumer Basu, the President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, the atrocity against this 9-year-girl jwas committed because she was a member of an indigenous minority and for no other reason. He claimed that Hindus, Christians, indigenous peoples and other minority girls are raped on a daily basis in the country. In the eyes of radical Islamists, there is not much difference between a Druze girl, a Christian girl, an indigenous minority Bengali girl and a Hindu girl. None deserve the liberty of life in their book.
Islamists do not value the lives of Muslim women either. Recently, Iranian journalist Neda Amin, on behalf of the Center for Near East Policy Research and the Israel Resource News Agency, discovered that the Iranian regime is training Palestinian Arab women to hide weapons inside their bodies so that they can better implement terror attacks against Israeli civilians. According to Amin, the Iranians believe that this new method will be able to successfully bypass 95% of the present airport security systems. Is there a greater perversion of the female body than for a woman to treat her body in this way in order to murder innocent men, women and children?
It is time to say enough is enough. Women’s rights are human rights and the radical Islamists must be forced to respect the rights of women and girls, The radical Islamist ideology that stands behind ISIS, Palestinian terrorism and the rape of little minority girls in Bangladesh should be crushed in the same manner that Nazism was once crushed. Anything short of an absolute defeat for radical Islam will aloow them to continue to haunt the entire world, oppressing minority women and girls and threatening the security of the State of Israel.
Rachel Avraham is a senior media research analyst at the Center for Near East Policy Research and a correspondent for the Israel Resource News Agency. She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”