Worth Fighting For?

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The rights of women are improving in Afghanistan, but some fear the return of violence toward women if the Taliban is included in a coalition government. In TIME magazine (vol. 176, No. 6 , 2010) the cover article, “Betrayed,” discusses fears that Afghan women have about Taliban beliefs and practices returning in an integrated government which includes them.  The example given is Bibi Aisha, an 18 year old , who had her nose and ears sliced off because of the Taliban leadership.  Aisha ran away from abusive in-laws who beat her. This was her punishment and she was left to die, but survived to tell her story.   She was taken to a U.S. military medical unit because the local Afghan hospital would not treat her.  From there, she was taken to a shelter created and supported by a U.S. organization, Women for Afghan Women.  It has now been reported that she will come to the U.S. for reconstructive surgery.  Additionally, TIME reported that the religious council of Herat province issued an edict in May forbidding women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a male relative.

Taliban law forbids the education or employment of women or examination by a male doctor without the presence of a close male relative. Since women were teachers and nurses, these professions have practically disappeared. This has caused the physical, mental, and intellectual health of women under Taliban rule to deteriorate.  Burqas became required clothing under Taliban rule.  A burqa covers the entire body of a woman in tent like fashion, with only a small fenced window with which to see.  Women not wearing burqas or unaccompanied by a male relative outside the home were beaten in public with sticks.  Women, by law, were only allowed to read the Qur’an and windows had to be blackened so no one could see into houses.  We now hear in the news that a woman is to be stoned to death for adultery in Iran. This is also a Taliban law.  With international publicity, the stoning has been suspended, but it can be reinstated at any time.  We see from this that open international dialogue is having an effect.

On the progressive side, female talk show host, Mozhdah Jamalzadah, is an example of how things are changing in Afghanistan.  She has her own TV show and fears she may lose it if the Taliban are included in a coalition government. The constitution of Afghanistan now guarantees equal rights for women and it is said that this is non-negotiable.  However, the constitution also cannot contradict Islamic law (Shari’a), which is yet to be defined in the constitution. The Taliban has the most restrictive interpretation of Islamic law. There are fears that with sufficient votes, the laws and practices will return to Taliban restrictions when the U.S. leaves Afghanistan and the Taliban joins the coalition government.

Women for Afghan Women have shelters in Afghanistan for abused women.  The Taliban wants them declared as brothels and eliminated. Women for Afghan Women also have counseling centers to help end violence against women.  Their fate is in questionable hands if the U.S. removes troops from Afghanistan.  There are 15 million women in Afghanistan.  Some have already started wearing burqas again, fearing the influence of the Taliban on a coalition government when US troops leave Afghanistan.

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  • Stephen D.

    Don't worry about it! Our President is on top of it. Just look how he is straightening out Saudi Arabia. He is selling them f-15 fighter jets. See? He isn't giving them to them ~ he's selling them! That'll teach them to respect Human Rights! The Almighty dollar is what matters to those in power. This Administration talks a good game but the reality of it is they couldn't give 2 cow pies for Human Rights or abuse of women. And if America doesn't stand up everyone else gets a free pass. Disgusting.

  • Mike Elmore

    We spend a trillion dollars lose hundreds of lives setting up an Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and nothing shall contradict Islamic law. This is going to go down as the second stupidest thing American ever did, right behind doing the same thing for Iraq. So we are suppose to stay there for how long to make sure women are safe from the Taliban, who are just following the great religion of peace's dogma. I can't believe what's going on. Get out of Afghanistan, we can not nor should we police the world from this institutionalized intolerance. Islam is Islam and this is what you get. The sooner the West learns this the sooner we can deal with it.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      We spend a trillion dollars lose hundreds of lives setting up an Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and nothing shall contradict Islamic law.

      Don’t worry. Bush said Islam is Religion of Peace™ and since Islam is a Religion of Peace™ there is nothing to worry about. Right?

      Meanwhile, according to Mayor Bloomberg and the Left, we cannot stop the building of the ground zero supremacist mega mosque because of freedom of religion.

      Someone needs to take Mayor Bloomberg to Afghanistan to see first hand that Islam more than just a religion is also a very harsh form of totalitarianism that institutionalizes oppression of females and non-Muslims at the same time that it also incorporates draconian punishments such as stonings, amputations, and beheadings.

      Furthermore, Islam’s main goal is to subjugate all unbelievers via the imposition of Sharia. Which, by the way, is the main motivation for the construction of the ground zero supremacist mega mosque, as Muslims plan to import this exact same form of Sharia on display in Afghanistan to the USA.

  • TheHammer

    Ms. Siefert's essay is important because it is asking the question, "where is the women's rights movement". Western feminism, so successful at emancipating Western women, seems largely absent in the debate over the rights of women in Islamic states. Where are the feminists? Why is there a deafening silence among Western feminists on this issue?

    I believe that the defining event to refom and modernize Islam will be the emancipation of women. Enslavement of women is the keystone of Islam – without it, Islam will move out of the dark ages and into the modern age. Whether emancipation is possible will rest, to some extent, on the West bringing its ideals of sexual equality to Islamic nations.

    This is a critical issue, and Western feminists must push for the emancipation of women forced to live under Islam.


  • http://www.collegejo.com John Wright

    Isolationism is not the answer, how do you expect people raised under Islam to know how men and women should be treated if you don't teach them. All that is necessary for evil to triumph in the world is for the "good" people to turn their 52" flat screen cable TV's up and sit back pretending the worst problems of the world can be seen on "Jersey Shore". NOTHING in this world is going to get better when the people with the solutions are afraid to get their hands dirty. Is it expensive? Is it costly? How costly was 9-11? How costly was WWII? How costly will WWIII be? You want to find out… pretend isolating ourselves will work and you will.

  • http://www.collegejo.com John Wright

    Or you can get your hands dirty up to your elbows in other peoples problems and consequently make the world a better place. Our troops are doing an amazing job in Afganistan, because Americans are the best, brightest, most optimistic, most charitable, most caring people on the planet. And the people of Afganistan are seeing that first hand. You don't think the people of Afganistan can tell the difference between the Russian occupation and what is going on now? This effort, this involvement, this burden being borne will not return void. Isolationism is not the solution it's what got us into this mess. Oh yeah, I forgot, its hopeless, no one in this world ever changes, no one is ever converted, no one ever learns anything, no one ever chooses right over wrong, guess I'll just stick my head back in the sand and HOPE for a bright future for my kids. Hey can you pass me some of those hot wings and the remote control I want to check the on screen guide to see what's on my agenda for the rest of the day.

    • JLA2010

      Well stated, Mr.Wright, on America, American generosity & our willingness to 'pay any price' for freedom, both ours and others. We cannot afford to leave another vacuum, the isolationist case mistake we made after the Soviets left Afghanistan. It's how the Taliban steamrolled an exhausted & depleted Afghanistan–and how the country became a launching pad for 9/11 and other attacks on the West & our friends. Ms. Seifert's article is absolutely dead on about the brutality imposed on Afghan women & girls by these animals. Are they 'Worth Fighting For?'?! American troops & our Allies who faced & defeated the bookburners of WWII did not ask this question. They understood the high risks of world conquest & costs of both failure & victory–as do our outstanding, selfless American soldiers deployed in the mountains, fields and sand berms afar.
      Up close & personal, our fighters now know something else: there is no no difference in thought & deed between the sharia-imposing islamic jihadists and the jackbooted Aryan geneticists in the camps.
      'Worth Fighting For'?! Oh, most definitely; more than we can possibly imagine. JLA

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The adults in these Muslim Nations are a lost cause, we have to reach their children.
    As we rule by might why has American justice via our Military not been set up,
    to show them what modern legal systems can do and how they protect society.
    Sharia victimizes the populace and is inhumain, cruel and corrupted to a sickening
    degree. We had the power to force change but the politically correct crap was heaped
    on the heads of our commanders and it has ruined any chance for long term change.
    Afghanistan and Iraq will most likely fall to Sharia law and totalitarian governance,
    who rules can be called Talaban or whatever you want but it is evil in charge, and evil
    is coming here because we did not crush it there…………………..William

  • Carmella

    Re. Bibi Aisha – I saw this on the heading of Time Mag. – This is far worse than Jesus dying on the corss – this is 2010 – how was this lady found? Where are the other people that have been mutilated and so forth, I am also curious as to where are the people that found her, I am still a little skeptic?