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Punishing the Victims of Islamic Gender Apartheid?

Posted By Phyllis Chesler On January 13, 2011 @ 12:05 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 23 Comments

She is marked for certain death.

Her final hearing takes place on Friday, January 14, 2011. If American Immigration decides to deport her back to her Muslim family in Africa, she will, without doubt, first be genitally mutilated and then honor murdered for insisting on remaining a Christian, for having fled an arranged Muslim marriage—and for having secretly married a Christian man.

I doubt she will be able to take her case to the United Nations. After all, that august body has condemned free speech/truth speech as hate speech, especially where Islam is concerned. Incredibly, presumably “progressive” European countries have increasingly launched criminal investigations against their own politicians, human rights activists, academics for daring to tell the truth about Islamic gender apartheid if that truth shows Islam in a negative light.

On January 24, 2011, the distinguished Lars Hedegaard, the President of the Danish Free Press Society and the International Free Press Society, will stand trial for telling the truth about Islamic gender apartheid. According to Ahmed Mohamud, the Vice President of The Danish Free Press Society, and Katrine Winkel Holm, Chief Editor of Sappho, the Society’s magazine, both Lars Hedegaard and Jesper Langballe, a member of the Danish Parliament, are accused of committing “hate speech.” Langballe exposed honor killings among Muslims; on December 3,   2010, he was convicted for doing so. As I noted in my piece at NewsReal Blog, Lars Hedegaard dared to discuss the great number of family rapes in areas dominated by Muslim culture.

I have published two major academic studies about honor killings and have written many articles about individual cases. I have also been called upon to testify in court cases for potential Muslim honor killing victims who are seeking asylum in America. Will I, too, someday be tried as a “racist”? Will such asylum seekers themselves be one day tried as criminals for exposing the horrendous violence they have escaped in the hope that the West will be a sanctuary for them? What will happen to them and to their advocates if telling the truth about Islam becomes a punishable offense in America?

To date, the highest profile apostate and potential honor killing case concerns the very young Rifqa Bary. I was privileged  to work with her lawyers in both Florida and Ohio and hope that my affidavit was helpful. Bary’s lawyers did manage to keep her out of her family’s clutches and won a “fast track” to a green card and to citizenship.

Within a fourteen month period, I was approached by three sets of lawyers and by one advocate.

I submitted an affidavit for a second asylum-seeker whose case may be unique. She has fled a Western European country because she fears that her father and other male relatives will murder her for having secretly converted from Islam to Christianity. I urged the judge in her case to understand that just because a woman has fled from a European democracy does not mean that she has necessarily fled from a Western environment. Her immigrant family inhabits a bubble in which wife-battering is routine, living on welfare is seen as more dignified than taking a menial job, and spying on one’s daughter to be sure that she never talks to men or has any non-Muslim girlfriends is not considered invasive  but honorable.

This young woman told me that her father flew into instant rages over the smallest things; he once hit her mother when she brought him food not to his liking. He threw a table at his daughter because she was too quiet. He would then threaten her with a knife and say, “I’m not afraid of the police because I can kill myself too.” If mere silence could set off this level of violence, one can only imagine how he might respond if he discovered that she had converted to Christianity.

I also submitted an affidavit on behalf of a third woman who is desperately trying to stay in the United States. She cannot risk returning to her South Asian country. Her crime? She dared to marry a man whom she loved but who belonged to a different sect of Islam; she did so against her parents’ wishes. Her family is an elite and prominent family which would risk a loss of reputation if they did not punish a defiant daughter.

Last week, a Canadian advocate and a professor of anthropology contacted me on behalf of a fourth woman. She is a Christian who was born and raised in the killing fields of Congo. Her father worked hard to end the dictatorial Mobutu regime and was therefore murdered by Mobutu’s death squads. Her mother fled to a neighboring African country, where she married a Muslim man who insisted on marrying his new stepdaughter off to an elderly Muslim man; in turn, her chosen husband insisted that she be genitally mutilated. This woman had already learned about the horror of genital mutilation firsthand when a friend of hers died from an infection after the “procedure” was inflicted on her.

To understand what she is running away from, here is an account of one genital mutilation that recently took place in Cairo, Egypt:

“Our ears were assaulted by maniacal screams coming from one of the open shops that lined the alley…We looked in the direction from which came those screams to see a middle-aged woman seated in a barber chair, a child on her lap, and a man on his knees in front of the child.  I assume the little girl was the daughter of the woman in the barber chair, who was restraining the girl and spreading the child’s legs open, while the man on his knees was the barber who owned that barber shop.  He leaned forward, concentrating on the space between the girl’s legs, where he was working with a straight razor.  The barber proceeded with businesslike indifference to the little girl’s shrieks, as did the people in the street, who went about as if carving off a clitoris were something they saw every day, and as if the horrendous suffering the child expressed so loudly were a normal refrain in the raucous symphony that is Cairo. I stood motionless, transfixed by the crime I was watching, cursing myself for not charging into that barbershop, grabbing the little girl, and running away as fast as I could.  A few moments later, the barber tossed a small red mass of bloody flesh into the gutter, a human clitoris for chickens to eat…”

In flight from such barbarism, this poor soul fled Africa and arrived in the U.S. about six months ago with a falsified passport and a falsified visa which indicated that she was a single woman. According to her anthropologist-advocate, she had no choice—she could not tell anyone that she had secretly married another African Christian who now lived in Canada because she would not have been allowed to leave her African country as a married woman without permission from her Muslim father or husband. She could not risk asking her mother for such a letter; that would involve the mother in what would be seen as a conspiracy against her new Muslim family.

Thus, when she tried to cross the border into Canada, she and was closely questioned. However, she was both afraid to lie and afraid to tell the truth. Instead, she simply wept. Once the Canadian authorities understood that she had a husband in Canada and that her passport listed her as single, they turned her away. Ayaan Hirsi Ali herself chose to or was forced to lie to Dutch authorities when she first arrived there; despite her having risen to become a member of Parliament, this lie ultimately led to a serious attempt to deport her.

Back to our unnamed hero. Shortly after being barred from entering Canada, and for unknown reasons, American immigration authorities arrested her and have been keeping her in detention for the last month.

Her anthropologist-advocate attended her initial hearing and tried to visit her in detention. She told me: “The security was unbelievable, and all deadly serious. Even I was intimidated. I can only imagine how she, a tiny woman, must feel handcuffed for the duration. We could not even visit with her. Just a quick 60 seconds to hug her before the hearing, then about 30 seconds while waiting for the elevator before she was taken back to jail.”

If only the perpetrators of Islamic gender apartheid—and not their victims—faced this kind of treatment. But they do not.

She is now facing deportation. Her final hearing will take place this Friday. Her advocate, who is Canadian herself, believes that Canada would probably accept her but it will still take some time to convince the government to readmit her since she has already been turned back at the border. Her lawyer has advised her advocate, her husband, and his family not to show up for the final hearing—advice which troubles me because it is important for the judge to see that she has serious supporters who find her story credible and who are ready to take responsibility for her.

One must also ask: Should the West, including the United States and Canada be taking in so many persecuted victims from other countries? That’s certainly what America is about—but can we afford to subsidize this rescue work? Can we afford not to?

I would like to acknowledge the help of my assistant Nathan Bloom.


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