The Subjugation of Islamic Women and the Price of Oil

Hearsay, conjecture, call it what you will, but according to this one observer there has been a strong relationship between the price of oil and the brutal oppression of women in the Islamic world. Think about it.

Before 9/11the green shoots of a woman's movement to gain greater control of their lives and representation in government policy were seemingly beginning take hold. A growing tolerance of acceptance was germinating in many corners of the Islamic world. And then came 9/11, an event that gave enormous impetus to radicalized Islam and began the fateful march toward $147 oil, a level near seven times the $20 plus price on that horrific September morning, and more than three times the price extant today.

Two issues stood out. An enormous impetus to the radicalization of the Islamic world and a vast increase of oil wealth. The two helped and abetted one another. Islam became more radicalized with the assist of billions upon billions of oil revenues pouring in. Funds were distributed throughout the subcontinent and other centers of Muslim population either directly by governments and their agencies or so-called "charitable institutions" supporting extreme and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam while propagating the hatred of other religions in the sermons of imams, teaching centers and madrassas putting forward their interpretation of Koranic theology coupled with the draconian subjugation of women through the most rigid implementation of Sharia law.

Of very immediate instance, two million people have been displaced in Pakistan fleeing from the Pakistan's military offensive to liberate the Swat region of Western Pakistan from the Taliban's hegemony. With the enormous human suffering that has overwhelmed this hapless flood of refugees, a grim dynamic is percolating to the surface, becoming the stage for one of the most critical dramas unfolding in this part of the subcontinent and reflective of so much of the world's recent history.

In the midst of this tragedy, plying on the human misery of those fleeing the brutal governance imposed by the Taliban in the regions under their sway, not least of which was using the local population as human battle shields and hostages, stoning women to death -(for those with strong stomachs let me recommend to you a film by Director Cyrus Nowasteh's 'The Stoning of Soraya M,' a study of the perversion of Sharia Law and mob rule. The incident takes place in Iran but is analogous to the horrors of the Taliban. It further begs the question where would the Iranian Mullahs be without the flood of oil money to pay their goons)- are the hard line Islamist charities exploiting this human tragedy to further their own ends, proselytizing their jihadist agenda.

Their tactic is being applied ruthlessly. Their aim is to indoctrinate the hungry and desperate into the ranks fundamentalist Islamic belief and jihadist pathology. In doing so, the espousal of the extreme subjugation of women becomes a core pillar to their teachings. To quote Christina Hoff Sommers, a widely respected philosopher and ethicist, not because her comment is unique, nor exclusively insightful, but because it is succinct and totally to the point;

"After all, the oppression of women is not an incidental feature of the societies that foster terrorism. It is a linchpin of the system of social control that jihadists are fighting to impose worldwide."

Grotesquely ironic, those fleeing the murderousness of the Taliban, the husbands, fathers, heads of households gathering for handouts at "charity" distribution points seeking food and medicine to feed and tender to their displaced and desperate families are first obligated to turn themselves into a captive audience to listen attentively to the ministrations of the "charity's" spokesmen as they exhort each man to Jihad and the strict adherence to Sharia law.

Among those organizations active and on the scene is the charity of the strongly anti-American political party Jamaat-e-Islam, known as Al Khidmat, whose director Mahmmod ul-Hassan signaled his leanings, being quoted by the New York Times (In Refugee Aid Pakistan's..." 07.02.09), "The Western organizations have spent millions and billions on family planning to destroy the Muslim family system."

Perhaps the most sinister charity group operating throughout the subcontinent, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, notorious for its close ties to Al-Queda, was designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council in December '08. Jamaat-Ud-Dawa has supposedly been barred from operating in the refugee camps, though it is generally known to be participating under a new moniker labeled Falah-e-Insanyat.

Kristie Younes, senior advocate with the Washington based Refugees International observed that "Because of the lack of international agencies there is a vacuum filled by actors that are Islamist, and more than that, jihadist".

One need note that the Pakistan government, perversely, in not wishing to be associated too closely with the United States, has prohibited any American aid to the millions of displaced.

But who supports these organizations, relentless in their drumbeat of hatred and women's subjugation, gaining access through the human misery of their targeted audience. For years billions of Saudi dollars have flowed into hard-line Sunni madrassas in Afghanistan clustered around the Pakistan border and then spreading into Pakistan. With Jamaat-ud-Dawa, signaled out by the U.N.Security Council for its ties to not only to Al Queda but also to Lashkar-e-Toiba (Le-T) the prime suspect in last years Mumbai attacks. It is particularly noteworthy that the U.N. has identified a Saudi citizen, Mahmoud Mohammed Ahmed Bahaziq as financier for the group.

And so it goes, wherever fundamentalist Islam strikes or is stirring the pot, there, in too many cases lurk the fingerprints of Saudi money. Whether it be the Sunni radicalized madrassas of the subcontinent, the fundamentalist Islamist mosques and cultural centers throughout the world which have become ubiquitous breeding ground for jihadist recruiting. This mind set and financial support emanates from a culture where women are forbidden to drive motor vehicles or bicycles, are forced to sit in the back of public buses, where women must cover their entire body and face in public, where women have none other than minor figurative roles in government and virtually no self determination nor rights either in law or marriage. Where incidents are possible such as the fiery death of school girls, who were blocked from fleeing their burning school by the Mutaaw'in, the Saudi religious police, because they were not properly clothed in burqas, and on to a tradition of honor killings. Even extending to our shores through the demeaning of women by the then Crown Prince Abdullah now King, in having his aides stipulate that no female air traffic controller be allowed to control his flight into Texas to meet President Bush and stipulating that no women be allowed on the airport tarmac upon arrival of Abdullah's jet.

This from a society that doesn't meet its economic needs nor its appetite for voracious conspicuous consumption neither through the planting of date farms, nor technological innovation. Virtually its sole source of revenue is oil, and the higher the price of oil the more money oozes into those malign charities whose goal is nothing less than to impose a worldwide caliphate in which, given the order of things, the role of women would be little more than child bearing chattel. No, in all likelihood the Saudi's are not alone and most likely joined by kindred souls and possibly the Princes of other Arabian Gulf States such as Kuwait and on.

One sadly begins to wonder, after the Bush years, whether the ocean of oil money may not also be lapping up to our shores again. Only recently the Obama administration petitioned the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling protecting Saudi Arabia and four of its Princes from being held accountable for their alleged role in the massacre of 3000 Americans as claimed by families of 9/11 victims. That decision must have been crafted in large measure by the State Department. One can't help but wonder if perhaps, just perhaps, it was influenced by the millions upon millions of Saudi dollars gifted to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library?