Sunday, December 13, 2009
'Women's rights was the first enemy for us'
What jihadists oppose most
National Post: In an interview made available on the Internet last month, Dr. Hamid Tawfik, a Cairo-born physician who describes himself as a former jihadist, is asked why he came close to becoming a terrorist. He replies that it was the influence of 'a certain [fundamentalist] form of religious teaching' he encountered while at university. 'It was not poverty,' he explains. 'I came from a wealthy family. It wasn't lack of education. I was in medical school, my father was an orthopedic surgeon, my mother was a French teacher, so it wasn't any of this...
Later in the interview, in answer to the question of who is the 'enemy' -- is it the West, any non-Muslim, the Jews -- Dr. Tawfik is unequivocal: 'The West, but in particular, women's rights. Women's rights was the first enemy for us.'
He adds that it's strange feminism should have been the biggest gripe of jihadists, but it was. He is emphatic that this is why, wherever a 'radical [Islamist] group' acquires power, the first thing it does is suppress women. 'First thing, before anything else, they tell women not to go out, to wear the hijab...'
Cultures, like people, often have a greater tolerance for injury than for insult. When the West added the perceived 'insult' of women's rights in the second half of the 20th century, feminism emerged as the straw that broke the camel's back...
Muslim supremacists might have coped with modernity relegating their culture to second place, but couldn't tolerate a challenge to their status as patriarchs in their homes. Their chauvinistic strings... snapped when plucked under their own roofs by their own wives and daughters.
Image source here.