Terrorism and Muslim Women

Ghazal Omid

Women struggle for freedomRecent articles about a Muslim woman doctor, who received death threats after speaking out on Al-Jazirah network against Muslim hardliners and terrorists, has been generating publicity for the right people and for a well justified cause that seldom gets enough attention, even though it would work to our advantage in the war against terrorism.

Everyone wants to fight terrorism but we seldom see any mention of Muslims who are fighting against hardliners and terrorists. That is what causes many people to question whether Muslims really mean what they say.

The reality is: fighting terrorism is neither easy nor will it end overnight. Most certainly, Muslims should be called upon to help because the war against terrorism is not about ones faith; it affects all of us as part of the human family. As a modern, moderate Muslim freedom fighter, a human and women’s rights advocate, I rally behind women who extend their arms in help and stand united to stop the terrorists.

When I hear these concerns, my first impression is: this will feed the terrorism agenda. Terrorism is about a minority exercising power over a majority’s peace of mind. It is a modern form of mental slavery causing fear that can paralyze an economy. As Persians say, “Fear is the twin brother of death.” Fear can immobilize as effectively as a chain. Those who can’t face their fear become a slave of terrorism and that is precisely what the terrorist wants to achieve. After 9/11, people hesitated to fly and go shopping. Even though the number of victims, on a national scale, was moderate, the White House admitted that 9/11 negatively affected the economy and peoples mindset more than the terrorists had even dreamed.

Americans ask why moderate Muslims, particularly Muslim women, don’t stand upto the radical Muslims.

To fight terrorist ideology we need people of the terrorist’s faith to rally behind our cause. Terrorism’s stratagem is for one class of individuals, through indoctrination, intimidation and force to impose its’ will on another class. The empowered class enslaves the underclass, whether by chains on their hands and feet or chains on their minds. In the second instance, it is not an act of vengeance for transgressions against their ancestors but is intended, through threat, abuse and violence, to force a majority to bow to the will of the minority and accept and obey the dictates of a man who calls himself, not a terrorist, but a Soldier of God.

It is always easier to hear and believe what one wants. Americans in particular have a tendency to see what they hear and believe what they read. We all should know that, terrorism is not about Islam but is, in fact, a cancer growing on the body of Islam, consuming and destroying it.

Terrorist’s families and those who support them are similar to a mob family in that their motto is “all for one and one for all.” They can be destroyed only if we all work hand in hand.

Americans tend to think that fighting terrorism is a black or white issue and keep saying, “either you are with us or against us”, as if moderate Muslims don’t want to help. They express resentment that moderate Muslims do not speak out or stand up to help the American government. Truth be told, any moderate Muslim who speaks up publicly against the terrorists is placing her or his life in danger. The overwhelming majority of American Muslims are like the good white people of the early 20th century who knew prejudice against blacks was wrong but couldn’t stand up to the social policies of the powerful and ignorant. 

It doesn’t help that Americans indiscriminately bash Muslims and use ethnic profiling to search for terrorists.. This outdated method is alienating many Muslims who could help fight terrorism. Typical is my own experience when I, a Canadian citizen, crossed the US/Canadian border for the first time some six years ago. The border officer called me a “Muslim Terrorist.” I have done nothing but try to help the American people understand terrorism and fight alongside them to defeat it. If I were like many other Muslims, I would have simply closed my eyes and mind to the victims of 9/11 and decided that I will judge 300 million people in the United States of America based on the comments of one ignorant man, who, instead of looking at my actions, looked at the color of my skin, hair and eyes and my religion and decided, in his words, “ you could be a terrorist for all I know.”

There is a growing consensus that the best way to fight terrorism is to to think like a terrorist, rally moderate Muslims and use the power of true Islam to expose these cancerous barbarians. Still, Americans keep asking why Muslims in America don’t do more. Here are some answers: The media doesn’t give conservative, patriotic Muslims any coverage. We don’t have a voice in the media. Americans don’t seem to know or care that when a Muslim does stand up, we don’t have any protection against hate mail and death treats. We are in a “catch 22”, sitting on a double-edged sword. Nothing we do seems to be right. If we don’t speak up, we are considered passive. If we do speak up and receive hate mail and death threats, we are told you are on your own.

Case in point: A mullah friend of mine who spoke against terrorism at a mosque in Vancouver, Canada received death threats from hardliners in Canada. If he had not stopped speaking up, he would have been killed.

I receive hate e-mail from radical Muslims threatening physical harm and telling me I am serving Satan and going to Hell. The government of Iran has been hacking and repeatedly shutting down my website for the past year. I have reported these threats to authorities, senators and members of parliament in Canada and the United States. No protection from any authority has been granted. When I attended BookExpo America in New York City last year, I had to have a bodyguard. These are just a few examples of my daily struggles to stay alive.

Please stop asking what moderate Muslims have done to stop the terrorists. If you want to help us and help yourself, give us a voice. Give us media attention so we can tell our side and we can help fight the terrorists. Don’t give terrorists all the attention. Don’t fall prey to their trick. That is what they want.

From my book, Living in Hell: I cannot be Noah and save women from drowning in the ocean of their abusive lives. I cannot walk through fire like Abraham or part the Red Sea like Moses. I cannot be a Messiah and revive the glory of the empire of women in Persia. I cannot be Mohammed and create a new religion that forces men to respect women and protects individuals from false reassurances. But, I can be a voice for those who cannot freely express their frustration toward the inequality and barbaric rules and abuse. We can join our voices and hand-in-hand grow on the repressive government like weeds on a wall and tear apart the walls of ignorance. Like a river, we will find a way to the sea of freedom. We can create equality and look forward to a better world as free individuals. Help others, Muslims and non-Muslim alike, to help you and help us to build a better, peaceful world for future generations.

Ghazal Omid,
Author, Living in Hell, Iran & Middle East Expert, Human Rights and Women Rights Advocate