Recently, I was watching Fox News’s coverage of the campus protests when a slightly surreal scene appeared on the screen. About 35 Muslims were gathered somewhere on a campus lawn—the men in front and the women in the back — reciting evening prayers.

The women were covered from head to foot, and most of them seemed to be wearing the black-and-white checkered keffiyeh made famous by Yasser Arafat, the terrorist leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization and darling of Western liberals. All seemed focused on the prayers.

Then a young woman appeared on the screen, walking slowly toward the prayer group. Unlike the Muslim women, she was not covered from head to foot. Rather, she was attired in a skimpy outfit — short shorts and a form-fitting top. From a distance it looked like Taylor Swift had come to pay a visit, an impression heightened by the overhead lights reflecting off the large silver buckle on the strap of her purse.

When the woman (probably a student) reached the prayer area, she simply stopped and stood there, observing the ritual for about two or three minutes before disappearing into the darkness. Perhaps she had satisfied herself that the prayer gathering was simply another display of cultural diversity, and perhaps she congratulated herself on her openness to differences.

On the other hand, it could have been a moment of enlightenment. Perhaps the young woman realized that she didn’t fit into that picture. Perhaps she realized she didn’t know as much as she ought to about the cause her fellow students were celebrating. Perhaps she thought she should find out more.

A Little Research Goes a Long, Long Way

For example, a little research would have taught her that most Palestinians would have frowned upon the way she was dressed. An American visiting Gaza or any other traditional Islamic society would be well-advised not to go out in public in such a skimpy outfit.

If she was experiencing a moment of enlightenment, other thoughts might have occurred to her.

Why, for instance, were the women covered almost completely while the men were dressed much more casually? Why were they separated, with the men in front and the women behind?

Research would have told her that this is the standard arrangement in mosques. Indeed, in many mosques, the women are segregated into a balcony area or into a separate room altogether.

Why? Because the Koran states: “Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other” (Koran 4:34). God also expects women to “guard their unseen parts,” but issues no such command for men. Indeed, there are double standards for men and women throughout the Koran and the books of Sharia law. Thus, a man may have up to four wives but a woman may have only one husband, and he must be a Muslim. Moreover, a women’s testimony is worth half that of a man.

And, although the campus protests may give the impression that a Muslim woman is free to choose whether to wear the hijab in public, this is not always the case. In some Muslim countries, such as Iran, women can be imprisoned or even executed for refusing to wear the head covering.

Disinclined to Acquiesce

Islamic (or Sharia) law is even less concerned with the fate of non-Muslim women. Muslim men are permitted to rape women captured in battle and make them sex slaves. A formal complaint recently submitted to the United Nations provides many current examples of this and other forms of sharia-approved abuse of women:

This includes the recent extreme sexual violence committed against Israeli women in October 2023 by Hamas proven by the UN; the infliction of sexual slavery on Yezidi women by the Islamic State (IS); killing of Iranian women for not wearing the hijab; the trafficking, kidnapping, and conversion of Coptic Christian girls in Egypt; kidnapping of girls and women in Nigeria by Boko Haram; mass attacks on women in Germany in 2015; the rape of girls in the UK by the so called ‘grooming gangs’; the forced conversion, kidnapping and murder of Hindu girls in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, to name a few.

The full complaint was submitted to the UN on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2024). It contains the signatures of Muslim and non-Muslim men and women from around the world. So far, the UN has not responded.

 A Muslim Majority

If you are as uninformed as many of the campus protestors are, you might think this is because the UN wants to take its time in order to draft a very strong condemnation of Sharia-approved violence against women. The reality, however, is that the UN will do anything to avoid offending Islam.

Why is that? Well, how about the fact that its largest voting bloc is made up of Muslims. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) consists of 57 member states dedicated to “safeguard[ing] and protect[ing] the interests of the Muslim world.” According to Wikipedia, “The member states had a collective population of over 1.8 billion as of 2015, accounting for just under a quarter of the world population.”

Since Muslims wield a great deal of power in the UN, they are in a position to enact the safeguards for non-Muslim women that are being requested. But they don’t seem to be so inclined.

No Safe Place

Even in fairly moderate Muslim countries, non-Muslim girls and women are in constant danger from sexual predators. In Egypt, for example, the practice of kidnapping Coptic Christian girls, raping them, forcing them to convert, and then forcing them to marry the rapist is widespread. Moreover, police and other public officials are often complicit in these crimes and the perpetrators are seldom held to account.

Most Islamic societies are honor cultures. This doesn’t mean everyone is expected to behave in a virtuous manner, but that a man must protect his honor (his reputation) at all costs. His honor is particularly bound up with his ability to control the women in his life. Thus, if a daughter brings dishonor on the family (for example, by dating a non-Muslim man) he is expected to punish her severely. Sharia law even allows him to kill his daughter. Moreover, other male relatives such as a brother or uncle often join in the murder. There have been several such “honor killings” in the U.S. and Canada.

One supposes that the honor principle holds even in the case of non-Muslim women. An Egyptian Muslim who kidnaps a Christian girl and forces her into marriage may have acted in a reckless and irresponsible manner; nevertheless, he is a Muslim male and his honor must be preserved. Consequently, police and other authorities back him up. In short, in many circumstances, a man’s honor outweighs a women’s rights.

‘This Is a Man’s World’

Islam’s preferential treatment of men even extends into the next life. According to Islamic tradition, each man in Paradise will enjoy the company of 72 virgins (who somehow remain virgins despite repeated couplings). These are not earthly women, but specially created, heavenly creatures who are eternally young, beautiful, “bashful,” and compliant. Their beauty and shapeliness are described in detail in numerous passages in the Koran (e.g., 78:31-34). It should be added that the only sure way for a Muslim man to enter Paradise is by killing or being killed in battle.

And Muslim women? Do they enjoy the company of 72 specially created men? Well, no. But they can look forward to shaded gardens, flowing fountains, beautiful pavilions, and delicious food and wine which will be brought to them by “immortal serving-boys.”

Still, a woman’s prospects for entering Paradise are not as good as a man’s. According to several hadiths, Muhammad said women would be in the minority in Paradise, but would form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell (Sahih Al-Bukhari), Vol. 4, Book No. 59, No 3241.)

We know Hamas fighters are willing to use women and children as human shields in order to improve their odds of killing infidels in battle. Do they do this because they want to free Palestine? Or are their motives more selfish?

One has to wonder if their main motivation is to become martyrs for Allah, thus securing their place in Paradise with the 72 companions that Allah has promised.

Idealistic college students need to think twice about the possibility that this is Hamas terrorists’ chief motivation. And they need to ask themselves if this is a cause with which they want to align themselves.

This article originally appeared in the May 17, 2024 edition of The Stream.

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