Members of the ISIS' all-female al-Khansaa' Brigade, operating in Raqqa, Syria
ISIS has released a Manifesto on women and girls. Titled "Women in the Islamic State," it is far more extreme than even Hitler's vision of women as belonging in the nursery (Kinder) the kitchen, (Küche) and the Church (Kirche).
ISIS believes that girls can marry adult men when they are only nine years old; that "pure" girls should be married by the time they are 16 or 17; and that motherhood is the sole purpose of female existence. The Manifesto was posted in Arabic last month on a Jihadist forum and crafted by ISIS's female militia Al-Khanssaa Brigade.
Face and body veiling are mandatory for women—which is just as well since beauty parlors and shops selling fashionable clothes are the "instruments of the devil and must not be tolerated."
A girl's education must end when she is fifteen—and that education will mainly focus on religion, Koranic Arabic and science, the Sharia laws about marriage and divorce, as well as knitting and cooking.
There are some puzzling exceptions. "A woman may leave the house if she is going to study theology, if she is a woman doctor or teacher and if it has been ruled by fatwa that she must fight jihad or holy war."
One marvels at the prospect of women doctors and teachers who are only allowed an eighth or ninth grade education. Or, will all the doctors be men? Will traditional Afghan rules apply– namely, when a woman is ill, her husband would visit the doctor on her behalf and describe her symptoms? Based on that description, the doctor would diagnose and prescribe. Edward Hunter, in his wonderful book, The Past Present: A Year in Afghanistan describes just such customs—and worse. And he was there in 1959, long before the Taliban arose.
The greatest battle of the 21st century is that between barbarism and civilization, and the issue of women's rights is central to it.
Paradoxically, the Manifesto also rejects "Western values, including financial systems and scientific research… 'the study of brain cells of crows, grains of sand, and fish arteries' as a distraction from the fundamental purpose of humanity, to worship God." Yet, it states that certain sciences "that help facilitate the lives of Muslims and their affairs are permissible," such as "medicine, agriculture, and architecture." The Manifesto talks about having captured "hospitals that are 'full of modern medical technology that could treat all those suffering from chronic diseases, including cancer.'"
The ISIS Manifesto identifies the root cause of the world's ills—and the "emasculation of Muslim men"—as due to the "Western program for women." The "blurring of the lines between the roles of each sex has caused people to forget how to worship God properly…and is tearing society apart."
In other words, Muslim-on-Muslim religious wars, poverty, illiteracy, barbarism, terrorism, shame-and-honor tribalism, corruption, unemployment, non-productivity, are all caused by the increasingly limited freedoms that Muslim women enjoy–mainly because they have been corrupted by Western ideas.
If anything can wake up Western academics, liberals, leftists, and especially feminists, this Manifesto should do it.
It is a direct hit on women's rights, human rights, and Western civilization.
It is very clear: The greatest battle of the 21st century is that between barbarism and civilization, and the issue of women's rights is central to it.
Phyllis Chesler, an emerita professor of psychology and women's studies and the author of fifteen books, is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum.