Foreign Policy magazine recently demonstrated why U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, is a disaster: because the establishment has a hard time factoring the foreign in their policies (more's the irony). Put differently, whatever information doesn't comport with modern Western epistemology—our subjective worldviews—must simply be false, unreal, to be discarded from any consideration in Western foreign policy.
Other times, whatever information doesn't comport with our subjective worldviews is intentionally dismissed as false, in furtherance of some Western foreign policy, for example, war in Syria.
Enter Foreign Policy magazine. In an article titled "Are Young Women Really Racing to Syria's Front Lines to Wage Sex Jihad" (originally published under the cutesier title "Sorry, the Tunisian Sex Jihad is a Fraud"), one David Kenner writes:
It's the story that launched 1,000 headlines. And it's not hard to see why: Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou announced last week that Tunisian women were traveling to Syria to wage "sex jihad," where they were having sex with "20, 30, [or] 100″ militants, before returning pregnant to Tunisia.
There's only one problem: There's no evidence it's true. The Tunisian Interior Ministry has so far failed to provide any further information on the phenomenon, and human rights activists and journalists have been unable to find any Tunisian woman who went to Syria for this purpose.
Let's consider the evidence surrounding the sex jihad for a moment: For approximately one year, a wide variety of Arabic and other foreign media, news channels, newspapers, and websites—both for and against the war in Syria—have been reporting on the sex jihad; I have personally watched several video interviews of many different men and women, of various nationalities, talking about their experiences with the sex jihad; Tunisia's former Mufti created controversy by condemning it; and now a governmental official, the Tunisian Interior Minister, is formally on record mentioning it.
Normally, all the above would fit the criteria needed to verify any story. For example, if many international media, video interviews, and governmental officials—none of which are connected to each other—said that, for example, Muslim men were traveling to Syria to wage jihad, no one would doubt it.
But because of the alien—or foreign—nature concerning this particular news, the Western mindset, finding it hard to believe, calls for impossible-to-fill criteria, even as one wonders what other type of evidence can be offered than the aforementioned? (For the record, the naysayers originally dismissed the sex jihad as all hearsay, but now that a governmental official has confirmed it, that too is still not good enough.)
Kenner's main source is a human rights activist named Amna Guellali who elsewhere claims that "It is surprising that the western media would seize on this [sex jihad], or any other kind of hoax, just because it discredits Islamists."
"Just because it discredits Islamists"? What if Ms. Guellali is an Islamist-sympathizer, a supporter of the "liberation" of Syria, as are so many leftists? If the Tunisian government is lying about the sex jihad for some political purpose, could Guellali not also be lying for some political purpose? Why believe one over the other?
At any rate, after noting how several widely read Arabic media, TV channels and newspapers attributed the sex jihad fatwa to Saudi cleric Mohammed al-Arefe, Kenner scoffs: "Arefe, however, subsequently denied that he had done so, saying that 'no sane person' would sanction such a thing."
This is no proof – certainly no better than the proof supporting the existence of the sex jihad. Moreover, because the sex jihad fatwa was originally a secretive matter (only Muslims involved in it needed to know about it); and because it is damaging to the image of, and thus support for, the jihadi rebellion in Syria; and because Muslims are permitted to lie, especially in the context of jihad—see Muslim teachings of taqiyya and tawriya—why would any sane person expect Arefe to admit to anything?
Incidentally, which sounds more insane: Muslim women going to relieve Muslim men waging jihad in Syria to empower Islam, or Muslim women "breastfeeding" strange Muslim men in order to make them their "sons" and be in each other's company? Well, Dr. Izzat Atiya, an Egyptian cleric from Al Azhar university—the Islamic world's most prestigious university—issued the latter breastfeeding fatwa, and, when confronted, openly admitted it, insisting that it comported with the strictures of Islamic jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh).
Question: if Islamic jurisprudence legitimizes "adult breastfeeding"—and it does, according to a hadith concerning Islam's Prophet Muhammad—is it really so hard to believe that it would allow Muslim women to offer sexual services to frustrated jihadis fighting to empower Islam in Syria?
Kenner next begins to "play around" with information, writing:
The Tunisian government has been under fire for allegedly asking adult women for authorization from their husbands or fathers before they travel to certain countries in the Middle East—Ben Jeddou [Interior Prime Minister] was justifying any restrictions by saying that the government was attempting to prevent women from embarking on "sex jihad" in Syria.
This sounds like the Tunisian government first started requiring male authorization (apparently a suggestion that it is becoming more authoritarian and sexist), and then, by way of an excuse, later started referring to the sex jihad as a pretext for asking for male authorization.
However, going to Kenner's source (linked "under fire," an article written just last month, a year after the sex jihad made headlines) one sees that the order is reversed—women began to be asked for more authorization after the sex jihad became an issue in Tunisia, which, of course, only validates the phenomenon. (Note: the article also mentions that women traveling to countries like Morocco are also being questioned, yet, as this interview with a Tunisian sex jihadi makes clear, Tunisians traveling to Syria are doing so by going through other countries first.)
Next Kenner contradicts:
The interior minister has also made the fight against extremist Salafi groups a centerpiece of his term in office.
Odd, Kenner's previous sentence seemed to indicate that the Tunisian government is lying about the sex jihad to cover its growing authoritarian nature over women, but now we find it's fighting the extremist Salafis—precisely the fellows who do demand absolute authority over women, forcing them to wear burqas, and keeping them indoors (as opposed to merely in Tunisia, as the government is doing).
The contradictions continue:
The only real evidence of women embarking on "sex jihad," comes not from Syria but from Tunisia's Chaambi Mountains, an area in the west of the country that has often been the site of clashes between the military and jihadists. Tunisian security forces there arrested several girls who were allegedly involved in the practice. Guellali said that she spoke to the mother of an 18-year-old female who was involved—the mother said that a woman close to the Tunisian militant group Ansar al-Sharia [Islamic jihadi organization with wings in Libya, Syria, Egypt, etc.] got her daughter tangled up in a network of girls in the area. But the scope of the problem—and whether it is related to Syria in any way—remains a complete mystery.
So, after all this, Kenner does acknowledge that there is evidence for the sex jihad, that the human rights activist he relied on, Guellali, has personally interviewed some involved in it, and that there is a "network of girls" involved in this practice:
But the scope of the problem—and whether it is related to Syria in any way—remains a complete mystery.
And in that sentence we discover Foreign Policy's entire motivation: it's not to convince readers that the sex jihad is a hoax—it can't, it's so well documented that after a convoluted ride even Kenner finally admits to its existence—but rather to exonerate the jihadis in Syria from this savage practice.
After all, Foreign Policy magazine—following U.S. foreign policy's lead—supports the jihad in Syria and thus seeks to shield it from public criticism.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (Regnery, April, 2013) is a Middle East and Islam specialist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.