British Feminism, Jihadi-Style
Aqsa Mahmood is young woman from Scotland. The daughter of Pakistani-born parents who built a successful business in the U.K., she grew up with all the benefits of an affluent and educated British girl. She lived in a posh suburb, where she attended a costly, prestigious school.
Like her friends, Aqsa loved Harry Potter books and bought lip gloss and giggled about boys. After high school, she went on to study radiography at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Her life was clearly on the track that her mother and father had dreamed about when they decided to raise their family in Britain, with all the opportunities that a Western democracy has to offer, and the freedom to take advantage of them.
This would have been a simple success story about upwardly mobile immigrants, hardly worth mentioning, if not for the fact that Aqsa, now 20, took her upbringing in a direction altogether different from that which her parents had intended or peers anticipated.
In November, she suddenly picked herself up and went to Syria to join the Islamic State terrorists — one of whom she married — and became a leading member of a religious police force, the Al-Khanssaa brigade. The purpose of this female militia, purported to be dominated by British-born jihadists, is to punish women for “un-Islamic behavior.”
Its mission is to search the streets of Raqqa (the de facto capital of the self-proclaimed Islamic State) to make sure that women are appropriately clad from head to toe; to look under burqas to snuff out any enemy men in disguise; and to prevent men and women from mingling, among other forbidden displays of “Western behavior.”
Hailing from the West, these Jihadi Janes are best equipped to detect it, after all.
According to the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, some 60 British women are now in Syria with ISIS. And since the decapitation of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff at the hands of a British national, many more are taking steps to travel there to join the estimated 500 other British men in their jihad.
Aqsa Mahmood is believed to be instrumental in encouraging other young women in the U.K. to follow her lead. Active on social media, she posts anti-Western messages and promotes actions like the beheadings of Foley and Sotloff. Last week, she tweeted a photo of a baby holding a Kalashnikov and an IS flag.
Meanwhile, her buddies in ISIS continue to abuse, molest, torture, sell into slavery and murder women — whether non-Muslims or Muslims on the side of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces — in addition to raping and/or marrying little girls. That this is in stark contrast to policing in the name of purity makes no difference to Aqsa and her Al-Khanssaa gal pals.
Nor does it appear to matter to them that other Muslim females from Britain, Australia and Malaysia are leaving their countries for Syria and Iraq to engage in “jihad al-nikah” (sexual jihad) with ISIS terrorists. This is another way of saying that they service the men who need to relax after a hard day’s work at chopping people’s heads off.
As upstanding citizens who thought they had created a normal household. Aqsa’s parents are mortified. In a statement read by their lawyer, the Mahmoods said, “We are not in denial and do not make any excuses for her and absolutely condemn her involvement in ISIS and recent comments. If our daughter, who had all the chances and freedom in life, could become a bedroom radical, then it is possible for this to happen to any family.”
They are right. But why? How has Britain become such a breeding ground for radicals like Aqsa?
There is no simple answer, certainly not in relation to families like the Mahmoods.
There are clues, however, which indicate the need for a sea change in the cultural paradigm that has enabled violent Islamism to thrive unthwarted in the U.K. and elsewhere.
A prime example is the case of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, where 1,400 British children were raped, beaten and trafficked by groups of Pakistani-born Muslim men for 16 years, while British authorities looked the other way. This recent revelation about the period between 1997 and 2013 is sending shock waves throughout the U.K.
That it happened at all was horrifying enough. The fact a third of the incidents reported during that time were filed away by social services is causing calls for heads to roll (no pun intended).
But the most incredible aspect of this human tragedy is the reason that it was swept under the carpet in the first place: Social workers and police were afraid they would be considered racist if they pointed a finger at the perpetrators, all of whom shared the same — uh — ethnicity. The victims, too, were a pretty homogeneous bunch. White and from poor backgrounds, they were conveniently viewed as slutty street urchins, rather than sexually enslaved children in need of rescue. Had it been the other way around, with British Christians raping Muslim immigrants, the upshot would have been very different.
In such a climate, where even crimes like pedophilia, pederasty and pimping are tolerated when committed by Muslims, is it any wonder that mosques preaching global jihad and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate are welcomed?
It is time to acknowledge that Aqsa and her ilk are a symptom of a serious pathology, not an aberration in an otherwise healthy organ.
Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.'” This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.