Violent Jihad

“Violent extremists” do not target women for special subjugation. Islamist groups do.

The UN's insistence on treating "violent extremism" as if it were a unified problem leads to all manner of absurd results, especially when it tries to talk about the threat such groups pose to women's rights.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | September 12, 2016

A UN panel meeting in Brazil argued that “violent extremist groups” worldwide are eroding women’s rights especially:

Militant groups from Boko Haram in Nigeria to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria target women in their attacks on human rights, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the head of the United Nations’ women’s advocacy agency, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

“Fundamentalists have an issue with women. They are most cruel against women,” she said. “Fundamentalism is a major burden for women, and it takes away the security of women more than anything else.”…  She cited the example of the Yazidi people of northern Iraq, where women and girls have been brutalized at the hands of the Islamic State. The jihadist group has targeted women with particular cruelty including rape and sex slavery, she said.

She also cited the case of women and girls at the hands of Boko Haram… In the group’s most high-profile attack of April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a secondary school in Chibok in northeast Borno state.

Her examples go to show just why the UN’s approach to “Countering Violent Extremism” is unwise and unworkable.  Running all these groups together means eliding essential differences that prevent us from getting at the real causes of the violence.

It is simply not true that “violent extremist” groups per se have an issue with women.  Consider the Philippines, which hosts a number of violent extremist groups.  Some of them are Islamists, such as Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged fealty to the Islamic State (ISIS).  Others are Communists, especially Maoists.  Not all Maoists in the Philippines are violent extremists, but those that are have bled the country white at times.  Nevertheless, gender equality is formally one of the Maoist issues.  This is not unique:  Communist movements throughout the history of the ideology have thought of ‘patriarchy’ as another form of structural oppression almost exactly analogous to the worker/owner relationship.  Yet the Maoists are  not immune to violent extremism, and in fact are some of the most violent extremists of all.  (Especially Mao himself, who may have killed sixty million people in his lifetime, ten times as many as Hitler.)

What is the sense of running Communist terrorists in with Islamist ones?  What do they have in common?

One of the frequent talking points of the left in America is that not all terrorists are Muslims.  This is perfectly correct as a matter of evidence:  the FBI’s numbers suggest that from 1980-2005, 42% of terrorist attacks in America were carried out by Hispanic/Latino organizations such as drug cartels.  Radical left wing groups including Communists carried out another thirty percent of terrorist attacks in that period.  In Europe, meanwhile, the vast majority of terrorist attacks are ethnic separatist groups desiring independence from some central government.*

Are these groups especially hostile to women?  No, again.  Ethnic separatist groups are likely to revere their women as essential to the survival of their nation.  Communists, as noted, treat gender equality as a core issue.  It is only the Islamists who justify sex-slavery of women taken in battle, forced marriages, and in Africa, forced genital mutilation.

The CVE standard is senseless.  Running all of these organizations together leads to weak thinking and bad conclusions about how to address the various threats that they represent.  You cannot solve the drug cartel terror problem while treating them as if they were exactly the same as some Communist organization.  Neither of them are like ISIS.  Why are they fighting, and what are they fighting for?  In the case of a recent study on ISIS volunteers, the answers were clear:

“All, with some consistency, calmly reiterate their desire to achieve martyrdom, and celebrate the martyrdom of others. But they scrupulously asserted that their fate is in the hands of Allah.”

“…most of the fighters we interviewed provided justifications for being a foreign fighter that were largely moral and religious in character, more than explicitly political.”

“…the interactions we recorded are laced with comments about the need to be strict in observing the differences between true Muslims and others.”

These things may look similar, but they are not alike.  Any solution to the problems Islamist groups pose toward the rights of women needs to take into account the treatment of women under this Islamist vision.  That starts with sharia and its structures of oppression, whether you like it or not.


*Note that what is being counted here are number of incidents only.  If we adopted instead “number of casualties” as the standard, Muslim terrorism in America would be by far the worst kind because of the 9/11 murders alone.  Likewise, we might want to be more interested in terrorist attacks on innocents — again, like 9/11 — rather than terrorist attacks targeting a cartel’s rivals in the drug trade.  On either picture, Islamist violence looks worse than the raw number of attacks indicates.  It is only if we take each incidence of terrorism as equally bad that we get this particular picture of the threat.



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