It occurs to us at BFD that one of the primary motivating factors of many Islamic fundamentalists’ dim view of western culture, is the fact that western culture has no need for, nor any interest in the veiling of any members of our society. The fact that females of the human species are regarded by western culture as equal to males of the species in terms of human rights and the rule of law is something that scares the bejesus out of Islamists in positions of power (always male) in the Islamic dominated societies.
It seems to us that the veiling of women in areas of the world dominated by Islam is for the one, unspoken, but universally understood purpose of subjugating women, and maintaining the delusion that just as a diamond ring, an automobile, cattle, a business asset, a bank account, an oil well, or an airplane, are simply chattel, so are female family members chattel, the personal property of the family patriarch. As chattel, females are to be protected from predation, reserved for barter when making family alliances, used for the propagation of male heirs, and to serve as a symbol of the family patriarch’s wealth and influence. Females in contemporary Islamic societies do not have anywhere near the rights that females have achieved in western society, as described through first-person experience by Megan K. Stack in her story titled In Saudi Arabia, a view from behind the veil published in the Los Angeles Times.
The plight of Saudi women, and likely many other women in countries ruled by Islamic oligarchy’s are discussed by the blogger “hometownwriter” in the SAND GETS IN MY EYES blog in a posting titled Metaphors and Wajeha Al-Huwaider. If you follow this blog you will find much more revealing information about life in Saudi Arabia from the perspective of an American ex-patriot.
In our analysis this goes a long way towards our understanding of why radical Islamic fundamentalists would view westerners as infidels and a threat to their way of life. The balance of power in their world is like an inverted pyramid, with virtually no power at the inverted tip, where females stand, and increasing power up the inverted pyramid accruing to family patriarchs, then accruing further and further up the inverted base of the pyramid with the most power accruing to the ruling oligarch. Because this is an inverted pyramid, however, the smallest amount of force from outside could tip it over, so of course a good and righteous member of Islamic society will strive to annihilate any and all western infidels that pose a threat to the equilibrium of the pyramid. In our view this is just how the system works in this culture.
If this hypothesis is correct then, it would seem that as long as any western nation, and the United States in particular, persists in imposing themselves through their direct intervention in the Islamic world, we can expect a sustained and unrelenting resistance and push back, and desire for annihilation of our own society, by radical Islamists. This leads us at BFD to surmise that the only rational tactics that the west should take to neutralize the threat to our own peaceful existence from the hands of Islamic radicals, and to foster an environment in which Islamic societies recognize and accept that all of their people are equals, are to first remove our presence from where it is not wanted, removing the direct physical and societal threats that are perceived to their value system.
Secondly we need to promote full knowledge and understanding of the freedoms, rights, rules of law, ethical and moral values that are the cornerstones of our society through our education system, through our media arts, through our literature, through our mass communications such as radio, television, and the Internet, to any and every ear, eye and mind we can reach the rest of the world. If those who may be subjugated, anywhere in the world, can be reached and empowered with the knowledge that life can be made different, then eventually, aspirations of another way of life will grow organically and from within those societies that are enmeshed in cultures clinging upon ancient folkways and customs.
Those of us who have achieved a safe, free, peaceful, productive, intellectually and emotionally rich life have an obligation to share our culture, our knowledge of ourselves and our world with those in the world who are lacking parity with us, in an open, generous manner. We need to lead by example, to demonstrate to our human brothers and sisters that they can make choices in their lives, and we need to keep the lines of communications to them open at all times and in all manners. Cultural and political change, anywhere in the world, has to come from within, but that can only happen when there is knowledge of another path.
Having said all of the above, it seems to us at BFD that we, in the United States, also have an obligation to take a long, hard, and honest look at our own culture and the values that are promoted in our own society, and at the teachings and messages that we espouse to our children, our citizens and to the world at large via the moral and ethical values that we teach through our families, and schools. We need to consider the messages that are sent to the rest of the world through the way we conduct our business, through the popular culture that we distribute, and through our actions and the way we comport our nation among all other nations.
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