Women, Secret Hamas Strength, Win Votes at Polls and New RoleI had to re-read this twice until I really could believe it: Yes this IS a gushing praise of that genocidal scum, which goes by the name of Hamas. I thought there were no limits to the idiocy of the European Left, but the American branch makes a close second. A VERY close second, for that!
By IAN FISHER
Published: February 3, 2006
GAZA, Feb. 2 — Hamas has been known and feared for its men, armed or strapped with suicide bombs. But in its parliamentary election triumph here last week, one secret weapon was its women.
Now in surprise control of Palestinians politics, Hamas can boast that women hold 6 of the party's 74 seats in parliament — giving the women of the radical group, guided in all ways by their understanding of Islam, a new and unaccustomed public role.
"We are going to lead factories, we are going to lead farmers," said Jamila al-Shanty, 48, a professor at the Islamic University here who won a seat in parliament. "We are going to spread out through society. We are going to show the people of the world that the practice of Islam in regards to women is not well known."
If Ms. Shanty's prediction is true, the role of women will certainly not be along the secular Western lines followed largely, and with real strides for women, under decades of leadership by Yasir Arafat's now defeated Fatah faction. The model will be Islam: women in Hamas wear head scarves and follow strict rules for social segregation from men.
And one of their role models — one of the few women in Hamas well known before the election — has a pedigree particularly troubling to many in Israel and the outside world.
She is Mariam Farhat, the mother of three Hamas supporters killed by Israelis. She bade one son goodbye in a homemade videotape before he stormed an Israeli settlement, killing five people, then being shot dead. She said later, in a much-publicized quotation, that she wished she had 100 sons to sacrifice that way. Known as the "mother of martyrs," she was seen in a campaign video toting a gun.
Now she is one of the six women who are Hamas legislators, elected on the party list. The election rules had quotas for women for all parties. She was swamped this week at a Hamas victory rally at the women's campus at the Islamic University by young, outspoken, educated women who see no contradiction between religious militancy and modernity.
"She is a mother to every house, every person," said one of the students, Reem el-Nabris, 20, who kissed and hugged Ms. Farhat.
Ms. Farhat, 56, who had not been active in politics, said she hoped she deserved their praise as a role model. But she said her role should not be the only one for Hamas's women.
"It is not only sacrificing sons," she said after the rally. "There are different kinds of sacrifice, by money, by education. Everybody, according to their ability, should sacrifice."
Yet Hamas encourages, and in some cases pays for, the education of these women. Sabrin al-Barawi, 21, a chemistry student, said she had grown up with Hamas programs for women: social groups, leadership courses, Koran classes.
"It's not only religious," said Ahlan Shameli, 21, who is studying computers. "It's the Internet, computers."
"Before Hamas, women were not aware of the political situation," she said. "But Hamas showed and clarified what was going on. Women have become much more aware."
In nearly two decades, the top tier of Hamas's leadership has seemed very much reserved for men. But supporters of Hamas, as well as those of Fatah and other specialists, agreed with Ms. Shameli that Hamas had earned strong support among women. In fact, studies and results from municipal elections show women support the group in higher numbers than men.
The questions now seem to be what role Hamas's women will play, and exactly how that will be expressed in the rules of Islam.
Naima Sheikh Ali, a Fatah legislator who runs a group for women here, said that Hamas's strict interpretation of Islam would remain a bar to true participation by women. They cannot, for instance, be judges under Islam, she said, and will generally remain segregated and pushed to the side.
"Yes, they respect women, but as they conceive that respect," she said. "It is from a religiously fundamental view. For the women's movement, this will set us back several steps."
Ms. Shanty, one of the new Hamas legislators, begged to differ. She said that women, and especially the wives of top Hamas leaders, had long played a central role in Hamas's leadership, though she said that had not been publicized to protect them.
"Every decision that is taken by Hamas is passed to us, not after the decision is made but before," she said.
One measure of participation by women may be the extent that they take part in addressing the main problems facing Palestinians, not only on social issues that affect women, families or children.
Hamas, she [Mouna Mansour, 44, a physics teacher and widow of Jamal Mansour, an assassinated Hamas leader] said, needs to rebuild the economy, get rid of poverty and unemployment and, for now, to continue the cease-fire with Israel.
But she also defended the decision of a young Nablus man to become a suicide bomber. "Why not ask the question from another angle?" she said. "Why would he blow himself up if he was not subject to such great pressures? What leads you to do such a bitter thing? People do this from anger and injustice, to bring back life to their own people by sacrificing their lives."
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To label the involvement of those monstrous hags as anything close to progress means to call the crones, who had a subscription to a front-row seat under the guillotine in revolutionary France, humanitarians.
To call them de-humanised would be equally inappropriate, because any rabbit knows better how to look after its young.
In any totalitarian society there will be people willing to work together with the oppressors against the best interests of their own group, so are, obviously, women in violent Islamist societies. But maybe it is not JUST lack of any ethical compass that makes the Times hacks seeing that as progress. Maybe it is reminiscent of the Western variety of those hags who go by the name of 'feminists' and have a similar ruthless disregard for the fate of their less lucky fellow women. And don't let's stop hoping that next time one of the sons of those valiant mothers detonates his bomb belt, some Times hacks are in the vicinity.
Go to PMW-Bulletin dating December 20, 2005: Mother sent sons on suicide missions, becomes Hamas candidate: Indicates value of terror in Palestinian society, by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook for more information, including the following:
To see a mother describe the suicide death of her two sons as a "wedding," click: http://pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_UmmAjrami%20171104_9.asx
To see a mother describe how she prayed during her pilgrimage to Mecca for her son to die as a shahid, click: http://pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_MeccaShahid_7.asx
To view a Palestinian Authority social welfare official explain how the Palestinian Authority teaches its "daughters and granddaughters" to celebrate the death of sons as a wedding, click: http://pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_SanaAida.asx
To see a mother describe how her son sought Shahada in order to marry the "Dark Eyed" - the 72 maidens (or virgins) of Paradise, click: http://pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_momVirgins_7.asx
To view a mother describing how she hoped her son would die because "I wanted the best for him," and because it would bring honor to her entire family, click: http://pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_Shadi_mom_7.asx
A PA TV video clip, broadcast for years, directed mothers to send their sons to battle. The actress portraying a mother is shown expressing the traditional sound of joy after her son is killed. She then hands his gun to her next son and sends him into combat. To view the clip, click: http://pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_momGun_7.asx
The mother of a murderer of three Israelis describers her joy upon hearing of her son's death, and recounts that he aspired to Shahada because, in the son's words, "72 Dark Eyed [Maidens] of Paradise are waiting for me." To view the clip, click: http://pmw.org.il/asx/PMW_Fuda_9.asx