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Commentary :: Gender
Open Season on Jewish Women
01 Aug 2006
The dark lessons of the Seattle shooting.
This past Friday, 30-year-old Naveed Afsal Haq, a supposedly lone and “mentally ill” Muslim-American of Pakistani origin, took a 13-year-old girl hostage in order to gain entry to the Jewish Federation Building in Seattle. Declaring himself “angry with Israel,” Haq announced that it was a “hostage” situation, and began shooting only women, including a pregnant woman. Five women were wounded and one, 58 year-old Pam Waechter, was murdered. Several other women were shot in the abdomen.

Haq's brutal attack is no ordinary crime. It is the product of an Islamic culture that denigrates women in general and a jihadist culture that specifically seeks to destroy life. Thus, many Islamic suicide killers will purposely target pregnant women or women with small children before they blow themselves up. It should come as no surprise, then, that Haq is also up on a misdemeanor charge for lewd conduct -- accused of exposing himself in a public place.

Like the parents of many other jihadists, Haq’s parents were shocked to learn of what their son had done. Their reaction is reminiscent of the friends and relatives of male serial killers, who could never believe that such a nice fellow could be capable of so gruesome a crime.

What is sure, however, is that a pattern is emerging. Haq follows in the bloody footsteps of Jack the Ripper and Ted Bundy, the Seattle-based Green River killer, all of whom preyed either on prostitutes or vulnerable women of a certain age and “type.” Unlike Haq, these killers did not emerge from ideological or political cults. Washington state’s Green River Killer murdered more than forty prostitutes and Ted Bundy (who also operated in and around Seattle), murdered more than a hundred women across the country. Yet they did not target Jewish women, nor was their misogynist rage fueled by jihadist politics.

Like Mohammed Atta, Haq had no interest in sexually assaulting Jewish women, only in killing them. Given Haq’s indictment for “lewd” behavior in public, but absent a jihadist influence we might expect him to (merely) become a sexual predator, and not necessarily a killer. Or, if his sexualized rage became murderous we might expect him to kill women—not just Jewish women.

Haq’s act is chillingly reminiscent of the Montreal Massacre which took place on December 6, 1989. Marc Lepine entered the engineering school at the University of Montreal and gunned down fourteen women and wounded fifteen others. Lepine, who had been rejected by both the Canadian Army and the engineering school at the University of Montreal, said in his suicide note that he was after the “feminist viragos” who had ruined his life.

The Canadian police saw this as an isolated act of a madman (as American police had once viewed Ted Bundy’s bloody trail of femicide). What the Canadian police failed to understand was the importance of certain biographical and childhood factors. For example, Lepine was born Gamile Rodrigue Gharbi to an Algerian Muslim father and a French-Canadian mother who had formerly been a nun. Lepine’s father, Liess Gharbi, physically and psychologically brutalized both his son and his wife. He probably taught his son that women are chattel property who deserve to be beaten even when they are obedient—and perhaps murdered when they are not. What is important to note is that Gharbi/Lepine blamed women for the considerable crimes of his father. As Dr. Chesler recounts in her book, The Death of Feminism, in 2001 an angry mob of 300 Algerian men conducted a three-day pogrom against Algerian women in which they tortured, stabbed, mutilated, gang-raped, buried alive and murdered women in Hassi Messaoud.

In Dr. Chesler’s 1978 book, “About Men,” she posited that the paternal abandonment of, and cruelty towards sons may be a crucial component in mother- and woman-hating. Dr. Nancy Kobrin, in her forthcoming book The Sheik’s New Clothes: The Naked Truth About Islamic Suicide Terrorism, posits that the absolute degradation of Arab and Muslim women by a shame- and honor-society means that sons must perpetually rid themselves of the “contamination” that contact with women represents; and that sons must psychologically abandon their mothers—which they may also experience as being abandoned by their mothers. Many such sons are trained to mistrust, police, routinely batter, and sometimes even murder their female relatives.

Dr. Kobrin believes that such psychological dynamics may play a crucial role in contemporary Islamic terrorism. Furthermore, the Jewess is the most denigrated female in Islamic ideology. Think about Zaynab bint Al-Harith, the Khaybar Jewess, who was falsely accused of poisoning the prophet Muhammad after having witnessed the be-heading of her entire male community in the Battle of Khaybar after the Jewish men had surrendered. Not coincidentally, Hezbollah calls its missiles "Khaybar." We have also been told that a new Iranian television station is also known as “Kaybar.”

A Jewish woman who knew the murdered Pam Waechter told us that Waechter was born a Lutheran and converted to Judaism. “She was a better Jew than I or most of us could ever be,” she said. Jewish tradition believes that messianic redemption will enter the world through the good deeds of women converts to Judaism, beginning with Ruth, the ancestor of King David. Let us learn the necessary lessons about redemption from Pam Waechter’s martyrdom.

At the same time, let us not forget that innocence is no defense against fanatical killers driven by hatred of women and Jewish women above all. Jewish women in America, many of whom are progressives and liberals, must now wrestle with the tragedy in Seattle. It will not do to blame Israel for Haq’s crime. The fact is that all Jewish women, whatever their political views, are targets of jihadists who will shoot first and never make inquires about where their victims stand on the question of Israel and Palestine.

This work is in the public domain
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