Terrorism and Women: A Sexist Motive

Liliyan Hassan Anti-semitism, Honor Crimes, Racism, Reproductive Health, Sex Work, Sexism, violence Leave a Comment

Recent News about Terrorism:

Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan native who was living in New Jersey, is charged with federal terrorism offenses after killing 8 people and injuring 11 others. The attacker attributed the attack to ISIS.

Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan native who was living in New Jersey, is charged with federal terrorism offenses after killing 8 people and injuring 11 others. The attacker attributed the attack to ISIS.

Let me be clear on something real quickly: Most people do not and cannot know what is the exact motivation behind any act they commit or do. This man has lived on this earth for 29 years and has been influenced by so many issues and so much global politics and ideas that it is silly to put on a propaganda of having a “speed-lane” where people walk in, get radicalized, and then they come out as people with nothing but one motive and one influence. It is not as if ISIS has sent us a gift and this man is the delivery boy where he tells us, “Here is this gift…it is from ISIS” For even if this “delivery boy” knows what is inside the gift box that ISIS has packaged which may be a gift basket containing: Hatred towards the west, love of Islam, etc, etc… we cannot say that the hatred towards the west is the same as that which ISIS has since even some western people have a hatred of western values. And we cannot say that the love of Islam is the same as that which ISIS has since many people love to learn about Islam even if it is not their religion. We have a set of labels in regards to likes and dislikes where the reason why a person loves or hates that value is always the same: He hates these things and he loves these things for ISIS…aka He hates these things and he loves these things in order to commit an attack. This nonsense is something that needs to remind us (yes, nonsense serves as a reminder these days) that we will have many people in this world who will commit crimes due to the problems we have in this world and that ISIS is going to be the perfect place to take the fall.

This takes me to the next issue where I must ask: WHAT KIND OF GROUP IS WILLING TO TAKE THE BLAME FOR ANY ASSHOLE WHO WANTS TO COMMIT A CRIME LEST IT BE A GROUP THAT IS HELPING ALL MEN DISTORT THE CAUSE OF PROBLEMS WITHIN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES?! Meaning that no group would ever open free access to attribution of problems and crimes as being recorded under its name. Who the hell is okay with telling men that they are free to commit crimes against others under their name?! And who the hell has the RIGHT to do so as if they are the lord almighty forgetting that attributing a cause to ANY problem is something that is not so possible to do since multiple factors exist for why a person does anything and everything in this world?! Just because this man said, “ISIS is the reason why I did this”, let us not forget that most of the time we have no freaking clue why we do the things we do. Hence, it becomes part of any motive whenever a person commits an act in th name of such groups to have the motive of appearing to know what the hell he is doing and why. To appear as if you got your life together and you are in understanding of all your behaviors and all of your feelings becomes the number one reason why such attacks occur. And indeed, Arab and Muslim men will be the ones to fall in that category the most. Not only that, but let us not forget sexism, ladies, where taking responsibility for a crime comes with a person taking actual responsibility. Yet, here, to have ISIS claim responsibility is to give them ownership over that which no human being is allowed to have ownership of: the motive behind an act. Men are not a motive in relation to responsibility since every person is truly responsible over his/her own self. This, right there, is a red flag that women need to watch out for as its path ends with men taking ownership over the lives of women. 

When someone commits an attack in the name of ISIS, let us not forget that this is still the “who” in relation to the act committed. Hence, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov committed an act of terrorism as ISIS. In that, his name might as well be ISIS. Why did he commit the attack? the answer is not ISIS since ISIS is “who committed that attack?” ISIS is not the who and the why and the what and the lord almighty to be the answer in relation to all aspects of an issue. So why did this man/ISIS commit this crimes again?! No clue although I will tell you something: it is not possible for ISIS to have the same “why” as this man. Why is that? You tell me. I mean, does he even know ISIS personally for that to become a close possibility or are we supposed to go along for the ride that says so anyways despite all the logic that tells us otherwise?!

ISIS has a multidimensionaly caused motive (meaning that their overall motive is composed of other motives) where some of its motives are clearly the motives of others towards it, towards Islam, and towards that region in general. Hence, part of the motives behind ISIS is our motives in relation to certain issues whether they have become so due to a wrong in how our motives were perceived or not. To say that a person has committed an act in the name of ISIS is not only to free ISIS from any blame and to free the west from any blame, but it is to free one’s self from his own experience and from the real reasons why he committed such acts. Meaning, if I was a terrorist, how can ISIS be blamed without me taking the same blame? And if I was to blame ISIS first and ignore myself from being the person who is first and foremost responsible, what does that say about ISIS? It would say that it is ISIS who is taking the fall when this man should have taken responsibility instead. And who on earth would ignore his own experience lest he has found it to match (coincidentally or otherwise) with the reaction that ISIS operates through? Meaning that ISIS has given a way for people to react to their experiences where this man has found commonality in his experience and what his experience means in relation to what he should do next. Can a person ever blame ISIS or any group for attacks he commits? Or is a group of such kind created precisely as a way for men to escape responsibility where the attacks are an expression of abandoning that responsibility? The truth is that when one person murders another, he is not taking responsibility for his actions even if he is caught by the police and sentenced to jail for life since taking responsibility is a thing that would have stopped a person from committing that murder to begin with. For ISIS to form itself as a group of people who are carrying the responsibilities of Islam and of Eastern values–where in doing so, they are to murder, rape, and bring down entire cities–is for them to abandon or to cause others to abandon their responsibilities in Islam and their responsibilities within Eastern values. And although in doing so, some people may abandon these values and that religion for a leaner and more westernized set of beliefs as to separate themselves from terrorism and ISIS; it is to be noted that most of the time, people will stick to Islam and Eastern values more so than before minus the lack of responsibility that is given to them by those ideologies (that lack of responsibility is expressed by ISIS on their behalf). In that, such ideologies will take on a friendlier tone despite it continuing the same practices making it even harder, specially for women, to find themselves in a justified place to express a problem. The lack of justification in “terrorist” attacks is truly a justification in and of itself—it is the same lack of justification found in sexism.

So here is my concern in relation to women’s rights. In a sexist world, there is one thing that connects the men within ISIS with any other man in this universe: Sexism itself. How do we, women, feel assured that the attacks happening in our world today are not due to a sort of sexism that is happening on our soil–a sexism that we are not aware of in terms of the consequences that it has on men and women alike?! How do we know that such attacks do not have a sexist motive given that ISIS is a very sexist organization? How do we know that such attacks are not triggered by a sexist motivation that men have here in the west—a motivation that comes to a dangerous limit when met with the sexism from the east? Meaning: Are the values held by men in the west so amazing that they cannot possibly be attributing to the problem in relation to sexism and the attacks that are happening? For we all can tell that the ideologies held by men in the east are not so great when it comes to women and it is precisely due to this fact that such groups have risen. Why is it that we can safely dismiss the west from adding to that sexism where we can just attribute such attacks to terrorism? For me, ISIS is not just a terrorist group but it is a sexist group that expresses its sexism using religion through acts of terror. How is the west adding to the sexism that is found in the east? And how is America and the west being used by ISIS in conjunction to religion in order to motivate people to commit such acts?! What I am saying is this: to say this is an act of terror, we all need to realize that this is truly an act of sexism. And since this is an act of sexism, what benefits are there in committing such sexist acts through the use of random terrorist attacks? And what benefits are there in attributing sexism to a religion that is meant to become a place where sexism is rooted? And which man today is not sexist? And why is he sexist?! Are all men members of ISIS who have found better and more friendly ways of expressing their sexism? Are we moving on to the next level in this Super-Mario-Brothers game where we need to eliminate those who cannot handle the heat before we get to a place that requires us to not be so emotional for the plan to work out for you, dear men?

So let me answer some of these questions:

1. How do we know that such attacks do not have a sexist motive given that ISIS is a very sexist organization?

We know that such attacks have sexist motives if one was to only look at the East.

2. How do we know that such attacks are not triggered by a sexist motivation that men have here in the west—a motivation that comes to a dangerous limit when met with the sexism from the east?

We know that such attacks are partly in relation to the sexual freedoms found in the west and we know that there exists a radical difference between our sexual freedoms and the sexual ideology of people in the east.

3. Why is it that we can safely dismiss the west from adding to that sexism where we can just attribute such attacks to terrorism?

We can say that part of the goal in terrorism is for us to dismiss the west in relation to terrorism as being something that is used as a “foolish excuse” by terrorists. Hence, we can make a safe conclusion that terrorists do not truly mind western values. When I say, “safe conclusion”, I mean that the conclusion is in regards to the safety of women in relation to a problematic past and present where it becomes for the sake of our safety to assume that men of the west do not mind the ways of the east and that the men of the east do not mind the ways of the west given that the ideology of the other side helps men in carrying their sexist values against women.

4. And how is America and the west being used by ISIS in conjunction to religion in order to motivate people to commit such acts?!

We can say that this is done through, what we have labeled as, “the process of radicalization”.

5. What benefits are there in committing such sexist acts through the use of random terrorist attacks?

We can safely conclude that sexism is one of the main benefits in the use of random terrorist acts as it helps in associating “sexual propriety” with terrorism and with acts of violence. Meaning that men have always acted, since the beginning of time, in such manner as to make women pay the price in punishments for “sexual propriety” when it is his responsibility to act and to pay for what that responsibility entails.

8. And what benefits are there in attributing sexism to a religion that is meant to become a place where sexism is rooted?

Again, we can safely conclude (safely conclude: in relation to the safety of women as to secure a better future in regards to a problematic present and a problematic past) that it is best to attribute sexism to a past that is still being carried in accordance to the terms of the past when it comes to a present that is trying to remove itself from it.

9. And which man today is not sexist? And why is he sexist?!

All men, must necessarily— even if indirectly — carry on a life that has accepted at least some of the terms of sexism.

10. Are all men members of ISIS who have found better and more friendly ways of expressing their sexism?

We can safely conclude (safely conclude: in relation to the safety of woman), through our relationships with men, that sexism is easy to mask to a point where even a sexist man is fully unaware of his sexism. And given that our western sexual freedoms do come at a price that is significantly minimized in importance and in the influence it has on women…and given that western men do often escape any questions raised in regards to their sexism as to divert our attention to how people in the East are much worse, we need to know that the sexism that western women face is likely to be a friendlier way of expressing sexism against women. For the sexual protection offered to the women in the west is not one that protects them from sexism itself but it is one that offers them protection as it is being practiced against them. And it is unsafe to conclude (unsafe to conclude: in regards to conditions where women are not safe) that terrorism comes with a lack of ability for us to make safe conclusions for the particular reason that it is “an unsafe conclusion” when it comes to women (hence, it becomes safe for us to conclude this to be true—it is a mind screw).

11. How do we, women, feel assured that the attacks happening in our world today are not due to a sort of sexism that is happening on our soil–a sexism that we are not aware of in terms of the consequences that it has on men and women alike?!

I say that such assurance is not the responsibility of women to look for and to find. In that, I am asserting that it is the responsibility of men to make sure that women feel that assurance. Hence, it becomes evidence that terrorism is part of a cycle of abuse that is meant to be used as a way to assure women of the existence of a safety in sexual ideology where it does not truly exist. Therefore, although women need to be assured that this terrorism is not a sign that there exists a sexism they are unaware of in terms of motives and goals; terrorism is used precisely as a sign to say that the opposite is true. Terrorism is used as an assurance for all women that their lives and the sexism in it is not the issue of concern. Although the opposite is actually true. 

12. And finally I need to ask one more question: Am I vilifying men in such manner that brings forth a creation of a conspiracy theory where they all have the motive of harming women as a final goal?

To that I say that it is always the case that I, just as many women do, feel a sense of vilification from our part towards men–although I need to note that this feeling would stand as being the same if one was to take a woman back in time as to ask her, “would you believe it if we were to tell you that men want to behead you as part of a sexual motive they have?” And truly, the sexism of the past and the abuses and the crimes committed against women, do feel like they are better off left as being part of a conspiracy theory than a reality that has actually occurred. Hence, if you were to take me to the past, I would feel like I am vilifying men if I was to say, for example, that “men want to behead women”. In that, it is safe to conclude (safe to conclude in relation to the safety of women in the future) that such feeling needs to be dismissed as being wrong since the past and today serve as proof that those feelings are wrong to see as wrong. The past was a challenge against women as it continues to challenge the truth within a problematic reality today. Ask me again what I think that a man is capable of doing against women? And it is sad to say that what I think does not matter and what I feel does not matter in relation to such questions since it is true that my feelings do not speak for the behaviors of men but that the behavior of men often happens despite how we feel. To feel certain about the future of women is something that is not important for men to make us feel. And this right there becomes the only thing women need to know in regards to the future of women: if we are not certain about our future and if being certain about it is not important, then that is something we have in common with the women in the past since they too would say the same in regards to their future that we call “our today”.

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Liliyan Hassan

Liliyan Hassan

Founder: Go for Women

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