This is one of the most fascinating
and extremely important articles to have appeared since the beginning of
the war of aggression and genocide conducted by NATO and the Libyan
traitors against the Libyan Jamahiriya. This article reveals that,
aside from the physical genocide against Libya, there is a cultural genocide that is also being waged, initiated by Bengazi jihadists who are extreme anti-women
fanatics, and who wish to permanently destroy the elevated status that
Libyan women have achieved under Colonel Gaddafi.
Anyone who knows the internal dynamics of Islamic society will realize that it is no exaggeration whatsoever to state that, perhaps
more than oil, gold, and political power, the Bengazi traitors are
motivated by their outrage of Gaddafi's progressive stance on the
equality of women, and women's rights.
As Ms. Lindauer reveals, Gaddafi's reforms for Libyan women were
so progressive that the "bearded one," Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a
fatwa (decree) declaring the Libyan Jamaniriya to be blasphemous to
Islamic traditions. But, anyone who knows the sunna (practice) of
Prophet Muhammad would recognize that Gaddafi's reforms are totally in line with the authentic traditions of Islamic society.
By Susan Lindauer
For European bankers, it's a war for Libya's Gold. For oil
corporations, it's a war for Cheap Crude (now threatening to destroy
Libya's oil infrastructure, just like Iraq). But for Libya's women, it's
a fierce, knock down battle over the Abaya— an Islamic style of dress
that critics say deprives women of self-expression and identity.
Hillary Clinton and President Sarkozy might loath to admit it, but
the desire to turn back the clock on women rights in Libya constitutes
one of the chief goals for NATO Rebels on the Transitional Council.
For NATO Rebels—who are overwhelmingly pro-Islamist, regardless of NATO propaganda (see www.obamaslibya.com)
— it's a matter of restoring social obedience to Islamic doctrine.
However the abaya is more than a symbol of virtue and womanly modesty.
It would usher in a full conservative doctrine, impacting women's rights
in marriage and divorce, the rights to delay childbirth to pursue
education and employment—all the factors that determine a woman's status
That makes this one War Libya's women cannot afford to lose. For
those of us who support Islamic modernity, there are good arguments that
Gadhaffi would be grossly irresponsible to hand over power to a vacuum
dominated by NATO Rebels. Given the savagery of their abuses against the
Libyan people (www.obamaslibya.com)
—and the Rebel's agenda to reinstate Shariah and retract women's
rights, Gadhaffi has an obligation to stand strong and block them for
the protection of the people.
Indeed, it's somewhat baffling that France or Italy would want to
hand power to Rebels, outside of an election scenario. Elections would
be a safeguard that would empower Libyan women to launch a leadership
alternative that rejects the Abaya. That's exactly what the Rebels fear,
and it accounts for their deep, abiding rejection of the election
process. Democracy poses a real threat to NATO's vision of the "New
The abaya carries so much weight in the battle for Islamic modernity
that Gadhaffi pretty much banned Islamic dress from the first days of
his government. Getting rid of the abaya was part of Gadhaffi's larger
reform package supporting women's rights—one of the best and most
advanced in the entire Arab world. The transformation of women's status
has been so great that the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran imposed a fatwa
against Gadhaffi years ago, declaring his government blasphemous to
To gain insider perspective on Gadhaffi's reforms for women, members
of a fact-finding delegation in Libya spoke with Najat ElMadani,
chairwoman of the Libyan Society for Culture and Sciences, an NGO
started in 1994. They also interviewed Sheikh Khaled Tentoush, one the
most prominent Imams in Libya. Imam Tentoush has survived two NATO
assassination attempts, one that was particularly revealing.
Tentoush said that he and 12 other progressive Imams were traveling
to Benghazi to discuss a peaceful end to the conflict. They stopped for
tea at a guest house in Brega--- and NATO dropped a bomb right on top of
them, killing 11 of the 13 Imams, who had embraced Islamic reforms that
empower women's rights and modernity.
There were no military installations or Gadhaffi soldiers anywhere
nearby that would have justified NATO bombing. This was a deliberate
assassination of Islamic leaders who give religious legitimacy to
Gadhaffi's modernist policies, and therefore pose a great threat to the
conservative ambitions of Islamic Rebels. NATO killed them off.
What's got radical Islamists so upset in Libya? Here's a primer on women's rights under Gadhaffi:
No Male Chaperones in Libya
- In Libya, women are allowed to move about the city, go shopping or
visit friends without a male escort. Unbelievable as it sounds,
throughout most of the Arab world, such freedoms are strictly forbidden.
In much of Pakistan, for example, a 5 year old male child would be
considered a suitable chaperone for an adult woman in the marketplace.
Otherwise she'd better stay home. In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, women are
frequently locked in their apartments while their husbands, brothers or
fathers go off to work. Yes, there are exceptions. Some families
individually reject these practices. However, before readers protest
this characterization, you must be honest and acknowledge that the
Taliban in Afghanistan and the Saudis/Kuwaitis aren't the only groups
that constrain women's freedoms in the Arab world. This is common social
behavior throughout large swaths of Arab society.
- In Libya, women are never locked in their homes, while their
husbands, fathers and brothers go to work. Gadhaffi forbids restricting
- In Libya, women have full legal rights to drive cars—unlike their
sisters in Saudi Arabia. In a lot of Arab countries, a woman's husband
holds her passport. So she cannot travel outside of the country without
- Tragically, in Kabul, Afghanistan, a young woman can be locked in
Prison for rejecting her father's choice of husband. Until she changes
her mind, her prospective mother in law visits the prison every day,
demanding to know why her son is not "good enough" for this girl. Why
does she disobey those who know what's best for her? That poor woman
stays locked up in Kabul prison until she changes her mind. And it
happens right under the noses of American and NATO soldiers. A NATO
Occupation won't protect Libyan women, either.
- All over the Arab world—from Yemen to Jordan to Saudi Arabia to
Iran— fathers and brothers decide what age a young woman will be given
away in marriage, usually as soon as she hits puberty— She has no choice
in the most important decision of her life. Frequently a young girl
gets married off to one of her father's adult friends or a cousin.
Throughout the Arab world, it's socially acceptable for a shopkeeper to
ask a young Muslim girl if she has started to menstruate. A good Islamic
girl is expected to answer truthfully.
- Not in Libya. To his greatest credit, bucking all Islamic
traditions—from the first days of government, Gadhaffi said No Way to
forced marriages. Libyan woman have the right to choose their own
husbands. They are encouraged to seek love marriages. Under strict
Libyan law, without exception no person can force a Libyan woman to marry any man for any reason.
- Forced marriages have been such a problem throughout the Arab world,
that in Libya, an Imam always calls on the woman if there is an
impending marriage. The Imam meets with her privately, and asks if any
person is forcing her to marry, or if there's any reason she's marrying
this person other than her desire to be with this man. Both Najat and
Imam Tentoush were very adamant on these points.
- In Libya, the Imams are expected to protect the woman from abuse by relatives.
Right to End a Marriage
- Divorce is brutally difficult for a woman throughout the Arab world.
A husband can beat or rape his wife, or commit adultery or lock her in a
room like a prison. No matter what a woman suffers, as a wife she has
no legal rights to leave that marriage, even for her own protection.
When her father negotiates that marriage contract, she's stuck for life.
A man can divorce a woman in front of two witnesses by repeating three
times: "I divorce you. I divorce you. I divorce you." He can text that
message on a cell phone, and it's over. The woman has no reciprocal
freedom. She's stuck in that marriage until her husband lets her go.
- Not so in Libya. A Libyan woman
can leave a marriage anytime she chooses. A woman simply files for
divorce and goes on with her life. It is very similar to U.S. laws, in
that a man has no power to stop her. It's completely within her control
to initiate a divorce.
- In Libya, if a woman enters a marriage with her own assets and the
marriage ends, her husband cannot touch her assets. The same is true of
the man's assets. Joint assets usually go to the woman.
These "abnormal" marriage rights stir deep anger among conservative
Libyan men. Rebels particularly hate Gadhaffi's government for granting
marriage rights to women.
But consider how delaying marriage impacts women's opportunities in society.
Delayed marriage means delayed childbirth, which empowers young women
to continue education and gain employment. Not surprisingly then,
Libyan women enjoy some of the best opportunities in the Arab world.
That might also cause simmering resentments among conservative Libyan
Education of Libyan Women
- In Libya more women take advantage of higher education than men,
according to Najat. There are professional women in every walk of
life. Many Libyan women are scientists, university professors, lawyers,
doctors, government employees, journalists and business women. Najat
attributes that freedom and the range of choices to Gadhaffi, and his
government's insistence that women must be free to choose their lives
and be fully supported in those choices. Najat and Tentoush said that
some Imams in Libya would like it to be otherwise—especially those Imams
favoring the Rebels— but Gadhaffi has always over ruled them. For
example there are many women soldiers, and they are very strong and
fully capable of contributing to the military defense of the country.
- Women receive education scholarships equal to the men's. All Libyans
can go abroad and study if they so desire— paid for by Gadhaffi's
government. Single women usually take a brother or male relative with
them, and Najat said all expenses are covered for both the woman and her
- In Libya, women are not required to seek a husband's permission to
hold a job, and any type of job is available to her. In contrast, many
employment opportunities are proscribed in many other Arab countries,
because work puts women in daily proximity to men who are not their
husbands. That eliminates many types of job opportunities.
Bashing Women's Rights
These are some of the reasons why Rebels consider Gadhaffi an
"infidel." They frequently express a desire to reinstate the Shariah.
It's an open secret in Arab circles. In ignoring this point, NATO
resembles the three monkeys. See no truth. Hear no truth. Speak no
truth. But the Arab community understands this dynamic. Rebels are going
to pat Hillary Clinton and Sarkozy on the head right up until they
capture power. Then they're going to do exactly what they started out to
do. Reinstate Islamic law—under the protection of the United States and
NATO governments. Conservative social codes will be enforced just like
Libyans understand this point, even if Americans and Europeans are
lost in denial. It should surprise no one, therefore, that some of
Gadhaffi's greatest support comes from Libyan women. Nor should it
surprise Libya watchers that Gadhaffi's not exactly "clinging to power"
as the corporate media likes to suggest. Quite the contrary, Gadhaffi's
support has skyrocketed to 80 or 85 percent during this crisis.
President Obama, Sarkozy and Bersculoni would be thrilled to enjoy such
intense popular support.
NATO bombing has backfired and alienated the Libyan people from the
Rebel cause, destroying community infrastructure that Libyans are truly
proud of. Rebels are chasing pro-Gaddhaffi families out of Benghazi, a
sort of political cleansing. But they have no street credibility that
would give them power in negotiations with other Libyans, because losers
don't get to dictate the terms. NATO can propagandize until Sarkozy
falls over in a fit, but the people have resoundingly rejected these
NATO is pushing a political resolution, because Europe wants off the
merry-go-round. In truth, the music is getting uglier every day. NATO
never should have jumped on this bandwagon in the first place. There's
no sense to it. They're fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and embracing
Al Qaeda and conservative Islam in Benghazi.
Those of us who support Islamic modernity should be relieved that
Libya's people are smarter and savvier than NATO bureaucrats. And we
should all say a prayer that Gadhaffi holds on.
Susan Lindauer covered Libya and Iraq
at the United Nations from 1995 to 2003, and started negotiations for
the Lockerbie Trial. Lindauer is the author of "Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq."
About Dennis South
I have been serving, for 43 years, the cause of helping to create a new, balanced and peaceful world.