Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Wife with a Secret

FBI photo courtesy of Associated Press
Tashfeen Malik was a wife with a secret.

Forget the girl with a pearl earring.  Contemplate this heavily veiled wife with the red bra.

After the shoot-out with police, her body lay exposed in a street.

"It appears to be the body of a woman," a television news reporter announced. "She's wearing a red bra."

The sexy, head-to-toe veiled gunwoman--right?


Her face, finally unveiled in an FBI photo, shows a slight smirk.

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Tashfeen was taught to live behind a veil.  She had to cover her face and her body, not just her hair.

What does it do to a woman to live with your whole identity concealed?

Perhaps it teaches duplicity: you have one identity behind the walls of your home, another in public.

Tashfeen's family members were immigrants from Pakistan.  Some immigrants enthusiastically adopt the culture of the new country in an attempt to win acceptance.

Her father had separated from his brothers and birth family over property and religious disputes, even leaving the country.  Tashfeen learned anger and family feuding.

Even in Pakistan, however, her educated, politically influential family was described as "having some extremist credentials."

If you lived in a nation that had been invented just fifty years earlier by other nations, then wrapping up a world war, you too might lean toward extremism.

Britain, other Europeans and the US contributed to the creation of  Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1947 as a solution to Hindu-Muslim rivalry and violence.  Mohandas Gandhi opposed the creation of separate states: "I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock."  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-nation_theory#Gandhi.27s_View

In addition to her dual background in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Tashfeen was ambitious and well-educated.  Where does that take you if your religion opposes women working outside the home and even driving?  What avenues for achievement do you have?

She had been an excellent student of pharmacology at Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, southern Pakistan.  Starting with Taliban attacks in 2007, the area dealt with "notoriety as centers of radical sectarian activity," reports Declan Walsh in the New York Times.



But in Pakistan, she was clearly Saudi, "a classic product of the conservatizing influence that Saudi Arabia has brought to bear on countries like Pakistan," writes Walsh.  German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel noted on Sunday the Saudi export of extremism.  ISIS fighters, Al-Qaeda founders--many can be traced to Saudi roots. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saudi/analyses/wahhabism.html

This quiet, covered apparently submissive woman was planning a terrorist attack.  She would become famous for being a gunwoman, but her own brother-in-law and sister-in-law had no inking of her ambitions.

While in university, she also briefly attended a religious school for women, Al Huda, accused of teaching that  ‘Muslims are destined to lead the world’ and ‘the corrupt West must be confronted.’

In any case, Tashfeen Malik achieved her goals.  She and her husband killed 14 people, wounded 21 others, and created a sensation beginning with her Facebook-posted allegiance to an ISIS leader as the attack began.

Her history appears to present a recipe for how to make a female suicide terrorist.


Here's Wikipedia on women's rights in Saudi Arabia:
hijab is a traditional Islamic norm whereby women are required "to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men)" and dress in a modest manner.[58] Saudi Arabia is different from many Islamic societies in the extent of the covering that it considers Islamically correct hijab (everything except the hands and eyes) and the fact that covering is enforced by Mutaween or religious police.
Among non-mahram men, women must cover the parts of the body that are awrah (not meant to be exposed). In much of Islam, a women's face is not considered awrah. In Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states, all of the body is considered awrah except the hands and eyes. Accordingly, most women are expected to wear the hijab (head covering), a full black cloak called an abaya, and a face-veil called niqab. Many historians and Islamic scholars hold that the custom, if not requirement, of the veil predates Islam in parts of the region. They argue that the Quran was interpreted to require the veil as part of adapting it to tribal traditions.[59] [60][61][62]
Traditionally, women's clothing must not reveal anything about her body. It is supposed to be thick, opaque, and loose. It should not resemble the clothing of men (or non-Muslims).[63]

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