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Issue 39 of the Balagh magazine, published by a group of independent jihadi clerics and preachers based in Syria's rebel-controlled Idlib region, was released on August 6, 2022. This latest issue includes an article by independent Syrian jihad cleric Abu Yahya Al-Shami titled, "The Devout Feminists," in which Al-Shami warns of the danger that feminism and these women pose to Islamic society. In his opinion, these "devout" women pretend to be pious but in fact are agents of Western ideas which repudiate Islam, such as homosexuality and atheism. He goes so far as to claim that feminism actually leads women to become homosexual because it flies in the face of the "natural consensus" that women need men.
Al-Shami describes U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, who was born in Somalia, as an example of a type of woman who he claims dresses up in Islamic signifiers such as a hijab and modest clothing, when in fact she preaches the selective adoption and application of the religious principles, and accepts ideas which deviate from Islam such as feminism and homosexuality.
The jihadi cleric warns of the intention of several governments in Islamic countries to apply the recommendations of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and urges that action be taken against feminist associations which are active in Islamic countries.
It seems that this article was published as part of the efforts of several Islamic preachers in the Idlib area to eradicate the activities of Western welfare organizations that operate there. During July 2022, several jihadi preachers expressed extreme dissatisfaction following the distribution of a video clip produced by the Washington-based Syria Relief and Development (SRD) non-profit association, which advocates against child marriage.
The following are translated excerpts from Al-Shami's article in Balagh:
Feminism Is The Ambassador Of Homosexuality And Atheism
Al-Shami begins his article with a story about a woman who committed suicide after, he claims, "She emptied her life of content and denied her reason for existence. She either did or did not achieve what the devil granted her from this world, but she lost her faith in, and her submission to, the Exalted Creator and missed out on the encounter with the next world."
He writes that this woman committed suicide because she rebelled against the Islamic religious laws and rejected Allah's instructions to His believers. He maintains that this is not an incident that occurs overnight but is a gradual process which is carried out by "devils from among human beings and demons."
As far as Al-Shami is concerned, "Feminism is the ambassador of homosexuality and atheism. In its rebellion against everything it perceives as a patriarchal society or the rule of the man, it rebels against women's innate need for men. Thus the perversions appear to overcome this innate need, so that women will be satisfied with women… and will rebel against the divine commands regarding the guardianship of the man… From this point onward commences the disregard of all the religious obligations, followed by the denial of the One who determined them and His existence [i.e. Allah]."
While Al-Shami concedes that, "It is not certain that feminism leads the feminists to homosexual tendencies and atheism," he claims that, "… it [definitely] leads to a struggle with religion. Feminism is secularism wrapped in a covering [that denotes] the protection of women's rights; rights defined by Western laws and international agreements which enable women to attain fictitious material achievements at the expense of the man in many spheres, starting with equality of inheritance, opposition to polygamy…"
Since the religion of Islam and its holy books oppose the ideas advanced by feminism, Al-Shami contends, feminists strive for the separation of religion and state.
Beware Of Women Like Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, Who Are Not Really Devout Muslims
"Women of weak faith" is Al-Shami's definition of women who are tempted to adopt feminism. He writes that the "fall into this swamp" on the part of the women who pretend to be pious and declare that this is what they are by wearing a hijab, "is proof of their inner weakness and their false claims."
He goes on to criticize the preachers who he says defend the feminists and dub them "devout sisters" and even speak out against other clerics who oppose the feminists and employ religious texts to refute their claims, and states that it is because of these clerics that the feminist movements have appeared.
Al-Shami maintains that if these women were really devout they would accept the religious text as it was written, as Allah instructed, and not just parts of it. He warns that, "The institutions that work to empty our minds of Islam do not start by opposing the clear general principles, but rather raise doubts about what some of the 'outwardly devout' see as issues that may be debated." He writes that at first, "The enemies of Islam exhibit patience for the woman regarding all aspects of the hijab," but gradually they transform her into a preacher for themselves and use her as an ornament until she "falls and brings down others with her."
According to the jihadi cleric, whoever minimized the significance of this phenomenon when it emerged and was blinded by the overt characteristics of piety is responsible for the straying of the entire society. He adds, "We saw pictures and photographs taken by feminist associations and institutions which use slogans which declare women's liberation, in which one sees women wearing a hijab and making gender-oriented speeches and calling for abstention from marriage."
One example the writer cites to denote feminist women in a pious disguise is that of Somali-born U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Abdullahi Omar who, he claims, "supports homosexuality and abortion." He warns that it won't be long before the "devout feminists" turn into Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, if they are able to. He repeats that, "Whoever opposes part of the shari'a, opposes it all," and maintains that even in the U.S. there are "unbelievers" who fight against homosexuality, abortions, and feminism, and warn of the damages that feminism poses to the society as a whole and to women themselves.
Feminist Associations Should Be Destroyed And The CEDAW Should Not Be Implemented
In conclusion, Al-Shami writes, "This is a warning to stand up to the corrupt and destructive call which dons or sheds its disguise in accordance with the conditions and according to the force of society's opposition to it. Even if this phenomenon did not appear in Muslim society years ago, today it is present in a significant manner and its centers are multiplying its proponents are increasing." He declares that the feminist associations and centers which preach the liberation of the woman from her obligations as determined by Allah should be obstructed and destroyed, and that this is "an obligation incumbent on us all."
He warns that, "The collaborator governments of some Muslim countries have moved from the preaching phase to the phase of legislation and are trying to force the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Al-Shami praises the demonstrations held by Muslim women in the Palestinian territories against CEDAW asserting that, "Only women can oppose the destruction of women in the guise of liberating them and only women can respond to feminists because their response is stronger and more effective."
 Telegram, August 6, 2022.
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