Still, as Asra Nomani, author of "Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam" (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005) has written, "every day there are untold numbers of Muslim women who abort their pregnancies, dump their babies in rubbish piles or secretly abandon their children so they don't face the consequences of having a child out of wedlock." Nomani conceived a child out of wedlock while working as a reporter in Pakistan -- premarital sex is a crime of 100 lashes there; but as a West Virginian, she was spared the whip, coming home to have her boy.
At a time when the world is on fire -- literally when you look at, say, the Danish embassy in Syria burned down by protesters, for instance, over lame cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper and now around the world -- rallying to Nazanin's cause represents more than saving one woman's life. Shedding a much-needed light on inhumane sharia punishments and so-called honor killings would be an important step in calling Islamic regimes to account for their wrongdoing and encourage moderate Muslims the world over to reclaim their religion.
This should be a top priority for Western feminists. On International Women's Day, they should stand with moderate Muslim women and women like Amina Lawal and call for an end to the terrorizing of women like her and Nazanin. And all those women whose names we'll never know.
Instead of naive hysterics about wage gaps and Gitmo, someone ought to break out the smelling salts and get an army of feminists and human-rights groups occupying a room at the United Nations to use their public voices to fight for those who can't. I'll never see eye to eye with some of these folks on the whole of their agendas (so long as feminists insist protecting the right to destroy an unborn life is sacred, their bill of goods is fatally tainted), but where we can stand together -- basic human rights for even women -- we should. I'd like Nazanin to one day be thankful that we rallied to save her life.
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