WASHINGTON -- This Sunday we Americans celebrate Mother's Day. It's been that way since May 8, 1914, when the second Sunday in May was designated as a day to honor our maternal parents. For those who are still fortunate to have their mothers with them, they will shower her with cards, flowers, love and affection. Wise husbands among us will do our best to give the mothers of our children a day of peace and relaxation.
But no culture can truly celebrate mothers unless first they respect women. In the United States women hold top positions in government, law, academia, business and even the military. Democrats claim to be the favorite of America's women. Indeed, polling data shows that upwards of 55 percent of American women vote Democrat in national elections. And Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the House, insists that Democrats care about women's rights. Unfortunately, if Pelosi and her Democrat Party allies have their way -- 650 million women around the globe may well be abandoned to the most misogynistic abuse imaginable at the hands of radical Islamists.
The masters of the mainstream media routinely report on Islam's violent Sunni vs. Shiite sectarian divide -- most evident in Iraq. But scant attention has been devoted to the No. 1 target of radical Islam: Muslim women. Nor do the potentates of the press bother to identify the principal protectors of Muslim women today: the Armed Forces of the United States.
In Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, Al Qaeda strongholds in Iraq and other countries and regions ruled by radical Islamists, boys become men at 15, but girls are considered women at age 9 -- meaning they can be tried as adults in a criminal court, are liable for the death penalty and can be stoned to death for adultery. Though the legal age of marriage for a girl is 13, a father can make a daughter marry earlier and order her to endure female genital mutilation.
Radical Islamic courts ascribe a woman's testimony to be worth half of a man's and mothers may not act as financial guardians or make decisions regarding their children's residence, foreign travel or medical care. Women must have permission from a father, husband or male relative to travel.
Men have uncontested rights to divorce their wives, and may practice polygamy. Women are not allowed to vote or participate in political debate. They receive half the inheritance of men and if a man dies childless, his entire inheritance goes to his parents, not his wife.
Specific evidence of radical Islamic violence perpetrated against Muslim girls and women in the name of "Islamic purity" has been catalogued by the United Nations, the European Union, numerous human rights organizations and by an increasing number of female refugees brave enough to tell all. In her biography, "Infidel," Ayann Hirsi Ali describes what she calls "Islam's divinely ordained enslavement of women." Her book is a litany of horrors perpetrated against the fairer sex. In Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. military commanders routinely report atrocities perpetrated against women and girls.
On April 28, U.S. soldiers in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad, discovered unexplained buried wires running into a new school for girls. The Americans followed the wires and found them connected to detonators attached to propane tanks hidden beneath the floors and artillery shells secreted in the ceilings and walls. The terrorists who constructed this deathtrap hoped that the carnage would discourage other little girls from attending school.
On May 3, in Gujrat, Pakistan, a terror cell linked to the Taliban detonated a bomb at the gate of a girls' school. The wrath of these radical Islamists was aroused by the notion that girls would learn to read and write.
On April 29, Iranian police arrested 31 women for holding a peaceful vigil outside Tehran's Revolutionary Court. Encouraged by advances being made by women in neighboring Iraq, they were protesting Iranian laws that discriminate against women. The police shoved and kicked the women into a curtained minibus and drove them to Evin prison, where they were blindfolded and interrogated. One of the protesters, Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, told the Associated Press that the police and prosecutors "insisted that foreign governments were exploiting our cause."
These are but a few of the most recent examples of how women are treated by radical Islam. Nearly all of these events are ignored by the mainstream media -- as are the innumerable ways from the Balkans to the Hindu Kush to the Tigris and Euphrates, U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines have become the protectors of Muslim women.
Thanks to young Americans wearing flak jackets and helmets, hundreds of schools have been built for Muslim girls, millions of women have the right to vote, scores of female health care clinics have been opened and hundreds of thousands of women now work, have their own bank accounts, use cell phones -- even serve in elected office. But all of these advances may soon stop if our Congress insists that "the war is lost" and U.S. troops must now come home.
Mothers Day. It's a wonderful occasion for Pelosi and her comrades in Congress to reflect on what will happen to millions of Muslim women if Congress pulls the plug on their protectors.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.