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Response to Organisation of Women's freedom in Iraq

Leila Mantoura | 06.11.2004 19:47 | Oxford

In response to allegations against the resistance by the 'Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq'

As US occupation forces intesify their attack on the people of Falluja and other areas of Iraq, a pattern is now emerging in Britain to undermine the democratic opposition to the US-led occupation. The main thrust of the campaign is to depict the resistance as being anti-women and terrorist in nature, using for this purpose unelected Iraqi trade union and women umbrella organisations. IDAO is pleased to publish a response by Ms. Tahrir Swift to such allegations by 'Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). Click for original article by OWFI

Letter by Tahrir Swift

Dear Jo,

Forgive me for this unsolicited email. Someone forwarded your email about Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq to me. First of all, I think it is always sensible to know where a group of women attached to political party are coming from. The Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, are part of the Iraqi Worker's Communist Party, which is similar to the one in Iran. I find it ironic that their views are very similar to that of the Iraqi Communist Party (their arch rival) on this issue. I also detect a sense of looking down at one's own identity on the part of OWFI.

I have little doubt that many of the OWFI women are well meaning and do some good work in Iraq. However they are known to reduce women issues to domestic violence and the veil in their speeches that I have heard. I find their sense of timing absolutely appalling as the people of Fallujah are being bombed by the Americans day in day out. And are awaiting a Sharon type war crime in front of the whole silent shameful world.

I probably would not like it in Fallujah, I might not event like the Fallujans! But do they deserve to be slaughtered? Do their children deserve to be mutilated by the American bombs?

Yes, Fallujans are well known to be conservative and more so now when civil society is falling apart and the occupation is failing to live up to its duties under international law. Who am I to take up the moral high grounds and pass Judgment on them?

"Mujahideen Shura Group" in Fallujah, this is a group I have never heard of, could they not be 'one man and his dog' common criminals? OWFI does not tell us what makes them think that they belong to the resistance! I find it interesting that OWFI fails to mention that the committee of Islamic Scholars has issued a Fatwa in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal that women sexually abused in detention are victims who deserve our care and sympathy. This is unprecedented in Islamic countries.

"Killing/ Kidnapping/ selling into slavery in Mousel": Is this new? Has it not been taking place since the invasion and the dissolving of the police force? Why is OWFI attributing this to 'Islamists'? What they cite is consistent with HRW report of June 2003. Indeed, I believe OWFI themselves criticized the occupation for failing to protect women in one of their statements and denounced such criminal acts.

"Today, with the absence of any form of state in Iraq, the terrorist Islamists are seeking to implement their medieval laws through fear and horror" Whose fault is that?

"They kidnap women in the name of "resistance" and only release them after receiving thousands of dollars in ransom for each woman!" I have little doubt that there are mafia gangs operating in the name of the resistance, are they the real resistance? Whose fault is it that women and young girls are vulnerable to kidnapping? If the centre of London is to fall into lawlessness, would women be any safer? I was living in Brixton in the summer of 1984, the police lost control of the place for several hours due to the riots, there were rapes, car theft, looting and murder that night and I am pretty sure they were not carried out by Islamists!.

"Everyday they are killing Christians, university academics and lecturers, secular personalities, youth, children and any other creature moving on the ground"! Wow! What proof has OWFI got that those who are killing academics are Islamists? The reports I have read in British newspapers and websites actually point to professional killing that never seems to miss or botch the assassinations (one bullet is enough). I think OWFI needs to know what is going on in the world before they start pointing fingers as they feel like it. Many of the scientists and academics killed were those pursued by the Americans who demanded that they leave Iraq before the war.

I have met a Syrian who is married to an Iraqi Christian at the ESF (15/17 Oct 2004) he had just left Iraq. He told me that all his in laws believe that the Mossad is behind all the attacks on their churches and all the killings. Remember the Americans attempted to blame Al Sadr supporters for such crimes. But while the borders are porous and the occupiers are failing even to protect their own back side it is not possible to ascertain with certainty who is behind them. Christians are not the only victims, the Shia were slaughtered at Najaf, at Kadumyia and Karabla. The Sunnis have been slaughtered with bombings and their mosques have been desecrated. It is obvious for the people that as the occupation is going from bad to worse, it would suit the Americans if Iraq is to unravel. The Syrian man, also said that there are Christians amongst the Iraqi fighters. I would also like to remind you that the first attack on a holy place in Iraq's modern history took place in 1950, when Mossad attacked the Baghdad Synagogue.

This is a highly irresponsible claim by the OWFI.

"In the city of Falluja, at the Mujahideen congress held on October 20,2004, the Islamic criminal Abdulla al-Janabi and Falluja's Shura Council gave a fatwa (religious decree) that Mujahideen fighters should rape girls at age 10 before they are raped by Americans!" If OWFI has incontrovertible evidence that this man did issue this Fatwa, then he should be exposed and reported to the Committee of Islamic Scholars. Many mosque Imams have been arrested for criticizing the occupation recently, surely Allawi can arrest a man who issuing such an un- Islamic and criminal incitement.

Women in Iraq and the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq expose these forces, which try to delude people by posing as "resistance" to the US occupiers. The Islamic movement has made it clear that even if the US forces are expelled or withdraw from Iraq , they will declare Jihad against any secular government!

Now this is really revealing, OWFI here is trying to find an excuse for not calling for the immediate withdrawal of the American troops (how very ICP!). Who is the 'Islamic movement' exactly? Allawi's allies in the interim government? Allawi and occupation opponents in Iraqi cities up and down the country?

I am puzzled by what seems to be a blatant attempt to smear the resistance by a group who claims to be opposed to the illegal occupation.

I find it very interesting that OWFI makes no mention of women suffering as a result of the occupation and continuous war on Iraqi cities. They make no mention of Iraqi women prisoners/ wives and families of those detained unlawfully. They make no mention of the plight of women 'servicing' the occupation forces. More importantly, they make no mention of the current dire health situation as conceded by the health ministry. No mention either of the misuse of women issues by the US and their stooges in order to discredit the resistance and /or bomb them! When and where women cause was advanced by bombs?

This, by no means indicates that I am not worried by fired up individuals enforcing their own rules on women in universities. But, who is allowing them to do so? I sent a message of solidarity to Christian women students protesting about the enforcement of the scarf at the university of Mousel, in which I reminded them that young Muslim women in France are being forced to take off their head scarves before entering their schools in France. I reminded them of the brave pragmatic stand these young women took.

Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent that of IDAO

Leila Mantoura


Display the following 4 comments

  1. Womens Freedom in Iraq??????????? — annon
  2. outrageous — jh
  3. A similarmove by Iraqi Communist Party inside UK Trade Unions — Trade Unionist
  4. more... — Trade Unionist