by Anisa Abd el Fattah (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 30, No. 22, Dhu al-Qa'dah, 1422)
As the world’s nations line up with the US in its ‘war against terrorism’, another war has also begun. The “other” war is against Afghan women and children, and is being waged by the infamous United Nations Family Planning Agency (UNFPA). Led by Olivier Brasseur, and overseen by UNFPA executive director Thoraya Obaid, the UNFPA campaign operates under the guise of “reproductive healthcare” and targets Afghan women in Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
According to reports by the American-based Population Research Institute, published in October and November 2001, UNFPA’s programme in Afghanistan resembles the UNFPA’s campaign in Kosovar refugee-camps (1999). Kosovar women described UNFPA as having a “genocidal function”, and called it a “white plague” upon Kosovar women. They reported that UNFPA used coercive family planning programmes in Kosovar refugee-camps under the pretence of women’s healthcare, and performed abortions without informed consent. The organization also distributed “hand-held suction abortion machines” which, according to Olivier Brasseur, were being used only for “safe deliveries.” Yet Planned Parenthood operatives, according to the Population Research Institute report, confirmed that the machines are for “abortions only.” UNFPA also distributed outdated IUDs (intra-uterine devices) to refugees without information about safe removal. It is interesting to note that the UNFPA was invited into the Kosovar refugee-camps by Slobodan Milosevic, who asked for their assistance in lowering the birthrate among Kosovars.
UNFPA is assisted in its Afghan campaign by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and an organisation called Marie Stopes, named after an early-twentieth-century advocate of eugenics and population control. The stated goal of the campaign is to “ break down cultural resistance to abortion and contraception within the refugee camps.” Its long-term goal is to establish a permanent presence in Afghanistan. UNFPA plans to spend about $20 million on abortion services in Afghanistan. UNFPA operatives are presently distributing abortion devices and chemicals in kits marked “for safe delivery” in Afghan refugee-camps in Pakistan and Iran. The chemicals being distributed include the ‘morning-after’ abortion-pill that kills blastocytes within hours of conception.
Several organizations in the US are working to end UNFPA programmes in Afghanistan. Among these organizations are Concerned Women for America and the Population Research Institute. The Islamic Institute in Washington DC issued a statement calling on the US to discourage UNFPA activities in Afghanistan. According to the Population Research Institute, negotiations for the US fiscal year 2002 foreign aid bill were stalled by the millions of dollars that would go to UNFPA. The bill also earmarks a large amount of money for Afghan relief, including food, shelter and other provisions.
The irony of all this should not escape Muslims, especially those Muslims who supported the UN’s Population Control Conference that was held in Cairo several years ago as one phase of the comprehensive UN initiative to break down what it called “barriers to women’s advancement and economic independence”, which were clearly defined within its working document as “religion” and “culture.” During this conference, as well as the 4th World Conference on the Advancement of Women, those Muslim women who objected to the initiative, calling it an attempt to legitimize eugenics and genocide in the Muslim world, were slandered as “extremists” and “fundamentalists” by their so-called “moderate” Muslim counterparts and others. They were denied financial support, and their contention that Muslim women and children were the primary targets of the UN initiative was dismissed as an “over-reaction.”
The Saudi-based Muslim World League was the only Muslim organization to send a delegation to the Beijing Conference to set forth clear Islamic opposition to voluntary abortion and coercive family-planning programmes, and to challenge the secular, materialist premises upon which the initiative and its working document are based. Although many Muslim countries sent official delegations to the conference, who took exception to many of the controversial and anti-Islamic objectives of the notorious and radically feminist Draft Platform for Action, few took active steps to discourage the UN from initiating programmes in the Muslim world.
These NGOs operate through local organisations and agencies that promote ideals and sentiments designed to accomplish the UNFPA goal of eliminating cultural and religious resistance to abortion and promoting unIslamic ideals about women’s health, rights and so on; ironically they are manned mostly by Muslim women. The enticement is economic independence and political power for women. These are difficult to resist for women who have lived in abject poverty, and who have numerous grievances against male hierarchical societies that have denied women’s legitimate Islamic rights and failed to protect Muslim women from numerous forms of physical and psychological abuse.
Under the “Women’s Reproductive Healthcare” charade that operates on the premise that women have sole right to their bodies and to the products of conception, and so have sole right to determine when and whether conception should take place and continue to birth, the UNFPA also promotes the idea that women have a right to abortion as an option to address “contraceptive failures.” The UN recommends “same-sex marriages”, the elimination of family defined by blood lineage (in exchange for families defined as groups with common objectives and wishes as measures to limit procreation), and the elimination of the family as a structure that prevents Muslim women’s access to intellectual and physical resources. The UN called for educational programmes that discourage extended family-care and multigenerational households in which women are caretakers of elderly family members. Muslim feminists support these ideas, and receive substantial funding and assistance from various entities who encourage their activism in opposition to Islamists who oppose the right of the UN to take it upon itself to launch international campaigns. These campaigns are based solely on the self-importance of a few radical feminists, mostly European women who hold positions of influence within the UN and who work in collaboration with Western and Muslim feminist organisations.
Just as opponents of the ‘war against terrorism’ have made the connection between Afghanistan and the production and exportation of oil and gas, an undeniable link also exists between international family-planning schemes and the roles that Muslim women have been selected to play in the development and success of such projects. Our duties as mothers, wives and care-providers are targeted in order to ‘free’ us so that we can be utilized as “human resources” to meet the demand for cheap labour, to work for paltry salaries, and endure the hardships of life in areas of the world that have climates, terrain, religions and cultures that are foreign to westerners.
Perhaps, now that American and other Western organizations have taken up the fight against genocide and the economic exploitation of Muslim women in the underdeveloped world, Muslim governments and elites will be less concerned about political incorrectness and work cooperatively with other Muslims to mount programmes protecting Muslim women, children and families. One way may be the development of alternative social and economic plans that are compatible with the Muslims’ cultural and religious sentiments. Legislation is required to protect families, women and children from various well-thought-out UN and NGO schemes, as well as education of Muslim women and children in both religious and academic disciplines at all levels, including para-professional and professional levels, and programmes that unite Muslim people on common objectives.
It is also very important that campaigns be initiated that are geared towards eliminating immorality and drug abuse, and securing the stability of families, while providing recreational and cultural entertainment and programmes that advance and strengthen Islamic values in our social and familial institutions, of which women are the primary keepers. This is not to ignore the important roles that men must play as the primary leaders and protectors of the Islamic faith and civilization, yet Muslim women must be prepared to take their place alongside Muslim men if efforts to restore and protect Islamic civilization are to succeed and become firmly entrenched as modern ways of Islamic life.