Thursday, January 31, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 83



Female terrorist brings new element

Inderpreet Singh Jalli
Guest Columnist

Another attack has been carried out in Jerusalem; another bomber is dead. 

The authorities will not confirm if it was a suicide bombing, or if the bomb exploded prematurely. However, that is irrelevant.
What is relevant is that the bomb went off, causing destruction, and that the bomber was a woman. 

This is a fundamental shift in the battle against terrorism. Israeli police had recently received information that a woman
bomber might attack, and now it seems to have happened. The first concern for the Israelis is that a new factor must now be
considered one that was previously moot.

Palestinian women, who used to limit their public activities to marching protests, must now be suspects in Israel's war against
terrorism. This, however, is minimal compared to the greater picture of the role of women in Islamic society. 

It is evident that terrorists compose a small percentage of the Islamic population as a whole. With increased security, terrorist
actions get tougher to carry out day by day. 

By introducing a new element, the woman bomber, the terrorists may have sought to gain an advantage. This woman may
have simply been the tool of terrorists. The fact remains, though, that a woman was the end instrument of destruction this
time, not a man. 

If this trend continues and more women carry out attacks, what will it mean for the world of Islam? It could mean nothing. Or it
could mean that the terrorists simply have a large new resource of lives to callously expend.

It could also mean that even mainstream Islamic women would realize the significance of women taking active participation
even if the men don't seem to care. 

Does this all amount to anything? At this moment in time, it is simply a new twist in the turn of events of terrorism. In time, it
could mean much more. If more women publicly and actively participate in terrorist activities, Islamic women could begin to
demand equal status in Islamic society, in addition to the ideal equality guaranteed by Islamic law. 

If a woman can fight and die for Islam (albeit misguidedly), why can't she live equally under it? If this act is the first of a trend,
mainstream Islamic women might some day begin to use it to push for greater equanimity in their society.

The death of one woman cannot cause so much to happen, but it could be the start of a cultural phenomenon within Islam.
This phenomenon would take many years, if it were to occur. 

Unfortunately, it seems that such a phenomenon could only begin with women dying for a radical cause, and many innocent
victims dying along with them.

Jalli, a junior biochemistry and
psychology major, can be reached via

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