The New Statesman’s Salma Yaqoob talks to Muslim women about the Western perception that they are powerless victims in need of rescuing. “Give us a break”, they say.”For Muslim women, the first decade of the 21st century ended pretty much as it started. Much was done in our name, little of which we had asked for. The century began with one of the poorest countries in the world being subjected to a deadly, multibillion-dollar onslaught from a coalition of the most powerful countries. The liberation of Afghan women was just one of the justifications used for a war that now extends ever further into the future. Laura Bush characterised the moral pomposity of the cheerleaders for war: ‘The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women,” she proclaimed. Her call was echoed by Cherie Blair. Ending the oppression of Afghan women, as symbolised by the imposition of restrictive dress codes upon them by men, became a battle cry. Afghan women most certainly deserved solidarity in their fight for equality and dignity. What they did not deserve, and did not ask for, was an unholy alliance of neoconservatives and Cruise missile liberals who pushed the lie that the US-led invasion of Afghanistan was not an imperial adventure, but a feminist mission.”
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