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Fear of the Feminine

According to CNN and The New York Times, a will for terrorist Mohamed Atta (found in a bag that never made it on to American Airlines Flight 11) contained the following instructions:

"I don't want pregnant women or a person who is not clean to come and say goodbye to me because I don't approve of it. and I don't want women to go to my funeral or later to my grave."

Most people think of a pregnant woman as a symbol of fertility, and, indeed, the precious thread of life itself. On a planet where vast disparities of income, education, and religious & personal liberty can make our experiences of what it means to be human as different as night and day, the image of a pregnant woman stands as a unifying reminder of our common point of biological origin. Yet, this particularly image was evidently not cherished by Atta and, one suspects, his fellow co-conspirators.

Can there be any doubt that Atta's obvious misogyny was a central component of his loathing of the United States? Can there be any doubt, coupled to the shocking revelations about the Taliban's treatment of women, that a pathological fear of femininity (and the twisted, repressed sexuality so encouraged by fundamentalist theology of all persuasions) was a huge component of these terrorists' hatred of the west, and the United States in particular?

Matthew Carnicelli, © 2001. All rights reserved.