Radical Islamic terrorists in the past often specifically spared women.
Women and children were released, for example, when a TWA jet was hijacked in 1985. During a hijacking of an Air France airliner nine years later, the terrorists ordered the women to put on veils but only executed male passengers.
But this has changed. Women, you see, are symbols of Western enlightenment and empowerment.
[T]his year Islamists are specifically targeting women. When Salman Abedi detonated his suicide bomb at the Ariana Grande concert in May, killing seventeen females (and five males), he did so knowing it would be full of teenage girls and young women. In July, two German women were fatally stabbed by an Egyptian man at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. This attack bore similarities to Saturday’s outrage in the Finnish city of Turku, where an 18-year-old Moroccan allegedly stabbed eight women, two of whom died. Two days earlier, the only fatality in an Islamist attack at Cambrils was a 61-year-old woman.
The Islamists are deliberately targeting women because in their minds they represent empowerment and enlightenment, and also immodesty. Three young women were among the eight people stabbed to death during the London Bridge attack in June, and many more were wounded, including an Australian, who recalled her attacker screamed “Stop living this life” as he slashed at her throat.
In the hundred years since female emancipation began gaining momentum in the West, there have been significant reactions in the Islamic world. The first was the creation in Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, its founder, Imam Hassan al-Banna, demanding an “Islamic renewal” faced with creeping Western influence. Al-Banna wasn’t a fan of the West, especially not Mae West, nor Jazz or bobbed haircuts, raging against the importation of “half-naked women into these regions, together with their liquors, their theatres, their dance halls, their amusements, their stories, their newspapers, their novels, their whims.”
One of the Brotherhood’s most influential figures in the post-war period was Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian who went to the USA on a year’s scholarship in 1949 and returned home radicalised. Another World War had imbued a fresh generation of young western women with confidence and Qutb was disgusted by the female students he encountered in Colorado. He wrote of attending a dance where “the room convulsed with the feverish music…dancing naked legs filled the hall, arms draped around the waists, chests met chests, lips met lips”.
And yet, despite this, many who claim to speak for women in the West are silent when it comes to becoming candid about the Islamic threat to women. Islamic reformer Asra Nomani speaks about this in IWF's current Portrait of a Modern Feminist.