The girls have come out to play

Female Officers Cross Cultural Frontier in Iraq
Women on Patrol Near Iran Brave Insults and Disapproval

"Because of religious and cultural taboos on touching between men and women who aren't married or closely related, an all-male Border Patrol could not search women. U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, whose 101st Airborne is responsible for northern Iraq, called for women to join the new Iraqi security forces that the occupation authority was trying to create. He said he was worried that terrorists would use women to ferry equipment and messages back and forth.

Several dozen responded. There were teachers, clerical workers and housewives as well as some former Kurdish guerrillas, known as pesh merga.

The women say they recognize that some religious leaders might object to their work. But they argue that their interpretation of the Koran makes them believe that working as a Border Patrol officer is a noble and respectable profession, and that objections to women carrying weapons or touching men in this capacity are old-fashioned. Female doctors can treat male patients, Kadir points out, so why shouldn't Border Patrol women be able to search men?"

These women live in a society where it is taboo for a man who is not a close relative to touch a woman. So these brave women put their lives on the line for their country to make sure that terrorist don't exploit their cultural habits and the best that some people can come up with for them is,
"You are shameful."

"Women were created for being in the house."

Most regular Iraqis though may actually appreciate what they are doing.
Such efforts have been applauded by many Iraqis, who point out that women make up about 60 percent of the population. Some groups have pressed the occupation authority to do even more, pointing out that only three of the 25 members of the Iraqi Governing Council are women and that none serve on the committee drafting the country's constitution.

People who care about the dignity of women would not say you can't do such and such because it is insulting or inappropriate. Someone who cares about the dignity of women will say, what do you want to do and how can we help you do it.


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