Muriel Degauque, believed to be the first European Muslim woman to stage a suicide attack, started out life as a good Roman Catholic girl in this coal mining corner of Belgium known as the black country. She ended it in a grisly blast deep inside Iraq last month.I have no idea why this is happening, except to say that when the power structure is exceptionally fucked up people are drawn to all sorts of weird extremes as a form of rebellion (and by that I mean the blowing yourself up part). And then some people are just crazy. But now that the Face of Extreme Islam is no longer conveniently brown, I've got twenty bucks on The Corner to be the first to Blame It On The Feminists.
Ms. Degauque, 38, detonated her explosive vest amid an American military patrol in the town of Baquba on Nov. 9, wounding one American soldier, according to an account received from the State Department and given to the Federal Police in Belgium.
Her unlikely journey into militant Islam stunned Europe and for many people was an incomprehensible aberration, a lost soul led astray. But her story supports fears among many law enforcement officials and academics that converts to Europe's fastest-growing religion could bring with them a disturbing new aspect in the war on terror: Caucasian women committed to one of the world's deadliest causes.
European women who marry Muslim men are now the largest source of religious conversions in Europe, the experts say. While a vast majority of those conversions are pro forma gestures for moderately religious in-laws, a small but growing number are women who willingly adopt the conservative comportment of their fundamentalist husbands.
Most of those in the conservative ranks are motivated by spiritual quests or are attracted to what they regard as an exotic culture.
But for some, conversion is a political act, not unlike the women who joined the ranks of South American Marxist rebels in the 1960's and 1970's.
"They are people rebelling against a society in which they feel they don't belong," said Alain Grignard, a senior official in the antiterrorism division of the Belgian Police. "They are people searching through a religion like Islam for a sense of solidarity."
And I don't mean to mock the tragedy. I mean to mock those who will most certainly exploit it in an attempt to put down women for demanding dignity for themselves.
So anybody want to go 2:1 on Cap'n Ed?