Woman Kidnapped by Muslims : Many in Italy were anxiously awaiting this Sunday for the return of Silvia Romano, a twenty-five-year-old Italian national who was freed after being kidnapped in November 2018 in Chakama, (northern) Kenya by al-Shabaab jihadists. Romano, a trained medical practitioner, was working as a volunteer for the Italian charity called Africa Milele when she was taken and accused by her captors for proselytizing Christianity in the Kenyan town.
Converting to Islam is something one kidnapped man did not do, and he paid for it with his life. Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) chairman, Lawan Andimi, kidnapped for ransom, and later beheaded by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria.
What most were not expecting, as she stepped out of the plane that brought her to Ciampino airport outside of Rome, was her Islamic attire.
Woman Kidnapped by Muslims : Changes name to Aisha
In what became a huge pro-left and pro-Islamic propaganda, after being greeted by family members, as well as Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Romano announced she had become a Muslim, saying: “My name is Aisha now” — the name of Muhammad’s favorite nine-year-old wife. Romano attested that her submission to Islam was a was spontaneous: “They didn’t force me to do anything. I’ve always been locked in rooms. I read and wrote.”
Woman Kidnapped by Muslims : Claims she did it of her own free will
This dispels a 2019 report by Il Giornale that, according to Italian intelligence, Romano was forced to convert to Islam and to marry one of her captors. Apparently, the jihadists who kept her prisoner brainwashed her, resorting to psychological maneuvers that severed her emotional and cultural ties from her homeland in order to make her feel assimilated to the environment she was forced to live. The fact that the young Italian was treated well during her imprisonment, even given a PC to study the Arabic language, makes acceptance of her kidnappers’s faith with a positive and deliberate will questionable. However, what raises more of an eyebrow is the Italian government’s clandestine efforts to achieve her release.
Al-Shabaab, according to a 2017 report, “has proven that they have the ability to diversify their financial tactics, despite military setbacks and funds from abroad drying up.” In other words, they are experts at extorting money, and Silvia Romano became another instrument to acquire more funds for their terroristic aims.
As indicated by the Italian journal La Verità, there was a large payoff to the Islamic jihadists by Italian officials. The fact that former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: “Nothing is free is cases like this one,” gives credence that notwithstanding the millions of unemployed Italians during the coronavirus lockdown, their taxes were used to facilitate Romano’s freedom.
Two factors to consider. The first is the danger of negotiating with terrorists, especially when they demand large sums of money.
Woman Kidnapped by Muslims : Negotiating with Terrorists
As Peter R. Neumann, Director of the Center for Defense Studies at King’s College, London, once explained:
“The argument against negotiating with terrorists is simple: Democracies must never give in to violence, and terrorists must never be rewarded for using it. Negotiations give legitimacy to terrorists and their methods and undermine actors who have pursued political change through peaceful means. Talks can destabilize the negotiating governments’ political systems, undercut international efforts to outlaw terrorism, and set a dangerous precedent.”
Yet governments still do this all the time. According to reports, the Obama administration secretly paid $400 million to Iran in January 2016 in exchange for four American sailors it had detained. The four Navy personnel had surrendered in Iranian waters, causing an international incident and bringing embarrassment on the Navy for the litany of errors that led to their arrest and their violations of regulations while in custody. The payoff did not help America’s role as leader of the free world in any way, shape, or form.
The second issue to evaluate is that Silvia Romano refused to condemn the Islamic tenets that the al-Shabaab Muslims referred to in order to justify her kidnapping in the first place.
Woman Kidnapped by Muslims : How Allah sees Women
While certain Muslims, progressive-minded officials, and churchmen refer to quotes such as: “Observe your duty to Allah in respect to the women, and treat them well,” to claim that Islam treats women with honor, the truth of the matter is something else.
As I detail at length in my book Islam: Religion of Peace? — The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up, a woman, whether married or a concubine, is considered a man’s property. Her role, in the former’s case, is to provide children and satisfy her husband’s sexual desires; the latter is there to exclusively meet her master’s carnal gratifications:
- “Your women are a tilth [field] for you, so go to your tilth as you will” — Sura 2, 223
- “And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.” — Sura 4, 24
- “Men are in charge of women by what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in absence what Allah would have them guard. But those from whom you fear arrogance — advise them; forsake them in bed; and, strike them. But if they obey you, seek no means against them.” — Sura 4, 34
- A woman came to Muhammad and begged him to stop her husband from beating her. Her skin was bruised so badly that it is described as being “greener” than the green veil she was wearing. Muhammad did not admonish her husband, but instead ordered her to return to him and submit to his sexual desires. — Sahih al-Bukhari 72, 715
There is also an irony in Romano choosing Aisha as her new name. Not only did the Prophet of Islam, when he was fifty-six, consummate his marriage with nine year old Aisha, (Sahih Muslim, 8, 3309), he also used to physically abuse her: “Muhammad struck his favorite wife, Aisha, in the chest one evening when she left the house without his permission. Aisha narrates, ‘He struck me on the chest which caused me pain.’” — Sahih Muslim 4, 2127
Such hadiths are constantly utilized in the Islamic world to absolve adult males from marrying pre-pubescent girls. Such was the infamous case of Nujood Ali of Yemen, who in 2008 was married off by her father at the age of nine. After one sister was kidnapped and another raped, her unemployed father, who had sixteen children and two wives, figured an early marriage would keep his daughter, Nujood, fed and safe. Instead, she said, she was beaten by in-laws, and nights were a hellish game of tag, with Nujood running from room to room to escape sex with her husband; he raped her anyway. A year later, she made Yemeni history by taking a taxi downtown to the courts and demanding a divorce, telling her would-be lawyer: “I hate the night.”
The conversion of Silvia Romano to Islam is not so much the issue at stake as much as her decision to gloat about it inadvertently promotes treatment of women and girls as property.
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University. He is author of Islam: Religion of Peace – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.