While Queen Rania of Jordan was skeptical of the reports questioning Hamas’ barbarity, Dr. Qanta A. Ahmed, a Muslim British-American, practicing physician and women’s rights activist, came to Israel to see for herself if the reports were true. “I saw the children [plural] Hamas beheaded with my own eyes.”
I was in scrubs from the wet morgue at Abu Kabir when I learned Queen Rania of Jordan questioned whether Israeli children had verifiably been killed by Hamas on October 7. Hugely appealing to the West, ranked among Forbes’s 100 most powerful women, among the top ten most followed international leaders on Instagram, dressed routinely by Valentino, Schiaparelli and Dior, and of Palestinian origin (her family is from the West Bank’s Nablus), Queen Rania is undeniably a global icon. And her powerful voice became the opening salvo to a chorus of innumerable deniers, a further barbarism dehumanizing the victims of Hamas’ atrocities targeting women and girls.
Hearing her strident tone, even as I was surrounded by Israeli Jews, Israeli Christians, and Israeli Muslims still reeling with shock, cut to my core.
The alacrity with which Queen Rania demonized Jordan’s treaty nation, Israel, her contextualization of October 7, her supplanting of Israeli suffering with Palestinian suffering, and her extraordinary silence in place of condemnation of Hamas (despite her prior vocal condemnation of ISIS) were not just immoral; they were a betrayal of her position as Queen of Jordan and the responsibility that comes with it.
Days after the attacks, as a Muslim woman committed to combating Islamism and a physician, I traveled at my own expense to the Gaza envelope to view the aftermath of Hamas’ butchery. I examined the cadavers of the murdered and defiled; the corpses of the decapitated and immolated. I spoke with the victims of Hamas, including a former hostage—a Muslim physician—and numerous witnesses to Hamas’ express barbarity against women, children, girls, and infants, brutally violated in life, in utero and in death.
In Abu Kabir, I examined incinerated remnants of teeth and bones; charred remains of children; and physical cadavers of victims. I read CT scans of children and adults bound together and burned alive. I viewed images of a decapitated young girl, her child skull tethered to her trunk by only a sliver of decaying skin. Her facial expression, surrounding milk teeth, haunts me still. Across the boundaries of death, her Edward Munch-like scream still echoes.
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I inspected bodies that had been repeatedly stabbed, shot, and crushed. I examined mutilated bodies, restrained with cables, electrical cords, and zipties, still in place post-mortem, and those that had been decapitated and incinerated at temperatures approaching 3,000 degrees Celsius.
Back in New York City, Israeli criminal prosecutor Ayelet Razin Bet Or shared with me evidence compiled in Israel’s ongoing investigation into Hamas’ crimes. Michal Yaniv, Head of Foreign Affairs on Israel’s National Security Council, provided me testimonies recorded by Israeli security officials.
One account, far from unusual, is especially harrowing: A woman who survived the Nova music festival in Re’im witnessed a young woman encircled by Hamas, stripped naked, violated, and manhandled by multiple Hamas terrorists as they gang raped her, repositioning her by the waist and hips, moving from one rapist to the other.
Shuddering at the memory, covering her face, with difficulty, the eyewitness continued: One terrorist pulled the woman’s long hair, forcibly arching her neck backwards, fully exposing her naked torso, only to sever both her breasts from her chest with his commando knife. Her entire torso fell backwards, slackened in agony. She may have fainted, though she lived through the mutilation. The disembodied breasts fell to the ground, where terrorists casually played with them.
Sergeant Major Natah Katz from the IDF Rabbinical Unit at the Shura base near Ramle described to me cadavers he received with breasts and genitals hacked off, one with a knife impaled directly into the vagina. The mutilation of sexual organs and breasts, “seemed to be an obsession,” he recalled. Dr. Chen Kugel, head of Israel’s National Forensic Center has confirmed to me the same.
Indeed, Hamas arrived with orders to mass rape: Phrasebooks belonging to Hamas found in the Re’im area listed phonetic Hebrew commands in Arabic “Take your clothes off!”; ” Spread your legs!’; “Get down!” Terabytes of their own video data confirm Hamas raped, amputated breasts, mutilated women’s genitals, and committed systematic sexual crimes on both the living and the dead. Necrophilia has been explicitly reported.
Despite all of this, almost two months would pass before the U.N. denounced the October 7 sexual violence during hearings. Congressional and Senate Hearings must urgently follow.
Silence ensures Islamist antisemitism overrides human morality. Silence also grants open season for Hamas to continue these obscene crimes with impunity, as they likely still do this hour upon the remaining 129 hostages in captivity.
Graphic scenes of violence & carnage at the Nova Music Festival during the horrific invasion by Hamas into Israel on Oct. 7.
Genocidal rape has no context. Contextualization is contemptibly antisemitic and pure misogyny, if not open Islamist sympathy.
Repudiation must reverberate globally. In the meantime, I will not rest until Congress, the Senate, and the U.N. speak in unison on the international humanitarian values protecting women, for only then can the decapitated screams of the tiny girl in Abu Kabir can at last be granted silence.
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About the Author
Dr. Qanta Ahmed is a physician who specializes in sleep disorders and a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.
‘as a light unto the nations’