Frank Salvato Managing Editor

Lecturing Europe While
Accepting the Social Structure of Brutality
July 25, 2008

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote, “The reason we have a democracy is that no one side is right all the time. The only people who are dangerous are those who can’t admit, even to themselves, that obvious fact.” Aside from the glaring error in his declaration that we live in a democracy (the United States is actually a Democratic Republic, not a democracy) his assertion is spot on. In light of the logic in Mr. Brook’s statement, it would seem that the woman slated to be Barack Obama’s “Muslim liaison” is dangerous, especially to women.

While Barack Obama was lecturing tens of thousands of Germans during his “fact-finding tour” – interesting that he declared he was going to the Middle East and Europe to “listen” and ends up pontificating – his campaign created the position of “Muslim Liaison;” a position meant to serve as a conduit between his campaign and the Muslim community. Presumably, this position was created because his campaign realized that their Islamophobia (he has yet to address a Muslim forum or talk at a Mosque) was incredibly hypocritical and served to disenfranchise and discriminate against the American-Muslim community.

The likely candidate for this position is Hiam Nawas, a Jordanian-American who served in a similar capacity for the ill-fated 2004 presidential campaign of aspiring politician Wesley Clark (interestingly, for someone who served in a recent presidential campaign the Internet is stunningly devoid of any substantial biographical information on Ms. Nawas).

One of the things we do know about Ms. Nawas is that she has a fairly nonchalant and cavalier attitude regarding the plight of women in the Islamic culture.

In 2005, Nawas wrote that the Bush Administration should “nuance” its approach toward addressing the cruelty and barbarity women face in the Islamic culture:

“We need to recognize that the social structure in the Muslim world is very different from America’s…American women need to understand that what is best for them is not necessarily what is best for Muslim women. Advocacy of women’s rights in the Muslim world must show sensitivity to local political realities.”

Anyone who has spent even the smallest amount of time researching the plight of women in Islamic society should be stunned, not only by the depth of Nawas’ appeasement to the totalitarian and despotic attitudes toward women in Islamic society, but for the fact that a presidential candidate would be so callow as to find someone – let alone a woman – possessing Nawas’ attitude acceptable to serve as a liaison to any plurality.

As I outlined in a prior article, Women in Islam: Suffering the Barbary of an Ideology, the treatment of women in Islamic society can only be defined as barbaric. While there are some locations throughout the Muslim World that are making strides toward rectifying this situation – Saudi Arabia is allowing women to drive now – this is overwhelmingly the exception rather than the rule.

It is a verifiable and undeniable fact that women in the fundamentalist Islamic world are relegated to the status of possessions. Women are routinely sold into arranged marriages by their fathers who receive a dowry for the “sale”; the dowry sometimes issued in the form of goats or other forms of livestock. The practice of polygamy is widespread throughout the Middle East. In countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, to name but a few, women are subjected to despotic cultural edicts where “offenses,” ranging from un-Islamic dress to being “in the presence” of an unrelated male, are punished – justified under Sharia Law – by whippings, beatings, stoning and death sentences. Honor killings occur frequently and Islamic society accepts it with no form of recourse, no justice for the victim.

And while Ms. Nawas is readying herself to espouse her indifference to the plight of Muslim women in the name of Barack Obama’s candidacy, she does so intimating that the problem of Islamic cultural inequity toward women is a malady removed from American soil. This notion is a falsehood of the highest order. Honor killings are taking place right here on American soil.

Sarah and Amina Said, 17 and 18 respectively, were murdered by their father Yaser Said in Dallas, Texas, in February of 2008 because he felt Western culture was corrupting the chastity of his daughters. He is currently at large. Law enforcement believes he is being harbored by the Islamic community in North Texas.

In Atlanta, Georgia, Chaudhry Rashad, admitted to strangling his 25-year old daughter, Sandela, saying he killed his daughter as a matter of honor, because he felt her plans for divorce would have disgraced the family.

In Henrietta, New York, Waheed Allah Mohammad stabbed his 19-year old sister, Fauzia, to death because she was going to clubs, wearing immodest clothing and planning to leave her family for a new life in New York City.

A superficial search of the term “honor killing” on the Internet results in 2,440,000 entries, so it is impossible to say that the issue is outside the mainstream.

While the instances of honor killings here in the United States are being prosecuted the fact remains that women are considered and treated as possessions in the Islamic culture, whether here in the US or abroad, to the extent of being murdered. Meanwhile, Ms. Nawas says we need to “show sensitivity to local political realities.” Muslim women are dying, both overseas and on American soil, and Ms. Nawas believes we should “nuance our approach” so as not to offend those maintaining the despotic culture.

As Barack Obama finished his “fact-finding tour” speech (really, who goes on a fact-finding trip and has the audacity to stage a speech for tens of thousands) he proclaimed:

“This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East.”

It would seem that Barack Obama’s idea of a “new dawn” for women trapped in the Islamic culture – in light of his pick for liaison to the Muslim community – is one that includes a “nuanced approach” to the brutality the Islamic culture inflicts on women each and every day. I’m sure tossing them that bone will win him votes…cast right before they find themselves in pools of their own blood for having had the audacity to vote; for having had the “audacity of hope.”


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