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“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
— Thucydides

“A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
— Jean-François Revel

Phyllis Chesler: Obama Throws Muslim Women Under the Bus

Monday, June 8, 2009

Did President Obama sacrifice the interests of Muslim women in his Cairo speech? Phyllis Chesler thinks so, and says as much in a characteristically well-articulated piece at PJM:

It is a Catholic woman’s right to become a nun and shave or cover her hair; it is an Orthodox or Hasidic Jewish woman’s right to shave or cover her hair; and it is a Muslim woman’s right to cover her hair and her face–as long as those women who refuse to do so are not browbeaten, beaten, ostracized, stalked, stoned to death or honor-murdered. I have written about just such cases in the West right here, at this blog, cases in which young American- and Canadian-Muslim girls were tormented, then killed because they refused to wear hijab.

In Europe, where there are many more Muslims, there is a veritable epidemic of such exceedingly dishonorable and incredibly gruesome “honor” murders.

But there’s something more. Let’s face it: The Islamic face-veil and headscarf have become symbols of “jihad” and Islamic religious apartheid or intolerance in the West. And, it is spooky, even frightening to see women, (or are they men?), face-veiled or wearing full-body shrouds. Masked people, hooded people, have cut themselves off from human contact; they can see you, but you can’t see them. You cannot see their expressions in response to what you are saying. I would not want to appear before a masked judge, study with a masked teacher, hire a masked lawyer, etc. Would you?

Whether I approve of their clothing choices or not, Hasidic (ultra-orthodox or anti-modern) Jews and Catholics are not threatening western civilization and are not out there be-heading those who leave Judaism or Catholicism. Nor are they force-converting Muslims and Hindus. Muslims are doing just that at this very moment in history when America’s President has reached out to the entire Islamic world.

What’s more, Jews and Catholics are not honor-murdering their daughters and wives because they refuse to veil their faces, their hair, or their bodies. Mainly Muslims do that.

See the full article for more good argument, and quotes from a worrisome exchange between President Obama and French President Sarkozy on the subject of women’s rights and headscarves.