Diana West takes us inside Karen Hughes’ dhimmitour, and particularly her shameful schmoozing with Sheikh Tantawi, in the Jewish World Review:
Karen Hughes, stay home.
The president’s confidante has been on a “listening tour” to “start a conversation with the rest of the world–”namely, the Muslim world, beginning with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey “” but there were too many times when she just didn’t know what to say.
A Washington Post anecdote from Day One captures the disconnect. Asked in Egypt whether she was going to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Mubarak-banned opposition party with deep roots in terrorism and the catchy motto “” “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope” “” Mrs. Hughes “turned uncertainly to an aide and indicated she was wasn’t quite sure of the answer. The aide whisperedbackand Hughes replied,’We are respectful of Egypt’s laws.’ ”
I guess that means no, but the non-denial denial is open to interpretation. Maybe she wanted to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood, but couldn’t? Or maybe she didn’t want to say something as harshly non-conversational as “no” because the popular MB might be elected one of these days. (This which would chalk one up for sharia-to-the-people “” the Arab democracy doctrine of the Bush administration.) Or maybe she just didn’t know.
But worse than not knowing what to say is saying too much. Or saying the wrong thing. Or even saying anything at all. Mrs. Hughes committed all of the above, a faux pas trifecta, after meeting with Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, the academic center of Sunni Islam. It was a “wonderful meeting,” she explained, because the two of them were able to talk “about the common language of the heart.”
Oh, brother. Is this an Undersecretary of State or a sorority sister? Mrs. Hughes burbled on about the leadership of Al-Azhar “in speaking out against extremism, against terrorism, [which] is not in keeping with the tenets of Islam” “” natch. The sheikh “made the point that all divine religions are built on a spirit of love,” she said, “and [that] it is important that all of us work together to fight extremism, to fight terrorism.” What a guy. Hearing Mrs. Hughes talk about him, you could almost forget what he said in 2002, as translated from a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), when he called on Palestinian Muslims to “intensify the martyrdom operations [suicide attacks] against the Zionist enemy” “” men, women, and children “” and described the barbarous slaughter as “the highest form of Jihad operations,” and “a legitimate act according to [Islamic] law.” Maybe that’s the “spirit of love” Mrs. Hughes was gushing about.
Then there was what Sheikh Tantawi said in 2003, also reported by MEMRI, when he called for jihad against U.S. forces in Iraq. “Jihad is an obligation for every Muslim when Muslim countries are subject to aggression,” he explained. “The gates of Jihad are open until the Day of Judgment, and he who denies this is an infidel or one who abandons his religion.” This he said during a sermon at “” where else? “” Al-Azhar.
Read it all.