It has become apparent this week that poor Karen Hughes has an impossible job. Wherever in the Muslim world she goes, Ms. Hughes is derided by extremists and “moderates” alike, who view most of her statements as little more than Zionist propaganda. Along the way, she is forced to defend policies which have already been thoroughly demonized by newspapers, Al-Jazeera, government officials, and religious leaders alike. Therefore, I”m reticent to criticize her, but her trip to Saudi Arabia has been absolutely shameful, according to Pakistan’s Daily Star:
US envoy Karen Hughes said on Tuesday Washington had privately discussed the issue of hate literature in American mosques with the Saudi government and asked for their help in getting rid it.
Hughes, whose job as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy is to counter the negative US image among Muslims and explain President George W Bush’s policies, brought the subject up publicly in a meeting with Saudi journalists.
But she did not discuss it – nor other human rights issues – in a meeting later with Saudi King Abdullah. “I hope you will find room to respect people of different faith and different faith traditions,” Hughes said at a luncheon with Saudi media.
“We are concerned that literature has been found in American mosques that has a message that is not tolerant and we hope the people of Saudi Arabia will work with us as we try to deal with this issue.”
Saudi hate literature in American mosques? It can’t be! Of course, as Jihadwatch and others have frequently reported in the past, the Saudi government has been fully complicit in spreading literature which calls for – among other things – murdering Christians and Jews.
US ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Oberwetter said Hughes was the first top Bush administration official to talk publicly in the kingdom about the anti-Christian, anti-Semitic material, which some human rights groups say has been sanctioned by the Saudi government.
Hallelujah, someone actually “talked” about the hate literature within Saudi borders! What progress!
“We”ve been raising the issue privately,” Hughes told reporters traveling with her to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. “One of my jobs is to raise issues in, I hope, a respectful way to help other countries understand American values.”
Hughes said she had never met Abdullah before and that they only “talked on personal terms”. “In a follow up meeting, I would feel very comfortable raising those issues,” she said.
Why wait, Ms. Hughes? Could the “personal” issues you saw fit to discuss with Abdullah really be more pressing than the fact that his government continues to produce and propagate hate literature? Again, no one should expect much from Ms. Hughes” tour, but the American people deserve better than the quiet equivocation on display thus far.