Tables turned: a Muslim journalist who has never stood for freedom, Mona Eltahawy, is learning how to become a racist, bigoted Islamophobe: dare to criticize the human rights abuses inherent in Islamic law. In “Muslim Journalist Challenges Sharia, Gets Accused of “˜Hate”: Mona Eltahawy receives the typical treatment given to defenders of Muslim women” in PJMedia today, I discuss the furious reaction that Eltahawy got from Islamic supremacists Leila Ahmed and Dalia Mogahed when she dared to criticize practices that are rooted in Sharia:
Mona Eltahawy”s piece in the May/June issue of Foreign Policy criticized a series of practices that are justified in Islamic law, including child marriage, wife-beating, and female genital mutilation. Counter-jihadist activists and writers have been calling attention to these human rights abuses for years, but Eltahawy”s piece was singular in that she is a Muslim journalist.
Muslims for the most part (with some notable exceptions) don’t criticize Muslim practices, particularly those that are rooted in Islam, and mainstream media journalists do so even less often. But the reaction to Eltahawy”s article among her fellow Muslim women is even more striking than her article itself.
If the mainstream media narrative about “extremists” making up only a tiny minority of Muslims, the vast majority of which are “moderate,” were true, Eltahawy”s article should have won applause from Muslim spokesmen in the U.S., and particularly Muslim women. But instead, Harvard professor Leila Ahmed confronted Eltahawy on MSNBC:
Mona, I appreciate what you do. I would love it if “” I understand if you want to get your message across. It’s an important message. But if possible [you should not] give fuel, fodder to people who simply hate Arabs and Muslims in this climate of our day.
Eltahawy appeared surprised to be accused of fueling hate “” the same accusation that jihadists and Islamic supremacists have leveled against counter-jihadists for years. And she answered it in exactly the same way counter-jihadists have innumerable times:
That’s the whole point. It’s not me that makes Muslims look bad. It’s those atrocities that make Muslims look bad. And as a writer, it’s my job to poke the painful places.
But Leila Ahmed was not alone in not wanting Eltahawy to call any attention whatsoever to those “painful places.” Another prominent Muslim woman in America, Dalia Mogahed, took to the pages of the Washington Post to denounce Eltahawy”s article. Mogahed is the executive director and senior analyst at the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, and has served Barack Obama as an adviser in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She is an open advocate of Sharia, so it is perhaps not surprising that she also took a dim view of Eltahawy”s poking of the painful places.
Mogahed invoked unnamed “critics” who, she said, “question not the crimes Eltahawy describes but the causes she assigns, namely Islam and Arab culture’s inherent “˜hate” for women, alleging that her analysis is not only pedestrian but panders to prejudice. The real danger however is that Eltahawy”s narrative harms the very cause she claims to champion. Conflating women’s rights advocacy with Arab inferiority or Islam-bashing doesn’t empower the champions of change, it aids their enemies.”…
Eltahawy never confronts Islam head-on as a cause of the human rights abuses against women that she is excoriating, but it is abundantly clear that she knows that the religion contributes to them, and that is enough for Mogahed to claim that her approach actually “hurts women.” That’s right: standing up for women’s rights and pointing to a primary root cause of the Muslim mistreatment of women actually harms women. How? Ask George Orwell….