Surprise, surprise: multicultural dogma and concern for "the Other" have seeped from college campuses to the highest corridors of power (again).
To wit: The first veiled female appointee in the White House, Dalia Mogahed, member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Mogahed recently appeared on an Islamic television show in the UK touting her Gallup poll purporting to show that women are OK with sharia. Westerners just don't get it, she says:
"the majority of women around the world associate gender justice, or justice for women, with sharia compliance. Whereas only a small fraction associated oppression of women with compliance with the shari`ah."**
Imagine if a president appointed a strict Christian adviser who stated: "gender justice means obeying the Bible and church rulings on it." Can you imagine the uproar?
The key point: Christians are not "the Other." The dominant or majority group is held to a different standard. "Others" get a pass because "it's an 'Other thing,' you just wouldn't understand."
Where is Western-style feminism when you need it? We don't lack for Women's Studies Departments that issue secular fatwas when they feel the pea of oppression through their seats in the Ivory Tower. Surely, they have something to say about treatment of women in Muslim countries? Alas, we must seek out a Yemeni feminist to criticize the appointment of Dalia Mogahed.
I can hear the comebacks: feminist critics of sharia are a minority (the abolitionists were a minority too). Or: "those uppity women need to read Dalia’s surveys and tighten their hijabs!"
**For Mogahed's puffed-up survey results, go to "Who Speaks for Islam?" For criticism of Gallup "spin" see Jihadwatch More to the point, read the conditions under which pollsters labor in Muslim countries, given the many restrictions on women and the watching eye of government and family. Do these restrictions lend themselves to representative opinion surveys?
Postscript: Apologies to Helen Reddy: "I am Woman" is the title of her best-selling song (1972). Reddy did not have sharia on her mind.