Sarsour, Omar, Tlaib don’t care about Iranian women


Sarsour and Omar continue to glorify their wearing of the hijab as a protest against white racism and alleged “Islamophobia”, Writes Hugh Fitzgerald

Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib always have a lot to say about Israel’s “oppression” of the Palestinians. It’s the topic that obsesses them, and Tlaib has even laid down the law, declaring that no one can call himself or herself a “progressive” if he or she refuses to condemn Israel. It is not one’s position on global warming, on tax policy, an abortion, that for Tlaib defines a progressive. The sine qua non of a true progressive, according to Rashida Tlaib, is unrelenting hostility toward the Jewish state, of the kind that Sarsour, Omar, and Tlaib express with such fury.

Meanwhile, in the real world, it is the Palestinians themselves who indeed suffer from oppression, but not from the Israelis. It is their own leaders, ruthless and corrupt, who make their lives miserable. In Gaza, Hamas rules with an iron fist, and anyone who dares to challenge the terror group’s rule will be arrested; some will be tortured; others will be tortured and killed. Hamas rulers are famously corrupt; just two of them, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa Abu Marzouk, have each acquired fortunes of $2.5 billion. The Palestinians they rule over eke out miserable existences, save for the lucky ones who are allowed to work in Israel, where they receive salaries ten times as large as what they would be paid in Gaza.

And the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is just as oppressive. It is a dictatorship that pretends to be a democracy. The last elections were held in 2005. Since then Mahmoud Abbas, President of the P.A., has ruled by fiat; as many like to point out, he is now entering the 17th year of his four-year term. And he’s no slouch when it comes to corruption, either. The family fortune he has built with his two sons Tarek and Yasser comes to $400 million. Those who dare to criticize Abbas find themselves losing their government jobs or being sentenced to jail for undermining the state. His most effective critic, Nizar Banat, was silenced by being beaten to death by Abbas’ goons.

Neither the Hamas leaders, nor Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies, have ever been criticized by Sarsour, Omar, and Tlaib. Such criticism, they no doubt feel, would merely confuse people and would divert their attention from the true villain in the Middle East, the state of Israel.

Nothing shows up the hypocrisy of the Tlaib-Sarsour-Omar trio than their near-total silence about the massive suppression of protesters who have dared to defy the authorities in 90 cities across Iran. They were initially prompted to a furious response by the torture and killing of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested by the Morality Police for not having affixed her hijab correctly. At the time, she was not even publicly visible; she had been riding in a car with her family. Three days after Amini was arrested, she was dead, with wounds on her face and body that suggested torture. First in Tehran and in the Kurdish lands, and then across Iran, crowds came out to protest. They were mainly led by women, who defied the government by tearing off their hijabs and setting them on fire. The first slogan shouted was “women, life, freedom,” but soon enough, the focus shifted from the mistreatment of women by the Morality Police to another target – the regime itself. The crowds have now been chanting “Death to the Islamic Republic” and “Death to the Dictator” (the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei).

Yet all during these weeks of protests across Iran, there was only silence from Omar, Tlaib, and Sarsour. It is strange that Linda Sarsour, one of the organizers of the Women’s March, had so little to say about the women of Iran, and especially, had nothing of her own to say about the killing of Mahsa Amini, or about the killings of other Iranian women since. Sarsour has never spoken out about the Morality Police forcing Iranian women to wear the hijab “in the proper manner.” She had nothing to say during the last two weeks in September about the thousands of women removing their hijabs and destroying them, in an act of defiance aimed at the Iranian authorities, nor about the beatings they received from the police.

A report on the sudden silence of the normally noisy Omar, Tlaib, and Sarsour can be found here: “Why Haven’t Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib Even Mentioned Iran’s Hijab Protests?,” by Phyllis Chesler, Algemeiner, September 28, 2022:

As of this writing, heartbreakingly brave Iranian women have been protesting for 10 days and nights in the streets of at least 80 cities [now 90]. They are risking death for the right not to wear the hijab. Women have been burning their hijabs and cutting their hair. They’ve been heard chanting “Women, Life, and Freedom,” and “Death to the dictator.”

The Iranian mullahs have unleashed the Revolutionary Guard and paramilitary (Basij) forces against the protestors. They have been dragging women by their hair, banging their heads on the ground, tear-gassing, beating, shooting, arresting, and murdering them. Fatality estimates range from 50-400 protesters and bystanders.

These protests were sparked by the Sept. 16 death — in morality police custody — of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman. She was apprehended while in a car with her family because she was, allegedly, wearing her hijab incorrectly. While the police denied beating or torturing her to death, a photo of Amini in a hospital bed reveals her bloodied face. She was in a coma.

Eyewitnesses saw Amini being beaten as she was shoved into the back of a police van by the Morality Police. No doubt that was merely a warm-up to the much stronger blows she received later on, both when she was inside the van and then inside the prison cell where she was kept for three days.

Pro-government demonstrators also have been out in force, defaming the women and their male supporters as “Israel’s soldiers,” and shouting “Death to Israel,” and “Death to America.” The government has blacked out the Internet and arrested journalists.

After a few days of protest, the government ordered pro-government demonstrators to “spontaneously” come out onto the streets to denounce the protesters and express their support for the government and the Morality Police. Women in black chadors did as they were told, but were far outnumbered, to the regime’s chagrin, by the protesters.

It is obscene that the Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour and US Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashia Tlaib (D-MI) have failed to say anything about these brave Iranian women, let alone offer their moral support.

Sarsour and Omar continue to glorify their wearing of the hijab as a protest against white racism and alleged “Islamophobia.”

When will this trio condemn the mad mullahs and their murderous morality police?

Tlaib retweeted a “solidarity” statement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who wrote that “the right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care.”

Sarsour retweeted another statement against “forced hijab” by a lawyer, Azadeh Shahshahani.

Omar retweeted “To be (hijabi) or not (hijabi) is the business of no state or man” by Yasmin Abdel-Magied.

But why can’t Sarsour, Omar, and Tlaib speak in their own voices at a press conference? Or in Congress?

None of the three women offered their own words in support of the protesters. They merely retweeted the briefest of remarks by others. All three, who are ordinarily so vocal, were suddenly tongue-tied.

When will these high-profile professional defenders of Muslims decide that Muslim women are also worthy of defending? When will they hold Muslim men — who are mis-using or using the Koran to terrify and subordinate Muslim women — accountable?…

Twelve years ago, I did not argue for banning the hijab. It does not obscure one’s identity, although, in the West, it can still set one apart from others depending on how large, dark, unfriendly, or “forbidding” the hijab is.

However, in Mahsa Amini’s honor, I am rethinking that position. As long as one woman anywhere can be harassed, beaten, arrested, or murdered because her hijab has slipped or is seen as improperly worn, Western women, including highly visible activists and politicians like Sarsour and Omar, should consider voluntarily ditching their hijabs. When all women are free to wear or not to wear a head-covering — then, and only then, might women choose what is right for them.…

According to the author, Phyllis Chesler, at this point, in order to most tellingly express solidarity with the women protesters in Iran, even women in the West who wear the hijab should consider “ditching” it in protest. Not forever, she says, but only until Muslim women have attained the right not to wear it.

Tens of thousands of protesters have been willing to risk death – up to 400 have been killed so far by the police in the latest demonstrations– in order to transform the vast prison that Iran has been for the last 43 years, ever since Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and Iran became a theocracy run by fanatical clerics.

In a personal interview, my esteemed colleague, Ibn Warraq, points out: “The protesters lack leadership and above all they lack weapons.”

Ibn Warraq also points out that “At some point the army would have to flip, refuse to kill their own people.”

Is this possible? Can it ever happen? Are a people who were able to drive out the Shah also capable of driving out Khomeini’s mullahs? That is the question.

For all its very serious faults, including using the American flag to fashion a hijab for the marchers, Sarsour was part of a Women’s March leadership that drew hundreds of thousands of people. Tlaib and Omar have run multiple successful campaigns.

Imagine if they applied their organizational skills to rallying Americans to take to the streets in support the heroic Iranian women and men who are risking their lives for the freedoms we enjoy in America.

It could show the Iranians that we stand with them, and that moral support might help keep them going. Sadly, we are unlikely to find out.

Chesler recognizes – though she clearly despises their views – the organizational abilities of Sarsour, as an organizer of the Women’s March, and of Omar and Tlaib, who have each run two successful campaigns for Congress. Those abilities could be put to use in organizing demonstrations in this country that would provide moral support to the Iranian protesters. But that won’t happen, she concludes, because neither Sarsour, Omar, nor Tlaib will do more than the minimum – each offering only a single retweeting of someone else’s comment on the current mass protests and repression in Iran, but no statements of their own. After all, none of them wants Americans to start taking the side of those who are being oppressed by Islam, including Muslim women; that would divert attention that must be focused, laser-like, on the sins committed by the Jewish state. And such a deflection of attention away from Israel, for Omar, Tlaib, and Sarsour the source of all evil in the region and even beyond, would never do.


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