Friday, October 26, 2007

Extreme Islam Derangement Syndrome On the Right Over Head Scarves

The fear and loathing on the right for Islam and Muslims is approaching true derangement. It's to the point where anyone who shows something other than scorn and contempt for Islamic culture and religious traditions is dragged through the mud without mercy. The latest person to be treated this way is none other than Laura Bush:

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wore a headscarf while visiting the Umayyad mosque in Damascus in April, the right wing pounced on her, attacking her as “subservient” and calling the act “disgust[ing].” Ironically, the right wing failed to note that First Lady Laura Bush had also worn a headscarf while previously visiting the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

During a tour of the Middle East this week, Laura Bush again donned a traditional hijab given to her as a gift by a Saudi Arabian doctor. Subsequently, several progressive bloggers questioned whether similar “opprobium” would follow from the right wing this time. Now we have our answer.

The conservative blogosphere has released its seething intolerance, collectively rising up to denounce Laura Bush as “Ms. Pander Clause” for wearing the head cover:
“I find the image from Saudi Arabia so disturbing. … That she would oblige her hosts by wearing a shmata on her head is a tacit endorsement of Islam’s subjugation of women.” — Weekly Standard

Bad craziness in Saudi Arabia … [W]e get this, from one of the most misogynistic societies on the planet: a photo of Laura Bush wearing an abaya and a veil. — Little Green Footballs

This is Sheikha Laura, yesterday, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia … Laura Bush [is] butt-kissing Saudi King Abdullah.” — Debbie Schlussel

Jeez Louise, people. Get a grip. Grow UP. You would think that Pelosi and Laura Bush had put on burkhas, for the hysteria this has generated. Look at the photographs, children -- these are headscarves. In fact, Pelosi's head covering was literally a scarf. Just an ordinary, garden-variety scarf of the kind that, once upon a time, was an essential accessory for the fashion-conscious woman. Was this woman being "subservient" and "disgusting" when she wore a head scarf? How about this woman?

Steve Benen has more examples of how unhinged the right is over this. Here is one:
Perhaps the most striking example of the conservatives’ ire comes by way of Atlas Shrugs. (emphasis, and grammatical errors, in the original)
We are the king of the world. We are the best and the brightest. We are America goddammit. WTF are we bowing to Islam for? This ain’t PR no matter what Karen Hughes and Condirasha say. This is not not going to make the Islamic world hold hands and sing campfire tunes. Uh uh. This is submission and the worst message to send to Muslims.

Carolyn sent the pic and Schlussel link, shaken by it, with this note, ” This should be the photo that sinks the West. If the Bushes don’t get the proper advice, they will destroy this country before their 14 months are up. Today, the shuttle commander and the space station commander are both women. In Saudi Arabia the women cannot even go out of the house. [Or drive - Atlas]

This picture will say to the Arabs they are winning, and those women who would like to be free, will be very disheartened.Those who subscribe to Islamofascism will, of course, cheer.

Whose country is this, is the question. Is Bush the President shilling for the Saudis? What is Mrs. Bush doing there and in the UAE in the first place.That scarf and abayah has just insulted every single woman in the free world.

Whatever happened to "When in Rome, do as the Romans do"? Whatever happened to common sense?
... [O]n the one hand, I suppose the right deserves some credit for consistency. They were apoplectic when Pelosi wore a headscarf, and at least a fair number of these same folks are just as livid today. Score one for bipartisan disgust.

But on the other hand, their rage is terribly misguided. This need not be complicated — when U.S. officials, lawmakers, and diplomats travel overseas, they’re careful to honor local traditions. Male diplomats know not to show Muslims the bottoms of their shoes. They know not to eat with their left hand. They don’t give unwelcome backrubs to foreign heads of state (well, most of them know this). The First Lady’s trip was no different.

Laura Bush was a guest in Saudi Arabia, she was given a scarf as a gift, and she honored and respected the practices of her hosts, just as other women representing the Bush administration have done under similar circumstances.

Western civilization will survive. I promise.

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