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Speaker Pelosi: Stand Up for Muslim Women, Not Islamists Like Rauf!

An open letter from the founder and president of the Alliance of Iranian Women.

by
Manda Zand Ervin

Bio

September 5, 2010 - 12:00 am

Honorable Speaker Pelosi:

I heard you say that the people who oppose the construction of the Ground Zero mosque should be investigated.

Investigate me. I oppose the construction of that mosque.

This mosque, built in such close proximity to Ground Zero, is intended to send a message to America and another message to the Muslims who are gravitating toward human rights laws and secularism. We are sure that this mosque will cause nothing but division and justified ill will towards Muslims in this country.

I came to America as a political refugee, fleeing from the Islamic rule in Iran that subsumed a secular, woman-respecting government. As a human, woman, and a mother, I could not live under nor subject my daughter to such brutal, barbarian tyranny. What I see now occurring in my new home, America, is Islamists forcing their policies in bits and pieces, here and there. It is terribly disconcerting, not only to me but to all Iranian Americans and the large majority of Muslims who came to America to live in peace, freedom, and prosperity.

Madam Speaker: The Islamists are using the laws of this greatest of democracies to implement their ideology in any way they can — whether by propaganda, intimidation, the misuse of political correctness or anti-discrimination policies, or the minority status that this society puts at their disposal. Plus the most powerful of all tools, the money — the limitless petrodollars coming from foreign Islamist dictators with anti-democratic agendas.

Because the American Constitution calls for the separation of religion and government, the Justice Department, the ACLU, and others constantly minimize the influence Christianity and Judaism have on American secular society. What we, American Muslims, wonder: why is there an exception for Islam from the rules applied to others, even though the Islamic human rights record is deeply problematic and contrary to all the civil rights and individual rights laws of this great republic?

Why is Islam given a pass that is not given to Christianity or Judaism?

Madam Speaker: You are a powerful woman in the world, but you don’t care much about the human rights of hundreds of millions of women and children who need the support of the people like you to gain their individual freedom. You claim to be for the women’s right to choose, but then you ignore the right of women and children to have human dignity!

A large majority of America’s Muslims, women and girls, are living under sharia laws. Stripped of their human dignity.

You support the construction of the mosque but you don’t support the women and girls who are forced to wear hijabs against their will. Muslim women and girls live in seclusion, on the fringes of society, without recourse because of their families’ religion. In the name of religious freedom, political correctness in America only pleases the patriarchal hierarchy of the Muslim world. In the name of religious freedom, America permits Muslim communities to run a state within a state, perpetuating the patriarchal crimes against helpless women and children who should have their constitutional rights defended.

When “Muslim men” are given extra privileges that are definitely not granted to those of other religions, my Muslim sisters and I see this as the gravest discrimination committed in America.

Madam Speaker: We came to America to live in peace and harmony with Americans. We don’t want to be identified by our religion. We want to be identified by our cultures and the content of our characters. We want to be Americans, not Muslim-Americans.

We don’t want our girls forced by their fathers to wear hijabs, and to be embarrassed among their peers in American schools. We want to be free to practice — or not practice — our religion. We also want to be free to “choose.”

Unfortunately, politicians like you have chosen to cater to the worst among us — the Muslim dictators and the so-called community leaders. Ignoring the rest of us, Muslim women and children, as if we don’t exist.

The Islamists will not stop until Islam rules the world. Ayatollah Khomeini declared that Iran was a platform toward a Muslim world.

All of us American Muslims know that this is the most democratic country on Earth, and we are well aware of the Constitution and the meaning of freedom of religion in America. We luxuriate in that freedom, and we celebrate it, and we defend it.

You know well that the question here is not freedom of religion, or respect for Muslims! This is nothing but pure politics — sacrificing humanity in the name of religion for the sake of ideological politics.

We want America to treat Islam like it treats Christianity and Judaism, and to stop exempting Muslims from requirements imposed on others. We want Islam to be challenged by the same questioning, criticism, and control that is applied to other religions. Please stop pampering Islam to appease the terrorists and dictators.

Madam Speaker: The Age of Enlightenment changed the face of Judaism and Christianity, but Islam remains trapped in the 6th century. Here we have the Constitution and law. Apply it evenly to all — no exceptions for Islam. Support freedom from religion for the women and children suffering under Islamic law in America.

Manda Zand Ervin is the founder and the president of the Alliance of Iranian women. She was the U.S. delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2008.
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