Why Has Obama Got It In for Muslim Women?

True, you think, and we've got a new president, Barack Obama. He's not right-wing, like George Bush. He's a Democrat who believes in equal rights. He's black, an outsider, so he'll know how you feel. And some of his family are Muslim. He says he wants to reach out to Muslims. He'll speak for you. Then you hear his Cairo speech:

It is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit -- for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretense of liberalism.

You laugh. Not the carefree laugh of your childhood, but a hollow, bitter laugh.

Aisha is fictitious, but Amina Said, eighteen, and her sister Sarah, seventeen, were not. They were killed for having boyfriends. In Canada, sixteen-year-old Aqsa Parvez was strangled by her father Muhammed for refusing to wear the hijab.

Shabnum, the girl forced into marriage at thirteen, is fictitious, but the teenage girls from Manchester, England, forced to marry their cousins in Pakistan, are not:

She told her elder daughter that if she didn't have sex with her new husband, she would tie her to the bed, blindfold and strip her, a court heard.

There are countless Shabnums, countless Aishas in the West, as well as in Muslim countries, as the writings of Phyllis Chesler testify. And every one of them would happily have her father, mother, or brothers "impeded ... from practicing religion as they see fit." Every one of them would dearly love to be rescued by what Obama fatuously calls "the pretense of liberalism." "Impede. Pretend," Amina, Sarah, and Aqsa would beg -- were they still alive.

Obama would protest, of course, that he does not condone forced marriages or honor killings; indeed he says, in his Cairo speech, that women should be free to choose "traditional roles." But how free is that choice, in a family where Islam can be exercised "unimpeded"? Amina, Sarah, the two English girls, and all the Shabnums and Aishas could answer that for you.

Hugh Fitzgerald, who writes for New English Review and Jihad Watch, could not stomach Obama's remark:

"The pretense of liberalism." Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, free exercise of conscience, and of course the freedom of women from an ideology that, in every conceivable way, every conceivable "liberal" way, oppresses them. ... Merely a "pretense of liberalism."

No American should stomach it. Nor should any citizen of the free world.