Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Defending Michelle Bachmann

Defending Michelle Bachmann is a very difficult task. I'm not even going to try. Bachmann is the quintessential Red State representative & Ireland does not understand the Red States. I admire her firm pro-life beliefs & her Tea Party activity however the whiff of Christian Theocracy she carries is too much for me. It should not hide the fact that Bachman is as often more right than wrong & much of what she gets wrong is in scope or presentation, not fact.

Bachmann does outrage not always from choice but because far too much of the truth is regarded as an outrageous slander on Good People & Know Betters. In 2008 there was  outrage when she questioned Barack Obama's attitude to America in the light of his friendship with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. None of the Outraged seemed bothered by Wright's appalling sermons or the twenty years Obama gave sitting in a pew listening to his bile, nor that Ayers was a Marxist terrorist bomber. Instead the outrage focused on Bachman's impudence, her failure to play the game. She was denounced as not being "bi-partisan". Four years on we can only regret that she got so little credit for being right.

Now she has done it again by by alleging that Hilary Clinton's deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin had family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. This was greeted with the usual round of outrage & horror, even from Republican luminaries such as John McCain & John Boehner.

The problem is, Bachman was right if not on the import, on the facts. Huma Abedin's mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin is the founder of the Islamic Sisterhood, the female counterpart to the MB. Saleha Mahmood Abedin is Professor of Sociology at King Abdulaziz University Women's College & Associate Professor of sociology at Dar Al-Hekma College in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 
The important piece about her CV is her founding & continued work with the Islamic Sisterhood. The Sisterhood campaigns for a variety of issues but most tellingly for the legalisation of Female Genital Mutilation & Child Marriages. It is a very twisted sisterhood.

Senator Joe McCarthy was a bully & a bigot but when he said Communists were infiltrating & operating at the highest levels of the US Government, he was right. Many who are now revered as victim-heroes of McCarthy's witch-hunts were more than willing to to put the US under Stalin's heel. Flinging charges of "McCarthyism" at those who point out that Bachmann had facts on her side reveals little but the intellectual bankruptcy of the charger.

Mrs Bachmann may be wrong that there is a concerted Islamic infiltration of the US State Department but her allegation, that Hilary Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff had family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood was utterly accurate. Imagine for a change that we are talking about a Republican Secretary of State employed the daughter of a member of the Argentinian Junta & then hared a platform with daughter & Dad. I wager we would hear very little about "sins of the father" and a lot of very articulate outrage. However that would be the Junta are gone, not a threat to either the security of the US or her allies. The Muslim Brotherhood & Sisterhood are on the other hand, very much alive.

None of us would want to be judged on our parents views, however mild but we might expect some questions if we worked in Foreign Affairs & our mother was the worlds leading campaigner for the legalisation of FMG & a founder & governing member of an organisation which claims  Christians were second class citizens & that secularism & atheism were the work of Satan to be smashed? 

Hillary Clinton shares a platform with Saleh Abedin
 in Jeddah,Saudi Arabia.
Huma Mahmood Abedin is in no way responsible for her mother's evil campaigns. No one could expect a daughter not to have ongoing contact with their mother, however depraved that mother's views on women possessing their full genitalia. What we might expect is a better, more logical response than the execration of Bachmann.

"Ms Abedin has received full security clearance" would have been a start. "Ms Abedin retains cordial relations with her mother but does not share her political views" would be an advance. Instead, in a way that demeaned American Muslims, the wagons have been circled & Bachmann is targeted for being wild & dangerous. Much has been made of a threat to Ms Abedin in the wake of the controversy, the subtext is that this was Bachmann's fault. In the absence of any evidence it made a good stick with which to beat Bachmann.

There are rightly no religious tests for Government posts & the strength of the US is it's continued ability to accept & integrate people of all faiths & none. That process demands trust & transparency.

It is entirely illogical not to expect questions about the founder of the Islamic Sisterhood when her daughter & the Secretary of State appear on a platform with her. The family of anyone involved in the international campaigns for world wide religious law, legalised female genital mutilation & child marriage could only expect to be questioned on their precise relationship to that kin. Ms Clinton is not a private employer & her actions affect her country. She has faith in Hume Abedin, in the interest of both her country & her employee she needs to make clear the basis of that faith. In the absence of such clarity, with nothing but doting affirmations & vicious attacks in the air one is entitled to ask why such clarity is so difficult to give?

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