JUL 30, 2013, 2:34 PM
BY DAWUD WALID
It’s sad that Huma Abedin, wife of embattled New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, is having her identity attacked as a consequence of her husband’s shenanigans. The attacks, which relate to Abedin sticking by her husband despite his sexting indiscretions, are rooted in old, orientalist notions that reflect bias.
Controversial radio host Rush Limbaugh falsely attributed Abedin’s pardoning of her husband to a weakness, which he falsely attaches to her religion.
”Huma is a Muslim,” he said. “Muslim women don’t have any power, right?”
Not to be outdone, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd asserted that Abedin is the perfect submissive wife because she “was raised in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet.”
Abedin, a tri-lingual, high-level advisor to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has her own reasons as to why she is working things out with her husband – just as other spouses who have stuck by their partners in similar circumstances. Her supposed oppression by her faith, however, is an oversimplified and ridiculous notion.
The irony of such assertions is that her former boss, Hillary Clinton, went through an even more public scandal with President Bill Clinton, yet her Christianity and upbringing was never mentioned as a reason for her staying with Bill.
In fact, I cannot recall Limbaugh, Dowd and their like raising the issue of potential subservience due to religion when and the wives of Clinton, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, former Michigan State Attorney General Mike Cox and other politicians stuck by their husbands after sexting scandals and worse.
Michigan Muslim women such as Kalamazoo native Abedin, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Charlene Elder and others who teach in universities and serve as doctors in our hospitals are empowered women, who practice Islam.
Perhaps Limbaugh, Dowd and other pundits should focus all of their attention in the Weiner discussion on the problem, which is Weiner, instead of invoking tired orientalist frames that are not grounded in the reality of American Muslim life.