Mona Eltahawy is the real deal. Over the past several years, the New York-based Egyptian journalist has emerged as one of the most powerful and eloquent exponents of liberalism, sanity and self-reflection in the Muslim world.
She’s a proud Muslim, and she doesn’t shy from criticizing the Israeli occupation, American foreign policy or anti-Muslim bigotry. But she also doesn’t have much patience for those who, as she puts it, “blame all our ills on the right wing, or the United States, or Israel.”
Her latest column is particularly brave:
Nearly every week, hundreds of Muslims are blown to shreds in Pakistan , Iraq , and Afghanistan . The frequent demonstrations held across the Muslim world don’t call for an end to the slaughter of Muslims by Muslims, but to demand petulantly that the ‘world’ stop offending Muslims.
For this Muslim, no number of Danish cartoons or Dutch films will ever be more offensive than the seven suicide attacks that have killed at least 100 in Pakistan in the past three weeks alone. No slur is as horrible as the 600 people dying in violence in Pakistan since the start of the year.
In Iraq, suicide attacks are so common and claim so many lives that most news agencies include just the most deadly incidents in their reports, such as these two from Reuters: On February 1, two women suicide bombers killed 99 people in attacks blamed on al Qaeda at two popular Baghdad pet markets in the city’s worst attacks in six months. On February 24, a suicide bomber targeting pilgrims heading to one of Shi’ite Islam’s holiest rites in southern Kerbala killed 63 people and wounded scores in Iskandariya.
And yet, topping the agenda of the summit in Senegal this week of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is Islamophobia.
Denial? Not just a river in my Egyptian homeland, but blindness to rivers of shed Muslim blood.
It’s well worth reading in full.