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Fri, Jan 13, 2012 | Rubin Reports | By Barry Rubin

Two veiled Emirati women stare at a foreigner wearing a revealing dress at horse racing's 2008 Dubai World Cup at Nad al-Sheba in Dubai on March 29, 2008. The Dubai World Cup is the richest horse race in the world, with prize money totalling 21.25 million US dollars. (Photo: KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)


Egypt: If Tourists Can Wear Bikinis But Local Women Must Wear Chadors Does That Prove the Muslim Brotherhood is Moderate?

The answer to that headline is, “No. But seeming to answer ‘yes’ proves the West is hypocritical about supporting human rights.”

Oh, wait, what if a democratically elected government decides to enforce such a system in a law legally passed by a democratically elected government? I guess that’s just democracy in action.

The Western media is obsessed with whether the new, Islamist-dominated Egyptian government will let tourists wear bikinis. When some Islamist leader says that there will be no dress code for tourists — due to the desire to keep getting tourist dollars — journalists pronounce the Muslim Brotherhood to be pragmatic, as in this Los Angeles Times article.

While Brotherhood leaders seem to disagree on this issue, I can see the outlines of a “deal” that will prove to Westerners that the Brotherhood is going to be “moderate” in power, nothing to worry about, and therefore an organization that should be spoken of sympathetically. Ready to hear the “deal?” Here it is:

A few hundred visiting Western women will be able to wear bikinis on isolated beaches in expensive resorts where almost no Egyptians will see them.

Tens of millions of Egyptian women will be forced to wear all-enveloping black robes and veils.

Sound fair enough?

Then the Islamist-ruled countries will have a motto to parallel Karl Marx’s Communist slogan of 1848. The new one goes:

Burkas of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your lack of chains!

So cheering the return of Egyptian women into near-slavery is just fine as long as the rulers show how modern and pragmatic they are by letting visiting Western women dress as they please. That’s a really good example of how contemporary Western “liberals” practice their claims of sympathy for Third World peoples.

Where is the Western feminist movement at the moment that tens of millions of sisters desperately need its support, and for many things other than just being able to choose their own wardrobe?

Of course, many Egyptian women already do dress that way either voluntarily or due to family and social pressure. Those who don’t will either be made to do so by regulations or, more likely, through the fear of being beaten up by Islamists, either Brotherhood, Salafist, or both. An Islamist regime — through propaganda, education, etc. — will also harden family’s demands that women dress that way even without a law being passed. If a woman persists, and few will, she might just be killed and the state courts will either not persecute or not punish the perpetrators.

Note: The title of this article is a play on Jonathan Swift’s sarcastic 1729 essay on how the British could “humanely” solve the problem of hunger in Ireland, by having the Irish eat their own children.

By the way, MEMRI has done something that any Western media outlet (highly financed, highly staffed) or think tank could have done during the last year but didn’t. It just went to the official Muslim Brotherhood website and translated some of the many antisemitic, anti-American, and extremely radical articles there. Note that this is an official site and nothing goes on it unless it meets the group’s ideological and policy requirements. To coin a phrase, a translation is worth 10,000 words of blather about “moderate Islamists.”

3 Comments to “Egypt: If Tourists Can Wear Bikinis But Local Women Must Wear Chadors Does That Prove the Muslim Brotherhood is Moderate?”

  1. Egypt: If Tourists Can Wear Bikinis But Local Women Must Wear Chadors Does That Prove the Muslim Bro

  2. avatar Elisabeth says:

    Egypt: If Tourists Can Wear Bikinis But Local Women Must Wear Chadors Does That Prove the Muslim Bro

  3. avatar clare says:

    In my opinion the only reason these women look at that girl the way they do is because they would love to be free their chadors.


Quotes and Sayings

About the Region, Islam and cultural totalitarianism...

    The Saudis have never shown any respect for human rights, either now or in the past. Even a petty burglar faces having one of his hands chopped off. The liberal press in America prefers to ignore all this, although they don’t hesitate to blacken the reputation of Iran.

    — Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, Asadollah Alam (1991), The Shah and I: The Confidential Diary of Iran’s Royal Court, 1968-77, page 535

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