The Corner

Lies, Damned Lies, and Hypocrites

Taqiya is, in Islamic jurisprudence, religiously-sanctioned lying.  Many Islamists feel justified saying one thing to a Western audience, and quite another to fellow Islamists.  Muhammad Khatami, soon to receive an honorary degree at St. Andrew’s University in celebration of his “practical work to improve relations between Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities,” is one example.  No need for Khatami to explain statements justifying murder and terror.  The case of Tariq Ramadan, the Islamist scholar whom Notre Dame University tried to hire, has become a cause célèbre.  Many progressives are in an uproar that the State Department this week again denied Ramadan a visa.  After all, doesn’t he say the right things in academic salons?  Perhaps, but beyond the window dressing and the material support for terrorists, what does Ramadan stand for?  Lionel Favrot’s study of Ramadan’s record suggests he stands for quite a lot which he doesn’t speak about in English.

Islamist hypocrisy is expected.  What is most unfortunate, though, is the silence of Western progressives in support of besieged liberals and women.  K-Lo wrote about the plight of an Iranian teen soon to be executed in Iran for defending herself against a rapist.  Hardly a whisper in our universities and progressive circles.  Ramadan’s visa rejection a travesty for free speech?  Well, then, what about the State Department revocation Palestinian liberal Issam Abu Issa’s visa?  His crime was to blow the whistle on Palestinian corruption.  He has had a new visa request pending now at a US embassy in the region for almost a year, and can’t even get the courtesy of a response.  Note to Karen Hughes:  That we celebrate Islamists and ignore liberals is one reason why so many reformers believe the Bush administration has abandoned them.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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