Dalia Mogahed, formerly Barack Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs, appeared on Trevor Noah’s sinking-like-a-stone Daily Show last week, to explain to a worshipful Noah and an adoring audience that the hijab represented nothing more or less than the “privatization of women’s sexuality” – and who on earth but the most benighted lout could possibly be against that? The burning outrage of Mogahed’s words was probably missed by most Daily Show viewers. It should not be missed by FrontPage readers.
“The privatization of women’s sexuality.” A well-constructed and extraordinarily clever phrase, to be sure. With it, Mogahed suggests that the only people who could possibly object to women wearing hijabs are those who want to objectify women as sexual commodities. In this, we glimpse the subtle manipulation by which Islamic supremacists such as Mogahed have co-opted and silenced feminists whom one might otherwise have expected to have stood up against the Sharia oppression of women. How can one stand with the objectifiers, the pornographers, the users, the haters, against those who simply want to “privatize” their sexuality?
The audience loved this. Noah ate it up. But there are a few audiences before whom Mogahed’s extremely clever act might not play quite as well as it did before the Daily Show. Aqsa Parvez’s Muslim father choked her to death with her hijab after she refused to wear it. Aqsa might have a few choice words for Dalia Mogahed about “privatization” of her sexuality. And then there was Amina Muse Ali, who was a Christian woman in Somalia whom Muslims murdered because she wasn’t wearing a hijab. Forty women were murdered in Iraq in 2007 for not wearing the hijab. They might wish that their sexuality had been a trifle less “privatized” – at least enough for them to be able to continue to breathe air.
Will Dalia Mogahed and Trevor Noah get together on another Daily Show episode to say a few words in memory of Aqsa, Amina, and the forty Iraqi women? Will they honor the memory of Amira, an Egyptian girl who committed suicide after being brutalized for her family for refusing to “privatize” her sexuality and wear the hijab? Will they defend the freedom of Alya Al-Safar, whose Muslim cousin threatened to kill her and harm her family because she stopped privatizing her sexuality and wearing the hijab in Britain? Will they speak up for the Saudi schoolgirls who were burnt alive because firefighters wouldn’t enter their burning school since they weren’t wearing hijab, i.e., their sexuality was insufficiently privatized?
When will we see the Daily Show episode on Amira Osman Hamid, who faces whipping in Sudan for refusing to wear the hijab? Will we hear about the sexuality privatization of the Muslim and non-Muslim teachers at the Islamic College of South Australia who were told that they had to wear the hijab or be fired? How about the women in Chechnya whom police shot with paintballs because they weren’t wearing hijab; or the women also in Chechnya who were threatened by men with automatic rifles for not wearing hijab; or the elementary school teachers in Tunisia who were threatened with death for not wearing hijab; or the Syrian schoolgirls who were forbidden to go to school unless they wore hijab; or the women in Gaza whom Hamas has forced to wear hijab; or the women in Iran who protested against the regime by daring to take off their legally-required hijab; or the women in London whom Muslim thugs threatened to murder if they didn’t wear hijab; or the anonymous young Muslim woman who doffed her hijab outside her home and started living a double life in fear of her parents? When is the Daily Show episode scheduled about the hazards that lie in the way of women who refuse to “privatize their sexuality”? When will Dalia Mogahed and Trevor Noah spare a few words for these and all the other women and girls who have been killed or threatened, or who live in fear for daring not to wear the hijab?
Dalia Mogahed has done this before. Several years ago she appeared on a British TV show sponsored by the pro-Sharia group Hizb ut-Tahrir and proclaimed: “Sharia is not well understood and Islam as a faith is not well understood.” Who has misunderstood Sharia and Islam, O Ms. Privatized Mogahed? Was it Aqsa Parvez, who might perhaps have believed the establishment codswallop about Islam being a religion of peace and tolerance long enough to think that she might survive into adulthood even while not wearing hijab? Was it any of these other women and girls who might have had a different understanding from that of Ms. Mogahed of the “privatization” of their sexuality, and didn’t deserve to have Ms. Mogahed’s view violently enforced upon them?
Mogahed added on the Hizb ut-Tahrir show that we have erroneously associated Sharia with “maximum criminal punishments” and “laws that… to many people seem unequal to women.” “Seem unequal”? The next time a young man is brutally murdered by his family to cleanse the family “honor,” call my office. Until then, the fact is undeniable: the path to Mogahed’s “privatization of women’s sexuality” is littered with the mangled bodies of those women and girls whose sexuality was deemed insufficiently privatized. For Mogahed and Noah so glibly to gloss over that fact was tantamount to dancing on their graves.