Michelle Obama recently visited the U.K., where, according to The Mirror, she “compared her struggle to succeed as a young black woman in America to the experience of inner-city Muslim girls.”
She “struggled to hold back tears,” said the Mirror, as she spoke to an audience of hijab-wearing Muslim girls at the Mulberry School for Girls in London’s notorious Muslim area, Tower Hamlets.
“Girls like you inspire me and impress me every single day,” she said. “When I look out at all these young women, I see myself. In so many ways, your story is my story.”
In saying this, Michelle Obama was implying that both she and the Muslim girls she was addressing faced oppression, discrimination, and disadvantage. She was, in other words, advancing the false Muslims-as-victims narrative that Islamic advocacy groups such as the Hamas-tied Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, work so hard to cultivate in the U.S.
Michelle Obama did not, of course, address the fact that the primary source of the oppression and discrimination that these Muslim girls face and will face in the future is their own families – primarily their fathers and husbands.
The first lady could have called upon these girls to reject the Shariah misogyny that devalues women’s testimony and inheritance rights, reduces women to commodity status via polygamy, sanctions their beating and makes them vulnerable to genital mutilation and honor killing. But she didn’t dare say anything about any of that.
What she did say was extremely odd. Michelle sees herself in the gender apartheid under Islamic law? Was Michelle held down by her mother and other female relatives while they cut her clitoris off? The U.K.’s “failure to stop FGM is a ‘national scandal.'” There have been 170,000 victims of female genital mutilation, a practice justified under Islamic law, in Britain, and yet there were no prosecutions of any of the perpetrators until this year. Where is Michelle Obama’s hashtag about that?
Michelle sees herself in the British Shariah courts, where the appalling treatment of women and children at the hands of the Shariah court “justices” goes unpunished? Shariah law courts have become a parallel legal system in the U.K. They justify and legislate extensive abuse of women, refuse to grant even abused women divorces, charge the woman but not the man for divorce proceedings and even take away the woman’s children. These kinds of rulings happen routinely, despite the fact that they are contrary to British law.
Does Michelle Obama see herself in this Quran verse? “Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them” (4:34).
Michelle Obama also said: “Maybe you see the news and see people talking about your religion, and wonder if anyone will ever see beyond your headscarf.”
Her husband said the same thing in his notorious speech in Cairo in 2009: that the U.S. would protect the right of women to wear hijab. But who is infringing on that right? No one. And who is not seeing beyond the headscarf? Michelle Obama meant “Islamophobes,” but the real people these girls have to fear regarding their headscarves are the Muslim men who will kill them if they don’t wear it.
Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her father and her brother for not wearing the headscarf. Innumerable other Muslim women have been similarly victimized. Who speaks for them? Who stands for their rights? Not Michelle Obama.
Tell us, Mrs. Obama, about your oppression and disadvantage, from your position emanating from the highest and most powerful office in the free-est country in the world.
Tell us how wronged you were in between your multiple daily wardrobe changes of the most expensive designer clothes in the world. Tell us how awful it was for you to get accepted and attend Princeton University (along with your brother) in your youth and make your own choices to live your life any way you wanted.