On Dalia Mogahed’s appointment to Obama’s advisory council


This afternoon, one of my Facebook friends sent me this LA Times article about President Obama’s appointment of Dalia Mogahed to his Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships advisory council. As many of my readers know, I don’t usually post on politics for a number of reasons. (One of them being my skepticism towards politicians and their double speak- but I digress). The article caught my attention because I had the pleasure of attending one of Ms. Mogahed’s presentations based on the book she co-authored along with John Esposito. She did a wonderful job of presenting her research and answering the audiences’ questions. I was able to ask her questions about her work with Gallup Poll and what she and her team plan to do in terms of highlighting the American Muslim experience.

But on to the article…I had trouble with a few of the terms and one of the phrases. For instance:

Dalia Mogahed, a veiled Egyptian American…

Why must we point out the obvious? We all see the picture of Ms. Mogahed. We can see that she is wearing hijab. Yes, it is quite the compliment that a hijab-wearing Muslimah has been appointed to the council but do we need to focus on the scarf? Maybe it’s just me…

Recently, she co-wrote the book “Who Speaks for Islam?” with John Esposito, an American political science professor who has been criticized by some as an Islamic apologist.

(emphasis mine)

Islamic apologist? Don’t really care for the term. It’s often used as a way to disparage anyone who attempts to discuss Islam, Muslims or Islamic principles in a favorable light. The person can’t be speaking from experience, research or years of Islamic education, only from the standpoint of an apologist. (Note the sarcasm). Why did El-Hennawy, the article’s author, feel it was necessary to point out that some consider John Esposito an Islamic apologist? Was it to discredit him, Dalia Mogahed, their work or all of thee above? Hmm…

Yet, Mogahed’s declaration that her loyalty goes first to the United States, published Monday in an interview with Al Masry al Youm, disappointed some people. “I wish your loyalty was to your Islam first, Egypt second and your Arabism third and then to anything else,” wrote a reader identifying himself as the Tiger of Arabs. “I am afraid that they might make a fool out of you and use you as a cover for policies that don’t serve Egypt and the Arab and Muslim world.”

Are people really serious? I would assume- and again, maybe it’s just me- that Ms. Mogahed has loyalty to Islam. She has spent much of her time conducting research, presenting her findings around the country, and writing on the subject of Islam and Muslims. Does she explicitly have to say that she has loyalty to Islam? (Or Egypt or Arabs?) C’mon people. Dalia Mogahed is one woman with a big task in front of her. She is not going to be the next Khalif or the Secretary of State. Can we give the woman a chance and see what she can do before we offer up criticisms?

Three things I’m sick of:

(1) Muslims with simplistic, myopic views of Islam and the world.

(2) Muslims trying to dictate what someone else’s priorities should be based on their simplistic, myopic view of Islam and the world.

(3) Muslims placing an extraordinary amount of pressure onto other Muslims (especially women!) to be the model of Islam (and Muslims). You must say what they want you to say, behave as they want you to behave and smile while doing it. Kinda like being Miss Muslim USA.



8 responses to “On Dalia Mogahed’s appointment to Obama’s advisory council

  1. Its a good move on the prez’s side but a horrible article.

    “Recently, she co-wrote the book “Who Speaks for Islam?” with John Esposito, an American political science professor who has been criticized by some as an Islamic apologist.”

    the author was actually going softly because what these people actually charge is that Esposito is an apologist for ‘radical islam’. Ive had debates with these people and they seem to have a problem with accepting the finding of the surveys, rather than the methodology.

    and the allegiance part, the part that cracked me up was that the guy who was critical of the sister for being American first, himself said “policies that don’t serve Egypt and the Arab and Muslim world.” (muslim seems to be also after his nationality).

  2. Excellent analysis, JAM! Back-handed compliments are very annoying. If only these journalists would have had such cynical readings of people and their thoughts when we were were discussing the invasion of Iraq, right?

    I think Dalia Mogahed is a superb intellect and will serve well, Insha’Allah.

  3. Agreed, I thought the last comment especially was pretty disgusting to include in a national article.

    That’s why when I blogged about it, I just included her own words on who she is.

  4. I like her dimples, mashaallah. 😉
    (I know, totally not related this the discussion, but first thing I thought when I saw this picture).

  5. I’m surprised the author included the comment from “a reader,” but really I shouldn’t be. One comment from one reader is enough to represent “some people?” This is why I avoid mainstream journalism. If I gotta read some unprofessional, bias–let it at least bend to my liking. Sick of secular apologist journalists with Arab/Muslim sounding names.

    • Seriously! And the author of this article is an Egyptian women herself, so you’d think she’d have a little more sense.

  6. Pingback: Friday Links — May 1, 2009 « Muslimah Media Watch

  7. Salaam Alaikum,

    So sad. It’s this sort of ‘crabs in a barrel’ mentality that stops many Muslims from even trying to do anything, as they feel that no matter what they do, their so called “brothers and sisters will pour scorn on them for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s