The controversial election of two Muslim women to the US Congress caused waves of celebration in the Muslim World. However, the Gulf State capitals of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi begged to disagree.
Wisconsin Muslim Journal According to an article published by Foreign Policyon December 11, Saudi Arabia is using conservative American outlets* and a host of Saudi-funded media to discredit Somali-American Ilhan Omar, one of the now infamous Muslim politicians with a sketchy past who made waves in the US midterm elections.
*BNI is neither funded nor supported in any way by either Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates
While US-based Riyadh-affiliated media accuse Omar of turning the American Congress into an “Islamic republic,”(based partly on her insistence on breaking the rule prohibiting the wearing of headgear in Congress) pro-Riyadh Mideast-based outlets suspect her of being a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer.
The “organized attacks” aiming to discredit Omar and a number of rising Muslim politicians come “specifically from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” according to the Foreign Policy article.
It continued: “Academics, media outlets, and commentators close to Persian Gulf senates-governments have repeatedly accused Omar, Rashida Tlaib (another newly elected female congressmuslim), and Abdul El-Sayed (who failed miserably in his bid to become governor of Michigan) of being supporters and beneficiaries of the Muslim Brotherhood who are hostile to the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” both of which have declared them to be a “terrorist organization” along with their American-based front groups, including CAIR.
Using the “Anti-Trump” card, the reported accusations from UAE and Saudi Arabia-affiliated corporations seek to convince the Trump administration and conservative Americans that the newly elected female congressmuslims are dangerous for the US. The congressmuslims stand accused of conspiring with the Democratic Party, which they represent, to introduce political Islam and Sharia law in the US.
But why would Saudi Arabia and the UAE, two predominantly Muslim countries, conspire against and defame America’s rising Muslim politicians?
One reason is that the congressmuslims in question have been critical of a number of Saudi policies and positions on both Muslim and global affairs. Their past criticism of a number of Riyadh’s deeds and policies was construed as hostility to the oil-rich Arabian Gulf kingdoms.
Just hours within Omar’s election, Faisal al-Shammeri, a cultural advisor at the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the US, said to Foreign Affairs: “She will be hostile to the Gulf and a supporter of the political Islam represented in the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East.”
While elites in the Persian Gulf and other predominantly Muslim countries continue to hide behind “Muslim tradition” to shun any prospect of democratic reforms that give space to youth and status-quo-questioning voices, politicians such as Omar uproot the “democracy is not for Arabs” narrative. (But democracy is not for Omar or Tlaib either, based on their support for sharia law)
While Saudi Arabia has not responded to the accusations, the kingdom’s resort to the Muslim Brotherhood card to discredit critics is not news to Mideast observers. Knowing that the controversial Islamist group is negatively seen by many Western governments, including the US, Riyadh has traditionally painted dissidents as Brotherhood supporters.
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Most recently, when the global backlash over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder started reaching worrying proportion and damaging the reputation of the hitherto idolized and revered Mohammed bin Salman, Riyadh started speaking of the slain journalist as “a dangerous Islamist.” (He absolutely WAS a Muslim Brotherhood operative who tried to discredit the Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman for his efforts to modernize and Westernize the kingdom)
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