On Sunday’s edition of Global Public Square, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria invited Mona Eltahawy to offer her perspective on the anti-government protests in Turkey and the rights of women in the Muslim world. It is unclear what qualifies Eltahawy as an authority on rights of any kind, since she is currently being prosecuted for defacing a poster on the New York City subway that she happened to dislike–a crime of which she is proud.
The poster, sponsored by Pam Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative, read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
Eltahawy took offense and attempted to spray-paint the word “racist” on the poster–in the process spray-painting a photographer who attempted to guard the poster. As she was being arrested, she complained: “This is non-violent protest.”
Eltahawy told Zakaria on Sunday that the goal of revolutions in the Middle East is “liberty,” but evidently has little regard for what that word means. She celebrates satire against “thin-skinned” leaders in Egypt, but carries out her own censorship in the United States. She became a U.S. citizen in 2011, which presumably meant she had to demonstrate some knowledge of the Constitution, but appears to have neglected the First Amendment.
For good measure, Eltahawy compares Egypt’s Islamist rulers with religious Christians in the U.S.: “I often compare the Muslim Brotherhood and their platform to the Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. who love to tout moral values,” she told Zakaria.
It is a false equivalence, one that downplays the abuses of Islamist governance and the extremist positions of the Muslim Brotherhood, which have no parallel in mainstream U.S. politics.
Eltahawy also has a documentary airing on CNN, which she promoted on Zakaria’s show. Given Eltahawy’s enthusiasm for censorship, it would seem sensible to deny her views the platform she seeks to deny others.
And yet CNN has embraced her and her false pretensions at “liberty.”
One does not have to agree with Geller to abhor what Eltahawy did, and what she proudly represents. Yet, bizarrely, she has CNN’s stamp of approval.