Everyone knows by now of the Harvey Weinstein sexual and rape allegations, #MeToo trending all over social media, where millions of women who have been sexually abused by men are coming out and showing us that sexual harassment and rape is pervasive and prevalent in our culture. The Hollywood mogul pulled all sorts of excuses for his alleged sexual assaults and crimes, from the consensual, to the give me a break, I have changed and am going to treatment to be a better person.
Mr. Weinstein grew up in a Jewish family and as a Jew lived a secular life, the media however never pulling the religious card on him, only when he accepted Oscars or was on talk shows promoting his work; his religion though may come in handy for him at some stage. The overwhelming allegations of the long time Hollywood producer didn’t lead to condemnation of a whole religion, race or culture.
This is not the case when another similar sexual assault allegation took place with Arab/Muslims The New York Times however found it easy to pull the religious card when European Arab scholar Tariq Ramadan was accused of sexual harassment and rape from a former Salafist who turned liberal as the media characterized her, as if you can’t be liberal and Salafist, it is impossible in the mind of lots of people in the West, especially those who read the Times. I’m not going into the accuser motive or mind to come out now, for her #MeToo camping gave her the courage to come out. Mr. Ramadan denied all allegations and has an accusation against her of his own. The Times calls her the Muslim Rose McGowan. Here is the Times’ own reporting of Tariq Ramadan’s sexual allegation:
“The global Muslim community now has its Rose McGowan, the fierce American actress who has alleged rape against fallen Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. And now, if the allegations are true, the conservative Muslim world has its Harvey Weinstein — because Ayari’s alleged attacker is one of the most charismatic and powerful preachers of orthodox Islam.” I don’t know much about Mr. Ramadan, but I met him once when he came to the US to speak after a long ban. He was personal, thoughtful and very comfortable in his own non-white skin.
In a country where an alleged rapist could be elected a President, Mr. Weinstein may have a chance, not to mention the resources to go on a ‘recovery tour’ and get back to his company and job in Hollywood. As the New York Times reported, Conservative Fox TV host Bill O’Reilly paid 32 million dollars to settle a sexual harassment case, and is now allowed back to claim his old job. In the West only individuals are sinners, it is a micro thing that is usually isolated from the culture at large. Vietnam’s war was Johnson’s war, Bay of Pigs Kennedy’s, the Invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq the Bush’s and bombing Hiroshima President Roosevelt’s legacy along with the Manhattan Project. These cleansings have been with us regardless of who is running the show, the mass shootings done by ‘mentally ill’ or ‘bored’ individuals who had no girlfriends, not because of gun violence or the gun toting culture. American exceptionalism runs deep and America is still the ‘greatest’ country in the world, it being the chosen place for the chosen people.
A misbehaving Arab or Muslim is usually driven by a macro cultural depravity that runs deep in the Muslim culture at large. Islamophobia has become a prevalent and daily media dose of condemnation of the whole Muslim culture. ‘Muslim women are oppressed’ goes the narrative, because of Islam and not because of political oppression or occupations or militarization in the area. Schools are bombed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian women can’t get a decent education, not because of Hamas, but because of Israeli Occupation.
The West’s fascination with Arab/Muslim dictators who are denying people including women of basic human rights, has no bearing. French President Emmanuel Macron explained to his own people why he is willing to work with a mass murderer like Bashar al-Assad of Syria. “Bashar is an enemy of his own people, but not the enemy of France.” This week he welcomed another mass murderer, General el-Sisi of Egypt, whose accomplishments before toppling the first elected civilian president in Egypt included heading Forced Virginity Tests on young women during the revolution, and committing the biggest massacre in Egyptian history.
Trump and other western leaders on one hand are supporting dictators like el-Sisi of Egypt and Salman of Saudi Arabia in their efforts to modernize and transfer Islam to become a “cute” Islam that serves the state and authorities not to challenge them, on the other hand, looking the other way when it comes to human rights violations and atrocities against their own people. General el-Sisi, the darling of the West now, in his visit to Macron this week, was asked about his human rights records in Egypt; “Don’t ask me about human rights in Egypt, We don’t have the history of democracy, intellectualism and civilization that Europe had, we live in a different world.” Indeed, Egypt with its 7000 year history went out of the “War on Terrorism” window.
I realize that sexual harassment is ramped in the Arab world, and am not denying that in any way, but all these macro political oppressions, occupations and militarization of the area, according to the New York Times, have no bearing on Muslim women’s rights and sexual freedom, but Tariq Ramadan’s sexual rape allegation does! He is the grandson of the founder of Muslim Brotherhood, he is a devoted extremist Muslim leader that his sin trained a whole culture a whole people. Here is the Times again: “The new allegations expose the wholly-misguided — but widely-held — notion in conservative and extremist Muslim circles…that segregating, shrouding and silencing women and girls will somehow protect our ‘honor’.” Rape culture, according to the New York Times, was confined to Mr. Weinstein’s sexual allegations, we don’t know his religion, his family, his father or his culture. but for Muslims, when it comes to sins, it is one for all and all for one!
Ahmed Tharwat is the Producer and Host of the Arab-American TV show BelAhdan. His articles are published in national and international publications. He blogs at Notes from America, www.ahmediatv.com and his articles appear in national and international publications. Follow him on Twitter @AhmediaTV.