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Foreign Policy: ‘Saudi Arabia declares war on Muslim congresswomen’

Rashida Tlaib (R) and Ilhan Omar (L) became the first Middle Eastern women to be elected to Congress during the US mid-terms on 6 November, 2018 [Facebook]
Rashida Tlaib (R) and Ilhan Omar (L) became the first Middle Eastern women to be elected to Congress during the US mid-terms on 6 November, 2018 [Facebook]

The American magazine Foreign Policy reported that since the beginning of the mid-term elections in the United States, conservative media outlets have fiercely targeted Somali-American congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who wears hijab, in response to Democrats’ efforts to lift the ban on religious headwear in the House of Representatives in order to integrate congresswoman Omar.

The magazine added that the attack against the presence of Muslim congresswomen was not only led by the US media, but also included the Saudi media which launched a scathing campaign targeting female Muslim deputies. Saudi academics and intellectuals recently accused Omar and Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Foreign Policy quoted an article published on Sunday by the Saudi-owned news website Al-Arabiya, saying that both women were part of an alliance between the Democratic Party and Islamic groups to control the Congress. The article stressed the women’s opposing stance towards President Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran and his position on isolating Islamic movements.

In an interview the Saudi- owned MBC satellite channel, Egyptian media figure Amr Adib said: “Trump’s success in countering Islamists would be undermined by the victory of the Democrats.”

READ: Palestinian-American Congresswoman to take delegation to West Bank 

According to Foreign Policy, hours after Omar’s victory in the elections she was accused by Saudi embassy staff of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The magazine quoted Faisal Al-Shammari, the cultural adviser in the Saudi Cultural Mission in the United States, as saying: “This trend will be hostile to the Arab Gulf and a supporter of political Islam.”

Foreign Policy stressed that the rise of politicians like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib will contribute in undermining the basic idea that dictators in the Middle East are seeking to promote: that their people are not yet ready for democracy.

The magazine explained that USA’s allies in the Arab region fear the rise of the Democrats because they will support political change in their countries after they spent millions of dollars to stop the “Arab Spring” revolutions, in addition to the huge amounts of money spent in the West to support public relations campaigns to defend their policies.

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