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Feminism vs. Islamism: Meet Middle East Women's Coalition

Ola Hawatmeh (Twitter profile)

WASHINGTON – The question has long been asked: Why do feminists give Islamists a pass?

Maybe that question will be answered next Tuesday when the Coalition for Middle Eastern Women’s Rights announces itself at a press club unveiling.

Hot issues for the group including ending “the barbaric practices of child marriages, genital mutilations, honor killings and dress code restrictions by initiating a cultural and religious revolution.”

The group bills itself as “a union of hundreds of women of Middle Eastern descent in the U.S. who are actively working to promote gender equality throughout the world. It includes doctors, lawyers, authors, and celebrities. We are committed to informing the American people about the plight of Middle Eastern women, in the hope of reaching as wide an audience as possible. We will not relent in our fight for women’s rights and our staunch opposition to Middle Eastern practices such as child marriages, genital mutilation, violence directed against women, repressive Islamic dress codes, polygamy, temporary and arranged marriages, honor killings, and unfair inheritance laws.”

Rabia Kazan (Wikimedia)

The leaders include President Rabia Kazan, Turkish bestselling author, and Vice President Ola Hawatmeh, Lebanese American fashion designer, and about 20 other board members.

“We came to this country because of the freedoms and rights offered to all citizens regardless of gender under the U.S. Constitution,” they offered in a recent statement. “We are proud to be American citizens. But we recognize that millions of women in the Middle East don’t enjoy these freedoms, and are forced to live under fanatical and repressive religious regimes, denied basic human rights, freedoms and dignity. Our mission is to give voice to these oppressed women and promote a greater awareness of their suffering. We will not rest until these women are granted full equal rights to those of Middle Eastern men, and treated with honor, respect and dignity.”

They also have a beef with the media, saying they do not provide “sufficient coverage to the plight of these women or give adequate voice to the abhorrent conditions under which they live.”

They also see blindness on the left side of the political spectrum.

Other key issues for the group include: