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Mogahed's Excuses Don't Add Up
by Cinnamon Stillwell
As reported last week by Campus Watch, Dalia Mogahed, appointee to President Obama's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, executive director and senior analyst of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, and co-author, along with Georgetown University's John Esposito, of Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, appeared (by phone) earlier this month on the UK-based Islam Channel television program "Muslimah Dilemma" (view here and read the complete transcript here.) Ibtihal Bsis, the show's host, is a member of the Islamist group Hizb ut Tahrir; Mogahed's fellow guest, Nazreen Nawaz, is the group's national women's media representative. Given these affiliations, it's no surprise that the discussion included such extremist fare as the promotion of sharia law for—of all things—protecting women's rights, condemnation for secular pluralistic democracy, and the revival of a mythical caliphate as the answer to the Muslim world's woes.
Mogahed has been roundly criticized for appearing on the show and, in a transparent attempt at damage control, she told U.S. News & World Report last week she has experienced second thoughts about her decision. Stretching credulity, she claimed she "had no idea that the show's host or the other guest was affiliated with Hizb ut Tahrir," that she only "found out the affiliation on air, when the other guest was being introduced in the beginning," and that her staff "checked the show with a PR firm in Britain who told us there were no problems with it." Even if it's true that Mogahed herself was ignorant of the nature of the show, it's hard to imagine that her sophisticated vetting system missed what a simple Google search would have turned up in seconds. Moreover, if she was truly surprised to find herself among radicals, wouldn't she be more likely to speak up against them?
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