Two new U.S. congresswomen, both Muslim, are the objects of organized media attacks by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to recent opinion pieces.

Why would these foreign countries feel threatened by Rep. lhan Omar, a Somalian immigrant? Or by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a daughter of Palestinian immigrants?

The ‘Khashoggi Effect’

“Well, they fear the Khashoggi effect — too many Muslims exposing and criticizing tyranny,” writes Columbia University professor Hamid Dabashi in an op-ed on aljazeera.com.

Jamal Khashoggi was the Saudi writer and Washington Post columnist allegedly killed by Saudi operates. In his last column for The Post, he warned of efforts in the Middle East to crush the free press.

U.S. intelligence officials say that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing.

Continues Dabashi: “Thus for their outspokenness and open criticism, Omar and Tlaib are perceived as what Professor Mahmoud Mamdani of Columbia University calls ‘bad Muslims’ in his remarkable study and subsequent book. By contrast, good Muslims — the ones Saudi Arabia et al like — are those silently watching it massacre Yemenis and cut Khashoggi to pieces while rushing to make ticket reservations for their Hajj pilgrimage. “

Photo of a Turkish forensics officer

A Turkish forensic officer arrives at the Saudi consulate to conduct a new search over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, in Istanbul, early Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Racism, Bigotry, and Fake News

Olva Salem writes for Foreign Policy that “Gulf Arab monarchies are using racism, bigotry, and fake news to denounce Washington’s newest history-making politicians.”

Salem, a British-Egyptian journalist with a decade of experience covering the Middle East, wraps up her analysis with this opinion:

“It should be little surprise that America’s authoritarian allies have responded with panic and fear to voices like Tlaib and Omar. These regimes have always benefited from the false choice they present to policymakers in the West — in Muslim countries, they say, extremists are the only alternative to dictators. That argument is eloquently undermined by American politicians who share those regimes’ religion, but not their cynicism about democracy.”

 

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