Did Muslim Brotherhood Leader’s Views Influence Lara Logan Assault?

By David Stein

In the wake of the horrifying news that CBS foreign correspondent Lara Logan “suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating” at the hands of a group of Egyptian men while covering the celebration in Tahrir Square following the exit of Hosni Mubarak, it should not be forgotten that the spiritual leader of the influential Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which is poised to take on a major role in post-Mubarak Egypt, has openly told his followers that “immodestly dressed” women not only deserve rape, but deserve punishment for having brought the rape on themselves.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric and the so-called “mufti” of the MB, made the statements regarding rape on the IslamOnline website (reported here by The Telegraph). Al-Qaradawi bluntly stated that any woman who “opens her dignity for deflowering” is the guilty party. Al-Qaradawi also supports wife beating (as long as the husband’s blows avoid “the sensitive parts”), and he advocates the execution of homosexuals.

The “mainstream media” has spent a good part of the past two weeks doing its best to downplay the threats posed by the MB in post-Mubarak Egypt, painting the organization as “moderate” and “democratic” (Obama’s own Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, even called the organization “secular,” prompting a rare correction from the administration).

Have some in the media (and in Washington) managed to thoroughly convince themselves that the accusations that the MB is a Muslim extremist group (and that its dictates are followed by a large number of Egyptian protesters) are nothing more than the lunatic rantings of “right-wing” TV and radio hosts?

Shouldn’t what happened to Ms. Logan provide at least some small pause for thoughtful reflection?

Maybe the “right wingers” are correct.

Ms. Logan was known (sometimes derisively) as the “warzone ‘It’ girl” for her stunning good looks and stylish attire. Like it or not, she is exactly the type of woman targeted for rape by people like al-Qaradawi – attractive, “immodestly dressed” (by Islamist standards), intelligent, strong, independent, and professional. This is not in any way meant to suggest that she (and her crew) should have known better than to venture into the crowd in Tahrir Square. The fault is not Ms. Logan’s for doing her job, or for looking the way she does. She is a seasoned journalist with as much right to report from the world’s hot spots as anyone else.

But this incident should be a wake-up call to those who would deny the reality of the Islamist “elephant in the room.” There ARE organizations like the MB, which DO advocate rape and abuse for women and death to homosexuals, Jews, Christians, and apostates. Their teachings ARE widely embraced by many in Egypt, and these groups ARE likely to gain tremendous influence in the next election.

Will the members of the media open their eyes to the reality of the Muslim Brotherhood’s extremism, now that one of their own has been so viciously attacked – not by an anti-Western crowd of protesters angry at U.S. policy, but by a jubilant crowd of revelers, who apparently took it as a given that Ms. Logan was fair game?

I recall, in the aftermath of the sexual assaults that occurred during the annual Puerto Rican Day celebration in New York in 2000, the media fell all over itself trying to trace the “cause” of the attacks. The L.A. Times blamed “sexist” rap music. Other “mainstream” dailies blamed alcohol, poverty, and repressed anger over “police brutality” against minorities. 

Will there be any thought given to the root causes of Ms. Logan’s assault? Or will the incident be quickly dismissed as a fluke, a one-off, a random event that could just as easily have happened during the joyful celebrations after the fall of the Berlin Wall?

Well, just for the record, no reporters were sexually assaulted in Berlin as the wall came down, even with all the jubilation, the alcohol, the music, and the repressed anger following so many years of oppression.

Time will tell if the media has the guts to examine that one particular element, the odious ideology of Muslim extremism, which was absent in Berlin, but all-too-present these days in most of the Muslim world.

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