- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 21, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Sen. John Kerry claims that “women across the world have more champions in American government than ever before”(“Economic crisis’ new challenges,” Opinion, Tuesday).

He bases this statement on the fact that President Obama will create a White House Council on Women and Girls; that the State Department will name an ambassador-at-large forwomen’s issues; and that he himself, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, created a subcommittee for global women’s issues. Unfortunately, he undermines the credibility of his entire argument by never mentioning arguably the greatest threat to women today: Shariah and the surge in Islamic fundamentalism worldwide.

Mr. Kerry notes income disparities in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia without citing a cause. He lumps them in with Latin America as though a legal code that bars women from working outside the home would have no impact on economic abilities.

The closest he comes to mentioning Islam is in his indication that “in Pakistan, the female literacy rate is as low as 3 percent in some areas bordering Afghanistan …” But he stops short of explaining that this is because Taliban extremists blow up girls’ schools and throw acid in the faces of female students.

This cowardly lack of candor in detailing the scope of the challenge is not surprising, however, given the new administration’s desire to “develop a ‘new relationship’ with the Muslim world,” as noted right there on the same Opinion page by Frank Gaffney Jr. (“Embracing of Shariah?”).

Mr. Gaffney details former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright’s presentation to Mr. Kerry’s Foreign Relations Committee in the book “Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World.”

The book, he says, advocates “Not equat[ing] reform with secularism, nor … assum[ing] that reformers who advocate some form of Shariah as the basis for the rule of law will inevitably abuse human rights or adopt anti-American policies.” So will Mr. Kerry or President Obama really champion the human rights of women in the face of Shariah abuses to those same rights if it impedes their efforts at Muslim outreach?

The senior senator from Massachusetts, Edward M. Kennedy, may be the “Liberal Lion,” but his junior counterpart, Mr. Kerry, appears to be more the “Cowardly Lion.”

PETER LOCKE

Ashburn

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