I want to thank the Huffington Post for providing such a pro-Israel story, which demonstrates the opportunities provided in western civilization for all women, instead of the horrors awaiting women in Islamic countries.
Let me introduce you to 27-year-old Mais Ali-Saleh, who grew up in a small village outside of Nazareth, in Israel’s Galilee.
As reported by Diane Bletter in the Huffington Post, “Guess who graduated first in this year’s medical school class at the Technion, Israel’s version of M.I.T.? The answer will surprise you. It’s a stereotype-buster: a charming, feminist, smart, open-minded and observant Islamic woman.”
Bletter even admits:
Ali-Selah’s academic excellence not only marks her own personal achievement but also proves that contrary to propaganda spouted by proponents of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement — whose latest convert is Stephen Hawking — an academic boycott of Israel is the wrong approach to solving the Israel-Arab conflict.
Aware that she is seen as a role model to other young Muslim women, Ali-Selah also knows that she is breaking common misperceptions and stereotypes. “The media emphasizes negative things about Muslims and does not emphasize the positive,” Ali-Selah said. She also feels, however, that extremists are co-opting Islam and radicalizing it. Extremists within Islam are influencing people’s perceptions about Islam and women’s roles. “There is nowhere in the Koran that that states women should not study,” Ali-Selah explained. The same is true of women’s dress. Women are supposed to dress modestly, but there are no Islamic laws stating that women need to wear long robes or cover their faces.
However, I beg to differ on this point. Ali-Selah fails to mention the writings of the Hadiths of Muhammad which is where Muslim mullahs, clerics, and imams follow those traditions where you find discriminatory practices against women. Ali-Saleh must recognize young women like Malala Yousafzai and so many others suffering horrific treatment such as genital mutilation and honor killings.
In addition, as Muslim woman Ali-Saleh must understand she has been afforded a great opportunity because she lives in a country that respects her as a woman. We all know — and she must recognize — the same opportunities would not be open to her in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Gaza Strip, Yemen, or other countries where Sharia law dominates.
“If people’s socio-economic situation improves, they become more educated and enlightened,” Ali-Selah said in the HuffPo article. “Take away people’s food, and they become religious.” Her husband, Nidal Mawasi, agrees with her.
And I agree as well, which is why the two of them should speak out against the despotic, autocratic, dictators and theocrats who rule in the Muslim world. I would hope the two of them realize how especially blessed they are to live and be educated in Israel and how their children will have better opportunities because they live in a place where individual liberty and freedom reigns supreme.
They must ask themselves, would a young Jewish couple living in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, or Pakistan have such a high quality of life? I congratulate Mrs. Ali-Saleh on her momentous achievement and wish her even greater accomplishments in a free society.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.