When the New York Times covered a party in honor of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book, "Nomad," they placed it on the same page as a sympathetic story about American Muslim women who choose to wear the full cover. The placement was telling.
The Times story about women who cover their entire bodies, including their faces, spoke of the challenges they face in America -- the stares, the insults, the discomfort. Though the story made clear that Islam does not require women to socially disappear in this fashion, the women explained that covering makes them feel "closer to God." There was more than a whiff of pity in the tale. "'People don't understand,' (Hebah Ahmed) said, wiping a tear with the edge of her sleeve. ' We're really strong, but it takes a toll on you. Sometimes you think, I just want to rest.'"
There is nothing wrong with the editors' decision to run a story about the small number of American Muslim women who choose to wear niqabs -- except for this: Like other major liberal outlets, The Times has been utterly derelict in reporting about another aspect of life among American Muslims -- honor killing.
When it comes to the brutal slayings of young Muslim women by their fathers, brothers, or husbands, The Times gets squeamish.
As Ms. Hirsi Ali relates, this misplaced sensitivity arises from the cult of multiculturalism, which would rather tolerate egregious crimes against women than offend Third World sensibilities. When the Said sisters, 19-year-old Amina and 17-year-old Sarah, were shot and killed by their father, Yaser Said, in a suburb of Dallas in late 2007, the story was buried. Though the father had been enraged by his elder daughter's refusal to submit to an arranged marriage and by news that both girls had been secretly dating non-Muslim boys, the few stories about the case were careful to dismiss suggestions of honor killing. The Times failed to cover the story. (It was mentioned, briefly, in an opinion piece.)