The Beheading Victim Was Also Muslim

Nearly a week after her husband allegedly cut off her head, Aasiya Zubair Hassan still smiles confidently into the camera for the high-resolution publicity photo available on the website of the TV station the couple started.

If you download the photo, you’ll discover that the filename is “Mo – Assiya – 3 – High.jpg”. It’s not clear whether “Assiya” is an alternative spelling that Aasiya would have accepted, or if it’s just one last indignity at the hand of someone working for her estranged husband, Muzzammil Hassan. That’s “Mo,” on the right.

The caption on the Bridges TV website reads:

Aasiya Zubair (left), wife of Bridges TV CEO Mo Hassan (right) played an instrumental role in the creation of Bridges TV since she came up with the idea for the network.

As Daniel Pipes, who has followed Bridges TV since its founding in 2004, notes:

Two sorts of public reactions to the murder are emerging: Spokesmen on behalf of Islamic organization emphasize that domestic violence happens in all communities and Muslims must pay it more attention, while women’s rights advocates focus on the Islamic element.

  • Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, vice-president of The Islamic Society of North America: “Domestic violence is a behavior that knows no boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity, or social status. Domestic violence occurs in every community. The Muslim community is not exempt from this issue. We, the Muslim community, need to take a strong stand against domestic violence. Unfortunately, some of us ignore such problems in our community, wanting to think that it does not occur among Muslims or we downgrade its seriousness.”
  • Marcia Pappas, New York State president of the National Organization for Women: “This was apparently a terroristic version of honor killing, a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men. … Too many Muslim men are using their religious beliefs to justify violence against women.”

I’ve been critical in the past about what I saw as insufficient Muslim condemnation of terrorism, but I have no quarrel with the ISNA statement above. The spokesman calls for Muslims to condemn domestic violence and not to pretend it doesn’t happen in the Muslim community. I don’t blame him for emphasizing, correctly, that men in other cultures also kill their wives.

I’m late to this story, but it’s not going away soon. It’s coming out now that this was his third marriage, and he was violent with his previous wives as well. Phyllis Chesler, who after the murder apparently accelerated publication of her study “Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?” (she votes No), has called on bloggers and reporters to help advance the narrative.

In 2004, Hassan said the station was started because

“There should be a Muslim media so that Muslim children growing up in America grow up with the self confidence and high self esteem about their identity both as Americans and as Muslims.”

If “Mo” is in fact the killer, surely he must have known that the stereotypical manner of his crime would set that worthy cause back. At one time, Mo felt secure enough in his masculinity and his marriage and his culture to pose with his unveiled, lipsticked wife and credit her with the idea for the company he headed. It’s hard to reconcile that with what he allegedly did last week.

Ready, Fire, Aim: Obama Signs "Stimulus" Bill

No worries — Sasha and Malia’s kids will pay for it

Michael Gerson describes the porkulus legislation signed by President Obama yesterday:

The bill was written in monopartisan secrecy, weighed down by irrelevant spending, considered in a rushed, uninformed debate and passed on a virtually party-line vote. The law contains provisions that seem to weaken welfare reform and invite trade disputes. And it adds a massive burden of debt to existing massive entitlement obligations requiring massive borrowing from international sources — or, if such credit dries up, the massive printing of money to buy these bonds, leading to inflation. 

Sounds like Gerson opposes the bill. Well, no:

But while the legislation was deeply flawed, there was little alternative to action. The usual recession remedy — the lowering of interest rates by the Federal Reserve to loosen up credit and spending — is of little use when the credit system itself is broken and rates are already near zero. The president and Congress were left with one option: attempting a fiscal jolt to counter the economic cycle. Such efforts in the past have often been mistimed, with the cavalry arriving just after the settlers have been massacred. But one has to try. In this case, necessity was the mother of excess. 

For political reasons, I suppose it’s true that “one has to try.” But one does wish that one could be more confident about the outcome while saddling one’s grandchildren with debt.

After weeks of invoking the Great Depression, Obama performed what Politico referred to as a “rhetorical pirouette” while signing the bill:

In his remarks, Obama projected an air of confidence. “We will leave the struggling economy behind us and come out more prosperous,” he vowed. 

Well, one hopes he’s right. But since Obama brought up the Depression, let’s take a look at what has been learned from the historical record:

The recession that began in 2008 could turn out to be the worst slowdown since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. For three-quarters of a century, economists have been studying it diligently. And even now they cannot come to a definitive conclusion about the cause of that depression, the reasons for its severity and duration, or what cured it. In an introduction to a book of essays on the Great Depression he compiled in 2000, Ben S. Bernanke, then a Princeton professor and now chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, wrote, “Finding an explanation for the worldwide economic collapse of the 1930’s remains a fascinating intellectual challenge.” 

Today, of course, the challenge is more than intellectual.

My wife has threatened to stop reading my blog because it’s so depressing, so I’ve just spent 20 minutes staring at the screen, trying to think of a positive way to end this post. Here’s the best I can muster: I still think comparisons with the Great Depression are overwrought. But even after that dark period, America did “leave the struggling economy behind us and come out more prosperous.” I have no doubt we will do so again, eventually.

Sweetie, I’ll let you know when I’ve changed the subject.

(Photo: AP, via Washington Times)