Nonie Darwish and Women's Politics

Contents Of This Special Section On Obsession

In September 2008, Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-born writer, asserted that Barak Obama "has strong ties to the Islamic world."

Darwish, who made her inflammatory comments on a Christian radio talk show in the United States, suggested Obama's mother was anti-American: "Obama was immersed in a culture that was anti-American as a child. Whether he calls himself a Muslim or not, it doesn't matter."

Darwish continued: "Islam is a very political religion. It wants to dominate people — there is no separation of church and state under Islamic law. And it is an expansionist religion, because if it doesn't expand, it will implode. It will destroy itself because it's not a true religion."

On the radio program Understanding the Times, hosted by Jan Markell, Darwish also equated liberalism with Islam, suggesting that "tak[ing] care of everybody through the government, this is an Islamic concept, because, in Islam, you want to dominate every aspect of a person's life through the government."

These were not the first controversial statements by Darwish about Islam.

Darwish was born in an Egyptian Muslim family, but left Islam as an adult. She grew up in Cairo and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army assassinated her father, an Egyptian army lieutenant general. Darwish moved to the United States in 1978. She runs the website and wrote Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror. Her second book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Sharia Law, is due out in 2009. Read her speech given at UC Berkeley, during Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week here.

Darwish has a record of conflating the vast majority of peaceful Muslims with the few who turn to violence.

In a 2007 interview with the publication Reform Judaism, Darwish commented that the goal of "radical Islamists" is "Muslim imperialism. They want to conquer the world for Islam, to usher in a caliphate — that is, a supreme totalitarian Islamic government that would forcibly impose sharia law on everyone. That is why many radical Muslims choose to live in America and other Western nations: they believe the West legitimately 'belongs' to the Islamic world."

In her 2006 book Now They Call Me Infidel, Darwish wrote: "In the Muslim world there are no real distinctions between moderate or radical Muslims; all are Muslims. Some practice and some don't, and the ones who don't may have views as radical as those who do practice." (p. 135)

In a 2006 interview with National Review Online, Darwish said, "There is a fear factor that all Arabs share of never speak against our own culture, tribe or religion, and it does not matter how wrong or right they are. But it is more than just fear. Most Muslims believe that jihad is their duty and is part and parcel of being a good Muslim. That creates a conflict with us since many of us truly believe that many of these terrorists are great jihadists. Osama bin Laden was a hero among many Muslims. Many Muslim leaders tell the West in English they are against violent jihad; but in private, in Arabic, they praise the jihadists and the martyrs."

Darwish often writes and speaks about the treatment of women in the Muslim world. She told an audience, "The global war we are fighting against Islamo-fascism and jihad is not just about bombs and hijacked planes. It's also about tyranny and oppression of women. Oppression of women and support of terror are two facets of the same fundamentalist mentality."

She wrote in 2002 that the wearing of Muslim attire "is the Muslim women's form of jihad -- without the violence -- but it could be aggressive. Remember some of these women raise their sons to become terrorists and give up their lives to jihad. We should never underestimate the power of women in any culture." Read the article here.