When Hillary Clinton was preparing to visit a women’s college in Saudi Arabia, her longtime aide Huma Abedin advised giving a copy of the then-secretary of state’s prepared remarks to Abedin’s mother, the vice dean of the school.
Saleha Abedin replied with a warning not to use “political” terms such as “freedom,” “democracy” and “empowering women,” particularly any mention of women driving, which is forbidden in the Islamic kingdom, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and released Thursday.
Saleha Abedin, a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a sociology lecturer and vice dean at Dar Al Hekma in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a school she helped found with Yaseen Abdullah Kadi, a member of the bin Laden family who was designated by the U.S. as a terrorist. She has blamed America for 9/11 and advocated for Islamic law provisions condoning marital rape, child marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, and lashings and stonings for women accused of adultery. Huma worked for her family’s Saudi-sponsored Islamic journal, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, through at least 2008. She is listed as “assistant editor” in the 2002 issue in which her mother suggested the United States was doomed to be attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, because of “sanctions” it leveled against Iraq and other “injustices” allegedly committed against the Muslim world.
In the email chain, Huma Abedin, who was raised in Saudi Arabia from the time she was 2 years old until she returned to the U.S. for college, advised speechwriter Case Button on Feb. 12, 2010, to have the text of Clinton’s remarks vetted by Saleha Abedin.
That same day, Button sent Seleha Abedin a copy of the remarks, and she replied to her daughter in a email: “Huma, this document needs major edits and corrections. … I will send you the edited document with tracked changes shortly.”
Later Friday, Saleha Abedin sent a list of “important points to remember.”
- “Do not use political terms such as ‘democracy/elections/freedom.’”
- “Do not use the term ’empowerment of women’ instead say “enabling of women’ and use other terms such as ‘partnership/participation.’”
- “Do not even mention driving for women! The last visitor received a torrent of rejoinders from students who has said they have more important challenges to contend with.”
- “Don’t sound sympathetic to ‘women’s plight’ or be ‘patronizing’ as other visitors have done and made the students extremely annoyed. They rightly consider these as in-house issues that they would like to address themselves and not for outsiders, no matter how well intentioned, to come and tell them this.”
A transcript shows Clinton abided by Saleha Abedin’s edits, avoiding mention of “freedom” and “democracy,” and using the term “partnership.”
In her remarks, Clinton said Americans must do a better job of getting past “the stereotypes and the mischaracterizations” of the oppressed Saudi woman. She also assured the audience of burka-clad girls that not all American girls go “around in a bikini bathing suit.”
Huma Abedin’s father, Syed Zainul Abedin, was an Islamic scholar of Indian descent who founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, publisher of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.
An article published by the journal in 1996 headlined “Women’s Rights Are Islamic Rights” argued that single and working mothers should not be recognized as families. It also stated that more revealing dress ushered in by women’s liberation “directly translates into unwanted results of sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility and indirectly promote violence against women.”
At age 18, Abedin enrolled at George Washington University, where she served on the board of the Muslim Students Association, which is a Muslim Brotherhood front organization, as documented in the Holy Land Foundation trial of 2007.
Saleha Abedin also is chairwoman of the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child, the IICWC, an entity within the Muslim World League that designated Yusuf al-Qaradawi, regarded as the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief theologian, as the main author of its charter and policies.
One of Qaradawi’s disciples was the author of an internal 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memo presented in the terror-financing trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation. It said the Muslim Brotherhood “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and by the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Saleha Abedin’s group partners with the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief, which Israel has outlawed as a terrorist group that funds Hamas. The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy warned that the IICWC was pressing for the repeal of Egypt’s Mubarak-era prohibitions on female genital mutilation, child marriage and marital rape. The IICWC said the prohibitions conflicted with Islamic law.