Covering one's head
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mingled with Syrians in a market and made the sign of the cross at a Christian tomb Tuesday during a visit to pursue dialogue with the country’s leader. President Bush denounced the trip, saying it sends mixed signals to Syria’s government.This bit of news(not surprisingly from this conservative blog watcher's standpoint) has created a small firestorm. Mostly because of the scarf and robe House Speaker Pelosi wore.
Pelosi’s visit to Syria was the latest challenge to the White House by congressional Democrats, who are taking a more assertive role in influencing policy in the Middle East and the Iraq war. The Bush administration, which accuses President Bashar Assad’s government of supporting terrorism, has resisted calls for direct talks to help ease the crisis in Iraq and make progress in the Israel-Palestinian peace process.
Soon after Pelosi’s arrival in Damascus, Bush criticized her visit. “A lot of people have gone to see President Assad … and yet we haven’t seen action. He hasn’t responded,” he told reporters at a Rose Garden news conference. “Sending delegations doesn’t work. It’s simply been counterproductive.”
Wearing a flowered head scarf and a black abaya robe, Pelosi visited the 8th-century Omayyad Mosque, shaking hands with Syrian women inside and watching men in a religion class sitting cross-legged on the floor.
Gina Cobb wrote-
Yes, I know that it's a sign of "respect" for a woman to wear a headscarf in a Muslim country. But respect for what, or whom?Glenn Reynolds wrote-
A leader in the Democratic party and the U.S. Congress is willingly traveling to a terrorism-sponsoring state to shake hands with a leader of that state. During that trip, she is willingly choosing to put on clothing that symbolizes submission to Allah. This at a time when there are literally thousands being killed in deadly terrorist attacks around the world in the name of Allah.
In every sense, Nancy Pelosi is choosing to symbolically join America's enemies.
FEMINIST IN AMERICA, subsurvient in syria.Pretty much what you'd expect from the overrated Instapundit. Say little but make clear which side you come down on.
Stop the ACLU wrote-
Nice touch, the head scarf. You’re really showing those terrorists strength in prostration, Madame Speaker. She should have brought a little white flag with her, emerged from the plane with her hands up and offered to plus the ranks of a Saudi harem (nah…probably too jerkeyed for even the most hard-up ninth son). Looks like she packed it in the States (can you find a maple-leaf hijab in Syria?), so she planned ahead to accept second-class status.Amboy times writes-
What mixed signal? The left wants peace at any cost. Terrorism pays. I wonder if Pelosi mentioned her concerns about FGM, or the treatment of women in general?The Hill Chronicles wrote-
These pictures speak volumes - I am so angered I cannot even speak. Nancy Pelosi should have worn the hijab, ad least then we would not have to look at her traitorous face.I could link more blogs, but I think that's enough. TFM has seen Islam/Moslem/Anti-(Fill in your favorite Conservative punching bag. Cindy Sheehan, John Murtha etc etc)whoever hysteria before. The outrages have become almost predictable. The Nancy Pelosi head scarf is just the latest.
Steve at The Carpetbagger Report gets it exactly right.
I've been to a synagogue in my life and worn a yarmulke. TFM isn't jewish and wasn't converting by wearing that head garment. Instead I was paying respect to the religion of my brother-in-law.
Oh, conservatives, what are we going to do with you.
When Laura Bush visited the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, she wore — you guessed it — a head scarf. She did the same at the Dome of the Rock mosque. Was she “donning the garb of America’s enemies”? Did she “disgust” the president’s allies?
When the First Lady visited the Vatican, she wore — wait for it — a head scarf. Apparently, it’s still required of women visitors to the Vatican. Is the right prepared to bash Roman Catholicism for having the same traditional rules as mosques in the Middle East?
For that matter, Steve M. notes that “Pelosi’s own faith, Roman Catholicism, required women to wear veils in church until Vatican II — which took place when she was in her mid-twenties.” Barbara O’Brien added that she’s “seen photographs of Karen Hughes and Condi Rice with scarves wrapped around their heads hijab-style while visiting the Middle East.”
Look, this need not be complicated. When U.S. diplomats travel overseas, they’re careful to honor local traditions. Male diplomats know not to show Muslims the bottoms of their shoes. They know not to eat with their left hand. They don’t give unwelcome backrubs to foreign heads of state (well, most of them know this). Yesterday was no different.
Pelosi was a guest in Syria, she was visiting a mosque, so she honored and respected the practices of her hosts, just as other women representing the Bush administration have done under similar circumstances. So what, exactly, is the right so worked up about?One wonders whether these guys ever get tired of being so wrong, so often.
James Joyner writes-
I don't like Pelosi's trip either. Congress people of either party shouldn't be taking part in private diplomacy. Other voices of reason are Steven Taylor and Ann Althouse. Not surprisingly, Ann, Steven and James are three of my favorite bloggers.
Much more problematic, however, is the Speaker of the House contravening American foreign policy by legitimating a hostile government. While the president does not have plenary power over foreign affairs, he both constitutionally and traditionally sets the agenda.
Congress’ role is one of oversight–setting budget parameters, holding executive officials accountable, considering treaties, and the like–not competition. Mark Kleiman rightly notes that, with the majority, that power is substantial.
Nancy Pelosi may have her head covered with a scarf, but some bloggers out there got paper bags over their heads. Again.
Linked to- Big Dog, Right Voices, Perri Nelson, Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation,