Jill of Feministe picks a nit on Ayaan Hirsi Ali's recent NYT editorial asking where all the "moderate Muslims" are. Ali used the recent example of the Qatif case (where a woman was sentenced to be lashed after being raped) and asks why there hasn't been an outcry from these so-called moderates.
While professing great respect for Ms. Ali (and noting she has excellent reason to not be a big fan of Islam), Jill notes that this is really an unfair charge. How, Jill asks, does Ali think this case came to our attention? The answer is through the efforts of the woman's Muslim Arab attorney, the coverage of the Arab press, and the general outrage the case sparked in Saudi Arabia and around the world. I see this sort of argument all the time, particularly conservatives asking why feminists "aren't talking about women's rights violations" in the enemy of the day, and it's almost always bogus there too -- most women's rights bloggers and activists are quite concerned with the issue globally (in fact, generally they're the first on the scene), they just don't think the solution always comes at the end of a bombing run. While extremists always get more attention than moderates, Muslim moderates have presented themselves quite well, all things considered.
As Jill says (and I concur), Ali is in many respects an incredible woman, and her voice deserves to be heard. But this column levied an unfair charge, and she deserves to be called out on it.