Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi bravely came out against violence directed at women and the way firearms are being used to terrorize the residents of Arab towns. But the demand for ‘social oversight’ over the mosques takes the matter one step too far.
By Samah Salaime (translated by Sol Salbe)
A painful and very important discussion is taking place in the Arab community in Israel, especially among those who are active on Facebook. And at the center of it is Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi. The conversation harks back to the women’s marathon in the city of Tira and the violent threats against its organizer — a woman. So you would have already heard of and been impressed by the support offered by members of the Joint List for the struggle by Arab women against violence as well as the exclusion of women from the public sphere.
For Zoabi this is an issue close to her heart; it stokes the fire in her belly. She posted a status on Facebook in which she asked who are those “barbarians” who are terrorizing the lives of residents with their violence and their weapons. Zoabi wrote of social terrorism against women, and women’s freedom of movement, expression and conduct.
Ostensibly, her comments were both just and on point — the phenomenon of Arab towns being ruled by a handful of armed violent criminals is a painful affliction in our community. Just yesterday a resident of Jaljulya was murdered by gunfire. Last week a school principal was shot and severely wounded in Kuseife. But Zoabi’s post went on to analyze the situation of religious coercion and incitement against both women and men who offer a different voice. And more significantly — Zoabi hinted at a link between clerics and extremists who seek control through violence and firearms. She added a clause in which she demanded that all the political movements, including the Islamic Movement must enhance their “social control” of clerics and imams in Arab towns and villages. They need to supervise what is said in the said in mosques on Fridays. “There are some people who think it is their own fiefdom,” wrote Zoabi.
Naturally, this statement angered many people who mobilized to defend Islam, the clerics and the Islamic Movement, whose members had condemned the shooting of the women’s marathon organizer and, alongside all the Joint List Knesset members,...Read More