Last Friday, CBS News war correspondent Lara Logan was brutally sexually assaulted in Egypt, an incident that Bill O’Reilly called “one of the worst stories we’ve seen.”
Naturally it also led to him posing the question: “Is the danger to women journalists in the Muslim world worth the risk?”
He is certainly not the first to do so.
Jennifer Griffin, a Fox News excellent national security correspondent, and former long-time Middle East correspondent, disagreed that women should not be allowed to cover these stories, but said that precautions had to be taken.
“What happened to Lara is horrifying. But don’t forget, our own correspondents Greg Palkot and Olaf Wiig were assaulted as well and they are seasoned journalists and they knew what they were doing and the crowd turned on them. So, this happens not just to women but also to men. And we can’t shy away from covering it. I don’t know any women who I have talked to who are former correspondents who have said, ‘Oh this is going to make me think twice about going into the Middle East.'”
Asra Nomani, a former journalist for the Wall Street Journal, recounted a story of her own where she felt like she was in danger.
“When I went into Afghanistan, it was for one hour. It was the eve of Christmas Eve 2001. And I was going to be escorted by some young men who decided that they would take me from the border to Jalalabad. And I have tell you that I looked in their eyes and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to be either raped or killed or both if I continue on this drive.’ And I literally had though walk out of Afghanistan on my own two feet because I realised that the danger that I was going to face was not at all worth the benefit of trying to take that risk.”
O’Reilly then attempted to use Logan’s attack to make a broader statement, calling it a “Muslim problem.”
While Griffin pointed out that things like this happen in countries all over the world, including Mexico and Africa, Nomani agreed “that sexism and misogyny any are universal problems” but especially in the Muslim community.
“We do face a battle inside of our Muslim community in which interpretation of Islam is being used to treat women as second class citizens, to basically segregate us and put us in the back corners from mosques to the public square. And so what we have happening I fundamentally believe is a battle for power and control in our communities. Violence against women is one of those issues that’s used as a leverage to kind of control women.”
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