Asra Nomani’s defense of Rick Perry’s Daniel Pearl remark


Now-former presidential candidate Rick Perry took some flak for suggesting that video of American Marines urinating on the bodies of dead insurgents in Afghanistan should be considered in the context of Daniel Pearl’s beheading.

Referring to the uproar over the Marines’ actions, Perry had said: “Let me tell you what’s despicable, cutting Danny Pearl’s head off."

Perry’s remark set off outrage, including from some of Pearl’s former colleagues, with one calling the candidate’s reference “irrelevant and gross."

But another of Pearl’s former colleagues, Asra Nomani, who was a close friend of the murdered journalist, thinks that Perry has a valid point.

She writes in The Daily Beast:


While it is unequivocably wrong for U.S. Marines to urinate on dead bodies, we’re going to condemn the act as if it’s the worst that has happened in war?

As a society, we shouldn’t seek moral equivalency, because we are then doomed to live according to the lowest standards of humanity. But we also don’t live in a moral vacuum. We don’t live in a utopia. We’re in a war.

What was done to Danny is an indicator of the kind of war we’re in. That is why I was particularly disturbed, as an American Muslim, to see national American-Muslim organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Islamic Society of North America fire off press releases of condemnation for the Marines’ video. There are so many outrages inside our Muslim community—from honor killings to honor assaults, including the cutting off of the noses and ears of girls and women in Pakistan and Afghanistan—on which these organizations aren’t so rabid.

To suggest we violated cultural norms in a way that the people of the region don’t do is to give the people of the region a pass….

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