Kaplan, Muttawa on Karen Hughes
Let's say some Muslim leader wanted to improve Americans' image of Islam. It's doubtful that he would send as his emissary a woman in a black chador who had spent no time in the United States, possessed no knowledge of our history or movies or pop music, and spoke no English beyond a heavily accented "Good morning." Yet this would be the clueless counterpart to Karen Hughes, with her lame attempts at bonding ("I'm a working mom") and her tin-eared assurances that President Bush is a man of God (you can almost hear the Muslim women thinking, "Yes, we know, that's why he's relaunched the Crusades").
Also not to miss from The Religious Policeman:
The group of women, picked by the university, represented the privileged elite of this Red Sea coastal city, known as one of the more liberal areas in the country. And while they were certainly friendly toward Ms. Hughes, half a dozen who spoke up took issue with what she said.
Two points here. One, no group of Saudis, whatever their situation, would ever admit that something was wrong with Saudi Arabia, to a member of the widely-detested Bush regime. They could be up to their waists in boiling oil, and they'd just say that they were, on average, quite warm. Two, in a country where the female employment rate is less that 1%, anyone with a job is a member of a privileged minority, and any female student hopes to become part of that 1%, just like people elsewhere hope to win the lottery.