The mother of Huma Abedin advised that a 2010 Hillary Clinton speech avoid sensitive issues like a ban on driving by women in Saudi Arabia.
The mother of Huma Abedin advised a Hillary Clinton aide preparing for a 2010 speech, urging that the secretary of state's remarks avoid sensitive issues like a ban on driving by women in Saudi Arabia.
The aide, Chase Button, reached out to longtime Clinton aide Abedin for advice in advance of Clinton's trip to Jeddah to speak to a women's college.
'Talk to my mom for sure,' Abedin, a top Clinton aide, advised speechwriter Case Button on Feb. 12, 2010 after he broached the idea. 'She will have good points for you.'
Her response included a long list of controversial topics not to discuss – including democracy, women's empowerment, and women driving cars – something banned in the kingdom and enforced by its Interior Ministry.
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T MENTION FREEDOM: A Hillary Clinton speechwriter got advice for Clinton's remarks in Saudi Arabia from Huma Abedin's mother, Saleha Abedin
'Do not use the political terms such as 'democracy/ elections/ freedom,' the Pakistan-born Saleha Abedin wrote, Fox News reported, based on documents obtained by Judicial Watch in a lawsuit.
Her list of 'IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER' continued.
'Do not use the term 'empowerment of women' instead say 'enabling women' and use other terms such as 'partnership/participation,' Saleha Abedin wrote.
'Do not even mention driving for women! The last visitor received a torrent of rejoinders from the students who said they have more important challenges to contend with.'
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C-up) gives her autograph to students at the Dar al-Hekma college for women during a "town hall" meeting in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on February 16, 2010. Clinton, on a Gulf mini-tour aimed at rallying support for sanctions against Iran and reviving Middle East peace talks, got a rapturous welcome at the elite Saudi women's college and was hailed as the world's "most popular woman" -- after arriving there late and delaying exams
Huma Abedin urged the aide to reach out to her mother about the speech. Here, she attends The Weinstein Company with FIJI, Grey Goose, Lexus and NetJets screening of "Wind River" at The Museum of Modern Art on August 2, 2017 in New York City
'Do not use the term 'empowerment of women' instead say 'enabling women' and use other terms such as 'partnership/participation,' urged Dr. Saleha Mahmood Abedin, professor of sociology from Pakistan and a specialist in the affairs of minority Muslim groups in non-Muslim countries
She was likely referring to an appearance by Bush head of public diplomacy Karen Hughes, who brought up the issue on her visit five years earlier.
She added: 'Don't sound sympathetic to 'women's plight' or be 'patronizing' as other visitors have done and made the students extremely annoyed.'
'They rightly consider these as in-house issues that they would like to address themselves and not for outsiders, no matter how well intentioned, to come in and tell them this,' she advised.
The list of 'important points' for the speech included not sounding 'sympathetic to 'women's plight' or being 'patronizing'
Abedin's mother advised 'major corrections' to an early draft of remarks
A State Department speechwriters asked for guidance on an upcoming Clinton event
In the speech she ultimately delivered, Clinton stuck to bromides, saying: 'We need more partnerships like those that are underway here in Saudi Arabia that strengthen civil society, as well as local indigenous efforts to expand opportunities, so that more girls and women everywhere can participate fully in the spheres of society, if they so choose to do so.'
She hailed the kingdom for prioritizing education of women.
Clinton aide Huma Abedin (C) is seen with then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton following the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016
'What the Kingdom is doing under the leadership of His Majesty the King is so important, not only to Saudi Arabia, but far beyond your borders. The emphasis on educating girls and women; the support for education, both girls-only and coeducational; the construction of the new university in Riyadh, named for his aunt; all of that sends powerful signals that are being received, not only within the Kingdom, but far beyond your borders. And I am here, first and foremost, to congratulate and to applaud this commitment. It is evidenced here at this college, but it goes beyond the walls of this particular excellent institution,' Clinton said.
Clinton may have tried to poke at the issue of gender and cultural mores without naming it directly by raising the issue of how Saudi women are portrayed in the U.S. media and 'stereotypes.' She did not mention driving.
'When I was speaking to the women leaders, one of them asked me if I could do anything about the media's portrayal of Saudi women, particularly the American media, which presents a very unidimensional view and, as the women mentioned to me in our short, small meeting, focusing more on what's on your head than inside your head or your heart,' Clinton said.
IT TOOK US SO LONG TO FIND OUT: The State Department emails came out only after a lawsuit by Judicial Watch. Here, female driver Azza Al Shmasani alights from her car after driving in defiance of the ban in Riyadh June 22, 2011. Saudi Arabia has no formal ban on women driving. But as citizens must use only Saudi-issued licences in the country, and as these are issued only to men, women drivers are anathema. An outcry at the segregation, which contributes to the general cloistering of Saudi women, has been fuelled by social media interest in two would-be female motorists arrested in May
CAN'T THEY JUST TAKE SCOOBY VANS? Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) prepares to order food at a Dunkin Donuts with New Hampshire state campaign director Mike Vlacich (L) and aide Huma Abedin (R) on February 7, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Abedin's mother urged that Clinton not raise the issue of a Saudi ban on women driving during a 2010 speech
'My answer was, 'I wish I could do something about the way the media portrays American women.' I think we all have to do a better job of getting beyond the stereotypes and the mischaracterizations.'
Saleha Abedin vouched for Clinton as an 'inspiration' to women in an introduction where she only referenced her role as employer and mentor to her daughter for decades.
'I can confidently affirm what a great inspiration and role model you are for women everywhere, and especially for those young women who have been on this journey with you from your days in the White House to the Senate, and now to the State Department. Thank you for your leadership and for your guidance and inspiration that you provide,' she said.Read more at dailymail.co.uk