On 21 August 2016, the New York Post reported reported that Huma Abedin, a long-time aide to Hillary Clinton who served as Deputy Chief of Staff at the State Department while Clinton was Secretary of State from 2009-2013 (and who is also the wife of former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York) spent a “decade edit[ing] a radical Muslim publication that opposed women’s rights and blamed the US for 9/11”:
Huma Abedin published articles in a Saudi journal … Abedin was assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs working under her mother, who remains editor-in-chief.
Headlined “Women’s Rights Are Islamic Rights,” a 1996 article argues that single moms, working moms and gay couples with children should not be recognized as families. It also states that more revealing dress ushered in by women’s liberation “directly translates into unwanted results of sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility and indirectly promote violence against women.”
In a separate January 1996 article, Abedin’s mother — who was the Muslim World League’s delegate to the UN conference — wrote that Clinton and other speakers were advancing a “very aggressive and radically feminist” agenda that was un-Islamic and wrong because it focused on empowering women.
Huma continued to work for her mother’s journal through 2008. She is listed as “assistant editor” on the masthead of the 2002 issue in which her mother suggested the US was doomed to be attacked on 9/11 because of “sanctions” it leveled against Iraq and other “injustices” allegedly heaped on the Muslim world.
Abedin’s connection to the journal in question had been previously been mentioned in a Vanity Fair profile of her back in January 2016:
When Abedin was two years old, the family moved to Jidda, Saudi Arabia, where, with the backing of Abdullah Omar Nasseef, then the president of King Abdulaziz University, her father founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a think tank, and became the first editor of its Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, which stated its mission as “shedding light” on minority Muslim communities around the world in the hope of “securing the legitimate rights of these communities.”
After Syed died, in 1993, his wife succeeded him as director of the institute and editor of the Journal, positions she still holds.
It turns out the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs is an Abedin family business. Huma was an assistant editor there between 1996 and 2008. Her brother, Hassan, 45, is a book-review editor at the Journal and was a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, where Nasseef is chairman of the board of trustees. Huma’s sister, Heba, 26, is an assistant editor at the Journal.
Newsweek also observed in a May 2016 profile of Huma that:
Abedin’s parents spent their careers at Saudi Arabian universities. Abedin’s mother, Saleha, is a sociologist and vice dean at a women’s college in Jeddah. Her late father, Syed, helped start an international journal devoted to the Muslim diaspora in non-Muslim lands, called the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. Abedin worked part time at the Journal between 1998 and 2009, until she went to the State Department. Right-wingers see evidence of a possible sleeper in that association, as well as in the fact that she served on the board of a Muslim Student Association at George Washington University that, a few years after she left, was advised by Al-Qaeda-affiliated cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
But congressional Republican leadership swiftly shut down Bachmann for alleging links between Abedin’s family and the Muslim Brotherhood. Abedin has said little about her upbringing in Jeddah, other than that her father instructed her to read a lot of English novels and that she watched Christiane Amanpour and decided to become a journalist. A former high-level State Department staffer, who worked closely with Abedin, said she never expressed any opinions about Middle Eastern politics or Islam, other than occasionally helping organize Muslim holiday celebrations at State.
The Clinton campaign has so far disclaimed that Abedin played any active role in editing the publication, asserting that she “was just a figurehead and not actually on staff”:
“My understanding is that her name was simply listed on the masthead in that period,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said. “She did not play a role in editing at the publication.”
Merrill said Abedin was just a figurehead and not actually on staff at the Saudi-based and -funded Journal of Minority Muslim Affairs, which featured radically anti-feminist views and backed strict Islamic laws roundly criticized for oppressing women.
A journalism major at George Washington University, Abedin, 40, was listed as “assistant editor” of the journal from 1996 to 2008, when her name was removed from the staff box and she went to work for Clinton at the State Department.
The current web site for the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs describes the publication thusly:
Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs is the only scholarly journal studying Muslim communities in non-Muslim societies. It provides a wealth of information about these communities that cannot be found anywhere else in documented form. It has opened up a new area of specialization in minority studies with original articles addressing the minority condition from the historical, demographic, social and economic perspective. Our research interests extend to include non-Muslim minorities living in Muslim societies, interfaith dialogue with the objective of promoting understanding, and the study of Muslim minority women who face particular and complex challenges to their minority existence while maintaining their Islamic identity. The Journal has indeed pioneered the way in examining theoretical and conceptual issues that define and explain the minority experience.
The Hillary Clinton campaign has not yet responded to our request for comment.
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.