By Shirin Sadeghi
As his enemies on both sides of the aisle of American politics continue to revel in New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s admitted misbehavior, the real world is left to wonder about his young Pakistani-Indian Muslim bride.
When the headlines hit that a lewd photograph was sent from Weiner’s account to a young lady who was not his wife, very few people were convinced of his total innocence. In the minds of many people, something fishy was going on. There was also the known fact that many of the few people Weiner followed on Twitter were young women who were not even residents of his congressional district, and at least one was a professional sex worker.
It did not take a congressional investigation or a detective to figure out that Mr. Weiner had a great deal of interest in women other than his wife of less than one year — one Huma Abedin, close personal assistant of Hillary Rodham Clinton since the mid-1990s.
She is an American Muslim of South Asian descent — her father, an Iran expert, was born in pre-partition India and her mother, a professor of sociology in Saudi Arabia, was born in Pakistan. She was born in the United States but raised primarily in Saudi Arabia, where her mother still resides, nearly 16 years after Huma’s father passed away.
Beyond the small sphere of her personal friends and family, the public could only wonder at why she married Anthony Weiner — a man whose current scandal is not a great leap from the playboy image he held before he married her.
But now that the confirmation of his post-marital philandering has been admitted to by himself — the exchange of sexually provocative imagery and conversations with women who are not your wife does constitute some kind of marital dishonesty — there are those who no longer wonder at her motives or motivations for marrying him, but outright demand that she step away.
“Don’t be another Pakistani Good Wife” one Twitterer posted after Weiner’s confession. Don’t follow your boss’s advice, said countless others, referencing Hillary Clinton’s well-known history of standing by her man even after the fact of his cheating was beyond doubt.
What is interesting in Abedin’s case is that despite a public image that puts her allegiance to the United States and its foreign policy in little doubt — she could, after all, have pursued a political career in any number of other places considering her heritage, linguistic skills and cultural knowledge — she is still viewed as somehow foreign, even by Americans with a similar heritage.