Kim Ghattas in Foreign Policy:
If ever there were a sign that the world is upside down, it is that a Muslim prince from an Arab royal family is now one of the leading voices defending human rights on the global stage. At a time when the issue seems to be taking a back seat everywhere, Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein of Jordan, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, has excoriated Western politicians for their xenophobia and requested an investigation into allegations of torture in Bahrain — even as the United States announced it is lifting human rights restrictions on arm sales to the kingdom.
Before the U.S. election, Zeid stood in front of the U.N. General Assembly in September and decried “race-baiting bigots who seek to gain, or retain, power by wielding prejudice and deceit at the expense of those most vulnerable.”
He explicitly called out Geert Wilders and Donald Trump in another speech, decrying Wilders’s “lies and half-truths, manipulations, and peddling of fear.” He added that his own personal background must be a nightmare for xenophobes everywhere, as a “Muslim, who is, confusingly to racists, also white-skinned; whose mother is European and father, Arab.” And since Trump’s ascension to the White House, Zeid has not shied way from criticizing him, calling the new administration’s travel ban “mean-spirited” and illegal under human rights law. In fact, he was the only prominent Arab voice on the world stage denouncing the ban and speaking out about the impact on Arab communities in the United States while Arab governments stayed mum.
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