Saturday, August 27, 2005

Islam - Standing Up To Muslims

There is a ground swell of change coming.

At first many people were reluctant to criticize Islam. It is after all a religion and most people are reluctant to criticize a religion; many Western civilizations were founded on religious tolerance. In the case of Islam that tolerance is growing thin.

Many of Islam's defenders rely on the false premise that Islam is like any other religion, including Christianity. The Bible they say is replete with calls to war, violence and intolerance. The difference is, Christians gave up those literal interpretations a long time ago. Not so Muslims.

One outward sign of this is the burqa, the head to toe black cloth with only a slit for a woman's eyes. I've always found it offensive; being a sign of woman subjugation by male Muslims. For me it always conjured up the image of a man leading a cow by a rope - docile and submissive - revolting. I've always been amazed at how silent the women's rights movement has been on the issue of Muslim women.

Italy has gone the furthest I think and outright banned the burqa, albeit for terrorist reasons.

Today, Matthew Parris, writing in The Times (UK) expresses his anger at the wearing of the buraq in today's society.

"Now, for all I knew, the woman had chosen to go out like this and would not have wanted to uncover her face; but still I felt it was not right in Sydney: not right for her and not right for the open society of which she was part. Whether or not she felt oppressed, the condition oppressed her and it should not be seen in the streets of a modern, liberal country. I realize that this sounds imperious but I record what I felt, and the feeling was strong.

My sense of offence was not directed at the woman herself or her family, any more than a worshipper in a mosque should feel annoyed at European tourists who have not taken off their shoes. Maybe they haven't seen the notice, understood the instructions, heard the word, taken the hint. Maybe somebody has failed to tell them that what they are doing just isn't done. [...]

And that was what was wanting in this case. It had failed to get through to this family and perhaps to the community from which they came that in a Western country, for a person to be swathed in cloth so that only the eyes can be seen, simply won't do; and that when, consciously or unconsciously, a woman may be under pressure to do this, then it doubly won't do. There should be no pressure on a woman to hide her face. It is outrageous.

For us in Britain, and perhaps more widely, I sense that the scares and atrocities of 2005 have caused a firming-up of attitudes among non-Muslims towards questions like this. Of course it is wrong to make inferences about security risks from the way people dress, and there is no evidence that veiled women are involved in terrorism. But it is not unreasonable to link fundamentalist Islam with repressive attitudes to women, and patience with fundamentalism is running short. Our culture, which has always been unhappy about those attitudes to the role of women, is less inclined than before to brush this unhappiness aside."

And those less inclined are starting to speak up.

In Britain "The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has called on Muslim extremists to leave the country."

Now, Australia joins the ranks of countries who have had it with Muslims who don't want to abide by the law of the land. Treasurer Peter Costello said on television:

"If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," said Costello, who is seen as heir-apparent to Prime Minister John Howard.

For those that cliam that Muslim women may want to wear the burqa, given the way they are raised, I'd say I'm not surprised. That still doesn't make it right.

The liberals and leftist that want to defend Muslim women's rights to wear these degrading outfits, like Tony Blair's wife, are siding with Muslim women's rights abusers.

The BBC's Panorama program exposing the Muslim Council of Britain and Muslim Association of Britain's radical side is more evidence that things are changing.

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