Sunday, October 22, 2006

Clothes Aren't the Issue

Let's be frank. I am very much aware of the ongoing "malign" and "propaganda" against Islam and Muslims around the world. Muslims are justifiably hurt from various attacks on their religion. Prophets caricatured cartoon was a big issue only a few months ago, along with the Pope's comment on "violence" and Islam and its "history". And now in various European nations there are broiling controversies regarding hijab wearing women, whether they have rights or not covering their face. To me and to many others this is a human rights issue. But having said that we cannot ignore a few other issues that must be addressed. Asra Nomani's article "Clothes arent the Issue" published at the Washington Post portrays the disconnect between the 21st century reality and antiquated interpratation of "sacred verses".

Clothes Aren't the Issue

By Asra Q. Nomani
Sunday, October 22, 2006; B01

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. When dealing with a "disobedient wife," a Muslim man has a number of options. First, he should remind her of "the importance of following the instructions of the husband in Islam." If that doesn't work, he can "leave the wife's bed." Finally, he may "beat" her, though it must be without "hurting, breaking a bone, leaving blue or black marks on the body and avoiding hitting the face, at any cost."

Such appalling recommendations, drawn from the book "Woman in the Shade of Islam" by Saudi scholar Abdul Rahman al-Sheha, are inspired by as authoritative a source as any Muslim could hope to find: a literal reading of the 34th verse of the fourth chapter of the Koran, An-Nisa , or Women. "[A]nd (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them," reads one widely accepted translation.

The notion of using physical punishment as a "disciplinary action," as Sheha suggests, especially for "controlling or mastering women" or others who "enjoy being beaten," is common throughout the Muslim world. Indeed, I first encountered Sheha's work at my Morgantown mosque, where a Muslim student group handed it out to male worshipers after Friday prayers one day a few years ago.

Verse 4:34 retains a strong following, even among many who say that women must be treated as equals under Islam. Indeed, Muslim scholars and leaders have long been doing what I call "the 4:34 dance" -- they reject outright violence against women but accept a level of aggression that fits contemporary definitions of domestic violence.

Read Full Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/20/AR2006102001261.html

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sorry, but we can't just pick and choose what to tolerate

We are slipping. And sleeping while the hard-fought personal freedom for all is slowly degrading into brazen selectivity in the guise of protecting (yeh, right!) "freedom". The mania and paranoia that have swept most of the Western world for the past few years are still rising, one step at a time, in calculative orchestration, seemingly. Where these fear and political exploitation could lead this world to be anyone's guess, however, that guess may genuinely frighten many.

Regards,
Sohel



Sorry, but we can't just pick and choose what to tolerate

The furore over the right to wear the veil has exposed the double standards of the liberal anti-Islam agenda

David Edgar
Wednesday October 11, 2006
The Guardian


Well, who would have thought a bit of black cloth could have provoked such anger and such anguish. The anger is part of a growing and alarming trend. The general consensus among the anguished (such as this newspaper) is that, in Jack Straw's words, "there is an issue here".

Certainly there is. The veil question has exposed a staggering level of thoughtless illiberalism, and not just where you'd expect to find it. Hot off the mark, the Express consults its readers about a ban on the veil: "An astounding 97% of Daily Express readers agreed a ban would help to safeguard racial harmony." It's not quite clear how this ban would be implemented. (Policemen ripping veils from women's faces? Asbos? Flinging wearers in jail?)

Clearly there are precedents: the Dutch parliament has voted for a ban on wearing burkas in public places, and three Flemish towns have actually instituted a ban. In this country, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown supports a burka ban on feminist grounds, and the "progressive nationalist" David Goodhart, who edits the left-leaning Prospect magazine, calls for a ban on the burka in schools and public offices (which, depending on where Jack Straw holds his surgeries, might solve his problem at a stroke). The problems attendant upon such a policy are demonstrated by the Belgian municipalities, which had to define burka-wearing in a way that didn't criminalise carnival masks (and it is very hard to see a way of defining the burka that wouldn't incriminate the niqab).

That liberalism can so easily collapse into nativism is clearly seen in Rotterdam, where designs for mosques are rejected as "too Islamic" and a citizenship code makes it compulsory to speak only Dutch in the street. That Muslims will not be the only victims of cultural proscriptions is seen in Flanders, where the bans on burkas in public places have been followed by one on speaking French in schools. That bans on veils don't end there is shown in Germany, where several states are seeking - pace David Goodhart - to ban civil servants from wearing the hijab, including Baden-W├╝rttemberg - the first German state to bar headscarf-wearing teachers from the classroom.

So this furore has exposed the double standards of the liberal anti-Islam agenda. Like the Behzti and Jerry Springer controversies, the Danish cartoon affair was spun as a contest between universal western liberal values of tolerance and particularist religious fundamentalists who wanted to impose their sensitivities on everybody else. Now many people who defend free expression to the death want to stop other people wearing what they want, in order to protect themselves from cultural offence.

Read the Full Article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1892543,00.html