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  1. #71
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    Sikhism doesn't!!
    Makes sense for a religion that grew out of a much needed reform movement in very harsh times for women! As always though, there is many a slip between cup and lip....

    There is also cause to celebrate:
    The Sikh Times - News and Analysis - Sikh Women Gain Voting Rights at Bristol Gurdwara

  2. #72
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Qre:us;1032497]
    Yeah, in Islam, unlike in say, Judaism, there's no equivalent word for "orthodox". So, again, what you're interpreting as "orthodox Islam" (most like, Sunnism, and following Shari'a law) is not really accepted as "orthodox" by the people who do practice it. [/QUOTE

    You're splitting hairs; when a majority of Muslims believe in Sunnism and Shariah law, then that makes it "orthodox Islam" for all practical purposes.

  3. #73
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    I think I would need to hear an argument of how Islam, as a religion, is parsed out from the reactionary movement it has become (Islamism, orthodox Islam), to then consider how the religion is truly any more oppressive and totalitarian than any other religion has the opportunity to be, given different interpretations and socio-political motive (say, like, Christianity).
    Here's an entire thread full of such arguments (including some of my own) and rebuttals to the same; if you want more, refer to our previous debates on this very topic.

    What is your view of Islam??? - INTP Central

  4. #74
    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The Emperor Has No Clothes

    Dear Victor,

    We perceive by making dintinctions!
    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The dates 1688-1788 are special pleading.

    And I am pleading for my place in the world, which happens to be Oz, founded in 1788 after 100 years of peaceful aristocratic ascendency in Britain.

    So we are imbued with the values of the Enlightenment, aristocratic values, and peace.

    And these values have served us well for 222 years.

    And our moral and material success is highlighted by comparison with the USA, South America and Continental Europe.
    And when we say that our country is the best, we invest a specialness in ourselves. We distinguish the ordinary from the mediocre and the special from the quotidian. And as an Australian, how could your Prime Minister, John Howard and the Loyal Opposition at the time, Kevin Rudd, fail to conclude otherwise: We're the best on Earth, says upbeat PM - National - theage.com.au

    But the Albanians think they are the best; and the man in a mud hut in the jungle of Papua New Guinea thinks he is the best.

    And what better way to show you are the best than give an example of someone who is not the best. As you say, we distinguish:

    And unlike South America, we federated a whole Continent under the Common Law. And unlike South America we avoided dictatorship and economic and cultural dependence on the USA. Oz was lucky enough to escape the Munroe Doctrine of the USA.
    And without this specialness how could we get out of bed, nevermind dance?

    But are we special? In the Old Merry we say we are doomed! What's the world coming to, we ask ourselves; aren't we rubbish - as a light dusting of snow brings us to a halt. Yes we are rubbish - but we are good chaps, by and large, because blowing our own trumpet looks embarassing and child-like. The bigger the car, the smaller the man.

    So we could deduce that you, Victor, thinks himself special like a child. Sometimes the child lets go, but sometimes never.

    And just as a child naively idealizes mommy, so you, Victor, over-idealize Oz. But over-idealization can blind us with with our own specialness; over-idealization tells us to protect our specialness, our racial and cultural superiority. We perceive the difference between "them" and us and they return our favour.

    Over-idealization is a calmative. So don't be too bothered about those petrol-sniffing Abo's, because your own specialness excuses you, both personally and collectively.

    Because the Abo is part of the "other" - that which is not you - it becomes very easy, in the light of our own specialness to demonize that which we perceive threaten our specialness.

    And as we read The Australian it confirms how special we are and gives us lots of examples of how the other fella is inhumane and monstrous - an uncouth barbarian from the Middle Ages.

    So we perceive by making distinctions; and if we do not distinguish, we might not perceive correctly. If we do not distinguish between belief and dogma, we cannot draw the line as who is dogmatic - and if we cannot draw the line, the other becomes indistinguishable. Then we become what we accuse the other fella of being - a fundamentalist; and he is only too happy to return the favour.

    So we do not dance; we trance. Because the "other", the enemy, is a dark bogeyman and our distinction, previously many shades of grey, becomes black or white. And once we have made our minds up about the enemy, it's clear that if we are less than resilient in our fortitude, we'll go the way of the Abo. Because the enemy deserves moral excusion for not being special, for being a monster and for bringing his sorry, wife-beating, homophobic Muslim ass to shit all over Oz the Beautiful.

    Amirite?

    So let us dance together and make distinctions, as we give in to the trance...

    My question was a trick. You cannot answer it in without conceding:

    a) That you know very little about the Enlightenment;
    b) That you are a deluded racist;
    c) That you know nothing about Islam;
    d) That you are an anti-Semite as well, but say you are not because it "proves" you are not a racist. After all, some of your best friends are Muslim - Amirite?

    But if you feel that's unfair, I am all ears.

    So just as we criticise the MBTI as Groupthink, so we should continually ask ourselves - does self-delusion, like charity, begin at home?

    And as the music stops and our dance comes to an end, I notice that you are - like the famous emperor - naked.

    As I leave, I see you under a tree, breathing petrol fumes deeply from a jerry can, eyes glazed. You shout over - banana! Come have some wine with me!

    It's good to hear from you.

  5. #75
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    Dear Victor,

    We perceive by making dintinctions!

    And when we say that our country is the best, we invest a specialness in ourselves. We distinguish the ordinary from the mediocre and the special from the quotidian. And as an Australian, how could your Prime Minister, John Howard and the Loyal Opposition at the time, Kevin Rudd, fail to conclude otherwise: We're the best on Earth, says upbeat PM - National - theage.com.au

    But the Albanians think they are the best; and the man in a mud hut in the jungle of Papua New Guinea thinks he is the best.

    And what better way to show you are the best than give an example of someone who is not the best. As you say, we distinguish:



    And without this specialness how could we get out of bed, nevermind dance?

    But are we special? In the Old Merry we say we are doomed! What's the world coming to, we ask ourselves; aren't we rubbish - as a light dusting of snow brings us to a halt. Yes we are rubbish - but we are good chaps, by and large, because blowing our own trumpet looks embarassing and child-like. The bigger the car, the smaller the man.

    So we could deduce that you, Victor, thinks himself special like a child. Sometimes the child lets go, but sometimes never.

    And just as a child naively idealizes mommy, so you, Victor, over-idealize Oz. But over-idealization can blind us with with our own specialness; over-idealization tells us to protect our specialness, our racial and cultural superiority. We perceive the difference between "them" and us and they return our favour.

    Over-idealization is a calmative. So don't be too bothered about those petrol-sniffing Abo's, because your own specialness excuses you, both personally and collectively.

    Because the Abo is part of the "other" - that which is not you - it becomes very easy, in the light of our own specialness to demonize that which we perceive threaten our specialness.

    And as we read The Australian it confirms how special we are and gives us lots of examples of how the other fella is inhumane and monstrous - an uncouth barbarian from the Middle Ages.

    So we perceive by making distinctions; and if we do not distinguish, we might not perceive correctly. If we do not distinguish between belief and dogma, we cannot draw the line as who is dogmatic - and if we cannot draw the line, the other becomes indistinguishable. Then we become what we accuse the other fella of being - a fundamentalist; and he is only too happy to return the favour.

    So we do not dance; we trance. Because the "other", the enemy, is a dark bogeyman and our distinction, previously many shades of grey, becomes black or white. And once we have made our minds up about the enemy, it's clear that if we are less than resilient in our fortitude, we'll go the way of the Abo. Because the enemy deserves moral excusion for not being special, for being a monster and for bringing his sorry, wife-beating, homophobic Muslim ass to shit all over Oz the Beautiful.

    Amirite?

    So let us dance together and make distinctions, as we give in to the trance...

    My question was a trick. You cannot answer it in without conceding:

    a) That you know very little about the Enlightenment;
    b) That you are a deluded racist;
    c) That you know nothing about Islam;
    d) That you are an anti-Semite as well, but say you are not because it "proves" you are not a racist. After all, some of your best friends are Muslim - Amirite?

    But if you feel that's unfair, I am all ears.

    So just as we criticise the MBTI as Groupthink, so we should continually ask ourselves - does self-delusion, like charity, begin at home?

    And as the music stops and our dance comes to an end, I notice that you are - like the famous emperor - naked.

    As I leave, I see you under a tree, breathing petrol fumes deeply from a jerry can, eyes glazed. You shout over - banana! Come have some wine with me!
    You've got me to a t.

  6. #76
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    It is obscure when he takes one little thought on a tangent without addressing the main points asked by the responder.
    It is obscure to you.

  7. #77
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    You're splitting hairs; when a majority of Muslims believe in Sunnism and Shariah law, then that makes it "orthodox Islam" for all practical purposes.
    To your argument it's worth it, lumping all those terms together under the "neo-conservative Islam" = Islam, as a whole.

    To me, it is not.

    There is much controversy over Shari'a law amongst Muslim scholars, globally, in terms of what gets followed, included, what doesn't, how strictly, etc. Muslims scolars are in dispute over how stictly to interpret the Qur'an (with or without taking the historical context of the times, into account). There's also much dispute about the principle of abrogation. And, Sunnis across the globe are not a cohesive group, practising the same "dogma". What does all this tell us? There's room for interpretation in Islam, just like all the other religions.

    Thus, what you see as splitting hairs, to me is an important distinction to make in separating Islam from the variety of ways it gets practiced (and interpreted) globally.

    Banana, Ergophobe, and myself, have been asking that you look at the ills committed by the fundamentalist as they utilize tribe mentality (Islam) to blanket their socio-political (in great parts, reactionary) motive.

    Do not make Islam a scapegoat, it only further fuels the fire to make their tribe mentality more cohesive. Tackle the socio-political motives of the extermist groups, disassociate them from their security blanket of support afforded under the broad label of Islam.

    You're making the wrong thing the enemy.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Here's an entire thread full of such arguments (including some of my own) and rebuttals to the same; if you want more, refer to our previous debates on this very topic.

    What is your view of Islam??? - INTP Central
    I don't want you to further engage in this debate if you feel like it's rehashing old debates, so I'll look at that INTPc thread when I have time, but, yeah, feel free to not respond to me in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    Dear Victor,

    We perceive by making dintinctions!

    And when we say that our country is the best, we invest a specialness in ourselves. We distinguish the ordinary from the mediocre and the special from the quotidian. And as an Australian, how could your Prime Minister, John Howard and the Loyal Opposition at the time, Kevin Rudd, fail to conclude otherwise: We're the best on Earth, says upbeat PM - National - theage.com.au

    But the Albanians think they are the best; and the man in a mud hut in the jungle of Papua New Guinea thinks he is the best.

    And what better way to show you are the best than give an example of someone who is not the best. As you say, we distinguish:



    And without this specialness how could we get out of bed, nevermind dance?

    But are we special? In the Old Merry we say we are doomed! What's the world coming to, we ask ourselves; aren't we rubbish - as a light dusting of snow brings us to a halt. Yes we are rubbish - but we are good chaps, by and large, because blowing our own trumpet looks embarassing and child-like. The bigger the car, the smaller the man.

    So we could deduce that you, Victor, thinks himself special like a child. Sometimes the child lets go, but sometimes never.

    And just as a child naively idealizes mommy, so you, Victor, over-idealize Oz. But over-idealization can blind us with with our own specialness; over-idealization tells us to protect our specialness, our racial and cultural superiority. We perceive the difference between "them" and us and they return our favour.

    Over-idealization is a calmative. So don't be too bothered about those petrol-sniffing Abo's, because your own specialness excuses you, both personally and collectively.

    Because the Abo is part of the "other" - that which is not you - it becomes very easy, in the light of our own specialness to demonize that which we perceive threaten our specialness.

    And as we read The Australian it confirms how special we are and gives us lots of examples of how the other fella is inhumane and monstrous - an uncouth barbarian from the Middle Ages.

    So we perceive by making distinctions; and if we do not distinguish, we might not perceive correctly. If we do not distinguish between belief and dogma, we cannot draw the line as who is dogmatic - and if we cannot draw the line, the other becomes indistinguishable. Then we become what we accuse the other fella of being - a fundamentalist; and he is only too happy to return the favour.

    So we do not dance; we trance. Because the "other", the enemy, is a dark bogeyman and our distinction, previously many shades of grey, becomes black or white. And once we have made our minds up about the enemy, it's clear that if we are less than resilient in our fortitude, we'll go the way of the Abo. Because the enemy deserves moral excusion for not being special, for being a monster and for bringing his sorry, wife-beating, homophobic Muslim ass to shit all over Oz the Beautiful.

    Amirite?

    So let us dance together and make distinctions, as we give in to the trance...

    My question was a trick. You cannot answer it in without conceding:

    a) That you know very little about the Enlightenment;
    b) That you are a deluded racist;
    c) That you know nothing about Islam;
    d) That you are an anti-Semite as well, but say you are not because it "proves" you are not a racist. After all, some of your best friends are Muslim - Amirite?

    But if you feel that's unfair, I am all ears.

    So just as we criticise the MBTI as Groupthink, so we should continually ask ourselves - does self-delusion, like charity, begin at home?

    And as the music stops and our dance comes to an end, I notice that you are - like the famous emperor - naked.

    As I leave, I see you under a tree, breathing petrol fumes deeply from a jerry can, eyes glazed. You shout over - banana! Come have some wine with me!
    I couldn't have picked a better analogy: Emperor's New Clothes, indeed. Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we practice self-deceit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
    It is obscure to you.
    Exactly.

  8. #78
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergophobe View Post
    Come on M, really? Comparing head scarves to honor killings? Small difference there in choosing a piece of clothing versus complicity in a killing?
    Thin end of the wedge. I didn't make that comparison. You are twisting the meaning of what I said, which was quite clear - but I'll repeat it for your benefit: sometimes a choice is not a choice.
    Given the choice to dress the way we want, we all choose differently. Taking away that choice from women is not freedom it's continued control - now it's from a democratic government that's protecting their rights, not to choose for themselves though. The headscarf for many first generation Muslim immigrants in Europe is one of identity - they would be complicit in their own subjugation if they were also choosing forced marriages and poor divorce laws. They're not. Let's give these smart, strong, educated women a little more agency over their own lives shall we?
    You contradict yourself. This is not a choice in the sense of a fashion statement - which your first sentence implies. It is a cultural artifact which is symbolic of the oppression of women. The idea that it is immodest to reveal one's hair to anyone but one's husband. It makes shameful something most women take pride in. Pride is not something Muslim women are supposed to feel. It is a subtle yet ever constant reminder that they are not free.
    You realize honor killings are not specific to Islam right? Find a society with the same levels of education and socio-economic conditions that did not treat their women the same way. Patriarchy is not the same as religion even though religion has often been used as a shield to protect patriarchy.
    Straw man.
    Religions are not fundamentalist - their practitioners are. Religions and their texts do not ask for literal translations. That defines fundamentalist groups in any religion. Calling a religion fundamentalist implies all its followers believe in a literal interpretation - not true in theory and practice.
    It was shorthand. It should have been clear that I meant fundamentalist sects.

    Quote Originally Posted by ergophobe View Post
    If the relationship between Islam and women's domination was such a clean one and understood exactly the same way then why would we see quite a bit of variation in the way Islam and women's rights are practised in the Middle East itself. Why are women not allowed to have bank accounts in Saudi Arabia and not allowed to leave or be admitted to hospitals without male consent while there is no such compulsion in Iran. In spite of authoritarian rule, Iran has a relatively liberal society for women (in comparison to the rest). Women are only asked to wear headscarves and not full burkha, they work as journalists, photographers, run their own businesses...this is in the only country with a practising theocratic state?!?
    Iran is a good example, though it doesn't support your argument. It used to have a relatively (for the region) progressive stance on women's rights prior to the revolution and creation of an Islamic state in '79. Since then women in that country have seen their hard won rights gradually eroded.

    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    You have made a classic mistake in reasoning: defining the Enlightenment in the singular when it is in fact many. This is called a false singular - and it's sloppy thinking.
    The mistake is yours. Victor was just citing Ayaan Hirsi Ali's words as reported in the press. Don't be in such a hurry to insult people, it weakens your position.
    Sure I have. Alaska.
    Did you check out the Indian Native American reservations?

    Domestic abuse and violence towards women is so universal that laying at the feet of monotheistic religions seems hopelessly simplistic. I'm sure the Japanese don't beat up their wives or the Chinese indulge in domestic violence? I'm afraid violence towards women is fairly common the world over.
    Of course it is. It's just not always sanctioned by scripture. Do I think there would be no domestic abuse without religion? Of course not, don't be ridiculous.
    I saw an ad on TV up in Scotland at Christmas saying domestic abuse was very widespread up there and urging viewers to report it. I suppose by your logic of "high prevalence", it shows the Scots to be a barbaric people? If prevalence is anything to go on, the Scots are the worst in the world - good, white European sons of the Enlightenment? So do we say - All Scottish men seek to oppress women?
    They seek to, they're just too pissed most of the time to be very good at it. Srsly, you can do better than that. Stop making shit up and putting words in other's mouths!

    Fortunately, it is still against the law here to stone your wife to death for adultery. I happen to think that's a good thing. Perhaps you disagree?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  9. #79
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    You're splitting hairs; when a majority of Muslims believe in Sunnism and Shariah law, then that makes it "orthodox Islam" for all practical purposes.
    Where are the numbers for this? A majority of Muslims are Sunni (broad category that is quite artificial in understanding the many denominations and cultural influences across the world on it). I absolutely agree with Q that this is not splitting hairs - seeing Sunni Muslims worldwide as all being orthodox where orthodox implies an attachment to Sharia law with its most conservative interpretations is not based on fact.

    Here are some real numbers that highlight the points made earlier - it depends a great deal on the country (social history - the rights women have had in the recent past), the type of government, socio-economic conditions.

    Summary of International survey of Muslims from 2009
    From an academic survey conducted of Muslim populations across several countries - particularly Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco and Pakistan. The questions of interest -- the first a rather vague question about Shari'a law and a greater role for it in society where a majority or plurality of people across these countries say yes. Then more focused questions asking about moral policing, traditional punishment (stoning for adulterers etc) and traditional dress for women, the results varied greatly by country. In Egypt, a long standing dictatorship with a strong patriarchal system, over 60% said yes to all of these. In all other countries, A MINORITY, between 15-21% said they supported Sharia in any of these aspects in Indonesia (the world's most populous Islamic country), in Pakistan, 36% said they supported the social welfare aspects of Sharia and less than 30% said they supported moral policing or traditional punishment. In both Indonesia and Pakistan, democracy has been tried in spurts, current leaders are elected and they have both had women heads of government in the past (Bhutto and Sukarnoputri) -- clearly different preferences among people there.
    The actual survey can be found here:
    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pi..._Feb09_rpt.pdf

    Here are the relevant portions from Page 27:
    Attitudes toward Sharia

    The Islamist goal of giving Sharia a larger role in Islamic society is viewed positively in Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia, at the same time as this is widely recognized to be a goal of al Qaeda. However, support for promoting Sharia in general in the Islamic world is stronger than support for giving Sharia a larger role in governing ones own country.

    In Egypt 81 percent said they agreed with the al Qaeda goal of requir[ing] a strict application of Sharia law in every Islamic country (65% strongly); only 12 percent disagreed. Pakistanis were similar with 76 percent agreeing with this goal (52% strongly); 5 percent disagreed. Indonesians, however, agreed by only a narrow plurality: 49 percent supported the goal (just 14% strongly), while 42 percent disagreed. In Morocco in late 2006, 76 percent agreed.

    There have been some slight shifts in attitudes toward this goal relative to 2007. Support has dropped 5 points in Indonesia and risen 3 points in Egypt.
    Views are mixed on the question of whether Sharia should play a larger role than it does today. Asked In the way [this country] is governed, do you think that Sharia should play a larger role, a smaller role, about the same role as it plays today? a majority of Egyptians (73%) favored a greater role, as did a plurality of Pakistanis (46%). However in Indonesia just 27 percent favored a greater role, while 23 percent favored a smaller role and 21 percent the same role.

    Probing further, the study asked those who did want a larger role for Sharia in the governance of their country what aspects of Sharia they thought it important for the government to apply. Respondents were asked four questions about social, moralistic, and punitive aspects of Sharia.

    In Egypt, moralistic and punitive aspects of Sharia were rated a bit above the social aspect by Sharia supporters. Sixty-eight percent (of the full sample) said policing moral behavior was very important for the government to do; 64 percent said this about applying traditional punishments for crimes, such as stoning adulterers; 62 percent said this about policing womens dress; while 59 percent said it about providing welfare to the poor.

    In Indonesia, where only about a quarter wanted a larger role for Sharia, the social aspect got most emphasis from this group. Twenty-four percent (of the full sample) thought the poors welfare was an important aspect of Sharia; 21 percent said this about policing moral behavior; 19 percent said this about womens dress; and just 15 percent said this about applying

    In Pakistan, where a bit under half wanted a larger role for Sharia, 36 percent saw providing welfare to the poor as a very important aspect for the government to apply; 32 percent said this about womens dress; 29 percent said this about moral behavior; and 26 percent said this about applying traditional punishments.

  10. #80
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    Thin end of the wedge. I didn't make that comparison. You are twisting the meaning of what I said, which was quite clear - but I'll repeat it for your benefit: sometimes a choice is not a choice.
    Whatever edge of the wedge, you did, in fact, make this comparison above. I responded to the comparison you made. However, I understand you meant to make a point about choice which I am happy to discuss further.

    You contradict yourself. This is not a choice in the sense of a fashion statement - which your first sentence implies. It is a cultural artifact which is symbolic of the oppression of women. The idea that it is immodest to reveal one's hair to anyone but one's husband. It makes shameful something most women take pride in. Pride is not something Muslim women are supposed to feel. It is a subtle yet ever constant reminder that they are not free.
    No, I do not contradict myself. The contradiction you observe is one between the question of choice [which I am suggesting appears on both sides of forcing the wearing of a headdress and banning it and] and the representation of this headdress as necessarily meaning one thing - a regressive cultural practice that continues to repress women and is nothing more than a symbol of centuries of repression. A contradiction for you alone.

    I'll address this main point but clarifying what I said before further.

    I see the headdress particularly in the case of these young women, many of whom are first generation immigrants in Europe or women in Turkey who are choosing the headdress as not a symbol of a regressive practice but as a cultural symbol. Religion is a part of their identity and it is simply a symbol of being Islamic.

    Looking at the Quran itself, there are in fact Surahs that speak of the people being identified as Muslim - the headdress was one such form of identification. As the surahs on Muslim attire explain, both men and women are asked to don certain garments for modesty and identification with their religion which should identify them in every day life. For men, it should be beards and hats (particularly in prayer, men should cover heads) and for women the headdress.

    Am I trying to wash away centuries of oppression that included forcing women to wear certain headdresses or garb? No, of course not. That is part of the history of this region and all the way through South Asia (Hindu women in South Asia don a fabric that covers their heads and chests too and were traditionally forced to do so - cultural artefact).

    Today, women in South Asia have the choice in urban areas to don the head and chest covering if they want to, some do, some don't. Those who do do see it not simply as a fashion statement but as an expression of who they are, including their cultural identity and as a a traditional, South Asian garment in comparison to Western garments worn by others in the city. The comparison made earlier was used for the same purpose - some women choose to dress more modestly than others. It's not just a question of fashion, its also an expression of identity. The importance is placed on choice, the right for women to decide for themselves.

    The point is that culture is a live organism - it is not just a reflection of history from centuries ago, it is forever evolving. When we see the headdress today just as it was seen in the 12th century or even the 19th century then we are not willing to accept that culture changes. In this way, we support a similar argument made by religious fundamentalists who want to keep their religion attached to a literal, conservative and ancient interpretation too!

    For many modern Islamic women, it is simply cultural identity - literally a form of identifying as Muslim. They do not see it as repressive and do not engage in wearing it for the same purpose. Why can't the same practice have different meanings?
    Example:
    Take the N word - grossly offensive because of the context of racism in which it was used and continues to be used by bigots but also reclaimed by the Black community in the United States for use internally and is now connected to pride and humor. The meaning and associated bigotry depends greatly on the context and who chooses to use this powerful word.

    Similarly, even today, in some countries, the head dress is used for repressive purposes where women are not given many choices, including that of not wearing a headdress or full body covering. In others however, women use it simply to identify with a culture associated with their religion. It is not oppressive across both contexts.

    An interesting aside:
    Historically, Islam is not responsible for the custom of head covering. Many scholars (Leila Ahmed in particular) have written about the fact that the practice of the hijab predates Islam. The Quran just endorses a pre-existing practise. As a result some scholars suggest it should not be considered Islamic at all. It is simply representative of societal norms of the time. Of course, in practice, people associate the religion with this practice.

    Straw man.
    It was shorthand. It should have been clear that I meant fundamentalist sects.
    It would have been easier if you would have just said what you meant.

    Iran is a good example, though it doesn't support your argument. It used to have a relatively (for the region) progressive stance on women's rights prior to the revolution and creation of an Islamic state in '79. Since then women in that country have seen their hard won rights gradually eroded.
    Iran does support my argument - one about the diversity within Islamic countries regarding women's rights which supports the idea that there are in practice many interpretations of womens rights as associated with the Quran and related texts. There were many women among the revolutionaries which has made it difficult for the theocracy to be as oppressive of women as they could. Being a woman under a theocracy is not pleasurable or free but compare it to an Islamic monarchy such as Saudi Arabia - it's a world of difference. That difference still exists. Women do not have to wear full covering, they work as professionals in a variety of fields, run their own businesses. This comparison is relevant and of course, is relative to the rest of the Middle East.

    Here's a great documentary that highlights these points from Iran (Tehran mainly). It's from BBC 4, called Inside Iran by Rageh Omar. It's on Google Video and was shot in 2006/2007 - pretty recent.
    Rageh Omar - Inside Iran

    Not a documentary but also interesting is Iranian director Kiarostami's film, Ten, which shows a woman driving around Tehran picking up different rides (including an older woman, a friend who has just broken up a long relationship, a sex worker...). Pretty good.

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