I have loved the responses to my little article, "Equality for All in the Ummah?" What I love is how thoroughly predictable they arepredictably bad. Let's look at a few:
1. The Muslims have employed the same old strategy of comparing what they take to be the ideals of Islam (which can't be found in Muslim societies) to the disgusting social realities in the West. Read my lips! I find the social realities within the West to be disgusting; there is no argument here. I also find the ideals of Islam on equality to be disgusting. No matter what gymnastics of fiqh Muslims play, what they in essence are saying is that men and women are equalit is just that men are more equal because they are burdened by responsibilities (such as getting to pray and fast) that poor weak women don't have to do when they are burdened with their monthly period.
Fine! It is just that "more equal" really means "not equal". In psychology there is a technique called "fogging." When someone says something ridiculous, you simply respond by agreeing verbally but internally you are thinking, "what a nutty argument." Guess what is going on in my mind when I smile at Muslims while they advance such fatuous arguments.
2. Let's compare the Islamic ideal on equality of the sexes and the Christian ideal on the same. Qur'an 2:228 :- And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them, and men are a degree above them. Galatians 3:28 :- there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Interesting!
3. I love it when Muslim men attempt to justify the discrimination against women within Islam by pointing out that there are physiological differences between men and women. Sure, the physiological differences are patent. It is the assumption that those differences are relevant to treating men and women differently that is problematical. For example, one confused writer asked me whether I would rather be led by a man or a woman who is having her period. One could ask it in a different way. Testosterone has been linked to aggression and aggression to violence, wars, etc. Would I rather be led by a testosterone-crazed male who has an anger control problem or a woman on her period. I'll take the woman any day, and would prefer to get the male into therapy. More importantly, Muslim men assume that power and dispassionate objectivity is what is needed or preferable for running the State. I think we have seen historically what that combination leads to-wars, wars, wars, death, destruction, etc. I believe that a woman's grasp of the need to be in connection despite how we may feel emotionally is a better characteristic for leading than all the power and dispassionate objectivity in the world. Dispassionate objectivity scares me. Men flying planes dropping bombs and doing it without emotions; it doesn't get any scarier than that.
4. Another curious argument offered by some Muslims is that Islam is in agreement on the fundamentals; the schools of thought or jurisprudence just differ on the details. The assumption is that fundamentals are more crucial than the details and thus there can be unity if there is agreement on the fundamentals. How bizarre!!! Let us say that a culture agrees on the value that it is good to drive. However, the same culture has schools of thought that differ on how fast one should drive. There are the Twelvers who think that one should only drive 12 mph. The Thirtiers think that one should always drive 30 mph; and then there are the Nintiers who-well you get the picture. They just differ on the details, not the fundamental principle! Do I really need to point out the potential behavioral differences that arise out of the differences in detail. Those differences mean life and death. I don't care that Muslims differ on the details; it is your religion and your lives. I do care logically when someone says that differences are not relevant to people being different. Differences are fundamentally relevant to lack of unity-and clearly we see this in Islam all the time, otherwise why all the texts condemning fellow Muslims. Shi'a condemning Salafiyyah, Salafiyyah condemning Sufis, etc. I guess that chaos and confusion is the result of agreement on the fundamentals.
5. It was Aristotle (a pagan) who said "treat equals equally and unequals unequally." Looks like Muslims agree with Aristotle, but they take it one step farther, "treat equals equally, unequally unequally, and call unequals equal." I am smiling and saying, "Yes, I see."
Series: Second Thoughts On Common Islamic Assumptions
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