19 January 2007
Burn The Burqa
The article was published in Outlook India on 22 January. Taslima writes (page 2 of article):
Irrespective of which book says it, which person advises, whoever commands, women should not have purdah. No veil, no chador, no hijab, no burqa, no headscarf. Women should not use any of these things because all these are instruments of disrespect. These are symbols of women's oppression. Through them, women are told that they are but the property of men, objects for their use. These coverings are used to keep women passive and submissive. Women are told to wear them so that they cannot exist with their self-respect, honour, confidence, separate identity, own opinion and ideals intact.
When I first moved to Leicester seven years ago the sight of women covered from head to foot in black, even covering their faces, seemed shocking and incomprehensible to me. I have now become accustomed to it, seeing it every day, but still see it as a way of effacing these people from view, as if they are of no account. It's not even as if it was an aesthetic custom, why does it always have to be the most depressing black?
Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't a lingering meaning associated with the covering of the head.
"All of Western logic is based upon the law of contradiction—if two things contradict, then at least one of them is false. But Islamic logic is dualistic; two things can contradict each other and both are true."
It seems to me this is the way a lot of religious people thin. They pick a quote from their holy book that supports their case, and ignore the quotes that say the opposite.
"On the basis of the Golden Rule—the equality of human beings—we have created democracy, ended slavery and treat women and men as political equals. So the Golden Rule is a unitary ethic. All people are to be treated the same. All religions have some version of the Golden Rule except Islam."
P. John Langford writes that there is an Islamic version of the Golden Rule. He cites page 3 of the ’Humanist Dipper’, pulished by the BHA: "None of you ’truly’ believe, until he wishes for his brothers what he wishes for himself". A saying of Prophet Muhammad recorded by accepted narrators al-Bukari and Muslim - 7th century CE.
Another view of Ilamic religion and politics is: "The roots of terror: Islam or islamism" by Meghnad Desai:
It still seems to me that it is going to be difficult to get a "reformation" going in Islam. It is difficult to separate the political side from the religious.
Another interesting article that includes the attitude of Islam to Science is this one by Steven Weinberg:
"Alas, Islam turned against science in the twelfth century. The most influential figure was the philosopher Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali, who argued in The Incoherence of the Philosophers against the very idea of laws of nature, on the ground that any such laws would put God's hands in chains. According to al-Ghazzali, a piece of cotton placed in a flame does not darken and smoulder because of the heat, but because God wants it to darken and smoulder. After al-Ghazzali, there was no more science worth mentioning in Islamic countries."