Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Point/ Counter Point:The Sub-Sub-Conscience of a Liberal - Hijabs As Personal Preference?

My eloquent co-editor makes use of familiar logical sleight-of-hand to downplay the potentially serious nature of the issue of the wearing of hijabs and burqas. He points out the obvious: that not all Muslims are intolerant and that the Ouaran, like the Bible, encourages tolerance. So what?

Of course ALL Muslims are not intolerant, just as not all Southern Baptists are not intolerant. But enough of them are intolerant to make them both political threats to Democracy. During the ill-fated administration of George W. Bush Americans got a first-hand look at how quickly these groups can mobilize to influence public policy in their favor. And the Ouaran, like the Bible, is honored more in the breach than in practice, as the religious leaders in Islamic nations exercise iron-fisted control over the administration of justice, and openly display hostility towards secular nations and secular elements of their own nations. Young Muslim males are strongly encouraged by so-called religious leaders to commit suicide and kill dozens of innocent bystanders, in the name of Allah and their own special niche in Allah's after-life heavenly world.

Likewise, it is a truism that some Muslims, as a group, can and have accepted the separation of church and state, as illustrated by the countries named by my esteemed colleague. None of these are politically stable, however, and Turkey is especially marginal, a nation of grave contrasts, with secular and religious factions constantly contending for government control. This issue in Turkey is eloquently described by the Turkish Nobel laureate, Orhan Pamuk, in his recent novel, Snow, which I heartily commend to my co-editor.

As is true of all religions, it is not the individual believers who are at fault. It is religion itself and religious leaders who are responsible for a disproportionate share of the intolerance and conflict. The removal of all indicators of religious affiliation (robes, gowns, icons, hoods, masks, head scarves, crowns, yarmulkes)is one of the best methods to preserve secularism.

Finally, I note with interest that thus far in the poll fashioned by my co-editor, sentiment against the Habib is winning, with 75% of those responding opposing the head scarf. Of course, the sample size is not large. :)

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