Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Muslim Radicals We Need

Asra Q. Nomani, in a USA Today op–ed piece (End gender apartheid in U.S. Mosques, July 11, 2011) calls upon U.S. Moslem women to use the U.S. court system (and the threat of losing religious tax-exemptions) to force mosques to end gender discrimination. This is nonsense.

Gender discrimination in Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, and certain Protestant Christianities is not a matter of policy but divine revelation. For the courts to go against the perceived will of God is anathema to the separation of Church and State. Even those who deny there is a separation of Church and State would suddenly discover it if the State went after religion in this way.

This is not a civil rights issue, as Ms. Nomani claims. Discrimination against women (and others) in religion is not unconstitutional. Secular authorities have no right to say what is and what is not Divine Law. Only you do.

If you don’t like the teachings of your faith, join another, or create your own. It is that simple. If you believe that your religion misrepresents the word of God, why stay within it?

If Ms. Nomani doesn’t want to pray in the basement of her mosque, she should start her own mosque. This is the kind of Islamic radicalism Islam needs: free people creating free mosques; American Muslims creating American mosques that celebrate American values in a Muslim frame, and Muslim values in an American frame.

Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionism Judaism, called this living in two civilizations. He sought to blend the best of Judaism with the best of America, and created his own denomination in the process. And part of his impetus was the synagogue’s discrimination against Jewish women. Ms. Nomani can and should do the same.


Mike Smoot said...

At first blush I have to agree with you. However, let's extend this a bit. What if the religion practiced cruelty to animals or served alcohol or drugs to minors as part of their religious rituals? Was the government's intervention at Waco unconstitutional or were they protecting women and children? Some Mormons believe polygamy is God inspired yet they are not free to practice it. Why is discrimination against women out of bounds and where do you draw the line?

andrea perez said...

To Mike..
It depends on the amount of free will and age of consent being exercised. If you are an adult who shaves her head, puts on a wig and agrees to stand behind a wall to pray because she believes it's divine law then it's part of her religion. If you are a child who is being forced to marry at the age of 9 then it's child abuse.
As to polygamy, I think that one will be overturned in time. It seems unconstitutional: consenting adults and all.
I agree with Rabbi Rami, there isn't simply one form of an organized religion. There are other brands of Judaism and Christianity that gives women more rights.I certainly wouldn't waste my time trying to argue with Orthodox Judaism if I wanted to become a Rabbi, I'd go to a more progressive form of Judaism that agree with my idealogy. Maybe it's time for Islam to have some break off sects that agree with their own leanings towards god and ethics. Until their women are willing to listen to their own inner voices, I guess they will be standing on the other side of the wall. Our government really doesn't have anything to say about this.

Mike Smoot said...

To Andrea - Thanks for your comments back. For the record, I generally do not want government messing with anyone's religion. Historically speaking, we've been there / done that!

Mano said...

Zis post is vonderful. Living in two (or three, or four) "civilizations" - I like that. Yes go ahead and found your own religion today. We all worship at our own altar anyway.

Here is a little polemical poem as we draw closer to September and a possible shift in the current status quo. This one is for all the blind c___ts (i.e female birth canals) who stand outside Max Brenner protesting "for" Palestine while somehow missing that Syrians are being mowed down in their 1000s, or that China is quietly repopulating the mineral rich Xinjiang Uygur (Moslem) Autonomous Region with Han Chinese, and Turkey continues it's supression of the Kurds. Come to think of it, instead of Israel apologising to Turkey, why doesn't Israel just launch its own flotilla carrying supplies to the Kurds, who have been living under Turkish oppression for decades? Anyway here it is:

Palestine will be free
from the river to the sea
as free as Gaza, the one party state
where to speak against Hamas is to seal your fate
as free as a woman of the Taliban
who can only breathe if her owner says she can
as free as a Bishop in Teheran
who can choose between a bullet or conversion to Islam
as free as Rafik Hariri was to crticize Hizballah
til they blew him and 21 others up to Allah
as free as a donkey, explosives strapped to its back
sent by Hamas in a donky-ish attack
as free as a cronies of Arafat or Abbas
to pocket billions of donor cash
Yes Palestine will be free
to spread around its bigotry
from the river
to the sea

Mike Smoot said...

I'm thinking that the comment from "The author of this blog is" is not from you, Rabbi Rami, for several reasons. Is that correct?

Mike Smoot said...

No answer. Hmm. Not sure what that means. If I inadvertantly insulted you please accept my apology.

I see from a recent response you made that it will show your picture when it is from you. I guess I should have figured that out.

As to the commentor,they make an important point despite the references used to female anat. Guess they feel strongly about this one.