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Old 13.01.2015, 20:11
greenmount greenmount is offline
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Re: France: Charlie Hebdo Office shootings

A very interesting article, by Yasmin Alibhai Brown
Far too many Western muslims speak of freedom as a sin

Large numbers of Western Muslims are disturbed by the rights and liberties they have inherited and sometimes reject them. Meanwhile Muslims who have never known real freedom yearn for, indeed die to get those same liberties and human rights. That gap between Muslims who have and don’t want and those who crave and can’t have grows bigger all the time. For too many British Muslims, familiarity breeds contempt for freedom. They talk about it not as a priceless entitlement but a peril, out-of-control hedonism and lasciviousness – as a sin. I find that deplorable.

After my book Refusing the Veil came out last year, some female Muslim acquaintances organised a soiree for me to read from it and discuss its contents. These were reasonable, educated women. Here are some of the comments made:

“Why did you have to write this; who gave you permission?”

“Even to think these thoughts is wrong, and you go and publish them? If you were in a Muslim country you would be in jail.”

“If your mother was alive she would have slapped you for writing this.”

When I replied that my mother refused the veil when she was 22, the woman came back: “Then I feel sorry for you. She was the sinner and she made you one too.”

“OK I have not read the book because it will dirty my pure thoughts, but if you are a Muslim, you follow Islamic rules without question. Are you even a Muslim?”

Only two out of 14 women defended my right to write the book. But then said they could never challenge Islamic practices so openly.

What has led to this lethal closing of the Muslim mind? Third-generation Western Muslims are less liberated than were my mother’s generation in the Forties and Fifties. White women who convert are even more rule-bound and obedient. It just shows human history is not a straight road towards enlightenment.

Those of us who value freedom need to understand better what it means. Especially in a world which is both coalescing and splitting apart, where technology has unleashed hope and possibilities as well as limitless hate, where political and religious control is tightening. To seek to be free is a big responsibility. Too big and scary for some people, Western Muslims in particular. This is the debate that needs to open up now within Islam. Will it? No. And that’s our tragedy.

An older, but also interesting article. Salman Rushdie, the writer who's still alive.

Last edited by greenmount; 13.01.2015 at 20:55.
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