Sunday, December 12, 2004

Tariq Ramadan's Critics (Part 5)

According to Caroline Fourest in L'Express (2) , Tariq Ramadan has an obsession with modesty and other questions of sexual morality. We may or may not find this archaic, but it is a matter of personal values. That is not to say that it does not have a social and political dimension, but it is not a determining factor.
Her critique is from the viewpoint of radical feminism and secularism. There is a review of an earlier book she co-authored in Feminist Europa. Review of Books. Vol. 3, No 1, 2003 Vol. 4, No 1, 2004. I apologize for the shortness of the quotation below. You can read the whole thing on pages 19-20, but be aware that they have enabled the feature on the PDF file that prevents you doing a copy/paste.
they identify any number of points ... that coincide, whether you are looking at Islamic, Jewish or Christian fundamentalism. ...all three religions converge... edging inexorably away from the secularism that benefits us all. ... Is Islam more sexist than (fundamentalist) Judaism or Christianity? ...what geopolitical factors explain how Islamic fundamentalism poses a greater global threat than other fundamentalisms, despite their resemblance?
Another piece in the same vein argues that the 'veil' (or headscarf) is 'a badge of the traditional oppression of women by men'. Citing Caroline Fourest, it says, 'We know that this conception of sexuality and the relation between men and women is largely shared by all the monotheist religions.'  Women who do not wish to be 'veiled' and who 'fight for their equality,  faced with their brothers, their (male) friends, or the  imams, should be able to do so totally freely without being subject to pressure groups, within scholastic establishments, in particular. That is why all signs of religious allegiance must remain discreet in the scholastic environment.' It goes on to say that the law to ban these will be seen as discriminatory against Muslims, unless steps are taken against 'the privileges of the Catholic Church'.

In the two pieces cited above, again Tariq Ramadan is described as 'seductive' in the one and 'a subtle preacher' in the other.

I wonder what would be made of all this by Melanie Phillips - she who lambasted 'Margaret Hodge's Soviet-style programme to tell parents how to bring up their children. Hodge opined last week that family life should not be a private affair'. ( see)  Would she extend to Islamic families that defence against the intrusion of the state into family life, which she insists upon in the case of  Jewish and Christian families?

'That's why in modern politics, in our post-modern, cynical, licentious society, it's still values -- and religious values, at that -- which really matter.' ( see). But apparently only Jewish and Christian religious values.


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