27 Mar 2008

Losing Her Grip

Harvard University has allowed sexual segregation at it's gymnasia and public Islamic calls to prayer from the Harvard Yard. Many are disturbed and some outraged, but there will always be blind liberals to spring to to the defense of conservative Islam. Thus Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post labours like Obama over Pastor Wright to make moral equivalence between her private Jewishness and someone else's hijab-wearing public segregation mentality. According to her, those objecting need to "get a grip".

She writes, "Muslim women who enroll at Harvard and turn up in hijabs at its gyms reflect a strand of Islam that society ought to encourage". What a breathtaking repudiation of the Enlightenment. Muslim women enrolling without hijabs, and showing they are the same as the rest of students not in nun's habits, 18th century Jewish Orthodox peasant woman's dresses, Hindu temple saris or chastity belts - all outward signs of a primacy of religion over secularism - would be an encouragement.

Just like Obama's glaring error in equating his grandmother's private worries to Pastor Wright's public utterances, she fails to see any difference between what all religious people may think in private (as she says, that their creed is the best or true one) and the preaching of Islam's "superiority" in a public place, Harvard Yard. Marcus cannot see her Orthodox relatives personal refusal to shake her female hand as not the same as a secular gymnasium being publicly out of bounds to males - or a loudspeaker blaring "Allah Akbar" in a public square.

It is Marcus that needs to "get a grip" and not those exercised by creeping religious separatism, since the steady advance of "soft" sharia in the form of seemingly innocent setting aside of sexually segregated gymnasia times, for example, is merely the precursor of the demands of hard sharia to come. This is the precise experience of Europe and having allowed the erosion of their values by giving in to "soft" sharia, they find themselves singularly unable to prevent the advance of the hard version. As the cretinous prelate Dr. Rowen Williams of Canterbury recently showed, they may have no alternative but to advance it.

Her article is one more example of the suicide of the Western intelligensia when, having so long fought for sexual equity (let us imagine the response if Christian men at Harvard had made the same request as the hijab-wearing women), they are quite willing to sacrifice the gains and benefits for a one sided "tolerance" of intolerant religious sexism.

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