Thursday, October 06, 2005

X dictates....   posted by Razib @ 10/06/2005 10:05:00 PM

Amir Butler says, in reference to the hijab:

...This is complete nonsense. In reality, the wearing of the scarf is a non-negotiable religious mandate, enshrined in the Koran, and has nothing to do with politics.

In my post below I did not highlight that Winnifred Sullivan used the rise of an Muslim minority as a looming problem for religious freedom. Frankly, the post was overlong as it was, but it is a major issue-for-the-future. Islam is a religion that emphasizes orthopraxy, that is, proper practice of the laws and traditions of the religion. That being said, one of the most common things I have seen Muslims do when engaging with a non-Muslim audience is state flatly that "as a Muslim I must do x." The problem with this assertion is that there is a generally not an acknowledgement that, religion being what it is, it should have the qualifier "my interpretation." When a fundamentalist points to the Letters of St. Paul as justification for why women should not speak in church, many Christians have rough and ready responsive talking points.

The reality is the fact that many (most) Muslims believe that a given set of propositions are necessary conditions to the fulfillment of their religion has to be dealt with in whatever locality they are a substantial minority. That being said, too often I get the sense that questions relating to Muslims are simply assumed to be only answerable via Islamic referents. Not only am I skeptical that beyond-a-reasonable-doubt referents are going to be achieved in a liberal democratic regime (there is no D.C. mufti with supreme powers), we must ask if such referents should even be a primary consideration. Perhaps one should judge the wearing of the hijab, for instance, in the context of broader laws, social mores and goods, beyond the question of, "but is it required to be a Muslim?"