Mustn’t be greedy

Via Musawahin India the Supreme Court ruled against polygamy.

In a historic decision last month, the Supreme Court denied a Muslim man the right to have more than one wife and upheld his termination from employment for committing bigamy. The court observed that polygamy was not integral to Islam and the practice was not mandated by religion simply because it was permitted. Similarly, in 2005, the SC had boldly acknowledged that, despite codification and the introduction of monogamy, too many Hindu marriages, like Muslim marriages, continue to be bigamous. This latest SC decision is in line with the reform of Muslim personal law that it initiated three decades ago in the Shah Bano case.

In a catena of cases, the SC has held that the freedom of religion protects only those practices that constitute an “essential and integral part of religion”. Therefore, Muslim personal law can claim the protection of Article 25 only if it is established that marriage, inheritance and the other areas it covers are “essential and integral parts” of Islam. The bench was of the view that a Muslim [man] who wants to take more than one wife is engaged in neither professing and practising nor promoting and propagating his religion. Thus the SC rightly upheld service rules that mandated that an [male] employee can have only one wife. There is substance in the argument that though the basic source of Muslim law is the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet, the relations it regulates are not religious. They are, on the contrary, social relations well within the province of the state. Therefore, Muslim polygamy has no religious motivation.

That’s an interesting distinction. I think it’s a good one, but it’s one that I think judges in the US would shy away from making…because it would entangle them in theological judgments that aren’t their province. That tends to mean that religious people have a lot of latitude to claim that this thing they want to do is a core religious belief. We’ve seen how that plays out.

The greatest threats to women, in his view

Here’s the thing. If you have a conspicuous history of complaining about “American women” objecting to what you consider trivial problems like sexual harassment, it’s silly for you to insist that you’re an “ardent feminist.” You can’t do both, as the saying goes. You can take constant potshots at feminism, or you can be an ardent feminist, but you can’t do both. You can claim you’re an ardent feminist while taking constant potshots at feminism, but it won’t be an honest claim.

Just last November – such a short time ago – Kimberly Winston made clear what a yawning gap there is between the claims to be a passionate feminist and the reality.

Bottom line: He stands by everything he has said — including comments that one form of rape or pedophilia is “worse” than another, and that a drunken woman who is raped might be responsible for her fate. [Read more…]

El Rhazoui’s “relative position of power”

Shulevitz ends that op-ed with a story that needs separate treatment, because it’s a whole other issue, and one I have very strong feelings about.

A few weeks ago, Zineb El Rhazoui, a journalist at Charlie Hebdo, spoke at the University of Chicago, protected by the security guards she has traveled with since supporters of the Islamic State issued death threats against her. During the question-and-answer period, a Muslim student stood up to object to the newspaper’s apparent disrespect for Muslims and to express her dislike of the phrase “I am Charlie.”

Ms. El Rhazoui replied, somewhat irritably, “Being Charlie Hebdo means to die because of a drawing,” and not everyone has the guts to do that (although she didn’t use the word guts). She lives under constant threat, Ms. El Rhazoui said. The student answered that she felt threatened, too.

[Read more…]

And a video of frolicking puppies

I saw an oped by Judith Shulevitz being passed around by a lot of AntiSocialJusticeWarriors yesterday, so I’m reading it. It’s about safe spaces and avoiding scary ideas and all that – a familiar enough subject.

If her account is accurate there is some very silly stuff out there, but it’s not clear whether it’s just some patches of eccentricity or a pervasive trend. Still…let’s look at a patch or trend, whichever it is. There was a debate on rape culture at Brown University, for instance.

Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.

[Read more…]

Without conditions

So this happened. The Irish Independent reports:

Maryam Namazie was due to give a talk to the Society for International Affairs on Monday on ‘Apostasy and the rise of Islam’ but decided to withdraw from the event after college security imposed “certain conditions”.

“I’ve just been informed… that college security (why security?) has claimed that the event would show the college is ‘one-sided’ and would be ‘antagonising’ to Muslim students,” she wrote on her blog.

“I was told that two conditions were required for the event to go ahead; one, that it only be open to students of the college, and two, that there would be a moderator to chair the talk”. [Read more…]