Utterly predictable outrage and blowhardery today after The Australian reported comments by the ever controversial and inconsistently spelled Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilaly in a sermon during Ramadan to the effect that women who dressed immodestly only had themselves to blame for being preyed upon by lascivious men. The Sheikh unfortunately chose an analogy of meat and hungry animals. Charming, to be sure.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward said he should be sacked and deported, the PM and everyone else said this sort of thing wasn’t on, Keysar Trad was wheeled out once again to explain how the comments were taken out of context and obviously didn’t mean what everyone thought they did and Sheikh Al-Hilaly did the manly thing and apologised . . . sort of.
It only took about 15 seconds before the conservative lynch mob started howling. Expect to see a swag of me-too right wingers trying to outdo each other for being more virulently anti-Muslim in tomorrow’s papers, all telling us how this demonstrates how Islam is incompatible with our modern, enlightened society.
Well known feminazi commentator Matt Price gibbers:
Islam, we’re constantly told, is a peaceful and tolerant religion, but Hilali’s comments undermine this contention. All power to the young Muslim women outraged by the sheik’s sermon, but Hilali’s sermon reminds us you don’t need to be an Islamic extremist or terrorist to hold views utterly incompatible with modern society.
Price and his cohorts in the media and politics are the same people who complain feminists have taken over the ABC and our education system and believe more women should be given the ‘choice’ of staying home and breeding rather than having to bother with all that silly career nonsense. Plenty of them are not too keen on abortion either. Or contraception. Or premarital sex.
So when it comes to respecting women, the difference between their views and the Sheikh’s are not as far apart as they’d have us believe.
There are also plenty of right-wing Christians and orthodox Jews and just generally conservative folk who believe exactly the same things the mufti does about how young women dress and behave; they’re just not stupid enough to say it in public. But nobody talks about kicking Miranda Devine out of the country.
So the right uses these sorts of incidents to push a racist agenda about how Muslims don’t share Australian values and (though this consequence is never explicitly stated) should not be given the benefits of citizenship in this fine, egalitarian, chick-respecting country.
But provided they obey the law and don’t seek to impose their views on others, can’t people in an egalitarian country believe whatever they hell they want? Isn’t the point of a tolerant and pluralistic society that it can accept people who have views that are not held, however dearly, by the majority?
And shouldn’t be more concerned about is the resurgence of religious meddling in the business of the state? When state power is used to impose religion, history shows us, it always ends badly. There was that little thing called the Inquisition. There are the terrifying abuses going on in Iran and plenty of other places. It’s just a bad idea and always has been.
But in the US and to a lesser extent Australia we’re encouraging it. Religious views on abortion, contraception, science, education, sexuality, to name a few, are being insidiously worked into our legal systems. American Christians, particularly, are not happy to believe in what they believe, but need to ensure nobody else can have a good time either.
But rather than worrying about this, we’re much happier to declare Jihad on a religious leader with some offensive – but far far from uncommon – views.