Anonymous said: Don't you think Islam is too "extreme" that you can't even shake hands with the opposite gender?
But if you really wanna know what’s “extreme” (you don’t), I’ll have you know that it is pretty “extreme” to take a religious tradition with over 14 centuries of legal, philosophical, jurisprudential, exegetical, political, and societal thought, that has spread to just about every continent, that has come in contact with probably the majority of the world’s contemporary cultures, that has over a billion adherents in the world, that has at least five major schools of law, and that has an extraordinary capacity to be adaptable to space and time, and to reduce that tradition in its vast richness to one monolithic understanding of one arbitrary, useless issue. And while you’re at it, you can take your eurocentric understanding of what is “normal” behavior and shove it because if your primary concern with Islam is supposedly not being able to shake someone’s hand, your concern isn’t at all with the faith but with Otherizing and vilifying its adherents as ignorant followers of a religion that you, in your ignorance, have labeled as too extreme because it seemingly doesn’t conform to what you deem acceptable.
Rather than write about all of the many problems with constraining a conversation about the advancement of equality for women to a seventh century text and its patriarchal history of legal modification, I think I will only note the following flaw in the logic of this post. Just because a tradition is old and complex and geographically widespread does not make the tradition valuable or worth consulting in a modern discussion of what constitutes “the good life” in the 21st century. Nor does the number of its adherents. Just thought this was worth observing. I will leave aside my thoughts on how “adaptable” an ideology built on the perfect word of God can be, but I do at least want to suggest what I am always surprised to find myself in need of suggesting: that Islam, however narrowly or widely defined, is a roadblock to the equality of women. This is not otherizing any more than to say that Christianity or any facet of our own cultural heritage, religious or secular, could be construed as otherizing. These comments also, I am eager to note, vilify no one, but constitute an observation about an idea, and an idea which purports to be universal.
— Anton Chekhov (via sovietpropaganda)