Leave it to Islam to be the source of conflict between two ultra-liberal groups: multi-culti feminists and multi-faith liberals. “Archbishop is helping Muslim men oppress women, say black feminists,” from the Telegraph, August 6:
The Archbishop of Canterbury is helping “create the space for the most reactionary and even fundamentalist religious leaders to take control of minority communities”, according to an article in the current New Statesman.
The author, Pragna Patel, is chair of Southall Black Sisters, a radical feminist organisation. It may be a strident, dogmatic, Left-wing pressure group, but it’s right about one thing: Rowan Williams’s support for an extension of Sharia law, later backed by the Lord Chief Justice, is utterly indefensible in a secular society.[…]
“The sentiments recently expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chief Justice concerning sharia law are very telling: in the rush to be tolerant or sensitive to religious difference, they create the space for the most reactionary and even fundamentalist religious leaders to take control of minority communities, and they enable a climate which allows religion to define our roles in both private and public spaces.
“Their sentiments appear contingent on the false assumption that black and minority cultures are intrinsically opposed to universal human rights principles, and that they do not contribute to the body of law based on such principles that now inform the English legal system. In doing so, they allow religious and cultural contexts to become the overriding framework within which those from ethnic and religious minorities are perceived, inevitably drawing on very narrow assumptions about religion and the role of women.”
There’s the makings of an interesting battle here, between the multi-cultural Left and multi-faith liberals. And my sympathies are with the former. Ghastly as their politics are, at least the Southall Black Sisters have grasped the essence of Sharia — and what it does to women.