Saturday, 20 June 2009

Ignorance-fed chauvinism

Do not get me wrong, I like America and have many, many American friends and even relatives who are citizens and live there. I grew up with American television, comedy which I enjoy, I admire what principles that the country was built and developed on and much, much more.

But unfortunately, like in most parts of the world, there are elements that make it ugly. Though not violent, repressive and destructive say like the militant fundamentalists that have infected much of my Muslim World, there is an evangelical arrogant Christian power-base that espouses a view that only can be viewed as ignorance-fed chauvinism.

I came across a while back an item on the Washington Post's "About Faith" section. It was written by "Charles "Chuck" Colson" whom is "an attorney, syndicated columnist and author of 25 books, Colson served as special counsel to President Nixon. His daily radio commentary, BreakPoint, is broadcast nationwide." So we can assume that he represents a significant view and considering he worked for President Nixon, he is a good gauge for the establishment of that era.

The item he posted is an example of what must be changed, it was a simple phrase that exemplifies the automatic and I stress "ignorance-fed chauvinism" that the establishment in the United States holds and so evident in the last eight years of the W Bush Administration. Colson's item "Women Vital in Christianity " started with a paragraph that I will quote the first sentence:

"Contrary to popular stereotypes -- and the way in which some religions, like Islam, oppress women -- the Christian faith has been the single greatest source for the advancement of women's rights".

There was this immediate jibethat was so innocently thrown in that I can picture in my mind the shrug and wave of a hand by Mr Colson when he added it, but it says a great, great deal about the mind-set that says it. I of course replied to the item;

"Dear Mr Colsen, I refer to your opening remark "and the way in which some religions, like Islam, oppress women -- ".

I find your blatant verbatim comment incorrect and to be frank rather offensive, especially in this current climate, as it only increases the hysteria and misconceptions that exist against Islam.

Islam's core beliefs certainly does not repress the female gender. As another commenter made, equality does not mean identical. In Islam it is made clear that for biological and thus social roles there is a difference and from that the roles and obligations for both women and men are clear, such as motherhood and keeping the fabric of family life for women and for men protecting and feeding the family, participating in community life. Islamic principles does not preclude women from community activity and even politics but based on the fact that the obligations are also fulfilled.

Please, do not generalise and certainly do not confuse the actions of fundamentalists and those from tribal areas that confuse (by ignorance or on purpose) there own sexist tribal behaviour with the core principles of Islam."

Considering the background of Mr Colson, we have to assume that he is not unique and that many will automatically think like him. That the facts are wrong does not matter when the reality is that this ignorant view exists and the establishment around it makes no effort to change it. The new Obama Administration does recognise it and though not an expert on US politics, I think Colson is from the other side and thus not following the enlightened view.

Let us hope that Republican America is also going to shrug-off this ignorance-fed chauvinism.