A response to a column on problems in all categories of Islam due to their treatment of women:
An interesting column, but the reasoning gets a little strained in the middle. It conflates, and then condemns, all forms of Islam because they all fail to demand complete equality for women. If we are to condemn every culture/subculture who fails at that line, we’re going to find very, very few still standing. The feminist ideal of total gender equality has proven to be very difficult to define in detail, let alone to accomplish, even in societies which have made the attempt to pursue it.
Islam is a different religion than Christianity or Judaism. The cultures which practice it are different than Western culture. And some in that religion, from those cultures, are attacking Western societies in an effort to destroy them. They draw their reasoning from the Islam of their understanding, and some of that reasoning will resonate, to a greater and lesser degree, across Islam. But their goals, strategies and tactics are not shared by all Muslims, and we need to exercise caution in casting too general a blanket over all Muslims. Not all are our enemies, and we benefit greatly by having some as allies. They are not unlike Christians who shoot abortion doctors and blow up abortion clinics, or who protest the funerals of soldiers, or who build compounds and gather weapons and explosives, in that these do not represent the view of all Christians. However, the Muslims who are trying to destroy our culture very much want to have this defined as a fight between Christianity/Western Culture and Islam. They want to frame it as the New Crusade. It’s the only chance they have to get wide-spread support among Muslims for what they are trying to do.
I think it is wiser for us to reach across the tribal barrier here and make allies than it is to continually reinforce that barrier and make all Muslims categorically wrong simply because they are Muslims. That is not only logically flawed reasoning — it’s counterproductive.