Those who continue to insist that what we’re facing is not a clash of cultures, might consider this Associated Press story about the women participating in election protests in Iran.
The story notes that “for years, women’s defiance in Iran came in carefully planned flashes of hair under their head scarves, brightly painted fingernails and trendy clothing that could be glimpsed under bulky coats and cloaks.”
Let’s start with that.
That half the human race in Iran must “defy” their government by painting their nails, tells one that their government, and most of the Islamic world, is light years from the West in its thinking.
It is so far, in fact, that it may as well be in another planet.
The recent story suggests it’s remarkable that in the wake of the disputed Iranian elections, women and men are protesting “side by side.”
I find it remarkable that that’s remarkable.
In an age wherein some women are running countries, hurtling into space as scientists and conducting international diplomacy, in most of the Muslim world there are women who seek the freedom to drive a car or wear pants.
The story notes that “under previous reformist regimes, Iranian women secured a wink-and-a-nod attitude from the government that allowed them to adopt more casual hair coverings and more freedoms than those seen in other conservative Muslim countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia.”
So, there were times of “reform” during which women weren’t severely punished, tortured or killed altogether for allowing some of their hair to peek out from its covering.
Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s bid for the presidency further encouraged Iran’s women, according to the story, with “his progressive stance on women’s issues and his ‘unorthodox’ campaign appearances alongside his wife.”
The story notes that “At many of these meetings they were holding hands, and that was breaking a big taboo.”
Another galaxy, altogether.
Iran is a country seeking to move backward, and, like radical Islam in general, taking steps to drag the rest of us there with them.
For instance, the AP reports that during his first term Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had rules set making it difficult for women to work late or take on extra hours. Last year, his government reportedly proposed a law that would have made it easier for men to take additional wives. More than 60 women who took part in a signature campaign protest were arrested, and some of them remain in jail.
Under Ahmadinejad, women must cover their hair and wear loose, long garments over pants, or else, the story notes. They face arrest “if their fashion is deemed too risqué — a qualification that has even included pants tucked into boots during the winter,” according to the story.
In my opinion, the religious and psychological place radical Islam is coming from is as backwards as anything found in the deepest recesses of the Amazon jungle and as alien as anything Gene Roddenberry ever dreamed up.
The difference is that the Amazonian tribal natives aren’t trying to force their way of life on anyone else, and Star Trek is fantasy.
Radical Islam is more like a nightmare.
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