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Sunday, February 15, 2009

MJ Akbar: All religions are not same, but fundamentalists are

All religions are not the same; but all fundamentalists are. They share an aversion for modernity and a hatred of gender equality. It is entirely logical that the Ram Sene should find an ally in the Jamaat-e-Islami; their ethos is not dissimilar, no matter how different the imagery their rhetoric might contain. The same mindset persuades some maulanas to issue a fatwa condoning divorce through triple talaaq even when the husband is drunk. The very clerics who will damn you to eternal hellfire for touching alcohol are ready to rationalise any diktat that amounts to subjugation of women. Eminent Islamic scholars have repeatedly proved that instant triple talaaq is bad in Islamic law, and such variations even worse. Islam institutionalised the rights of women; such distortions are at variance to its liberating spirit. But the issue is not law: this is conservative, male domination over women. Sex, or an ugly offshoot, vulgarity, is not modernity. Since sex began with Adam, it must be as old as existence. The pub, or tavern, can claim a bit of antiquity as well. The four principles of a modern society, which is a necessary prerequisite of a modern state, are gender equality, political equality, religious equality and economic equity.


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