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Renowned Philosopher Berates Western ‘Islamophobia’

“Once, not very long ago, Americans and Europeans prided themselves on their enlightened attitudes of religious toleration, although everyone knew that the history of the West has actually been characterized by intense religious animosity and violence,” she said.

Why is it that priding yourself with enlightened attitudes of religious toleration only an ideal?  One reason why it has and still is an ideal is that religious toleration seems to be trumped by ”intense religious animosity and violence,” according to the renowned philosopher Martha Nussbaum,

Renowned philosopher berates Western ‘Islamophobia’

By Olivia Patton

Renowned philosopher Martha Nussbaum addressed a packed auditorium Friday afternoon, berating Western Islamophobia, a problem Nussbaum said continues to plague the country today.

“Once, not very long ago, Americans and Europeans prided themselves on their enlightened attitudes of religious toleration, although everyone knew that the history of the West has actually been characterized by intense religious animosity and violence,” she said.

Nussbaum, a service professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago, said blatant legislative discrimination against Muslims in the United States, France, Belgium, Germany, and Spain, among other countries, requires examination.

“Our situation calls urgently for critical self examination as we try to uncover the roots of ugly fears and suspicions that currently disfigure all Western societies,” Nussbaum said.

Seventy percent of Oklahoma voters in 2010 opted to pass an amendment to the state’s constitution that singled out Shariah Law — the moral code of Islam — as something Oklahoma courts would not be influenced by.

Shariah law regulates Muslim personal conduct and provides rules on alcohol consumption, dietary practices, prayer and codes of honesty in business dealings.

The amendment, approved by voters, was ultimately struck down as unconstitutional, and never went into effect.

The measure mirrors other recent U.S. attempts at religious intolerance.

Nussbaum shed light on a proposed Tennessee law that would have criminalized the practice of Shariah law with a felony punishable up to 15 years in jail. A rewritten version of the bill that did not expressly reference Islam or Islamic law, but did still carry criminal penalties, eventually passed.

In addition, U.S. Muslim women have experienced harassment because of their personal choice to wear the hijab and burka, Nussbaum said.

A female Moroccan hostess who worked at Disney Land’s Grand California Hotel is suing Disney for the right to wear her head scarf during work. Her supervisors allegedly told her the head scarf went against the “Disney look” and that she would have to take a job outside of the view of customers if she wished to continue wearing it.

“What I favor in the undergraduate curriculum is that everyone should have some knowledge of the major world religions,” Nussbaum said. “So I think we’re lucky in a sense that we have more opportunities for this kind of intervention to learning and conversation.”

The University’s 15-month-old Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures sponsored the talk to enrich its program aimed at providing the structure for graduate students and faculty to further their work in the humanities.

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  • Ilisha
  • Garibaldi

    Manual, Barry Lyndon, Cassidy, or whatever sock puppet guise you turn up in next,

    You’re welcome, your precise question and extrapolation on said verse, displaying your depth of knowledge regarding exegesis, context of revelation, was likewise so very very very clear. Take care. Happy troll trails.

  • Manual

    Garilbaldi,

    Brilliant answer, makes every thing clear, thank you very much!

  • Garibaldi

    @Manual, the simple answer is no, Quran 48:29 is not “the real problem of Islamophobia.”

  • Manual

    Isn’t this the real problem of Islamophobia: http://tinyurl.com/c3zwoem

  • Chameleon

    I am just waiting for someone to use the anti-“Shariah law” provisions to argue that they cannot be charged for murder, drunk driving, etc. because these are all in “Shariah law” and therefore cannot be valid laws. Such an individual could even go so far as to file his own indictment (e.g., in Tennessee) against the prosecutors and the victim’s families for trying to apply “Sharia law” against him so that he can send THEM to jail for 15 years! Every law has a cost, and irrational laws have irrational costs. It is just a matter of time before someone exploits it, and then Muslims will have the last laugh at these loons.

    @Matt,

    You asked, “Hey, all religions are equal, right? None is better or worse than any other, right?….And we know Muslims feel all religions are equal, right?”

    Yes, with respect to the law of the land, no one should be discriminated against because of their religion. That is what Islam teaches. You are trying to conflate personal choice with the law of the land to create a phony straw man argument. Nice try, but you just failed.

  • Matt

    “Our situation calls urgently for critical self examination as we try to uncover the roots of ugly fears and suspicions that currently disfigure all Western societies,” Nussbaum said.

    Hey, all religions are equal, right? None is better or worse than any other, right?

    Apparently, if you don’t believe all religions are equal, then you are a problem to society. And we know Muslims feel all religions are equal, right?

  • sam

    islamaphobes=zionists=israel as their god……anything deemed adverse to israeli as in muslim americans organizing and voting in the u.s and europe is looked on by these islamaphobes as hurtful to israel…and so they fight islam in the west non-stop

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold CriticalDragon1177

    @mindy1,

    Don’t hold your breath. We’re making progress, but it will be awhile, until this way of thinking is completely out of the mainstream.

  • mindy1

    We are living in crazy times, I hope they shall pass :(

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