Secular Right | Reality & Reason

TAG | Identity

Mar/11

25

Men, not gods

The New York Times Magazine has a long profile up of Yasir Qadhi, a religiously conservative American Muslim cleric. It is long and worth reading in and of itself, but I want to focus on one section:

American Muslims, Qadhi told the audience, needed to abide by the laws of their country, understanding that had they been born in Palestine or Iraq, their “responsibilities would be different.” He did not elaborate.

It is this kind of ambiguity that gnaws at some of Qadhi’s students. “We just get wishy-washy nonanswers,” one female student told me, adding that Qadhi’s “jihad of the tongue” was unconvincing. Being martyred in the battlefield, she said, is “romantic,” while “lobbying your congressman is not.”

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A personal note. People often ask me if I’m really a conservative. Old friends, some of them not particularly liberal themselves. The reason is in large part my sociodemographic profile. I’m an atheist. I’m scientifically educated and inclined. I don’t hate France and appreciate fine foods. Often people will push me and ask if I’m a libertarian, rather than a conservative. I simply respond that I’m a conservative who happens to have some libertarian views, not a libertarian who happens to align with conservatives for tactical purposes. As an individualist in my personal life who has no deep need for conformity to the norms of my social circle I have no great interest in becoming a Left-liberal or libertarian to forestall the future queries I’ll no doubt receive. I’m satisfied with that.

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Stephen Prothero has a piece up, Hinduism’s caste problem, out in the open. Prothero points out that religionists often use logical constructs to play word games which reinforce their in-group. Caste is not a problem with Hinduism per se, but is a cultural problem. The treatment of women is not a problem with Islam per se, but a cultural problem. The history of European anti-semitism was not an issue of religious conflict per se, but a detail of history.

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