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Joachim Elsander @elsander

Can't understand this at all. Anybody here with insights?

"So why then, do liberal, feminist calls for equality stop at borders? I am at a loss to understand why equality is purely for one particular group of people and not for others. If I believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then surely that shouldn’t change no matter who I am or where I live – even if I was an Afghani woman living in Kabul or a Persian living in Iran, a woman in Riyadh or Roscommon?"

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@elsander I gather that the author is grappling with a very, very difficult and thorny area.

That being that it's now almost impossible to start any public discussion of women's rights or religious freedom in certain parts of the world without some very nasty elements pouncing on it as an opportunity to spread racism and Islamophobia (and said elements normally do not care one whit about the women affected, they're just using them as a shield).

@dartigen @elsander The intersection of principled liberal attitudes to gender, race, culture and religion are in fact very complicated.

If you want to preserve cultures, or just do non-interference, at some point you have to face the fact that different cultures often have very conservative - shocking to the liberal mind - attitudes.

The Kiwi movie 'Whale Rider' captures part of that problem: Maori culture was, historically, patriarchal. Which to uphold, indigenous rights or feminism?

@elsander @dartigen But yes, a lot of hard right people seize on Muslim attitudes to women as a wedge issue to try to advance anti-Islamic attitudes, and I'm pretty sure that's what this article is.

@natecull @elsander I wouldn't say it's an issue unique to our times, but the paradox of tolerance is back in the limelight.

@dartigen @elsander @natecull I admire Sir Karl for many things, but he *did* have his axes to grind. It's worth parsing his writings in that vein.

With that said, I do agree with his thesis here.

@natecull @elsander @dartigen Oh, sorry. Apparently my mental parser parsed my name in there. ... don't mind me. I need more whiskey.

@elsander Unfortunately, they seem to have missed a few things.

Firstly, that it is legitimate to be concerned about how these discussions are used to further racism and Islamophobia, and how some elements are using these discussions to claim to be feminists (and anyone who contradicts them or disagrees at all with these elements is branded a misogynist; nowadays, this also often means mass harassment and total exclusion from communities).

@elsander Unfortunately, nobody has any good solutions for this first problem. It's a serious issue for a very, very, very large number of discussions, even outside of feminism or religious freedom.

Excluding those hateful elements from the discussion is one way forward, but you have to know who to look out for and what to look out for - and so does literally everyone else involved so they don't give them any airtime.

@elsander The second problem is that the author of this piece is likely to find herself being told to butt out of certain parts of the discussion, because she is not Muslim, she is from Ireland, and she does not have to deal with the racial component of Islamophobia.

While a good deal of that attitude is to do with previous bad experiences and history, it's also true that because of the thorny nature of the discussion, one needs a lot of prior knowledge to contribute meaningfully.