It is the asymmetry that I object to in Muslim thought, the fact that men can wear what they like while women cannot. Are women supposed to be more evolved than men, more in control of their passions? In that case it seems odd that they are not even allowed to enter many mosques, let alone preach in them.
No, Muslim men seem to want to have it both ways. They want complete leadership of their community, with women’s voices seldom heard, but then they are happy to reduce themselves to the status of animals — feral cats in the Mufti’s sermon — when it comes to sex, unable to resist the charms of a woman with an uncovered head.
The issue ranges beyond the Muslim community. For it’s not much fun for the rest of womankind, dressed perfectly modestly in their own eyes, to know that, because their heads are bare or their calves exposed, many Muslim men will see them as tarts.What is more, Western women are prepared to cover right up if they visit a strict Muslim country where local people would be offended by skimpy shirts or shorts. Yet there are still many Muslim women living in liberal Britain who continue to wear the full veil, hiding their face, whatever offence or alienation it might cause here.
The Anglican Archbishop of Perth, however, uses the debate about Islamis views on women to criticise the conservatives in his own church who are against the ordination of women:
The thought forms that treat women as second-class human beings have foundational elements that are similar in many repressive religious traditions.
One of the leading academics from Moore College, Dr Mark Thomson, made it clear that there was nothing to discuss regarding women in ministry as "God has not left us alone to guess what any part of Scripture is saying. God is a very good communicator — we have been convinced that the teaching of Scripture is authoritative — we rejoice in the word God has given us".
Hilali in his logic reiterates that Allah is forgiving and merciful yet wise and all powerful, so the word that is given must be for the good of humanity. Women just fall into this divine pattern of submission — it is the way things are — and it is good.
The divinely sanctioned world view authenticated by the selective use of Scripture by these Islamic and Christian scholars keeps women in subjection and gives a clear passport to heaven for the chosen. Those who see the Scriptures differently will find their destiny in the fires of hell.Is this really a fair or correct representation of what the Anglican opponents to women's ordination say?
The Archbishop goes onto say:
In Christianity, as I am sure in Islam and in other faith and non-faith systems, there are other texts and a humbler interpretation given by many other scholars that gives rise to a different, equally divinely sanctioned world view. All humanity and the whole created order are loved into a dignity that invites all to move from slavery to freedom.
Yes, the Bible is funny like that, can be interpretted to support a wide variety of propositions. That Catholics and Anglicans are not fundamentalists in the generic sense is therefore a good thing. The use of reason is good.
But the pro-women's Ordination argument that it is all about overcoming ancient prejudice against women I find very tiresome. It assumes an inherent unreasonableness on the part of their opposition for refusing to recognise their own prejudice.
I don't think it is helpful if the conservatives really do claim that their opponents are destined for hell if they ordain women. But I equally find it unacceptable for pro-ordination forces to claim that the opposition is inherently unreasonable, as I think they are inclined to do.
The fundamental problems of faith in the modern world are not, in my view, really to do with issues about rights and social justice anyway. Those churches that concentrate on those matters at the expense of emphasising their, um, supernatural or metaphysical (I am not sure of the right way to characterise this) role in the life of their individual church members are losing ground in popularity anyway, because those churches have dealt themselves out of having any special value or purpose anyway.
In this way, concentration on an issue such as women's ordination is a side issue and hurts churches, but in exactly the opposite way to which most liberal churches think.