MONA ELTAHAWY – Sacrificing women on the altar of tolerance

H/T to Dissident in Toronto for picking this up.

Sacrificing women on the altar of tolerance

When it comes to Islamic law, or sharia , words certainly do come easy if you’re a man. You can marry four wives, receive double the inheritance a woman gets and you can end your marriage simply by saying “I divorce you” three times.

So why not pontificate? Words are especially cheap if you’re Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who ignited a social storm in the United Kingdom last week by saying that the adoption of some parts of sharia alongside Britain’s legal system “seems unavoidable” in certain circumstances.


But it is a tolerance that condones only the most conservative options for Muslims. It is, at best, a form of the racism of lower expectations – the cheapest bargaining chip of liberal guilt.

Witness the Archbishop’s insistence that he wasn’t advocating the “inhumanity” of sharia a la Saudi Arabia or Iran, where adulterers are stoned and thieves have hands amputated. No, no, he told us.

He was just referring to the use of sharia to resolve marital disputes, he insisted.

But that is precisely where the “inhumanity” of sharia lies for women. As a Muslim woman – born in Egypt, raised in Saudi Arabia – I can only laugh at the Archbishop’s naivete. In Egypt, as in many Muslim countries, the legal system has been completely modernized with the exception of one area that stubbornly remains caught in the web of edicts issued by Muslim scholars who lived centuries ago – family law.

Sharia is used only to govern the lives of women and children.

The Rest.