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Total number of comments: 8 (since 2013-11-28 16:37:40)


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  • The seven people who need to STFU about Iraq right now
    • I agree with Prof. Cole and other commenters who note the distinction between those who have admitted to their errors regarding Iraq and those who haven't. Sullivan, Beinart, Klein and Yglesias do not belong on the same list as Miller, Friedman, McCain and Fleischer -- by any stretch..

  • ReOrienting the Veil (Gökariksel)
    • I did not mean to imply that Muslims should not be allowed to be distinctive -- I was arguing instead that it is disingenuous for scholars and others discussing veiling in Muslim culture to imply that there is nothing distinctive about the use of veils in Islam. In effect, we are in agreement on this point.

      And I surely did not mean to imply that unveiled women in Cairo cause riots -- then again, I was not thinking about Cairo. But without question unveiled women in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere are subject to harassment, beatings and worse for the mere fact of being unveiled, or not completely covered. To deny the role religion intertwined with regressive patriarchal attitudes plays in this issue is also disingenuous -- I challenge you to name one religion where women's style of dress, particularly regarding hair covering, is rigorously controlled that is also not a religion that assigns to women a submissive and subservient role.

      Finally, the mere fact that the Haredi are growing does not make them dynamic in a cultural sense -- everything I have read about the Haredi states that the growth is mostly due to Haredi having very large numbers of children. Furthermore, the Haredi are consciously, intentionally archaic, rejecting much of the modern world and looking back to ancient texts to guide their lives. Again, I am not saying that there is anything wrong per se with that (though I do worry about how these beliefs are manifested in places like Jerusalem), but it is not inaccurate to call the Haredi archaic.

      So hardly an F!

    • Good catch, @Bill. Prof. Gökarıksel makes the fundamental academic mistake in this piece of not defining her terms -- though if you click through to some of her references, niqabs and burqas are also illustrated. She also glosses over the many differences in the different cultures that have Muslim majorities, and pretty much ignores the question of choice. The reason that devout Catholics in Italy wearing some kind of veil do not raise eyebrows is because there are no state- or Church-sanctioned mobs on the streets who will beat them or arrest them for not wearing a veil. And while it is technically true that "veiling is not only in Islam", a point Prof. Gökarıksel makes, and a point often made in these discussions, veiling is exceedingly rare in the modern non-Islamic world, and it and its analogues almost universally associated with archaic, severely paternalistic religions (the Amish, ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and the like).

      Thanks, Prof. Cole, for giving Prof. Gökarıksel space here. This is an important, and interesting discussion.

  • Obama Plays Hardball and Egypt's Morsi Folds
    • An interesting analysis -- I think you are spot on. This incident shows necessity for subtlety in diplomacy. Walking into a delicate situation with a blunderbuss, especially if you shoot before you aim, as someone said, is a quick way to make a manageable crisis into a disaster.

  • Is Obama more Klingon or more Vulcan? & Michael Dorn Pitches "Captain Worf"
    • An interesting way to place Worf as a captain of a starship (in a series lead role - remember that in the Next Generation movies Worf commands a starship) would be to see his aggressive tendencies tempered by the responsibilities inherent in command. To make the contemporary foreign policy tie, think of the multitudes of leaders of the Israeli military establishment who are aghast at the idea of war with Iran, versus the civilian/religious hotheads who want to bomb away. . . .

  • Arabs and the Olympics (Majid)
    • I think Ahmad has raised the important point of the exclusion of women from many Olympic events in the Arab world -- which is both a cultural and a religious phenomenon.

      The many defensive posts in response to what Anouar Majid wrote seemed to have missed his qualification "Religion plays a role, too." One cannot avoid the fact that religion does indeed play a role. As evidence, look at the recent stories coming out of Tunisia, where fundamentalists are calling for medals to be stripped from that nation's medal winners for what they claim are violations of Islamic norms.

      Thank you, Prof. Cole, for this guest post -- the only way comment will remain informed is if multiple points of view are represented.

  • Is Anti-Immigrant, Islamophobic Campaign Rhetoric fomenting Antisemitism in France?
    • Lewis --

      A correction to your assertion that anti-semitic attacks happen more in France than elsewhere in Europe. I have had a devil of a time finding hard numbers, but for 2010, there were more in Britain than anywhere else, despite its having a Jewish population 1/2 the size of France's. The number of anti-semitic incidents in France is also a function of the fact that there are far more Jews in France than anywhere else, after the US (which has the greatest number of Jews) and Israel. The lingering trauma of France's collaboration has heightened sensitivity to anti-semitic incidents in France, but the reports of France being a bastion of anti-semitism, fostered by a lazy press (and by certain Israeli political figures who have axes to grind against French foreign policy) is not borne out by the facts.

    • It would be worth noting that many of the rightist sentiments being appropriated by Sarkozy to draw votes from the National Front would fit quite "comfortably" in the Republican Party in the United States. And note the recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center on the explosive growth of hate groups in the US since Obama's election. Very worrying.

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