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Tolerance towards that?
Asking to show tolerance vis-à-vis Islamic laws and customs is hypocritical

Azar Majedi
December 8, 2004

Political Islam has recently resorted to a new tactic: it speaks of tolerance. It asks Western society to show tolerance vis-à-vis Islamic laws, customs and discriminations. Their recent demonstration in Germany was an attempt to silence the rightly angry voice of decent and freedom-loving human beings who cannot tolerate the abuses, violence and intimidation carried out by this movement.

This movement crushes any resistance, protest and disobedience in countries where it has the upper hand. And in the West where it is under attack by secularists, freethinkers and organisations fighting for equality and freedom, it has changed tactics and resorts to speaking about civil rights and more sophisticated socio-political concepts as freedom of religion, tolerance and Islamophobia. It has become savvy!

Asking society to show tolerance vis-à-vis Islamic laws and customs is hypocritical, to say the least. The most intolerant movement is asking society to show tolerance for an ideology and set of principles, which are most restrictive, harsh, cruel, misogynist and reactionary.

They are taking hostage the consciousness of those who respect freedom of thought, belief and expression, and who despise racism. They are playing a political game. They want libertarians to be silent in the face of abuse, discrimination, and violence. Because this is what Islamic laws and customs mean in the real life of millions of people.

How can one be silent and show tolerance in the face of stoning, flogging, reducing women to third class citizens, sexual apartheid, the execution of human beings for being non-believers or homosexuals, and the veiling of girls?

The fact of the matter is that the same movement that throws acid at the faces of non-veiled women, knives them, and slashes their bodies with razors for not observing the veil in Iran and the Middle East, that flogs women for not being "good Moslems", flogs a 14-year-old to death for not fasting in Ramadan, is talking about tolerance.

They have definitely become sophisticated! They are not merely thugs who incite hatred; provoke prejudice, superstition, and terrorize all those who dare to question the law of Islam. They now enter socio-political discourse about civil and individual rights.

This is the same movement, which stones women in Iran, murders non-veiled, or "westernized" women and secular journalists in Algeria, executes women in football stadiums in Afghanistan. The same movement is defending the freedom of clothing, so it would be able to veil girls. It talks about showing tolerance vis-à-vis Islam, so it can establish Sharia courts in Canada. We know this movement and we will expose it.

Showing tolerance vis-à-vis Islamic rule and laws is ridiculous. It is absurd. They are trying to establish their small Islamic republics here in the West, to turn Islamic communities into mini-Islamic states. We will not let this happen. We will stop this reactionary movement from making inroads in the west. We would push them back in the Middle East as well.

The growing protest movement, the women's liberation movement and secular movement in Iran will push them back.

As a matter of fact, as freethinkers, as people who fight inequality, we should not have any tolerance for Islamic rule, laws and customs. We should criticize it radically. We should expose its inherent reactionary and misogynist nature. We should expose the hypocrisy behind the cry for tolerance coming from Islamists. We know this movement.

Azar Majedi is the head of the Organisation for Women's Liberation.

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