Q & R: Women's rights
Here's the Q:
Hi Brian. I read your newest book and loved it.
My question is, "How do we stand up for women's rights and still respect the religion of Islam?"
Also, "What do you think of Ayaan Hirsi Ali?"
Here's the R:
Glad you loved the book! I loved writing it too ... learned a lot!
I think your question is important, and the best way to answer it is to ask, "How do we stand up for women's rights and still respect the religion of Christianity?"
True, in some quarters, Christianity has made great strides in affirming the full equality of women. But in many quarters still today, that's far from the case. The Christian religion is about 600 years older than Islam, and my suspicion - and hope - is that Islam will get farther by its 2000th birthday in recognizing the equality of women than Christianity has. (That will happen, in part, because of the good example set by Christians who have broken from traditions of subordination, patriarchy, etc.)
On Ayaan Hirsi Ali, I've seen her interviewed several times and read a bit about her, but I'm not an expert in any way. She reminds me, in many ways, of the new atheists: she is angry about many things truly worth being angry about. But anger and pain that aren't well-enough processed will create unintended consequences.
Some of us aren't angry enough - we are complacent about injustice. Some of us on the other extreme are filled with lots of unprocessed anger. All of us live in this tension that we see in Ayaan Hirsi Ali. At least that's how I see it. Thanks for your questions!