Monday, April 30, 2007

The Rights of Women vs. Multiculturalism

"Do you believe in the rights of women, or do you believe in multiculturalism? A series of verdicts in the German courts in the past month, have shown with hot, hard logic that you can't back both. You have to choose." (Johann Hari)
I have written about the evils of multiculturalism seen applied in the field of biblical studies, which Loren Rosson advocates repeatedly and foolishly on this blog. I have addressed Loren's hypertolerance for intolerance on more than one occasion, as when he implied that Paul's egalitarian formula of Gal 3:27-28 was immature and relinquished in favor of ethnic distinctions -- and the positive value of ethnic identity -- in Romans.

I wish that tragic reports like this would wake Loren up, but I fear he is doomed to patronize the honor-shame code of third-world cultures forever. Loren would make a fine legal official in Germany. Johann Hari reports about appalling cases there in which abusive behavior has been excused out of respect for the Muslim honor-shame code. Take the Moroccan immigrant (Nishal) whose husband beat her repeatedly and terrorized her with death threats:
"Nishal went to the courts to request an early divorce, hoping that once they were no longer married he would leave her alone. A judge who believed in the rights of women would find it very easy to make a judgement: you're free from this man, case dismissed. But Judge Christa Datz-Winter followed the logic of multiculturalism instead. She said she would not grant an early divorce because - despite the police documentation of extreme violence and continued threats - there was no 'unreasonable hardship' here. Why? Because the woman, as a Muslim, should have 'expected' it, the judge explained. She read out passages from the Koran to show that Muslim husbands have the 'right to use corporal punishment'. Look at Sura 4, verse 34, she said to Nishal, where the Koran says he can hammer you. That's your culture. Goodbye, and enjoy your beatings.

"This is not a freakish exception. Germany's only state-level Minister for Integration, Armin Laschet, says this is only 'the last link, for the time being, in a chain of horrific rulings handed down by the German courts'... Here are just a few:

"A Lebanese-German who strangled his daughter Ibthahale and then beat her unconscious with a bludgeon because she didn't want to marry the man he had picked out for her was sentenced to mere probation. His 'cultural background' was cited by the judge as a mitigating factor.

"A Turkish-German who stabbed his wife Zeynep to death in Frankfurt was given the lowest possible sentence, because, the judge said, the murdered woman had violated his 'male honour, derived from his Anatolian moral concepts'... A Lebanese-German who raped his wife Fatima while whipping her with a belt was sentenced to probation, with the judge citing his ... you get the idea."
Unfortunately, not enough people do get the idea. And until people like Loren learn to stop patronizing ethnic diversity, we're going to see more western courts follow Germany's lead.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a muslim, I have to say that this judge needs to be fired and charged with negligence. I was sick and disgusted when I heard this story, even under hardcore sharia law one of the reasons to divorce is if the wife is being beaten by their husbands for no reason. How in the world is this part of "Multiculturalism"? Since when was hammering, raping, threatning women with death part of a culture? If anything, these things are a social ill among 3rd world immigrants living in urban areas all over the world. This judge uses one verse (which top scholars have repeatdly said is not a licence for battery and should not be taken at face value) to dismiss the case and humilate the women because of her religion, but ignores the other verses which speak to the contrary, especially the verse which talks about not harming and leaving alone your wife if she wants a divorce, and the prophet Mohhamed examples (in which he was strongly against hitting women, and said that even if a man does so, it should one hit with no bruise). This Morrocan man is threatning his wife with death, this is beyond religion, this is a criminal case.


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