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Friday, October 06, 2006

 

Veil, Burqa, Purdah and Muslim Women * Evangelical Christians In America


Jack Straw * Kevin Phillips' "American Theocracy"


An unidentified woman wearing a niqab – or full veil – on January 17 2004. Photograph: PA.
An unidentified woman wearing a niqab – or full veil – on January 17 2004. Photograph: PA.
© Guardian Unlimited

Straw: I'd rather no one wore veils...." Jack Straw, former British Foreign Minister, found himself in the middle of a brouhaha after commenting about veil worn by Muslim women. I am among those who feel that a woman who is not forced to go about covered in a veil (burqa, chador, or any other name) but does so because of her own desire should have the right no matter in which country she lives. However, no one must be compelled to wear a veil because of archaic tradition or on religious grounds.

The Muslim society,however, is unlikely to endorse such a position. It observes strange customs, like the hudood under which a woman filing a complaint for being raped is required to produce four male witnesses. Recently, Pakistan's President Musharraf failed in an attempt to amend the hudood.

Nakasha Ahmed's 'Unveiling the Veil' presents both sides of the argument.

Politics and Evangelical Christians

Here in America we have our own bigots. Fundamentalist Christian groups have made great strides. For the first time in our history we have a president who claims to be a 'born again Christian' and does all he can to support them. Does he speak in tongues when he communicates with his god.

From the book jacket of 'American Theocracy' by Kevin Phillips: "He then turns to the surge of fundamentalist and evangelical religion in the United States, outlining the way a long tradition of radical and sectarian religion has taken an unprecedented political role under George W. Bush, as more and more Republican think in apocalyptic terms and seek to shape domestic and foreign policy around religion." The fundamentalists are waiting for the Second Coming. Personally, I'll be happy when they ascend to heaven. I'll take my chances being left behind and facing horrific punishment for not being among them.


More bad news for Republicans. Alan Cooperman writes in the Post about the GOP's waning support among evangelical Christians. "ANOKA, Minn. -- Lynn Sunde, an evangelical Christian, is considering what for her is a radical step. Come November, she may vote for a Democrat for Congress."



Sunde, 35, manages a coffee shop and attends a nondenominational Bible church. "You're never going to agree with one party on everything, so for me the key has always been the religion issues -- abortion, the marriage amendment" to ban same-sex unions, she said.

That means she consistently votes Republican. But, she said, she is starting to worry about the course of the Iraq war, and she finds the Internet messages from then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) to teenage boys "pretty sickening." When she goes into the voting booth this time, she said, "I'm going to think twice. . . . I'm not going to vote party line as much as to vote issues."

Even a small shift in the loyalty of conservative Christian voters such as Sunde could spell trouble for the GOP this fall. In 2004, white evangelical or born-again Christians made up a quarter of the electorate, and 78 percent of them voted Republican, according to exit polls. But some pollsters believe that evangelical support for the GOP peaked two years ago and that what has been called the "God gap" in politics is shrinking.



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