Saturday, 18 June 2011

"The Roots of racism"

Letter to The Australian, Weekend Magazine:
Professor Kevin Dunn arrogates to himself the claim that "racism" also includes "anti-Muslim" sentiment, a view your Greg Callaghan appears to accept without question ("The roots of racism", Weekend Australian Magazine, 11-12 June). But of course criticism of the tenets of Islam is not criticism of individual Muslims, as Islam is not a race.

But put aside that ipse dixit assertion. 

Dunn also claims that discomfort with the burka is a form of bigotry which can be overcome through "education".  By education even the 20% of Australians who find the burka "inappropriate" will see the light, presumably as a just another part of our rich and diverse cultural tapestry.

But what if the "education" reveals that the burka is indeed a form of repression; just a different form of the slave's chains. That's the view of many Muslim women themselves, who call for its banning or restriction.  Pakistani feminist writer, Rooshanie Ejaz, for example, says that girls are forced to wear the burka from a young age and that it's a "kind of psychological torture".  She favours the French ban.  [ref]
Would Dunn and Callaghan consider Ejaz' views "islamophobic" or "inappropriate"?  

In cases like these, it's usually the fear of being called "islamophobic" that trumps feminists' concerns.  More's the pity.
Yours, etc.

Postscript: I need to write something about Dunn, the post-modern, marxist, queer studies professor.