Cultural or Religious?

Below is the latest newsletter from the Tennessee Council for Political Justice.

Newsletter #149 — What “Minority Practices” Should We Value?

A lawsuit was recently filed against Canadian government policy that anyone being sworn in as a Canadian citizen do so with their faces fully exposed. A Pakistani woman, who covers her face with a niqab where only her eyes show, is challenging this policy.

It has been noted by the government lawyers that the woman “had removed her veil to get a driver’s licence…[and that she also]… declined an offer to take the oath at the front or the back of the citizenship court,” so that no one could see her face.

With regard to women’s coverings, there is a spectrum of styles as well as interpretations about whether it is an Islamic religious mandate. In Tennessee, Islamists that claim the exclusive right to definitively answer questions like this also say there is no single mandate about how women cover themselves, if at all.

Remziya Suleyman,
Director of the American Center for Outreach
and self-proclaimed “Muslim voice of Tennessee,”
loosened her hijab recently while traveling overseas.

Members of the Muslim Canadian Congress say that the “hijab has nothing to do with morality” but has become a tool for both political and religious operatives.

CAIR lawyer Zahra Billoo says:

Mohammed Khan, a naturalized U.S. citizen trying to join ISIS, was arrested two weeks ago at Chicago O’Hare airport. What does his mother’s picture below communicate about the ideology that may have informed Mohammed’s decision?

Mohamed Khan’s parents

During a television interview, the lawyer suing over the citizenship ceremony open face policy said that the policy reflects the government not valuing a minority practice. So, which “minority practices” should we value and who and what determines that?

Cultural vs. religious

What some Muslims claim are religious mandates others in Islam say are simply cultural practices. Should cultural practices yield to public policy?

For example, there has been plenty of debate about whether female genital mutilation (FGM) is a cultural practice or Islamically sanctioned. The same question has been asked with regard to child marriage, polygamy and treatment of women under Islam.

If FGM is, as some Islamic scholars say, religiously permissible but not obligatory, should that determine whether it can be outlawed? What if religious scholars hold that FGM is obligatory? A Gatestone Institute report notes that:

“[among] the four recognized Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence, we find that FGM is now considered obligatory by adherents of the Shafi’i school of Islamic law, including many Arabs as well as Sunni Kurds…FGM is seen as virtuous but not required by the fundamentalist Hanbali school… as a custom acceptable according to the desire of the husband by the Hanafi school… an implied but not a specified practice in Maliki religious law…”

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Head scarf or fully veiled? Genitally mutilated or not? Cultural or religious? Either way, it represents only one ideology and everything that goes along with it.

5 thoughts on “Cultural or Religious?

  1. ” A lawsuit was recently filed against Canadian government policy that anyone being sworn in as a Canadian citizen do so with their faces fully exposed.”

    She will succeed and will have her own way and who will dare say no to her.
    Is it not enough that we should be proud that she has left her paradise and chosen Canada to reside in. She could have chosen any other country and been welcomed with open arms.
    I think now they know which book she would swear on, and who to curse in her heart while her lips say something else.
    Muhajabat ( those who wear hijab) have evey reason to wear it in the west: They get respected, nay, revered, they are valuable curiosity, they are role models for native women to have a status and aim in life.

  2. An unveiled assault (pun intended) on Canada from the moment of her inception. This brings to min Wilders’s recent question/comment regarding Obama saying IS “is not Islamic”: “How dumb can you be?” Well, we are getting an answer.

    • I realize it’s unseemly to reply to my post, but I wish to ask, how dare they welcome the unwelcoming? How unscrupulous to welcome someone exhibiting belligerent disdain.

  3. Technically/Religiously muslims cannot swear allegiance to any state or country as their allegiance is only to their religion. However, it is permissible for them to lie if it is necessary to do so to obtain the full range of government unemployment and family benefits provided by kuffar taxes

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