The claim that “Muslim countries” are defined by their oppression of women pops up whenever Americans are debating U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. The claim also has a much longer history than that; it was a part of what justified colonialism—which is a topic for another blog post. For now, I leave you with Reza Aslan’s incredibly elegant, but sadly failed, attempts to show CNN anchors what’s wrong with the way they insist on talking about women and Islam.
Among the incredibly difficult (read sarcasm) distinctions be makes in the clip:
*Countries in which Islam is the predominant religion are not all the same.
*It is possible to condemn oppressive practices like stoning without arguing that they are caused by a “violent religion.”
* Some countries with Muslim majorities have elected female heads of state; others do not allow women to drive.
* Just because something to occur in a country where Islam is the predominant religion does not mean that it is caused by Islam.