Religious tolerance and intolerance
Posted on July 13, 2012
The Boston Review recently conducted an interesting interview with philosopher Martha Nussbaum on her new book, The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age, which discusses the growing anti-Islam agitations in Europe and the United States.
Here’s a taste:
… my views, which are pretty mainstream in America, are found “extreme” and even “offensive” in Germany, and all sorts of quite refined people think that Islam poses a unique problem and that the law should be dragged in to protect the culture. One woman who purported to represent a human rights organization actually disrupted the question period after my lecture by making a long speech, culminating in an attempt to refute my critique of the “health argument” (“the burqa is unhealthy”) by pointing out that she has a burqa at home and when she tries it on she trips over things. Please. When I first wore a long evening skirt I tripped too, but should long evening dresses be illegal? If we apply that standard, there are some candidates for a ban that stand far above these: platform shoes, for example, which even shoe-lovers like me find very hard to walk in without turning one’s ankle. I myself have sprained my ankle twice wearing shoes with two-inch platforms. But I don’t want to ban them either, of course! The problem with these Europeans is that they don’t want to ban platform shoes or spike heels either; they just want to ban practices of others which they have never tried to understand.
You can read the entire interview here.