From The Archive is a special Friday feature. It features posts from my earlier (now-deleted) blog: Stuff & Nonsense and a few items from previous versions of A Tangled Rope that I feel deserve reprinting here, mainly as a way of archiving them. The dates are only approximate, I’m afraid, and there is a possibility that some links may no longer work (although, I will try to remember to test the links before republishing the piece).
The Same Freedom – 09-10-2006
Of course Muslim women have the freedom – if they so desire – to wear the veil in this country. The same freedom Salman Rushdie had to write The Satanic Verses. The same freedom that, in the west, allows the pope to discuss the minutiae of theological history. The same freedom that allows Danish cartoonists to caricature whomsoever they like. The same freedom that allowed Theo van Gogh to make a film entitled Submission.
The very same freedom that allows other western women to dress as they feel like without being called sluts or whores. The same freedom that lets the women themselves decide if, who and when to marry, if and when to have children. The same freedom that allows women to have a life outside the home, to be free, to be independent, to have an education and/or a career, to make her own choices and decisions. The same freedom that sets women free from the dictates of so-called religious, or other moral, ‘leaders’, who attempt to prescribe how women should dress and act. The very same freedom that sees women and men equal in the sight of the law.
The very same freedom that allows them, their brothers, sons and fathers to join the British army and do what they can to help prevent their fellow Muslims from slaughtering each other in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The same freedom that was won with great difficulty and struggle from religious censorship, oppression and intolerance. The very same freedom that can all too easily be lost if people do not care for it, fight for it and cherish it.