In an interview I had with her last summer, she warned: "Some of the things that are going wrong in the U.K. are true for the U.S. too -- the obsession with minority rights, for example, or the excessive reluctance to interfere with religion. If Britain sleepwalks into cultural oblivion, this may strengthen these tendencies in the U.S., too. After all, Britain was the originator of the concepts of liberty, democracy and the rule of law. If Britain now unravels the values that underpin them, the consequences will be incalculable throughout the free world."
In Germany, thank God -- a nation in no position to be messing with basic human rights (again) -- there has been widespread condemnation of Judge Datz-Winter. German government officials have described the ruling as "incomprehensible," and one lawmaker (a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party) correctly declared that "the legal and moral concepts of Sharia have nothing to do with German jurisprudence." Those condemnations are both encouraging and important -- but not the end of the story. As M. Zuhdi Jasser, chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy tells me: "The only way to win this war is to use cases like this one as examples of the ideological battlefront in the intellectual war of ideas."
Michaela Sulaika Kaiser, a Muslim feminist, asked rhetorically in an interview: "In my work educating sexist and short-sighted Muslim men, do I now have to convince German courts that women are also people on the same level with men and that they, like any other human, have the right to be protected from physical and psychological violence?"
To the contrary, I think her work just got a little bit easier. And we're all a little more awake.
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