Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Monday, October 6, 2008

More Alike Than Not: Jews and Muslims and Modesty

A friend's husband was complaining the other day about the way some women were dressing to Sunday Services at Church here in Georgia, USA. Tarts, he called the women in tight skirts and, according to him, too much cleavage, whores who don't know how to respect our Lord. It's not a club, he said, it's a Church. This man could neither beat nor stone nor cast out these women, I suppose he'll have to live with grumbling to his heart's content, because the law would not allow him to get away with beating, stoning or casting anyone out. I suppose we're all guilty, men and women, of a little moral policing, now and then, even if only in our hearts, but the beginnings of taking it too far could very well be the grumble here and there becoming louder and louder and angrier and angrier until it joins forces with like hearts and minds. Israeli moral police have joined those in Iran and Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. And like the Taliban and their edicts against chess playing and kite flying and song hearing, it's not just women in Orthodox parts of Israel who are being monitored but also MP4 players.

In August, a Jerusalem man was placed under house arrest on suspicion he
set fire to a store in a haredi district of the city that sold MP4 players.
"It started about six months ago. They would come into the store, about 15
of them at a time, screaming, 'This store burns souls!' and they would throw
merchandise on the floor and threaten customers," said 31-year-old Aaron Gold, a
haredi worker at the Space electronic store. One Friday night, just before the Sabbath was about to begin, "they smashed a window, doused the place with
gasoline and lit a match," Gold said. Now, a big sign behind the counter
says, "All products sold in this store are under rabbinical supervision. By
order of the rabbis, no MP4s are sold here."
...Zealots there have thrown rocks and spat at women, and set fire to trash
bins to protest impiety. Walls of the neighborhood are plastered with signs
exhorting women to dress modestly spelled out as closed-necked,
long-sleeved blouses and long skirts...The state, catering to religious
sensitivities, subsidizes gender-segregated bus routes that service religious
neighborhoods. Ragen and several other women challenged the practice in Israel's
Supreme Court after an Orthodox Canadian woman in her 50s told police she was
kicked, slapped, pushed to the floor and spat upon by men for refusing to move
to the back oAnother Beit Shemesh girl, who asked to be identified only as
Esther, said zealots threw rocks, cursed and spat at a friend for wearing a red
blouse _ taboo because the color attracts attention.
read rest here

What I'd like to know is whether men can wear red shirts and skirts?


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