Worldview Item of the Day
Dhimmi: a non-Muslim who nevertheless agrees to abide by Muslim law (Shari’a) so as not to offend Muslims (yes, that’s a paraphrase…).
Harvard University recently enacted a policy for women’s only hours at one of the university’s recreational facilities after several Muslim women complained about not being able to exercise because they were forced to do so with men.
Now, on principle, having separate exercise facilities or times for women might be a reasonable request for a variety of reasons. The problem with this request is its direct relationship to a specific religion’s requirements, requirements that very likely would not be acknowledged if it were any other religion besides Islam.
For example, I am a Christian who believes in literal creation, yet I am forced to take science classes that not only do not teach creation as a possible explanation for the universe, but do not teach any other possible explanation other than evolutionary theory. Based on Harvard’s standards, do I have the right to petition the university to be excluded from such science classes because of my beliefs? Not likely, I think.
Of course, my previous example might not be a fair parallel. So let’s say that, as a Christian, I want to petition the university to not allow secular music in its public gathering and eating areas during certain times of the day. Is this a fair and reasonable request? Again, I think not.
Showing deference toward particular groups because of their religious or ethnic beliefs is a slippery slope, especially when that deference is forced on a larger, unbelieving population. Giving Muslims places to gather or pray is one thing, restricting access to public facilities or changing policies on their behalf is another thing entirely. The question is where does such deference stop.