Sunday, 31 March 2013

Does the Tunisian Nude Help to Liberate Women?

From the arguments that rage over the Islamic veil and the bikini, a battle between the conservatives and liberal secular forces, you would think it can be summed up as:  nudity is liberation and covering up is oppression from the secular faction. A Tunisian woman took the bait, and from the birth place of the Arab-Spring she displayed her breasts, with "My body is mine, not somebody's honour" written across it, clearly aimed at the conservative faction of society. This is supposed to contribute towards the advancement for women’s rights, because the argument goes, it shows that she has control over her body, nobody (men in particular) is forcing her to cover up. One would assume the protest in a different form would take place, if the women were forced to walk around topless in Tunisia in the first place.  

On that note, women who chose to wear the Hijab (head scarf) under the previous regime were treated awfully, and in countries like Turkey the HIjab was banned in public life. The same argument of women having control over their bodies and having the ability to exercise their choice is applicable here, but it did not lead to the feminists screaming; hence, why the selectivity? Ironically, it seems the feminists are pandering to the male urges through the back door, as they are only intervening when women want to strip!    

Monday, 4 March 2013

Was the Ottoman Caliphate Terminated on the 3rd of March, 1924?

On this day, the 600 year old Ottoman Caliphate was formally abolished. The date should resonate in the Islamic world, invoking a sad loss, representing a significant turning point in Islamic history, but it does not, around the Islamic world it’s a normal day like any other. But why is that? Given that Muslims in general are still committed to Islam, it is unlikely that they have lost interest in their history, essential part of a nation’s identity. The only other explanation that comes to mind is that the event was not significant, the destruction on the 3rd of March was merely symbolic; the palace was closed, the Caliph with his family members were expelled quietly, as if some employees in a private firm were made redundant. Hence, the nation continued with the new secular government of Mustafa Kemal, it was business as usual. If the event represented a change of system that would have caused shocks in society, which implies, the Ottoman State as a fully functional Caliphate was already dead and buried, what remained was merely a historic relic.

The obvious question that follows is, when the Caliphate as a fully functional state ceased to exist. Over the years, I have heard various opinions on it, one of the popular opinions is 1809 with the removal of Sultan Abdul Hamid.  In any case, pin-pointing the exact time is irrelevant, because the death of the state was a slow process; one can see the decline passing various milestones, with its borders shrinking. In contrast, whenever a society undergoes a radical transformation, through the establishment of a new ideology, the upheaval is marked by violence and the loss of life.