25 May 2009

Amy Alkon has a great observation. BONUS! Country talk at the end!

A Big Howdy To All You Muslim Ladies Out There

from Advice Goddess Blog by Amy Alkon

A Big Howdy To All You Muslim Ladies Out ThereIf you are a legal immigrant who appreciates Western values and wishes to join Western society, by all means, melt right in. If, however, you hail from a primitive culture where women are considered possessions and your religious leaders advocate husbands beating wives who get a little out of line, and you're cool with all that, well, why would you want to leave Saudi Arabia for the land where men cordially greet women in the halls of their apartment buildings, and other such Western barbarism?

There's an astonishing story in the Canadian Nat Post about a man who was reported to his landlady for -- get this -- saying hello to his Muslim neighbors, one of whom happens to be a woman. Matthew Coutts writes:

When the landlady of my Toronto apartment building said an outraged
neighbour had filed a complaint about me over an apparently inappropriate
hallway interaction with his wife, my mind raced through the countless
conversations I've had with fellow tenants, none of which seemed a possible
source of offence.

It turns out, it wasn't a salacious transaction that had caused the
complaint, but rather a neighbourly and -- to me -- entirely forgettable
greeting, little more than a brief "good morning" as I passed my neighbours on
the way to work.

Still, it was enough of an affront for the man -- once a doctor somewhere
in the Middle East, my landlady clarified -- to feel I had broken a cultural
taboo. The incident started an awkward feud which has involved warnings not to
repeat my indiscretion and one face-to-face shouting match, which included
allusions to my impending death.

Muslims so often take the high road. Of course, their Quran commands them to convert or kill the infidel -- even the friendly, hello-saying infidel -- so the offended, allegedly death-alluding doctor is really just being a good Muslim if he is indeed offering these death threats.
As somebody who smiles at strangers and says hello to them with frequency, I just love the absurdity of this complaint. The cordial neighbor script, Islam-style, apparently goes something like this:

Western man to Muslim man and his Muslim wife/possession: "Good morning, neighbors!"

Muslim man: "I will behead you, Western dog!"

Western man: "And y'all have a nice day, too!"

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