Thursday, September 14, 2006



Well, it's taken me half the week to chew my way through it, but Martin Amis' piece on Horrorism in last Sunday's Observer really was worth the effort. As a broadside on cultural relativism it's going to be hard to beat, and his conclusion, that the key to solving the problem of Islamism can only be the liberation of Muslim women, is blindingly obvious.

I have always felt deeply uncomfortable about the notion that we shouldn't criticise the customs and rituals of other cultures, even if those practices involve the mutilation of women and children. How can such abominations as female circumcision (and ritual male circumcision, come to that) be defended? The Chinese practice of foot-binding, which dated back to the 7th century, was banned in 1911, and today would rightly be punished as child abuse. What is the difference between that circumcision? Ritual circumcision is often - though not always, it's fair to say — motivated by religion.

Good grief, that feature was like eating a 40 ton box of high fibre muesli. But very good for you; thanks for pointing it out, as it was well worth it. I also enjoyed Tony Robinson's easier-to-digest Channel 4 show The Doomsday Code last night. I wasn't aware of End-Timers previously, and now I'm frightened/angry about the influence they have - excellent precis of their beliefs here:
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