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Purposes?

Reader comment on item: Finding Moderate Muslims - More Questions

Submitted by Art Deco (United States), Jan 14, 2006 at 19:53

A selection of these questions would seem to me legitimate to assess the outline and texture of someone's social thought but I wonder if you are not suggesting some unnecessary and conceivably officious preconditions to offering a judgment of kosher upon foreign political movements and governments, one's which concern substantive (internal) public policy properly at the discretion of elected officials rather than procedural rights, freedoms derived from organic social relations, or matters with a direct impact on foreign interests. To wit:


1. Could a Copt (an Egyptian Christian) in principle be elected president of Egypt?

Could a resident alien in principle be elected President of the United States, or an Arab placed on the throne of a restored monarchy in France? There are at this time about 6 million Copts in Egypt, no? The number of persons who have occupied the President's chair in that country have, since 1953, numbered four (4). It would have scant effect on the daily life of Copts that one of their number could conceivably occupy the Presidential palace. However, your proposal
would amount to a reconceptualization of belonging in that political society that might have neuralgic effects and would be largely unnecessary for the mundane welfare of the target population. Resident aliens get on passably in America today and Orthodox Jews got on passably in the residually Protestant society that was this country in 1948.


2. Would you follow the Saudi model of segregating girls from boys in schools and universities?

Education segregated by sex was common in the United States up until about 40 years ago, and both of my parents, as well as my brother, had a dose of it. It continues in Britain and has been a modest topic of discussion in some publications here in this country given that many boys seem ill-adapted to the ethos of contemporary primary and secondary education. Is it advisable to suggest that there is something pernicious about it, given that even in a country such as Malaysia contemporary manners require a strict standard of distance between unrelated men and women which might be frequently and inadvertantly violated in co-educational institutions? Should we be offering a critique of manners in foreign countries?


3. Beach tourism generates in excess of 75% of Egypt's tourism revenues; what are your views about alcoholic drinks, gambling, and casinos, and about women dressing as they choose?

Can the gentleman legitimately suggest that the tourist revenue is not worth the candle if it means degradation of standards of conduct in public places? By the way, my grandfather grew up in a dry county; up until 25 years ago gambling in this country was largely confined to race tracks and state lotteries and casinos were found only in Nevada; and to this day laws on indecent exposure remain on the books and generally respected, though they were more severe 60 years ago. Civilized societies have a body of regulation on morals and manners congruent with their understanding of basic social relations. Why suggest they lower theirs (or that we would benefit if they did?)?


8. What are your views on women occupying high governmental offices?

What percentage of people in any society can expect to occupy 'high governmental office'? Such a concession would have little practical effect on the lives of ordinary men and women unless it be one's suggestion that said women use their position atop public bureaucracies to engage in social engineering schemes. Is that prudent? Please note, no woman occupied a seat in the U.S. Congress until 1917, none occupied a Governor's chair until 1925, and none occupied a federal cabinet post until 1933. If Arab countries were as agreeably governed as the United States was in 1916, would this represent an improvement in their political order? Would further additions of women in high governmental councils in Arab countries benefit the United States?


10. Egypt's legal system since 1883 has been based on the Code Napoléon. Do you have plans to change it? Do you endorse physical punishments, such as are used in Saudi Arabia?

Anglo-American legal systems (bar that of Louisiana) have never been derivative of the Code Napoléon. Are they illegitimate? I believe corporal punishments were favored in Colonial America. Among their virtues, they are inexpensive and discrete in their effects. A writer for Chronicles magazine wrote an apologia for them some years ago citing just these properties. Can not our diplomats tolerate a pillory-and-stocks in Port Said? Would you rather be imprisoned for a year or birched?
Submitting....

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