While discussing evolution in Muslim countries, Salman Hameed touches on a favourite topic of mine, and rightfully notes that separating the ‘belief’ from the ‘believer’ (a neat distinction often used by liberals) is not always possible:
There is no easy option or solution here. The liberal democratic state clearly has to violate its own guarantee to protect ‘freedom of religion’ where that freedom crosses certain limits (e.g. physical harm to the body). This requires either the state to consider what constitutes ‘true’ religion (e.g. are certain forms of dress or physical symbols compulsory acts of faith or mere ‘extras’?), or for believers to adapt their definition of their own ‘religion’ (the most obvious example I can think of is the aversion to FGM many Western Muslims now have, something fairly non-controversial in Muslim societies in the past*).
What do you think?
*And yes, it seems women’s bodies are always the target of these ‘debates’. Though that may be changing.