Deep in the heart of darkest Eurasia, we witness the locals doing what they do best: arguing law.
«So why did this woman not leave a dangerous drug-addict husband who drained her money away? Because, she explained, she would have to leave her 12-year-old daughter behind with him. [...] so I asked the translator if they [the mother and her pals] thought it right and fair that this abusive father should keep the child. The translator looked at me nervously and whispered, "I don't think I can ask that."
"Because it is our Islamic law, in the Koran, that after the age of nine a daughter belongs to the father."
"But ask them if it is fair in this extreme case?"
Quietly the translator asked them, and they fell silent and gazed down at the carpet. No one spoke until Fahina, the battered wife, said softly, "It is the law", with tears falling down her face.
Once the shutter of religion falls, the rest is silence.»
«We are in desperate need of an Islamic Reformation that sweeps away the crazed conservatism and backwardness of the fundamentalists but, more than that, opens up the world of Islam to new ideas which are seen to be more advanced than what is currently on offer from the west.
This would necessitate a rigid separation of state and mosque; the dissolution of the clergy; the assertion by Muslim intellectuals of their right to interpret the texts that are the collective property of Islamic culture as a whole; the freedom to think freely and rationally and the freedom of imagination. Unless we move in this direction we will be doomed to reliving old battles and thinking not of a richer and humane future, but of how we can move from the present to the past.»
«The most common situation to come before the courts was where an unmarried girl had become pregnant. Claiming that she had been raped was not an option because it was believed that a woman had to have an orgasm to conceive, in which case the clear implication was that she had enjoyed being forced. Naming her long-term lover as the father was a risky business, because that would immediately trigger an investigation into whether or not the couple believed themselves to be officially engaged. Even if they both sang from the same hymn sheet before the court, the likely punishment was imprisonment for both.»
«It wasn't so long ago that Margaret Thatcher questioned the right of gay people to exist. Exulting in her third consecutive general election victory, she told the 1987 Conservative party conference: "Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay."»
Eurasia is funny.
I am tempted to rework an old dictum and say that the universe (or humanity) will end not with a bang, nor with a whimper, but instead with a protracted, bitter, and expensive lawsuit in some high court.
I have high hopes for a pharmacological solution.