A reader sent me a link to the Washington Post article on Hindutva last night, and along with it a link to a post on the subject at his blog. I’m always so pleased to find new allies.

To Mr. Malhotra: if you disagree with the arguments and methods of these scholars, debate them respectfully. If you feel they are ignorant of the subjects they study, by all means educate them. But leave your speculations about their personal sexuality out of it. And leave off referring to Professor Doniger as “Wendy.” This strange tendency of Malhotra’s (he keeps referring to “Wendy’s Child Syndrome”) almost begs us to “reverse psychoanalyze” him, specifically his weird obsession with western female scholars of Hinduism.

Indeed. It’s a familiar tactic. Very familiar – in fact haven’t we talked about it here at some point? We have. The waiting socialists – remember them? Their last vituperative explosion at me – I counted: they called me by my first name eight times. That’s a lot of times to mention someone’s name, and then there’s the first name aspect. Interesting. A week or two ago they had another one of their vituperative explosions, this one directed at Chris Bertram of Twisty Sticks, but oddly enough they never called him by his first name. It was either Chris Bertram or Bertram throughout, whereas I was ‘Ophelia’ over and over again. Why is that, I wonder. But I don’t wonder very much – because I think I can guess, and I think it’s the same reason Malhotra calls Wendy Doniger ‘Wendy.’ It’s an expression of contempt, an effort to demean and condescend and patronize, and it’s a tactic used on women far more often than it is on men. It seems to come kind of naturally to use it on women. At least, I don’t know why else people who claim the socialist and moral high ground would resort to it in such an unreflective way. I mention this not to rake up old nonsense but to point out a bad, stupid, retrograde, illegitimate bit of sexist behavior. People ought to stop doing that. And well done Amardeep Singh for pointing it out.

Dr Singh also says this in another post:

Also annoying are the attempts to culturalize rationality. These are particularly unhelpful when dealing with the Hindu right in India or radical Islam in the Arab world. It is not a sell-out to colonialism to claim that reason is universal.

As I said – new allies are a joy. And there is a new group of allies getting together in Geneva. Hurrah!

Women’s groups from Europe, North America, North Africa and the Middle East said they had founded an alliance to fight religious “fundamentalism”, both Islamic and Christian, and what they called its oppression of women…Habibeh Nafisi, leader of an organisation of Tunisian women living in France, said women in Moslem communities there were under increasing pressure to conform to strict rules laid down by male religious leaders, including wearing “Islamic dress”.This included the hijab headscarf, which France is banning in schools from the autumn of this year despite protests from hardline Moslem leaders and some women who say the move is a violation of their rights.

I wonder why this site feels compelled to put ‘fundamentalism’ in quotation marks though. Is it considered ‘offensive’ to use that word? Is there some doubt about what the word means, or whether the phenomenon it refers to exists? At any rate – there is also this interesting bit:

At a separate meeting, former Moslems who have abandoned the faith for other religions or for humanism, told journalists the world body had become “infused with political correctness” and could not openly discuss oppression in Islamic countries. The group, including prominent writer on Islamic issues Ibn Warraq, is campaigning for the UN to condemn the practice they say still exists in some Moslem countries of persecuting or executing “apostates” who renounce the faith.

We think of Ibn Warraq as a friend of B&W’s, since we had the privilege of publishing an article of his last year. I try to be modest and humble, but it does make me puff up a bit to be allied however remotely with the work Ibn Warraq is doing. Allies are wonderful.

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