Nussbaum is one of America’s leading liberal thinkers ... good for her, too. Wish I could be so liberal.
In Europe, there is obviously a much greater need for her message of tolerance. Yet one also wonders whether Nussbaum could have used a bit more sympathetic imagination in analyzing European anxieties about Muslim minorities. Yes, Anders Behring Breivik deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms. But so does Muhammad Bouyeri, the Muslim extremist who shot and stabbed the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh to death in 2004. And the Muslim terrorists who killed nearly 250 and injured 10 times as many in the Madrid and London bombings of 2004 and 2005. And Mohammed Merah, who just this past March executed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. Here we see an additional way in which America is exceptional: Its Muslim minority is considerably smaller and less radicalized by Islamic ideology than those living in many European countries, making tolerance considerably easier to practice.
Agree with that last sentiment.Nussbaum is right to insist that Europe’s democratic governments owe Muslim minorities tolerance and respect — and to hold up the United States as a model of how to fulfill this obligation. But her book could have used a more clearly presented, and strongly worded, statement of what, in return, these minorities owe to democracy.
I continue to struggle, and always will, with being forgiving, tolerant and respectful of any murderous religion, any religion with it's core mission statement being the killing of everyone else, and most often, each other.
Only politicians, diplomats and academics would ever try to convince me to be forgiving, tolerant and respectful of political regimes that murder men, women and children - just because they can - (a big howdy to China and Syria and Darfur, for starters!) - the rest of us see it for what it is and don't feel too many pangs of forgiveness or respect. For me, same with Islam. Same with any government or religion determined to keep their people in a barbarous dark age.