Today, the resurrection of violent punishments defines much of Muslim culture in both Diaspora and Muslim majority communities. This revivalist extremism is a deliberate, modern product of 20th century Islamists.
As a Muslim it is very simple to argue theologically against the Islamists. Islam is nothing if not justice. Any injustice committed or pursued in the name of Islam is anathema to the believing Muslim and counter to the ideal which is Islam.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy has approved a law that "benefits" more or less 2,000 burqa-clad women, who were subjected to patriarchal oppression. Much to my surprise, the law is being rigidly enforced.
All eyes are on France this week, as their ban of Islamic veils went into effect on Monday. Extremists on opposite sides of this debate have engaged in a virtual tug-of-war, and Muslim women are the rope.
The burqa ban is really less about preserving women's freedom and more about the underlying discomfort that many in France have over the growth of Islam and the increasing assertion of Muslim identity in the public sphere.