I may be wrong, but my sense is that the majority of Westerners have little problem with what we might call “ornamental” observances — the headscarf, the Bindi, the yarmulke, the turban. Purely personal practices such as abstinence from sex and alcohol will likewise be minimally controversial.
That’s generally correct. There are assholes everywhere, but generally speaking, these sorts of affectations don’t attract a lot of attention.
However, the question of equality and indoctrination becomes more uncomfortable when there is a sense that a practice interferes with a person’s quality of living. The burqa, the practice of footbinding, any requirement that alters behaviour in unequal ways — such as women always walking behind a man, to not speak without the permission of a man, or to not be in public without the company of a male relative. These are harder to ignore.
Sure. A lot of these, though, are cultural practices that over time have been attached to religion to give them more creedence.
A lot of this comes down from “religious leaders” it should be said. There was a cleric in Afghanistan who said that the one of the two things that most threatened Islam in the modern world was discounted airfares. :-) Why? Well, he didn’t say……but obviously, if you can travel freely, you have more freedom than he thought people should have. :-)
Can’t get overly agitated about these guys. They’ll die and fossilize soon enough.