In a recent landmark ruling, India's Supreme Court followed the lead of 22 Muslim countries -- including Pakistan and Bangladesh -- by outlawing the Islamic practice according to which a husband is able to divorce his wife instantly by uttering the word talaq (Arabic for "divorce") three times -- including by text or voice mail. The decision was not unanimous. A minority of the judges argued that banning "triple talaq" would be a violation of the Indian constitution, which protects religious freedom.
The verdict was the result of a petition filed by five Muslim women whose "triple talaq" divorces left them destitute, all because of undue powers bestowed upon their husbands by radical clerics. The verdict was an enormous relief to them, and other women like them across India. Its broader message, however, needs to serve as a road map. And a warning. In the West, the supposed dangers of multiculturalism are still regarded as more important than human rights.