Banning the Burqa

In the latest installment of NYTimes’ The Stone, Martha Nussbaum proves to be largely correct

Proponents of the burqa ban do not propose to ban all these objectifying practices. Indeed, they often participate in them. (…) Once again, then, the opponents of the burqa are utterly inconsistent, betraying a fear of the different that is discriminatory and unworthy of a liberal democracy. The way to deal with sexism, in this case as in all, is by persuasion and example, not by removing liberty

Land of the Free reports this:

A woman who wore an Islamic head scarf to a local bank said she was turned away and singled out, and is a victim of discrimination.
Amal Hersi and her family moved to the U.S. from Somalia in search of freedom. Hersi said she’s had the freedom she’s wanted, up until last Saturday.
“I felt like a criminal. I felt humiliated. I fell ashamed,” said Hersi.
Hersi said she was waiting in line at the Navy Federal Credit Union in Mission Valley when she said she was stopped by an employee.
“So she goes, ‘Ma’am, could you follow me?’ And at that point I was like what did I do wrong?” said Hersi.
Hersi said the reason was because she wore a traditional Muslim scarf.

O Tempora, O Mores!

New study, somewhat interesting results:

Anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish feelings are rising in several major European countries, according to a worldwide survey released on Wednesday.

The Washington-based Pew Research Centre’s global attitude survey found 46 percent of Spanish, 36 percent of Poles and 34 percent of Russians view Jews unfavourably, while the same was true for 25 percent of Germans, and 20 percent of French. […]

The figures are all higher than in comparable Pew surveys done in recent years, the report said, and “in a number of countries the increase has been especially notable between 2006 and 2008.”

Opinions of Muslims are also dimming compared to previous years with 52 percent in Spain, 50 percent in Germany, 46 percent in Poland and 38 percent in France having negative attitudes toward them. […]

“There is a clear relationship between anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim attitudes,” the report said. “(Those) that view Jews unfavourably also tend to see Muslims in a negative light.”


Um, no (1)

Fêted writer Paul Verhaeghen writes

It’s just that the literature I care about sings in many tongues: It can be Brits with deep new roots in Japanese society, recovering Muslims investigating the human core at the heart of religion, women examining the true awfulness of masculinity, white Americans having a long hard look at our racism past and present, Jews writing about “passing”, Americans writing in French, Russians writing in English, or dying men turning back to stare unblinkingly into the void of life’s true evil.

Um, no. Since the books in question are David Mitchell Cloud Atlas, Salman Rushdie Satanic Verses, Donna Tartt The Secret History, Richard Powers The Time of our Singing, Philip Roth The Human Stain, Jonathan Littell Les Bienveillantes, Nabokov Pale Fire, Roberto Bolano 2666, the correct answer’s no, the “literature” you “care about” doesn’t really sing in many tongues, at least not in a nontrivial sense.
As far as that Rushdie phrase is concerned, that’s wrong on so many levels, I get bored just thinking about it. Dude, it’s almost like reading your novel.


In a recent post @ the “On Faith” panel at the Washington Post online, Eboo Patel starts off writing

Susan Sontag once wrote, “Whatever is happening, something else is always going on.” While newspaper headlines are dominated by stories of hatred and violence between Jews and Muslims, there is a quiet revolution taking place off the radar screen.

and continues

In the recent issue of Reform Judaism, the movement’s magazine, Yoffie writes: “The time has come to engage in dialogue with our Muslim neighbors and to educate ourselves about Islam.”

Professor Ingrid Mattson, the President of ISNA (an umbrella body for the millions of American Muslims) responded in kind by traveling to the URJ Convention and making these remarks:

“Muslims have instinctively turned to the example of Jews in America to understand how to deal with the challenges we face as religious minorities […].”

There are other Muslim-Jewish efforts afoot. […]
We might actually be at a tipping point on this seemingly impossible issue.

In Kölle Am Ring

Was für ein Saftladen. Nicht nur wendet sich zuerst die Kölner CDU gegen einen Ratsbeschluß, die Bevölkerungsmehrheit und die Vernunft, indem sie einen bereits beschlossenen und abgenickten Moscheebau behindert, jetzt gibt es ein ganz ähnliches Schmierentheater um das geplante jüdische Museum. Liza schreibt

Die Reaktionen auf den Siegerentwurf fielen durchweg positiv aus, auch bei den Stadtoberen. „Dankbar und froh“ war etwa Oberbürgermeister Fritz Schramma, dass „an dem historischen Platz, wie es ihn in dieser Konstellation nördlich der Alpen kein zweites Mal gibt“, eine Lösung gefunden wurde. Auch Kulturdezernent Georg Quander („mir fällt mit der Entscheidung ein Stein vom Herzen“) und Städtebaudezernent Bernd Streitberger („genial, eine fast poetische Architektur“) zeigten sich sehr zufrieden. Es schien, als seien alle Hürden überwunden, zumal der Förderverein zuversichtlich war, die Frage der Finanzierung – laut Schramma „eine schwierige Aufgabe, aber eine lösbare“ – schnell und erfolgreich zu klären. […]

Doch nur wenige Tage nach der Entscheidung wollten die politischen Verantwortungsträger Kölns plötzlich nichts mehr von ihrem ursprünglichen Urteil wissen. „Der Entwurf stellt einen Riesenkomplex dar, der so hoch ist wie das Rathaus“, klagte der Oberbürgermeister nun im Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.


Latest Craze

This was writ in the Independent

Islamophobia – defined in 1997 by the landmark report from the Runnymede Trust as ‘an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination’ – can be encountered in the best circles: among our most famous novelists, among newspaper columnists, and in the Church of England.

“Its appeal is wide-ranging. ‘I am an Islamophobe’, the Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee wrote in The Independent nearly 10 years ago. ‘Islamophobia?’ the Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle asks rhetorically in the title of a recent speech, ‘Count me in’. Imagine Liddle declaring: ‘Anti-Semitism? Count me in’, or Toynbee claiming she was ‘an anti-Semite and proud of it’.

“Anti-Semitism is recognised as an evil, noxious creed, and its adherents are barred from mainstream society and respectable organs of opinion. Not so Islamophobia. (via)

Yes, not all assumptions here are good, but following the online bile of some bigots I know makes me somewhat stop caring for smaller details.