I'm not sure this story is a good idea so soon after the Fitna flap that had Ace so exercised, but maybe this could act as a good test post. There is nothing wrong with objecting to unreasonable intrusions of religion in public life, and that's what, IMHO this is:
The white Islamic convert rolled out his prayer mat in the aisle and knelt on the floor facing Mecca. Passengers watched in amazement as he held out his palms towards the sky, bowed his head and began to chant. One guy whipped out his cell phone to videotape the special moment from outside the bus. The video can be viewed at The Sun Online.Perhaps they were being paranoid. But as one person said in the comment section: "You can't fault anyone for not wanting to get back on after the rucksack came out - the London bombings are still very much with the general public and it is a legitimate concern that we all have to live with. The world IS a much different place post 9-11/7-7."
"Eventually everyone started complaining. One woman said, `What the hell are you doing? I'm going to be late for work'."
After a few minutes the driver calmly got up, opened the doors and asked everyone back on board. But when the already unnerved passengers saw the driver's rucksack on the floor, they refused to get back on. "One chap said, `I'm not getting on there now'". "An elderly couple also looked really confused and worried.
"After seeing that no-one wanted to get on he drove off and we all waited until the next bus came about 20 minutes later. I was left totally stunned. It made me not want to get on a bus again."
Also, judging from the comments, people would very much like to see this bus driver "sacked". I totally agree.
An anti-civil-rights commission in Michigan
Post below lifted from Discriminations. See the original for links
The citizens of Michigan rose up in 2006 to protect their own civil rights by passing Proposition 2, prohibiting their state from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual based on race. They still, however, are in desperate need of protection from those appointed to watch over those rights, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, and even from those whose task is to watch over the watchers, the press.
First, some background. Several years ago, as discussed here, the Young Republican Club at Michigan's Grand Valley State University held a satirical but politically pointed bake sale to highlight the unfairness of racial preferences, offering cupcakes blacks and women at a lower price than they charged men. These "bake sales" were a popular form of protest against racial preferences on college campuses across the country, and they were often effective enough to elicit outrage and even outright repression.
The effect at Grand Valley State, however, was unusual, and a bit more extreme, since the protesters and their faculty advisor were complicit in the suppression of their rights. The Club's leaders resigned. As I wrote at the time, quoting an article that no longer seems to be available:
Paul Leidig, the club's faculty adviser, said "the club supported the idea of the bake sale as a satirical form of expression against affirmative action." But Leidig, who also is chairman of the Ottawa County Republican Party, said he did not know the students planned to use a racially biased price scale when he approved the event. "Had I known that, I would have not approved it," he said.With faculty advisors as clueless as Paul Leidig, who needs clueless administrators? But GVSU had the latter in droves, who proceeded to bring charges against the students for violating the school's anti-discrimination policy. The Republican Club, acting like many leaders of the state's Republican Party, apologized, groveled, and ultimately disbanded. As the Grand Rapids Press reminds us in an article today,
As a result of the controversy, Leidig said he advised the students to consider a leadership change to acknowledge they respect the fact people were offended by the bake sale.
Valley State University clamped down three years ago when a student group attempted to apply affirmative action principles to cupcake pricing. White men were charged $2; blacks and white women were charged 75 cents; Asians and Latinos were charged 50 cents and American Indians were charged a nickel.You might think that a state civil rights commission would have been on the case from the beginning, stepping in to protect the First Amendment rights of students to parody university behavior they find objectionable. If you did, you would have course been wrong. Well, half-wrong; the Michigan Civil Rights Commission remains alert and on the case, but on the wrong side.
Many potential customers complained the bake sale was just plain tasteless, and university officials put the College Republicans on probation for violating a policy requiring financial transactions be nondiscriminatory.
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission will meet Monday at GVSU's Allendale campus to take testimony about what can be done to create a learning environment that's amenable to all. "Free speech and hate speech can be difficult to balance," said Harold Core, the commission's spokesman.I have only two problems with this observation: 1) A "bake sale" parody (actually, it's more a direct reflection than a parody) is not "hate speech"; 2) GVSU didn't "balance" anything; it put students on probation for exercising their First Amendment rights, thus destroying their organization. And who is watching these watchers, holding them up to the ridicule they deserve? Not the Grand Rapids Press, whose reporter writes with a pseudo-profundity that echoes the emptiness at the core of the Civil Rights Commission:
The bottom line: One student's right to free speech often straddles another's right to live and learn on a hate-free campus. Sometimes it is not easy to separate what's acceptable and what's not.Perhaps eventually some fearless GVSU students will put on a parody of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, portraying it as actually supporting rather than opposing discrimination based on race.
Let's worry about Islamofascism
A comment from India
The resolution adopted by Muslim theologians representing the various schools of Islam at the All-India Anti-terrorism Conference organised by Darul Uloom, Deoband, 'denouncing' terrorism but condoning radical Islam's ghastly excesses, apart from remaining silent on Islamist terrorism in India which continues to extract a terrible price, is of a piece with the Observatory Report on Islamophobia released by the Organisation of Islamic Conference at its recent meeting in Dakar, Senegal. Both documents seek to justify manufactured Muslim rage and lay the blame for the resultant death and destruction at the doors of everybody else but Muslims.
It is ironical that Darul Uloom, Deoband, should have taken it upon itself to preach to others the virtues of tolerance - Deobandis are known for neither tolerating others or their faith nor allowing Muslims the freedom to subscribe to modernism and its attendant values. Indeed, Deobandi madarsas at home and abroad, especially in Pakistan, are known to breed Islamofascists whose dark thoughts and darker deeds generate Islamophobia against which the OIC has demanded an international law. Of course, Islamofascism must remain unrestrained and Islamofascists must be allowed the right to practice their ideology of hate. To contest this would amount to Islamophobia, and Islamophobes, as we have now been told, have no right to exist. So, like the proverbial lamb, we should meekly surrender to our slaughter. The least we can do is believe the bogus declaration issued by mullahs who gathered at Darul Uloom, Deoband.
Here's a confession: There was a time of innocence when I believed in the thesis that there is more than one Islam. There were those with whom you could swap ideas, share jokes and even the cup that cheers. A decade later, during which time I spent three years in Cairo and travelled more than once into the heart of Islam - well, almost, since non-Muslims are not allowed beyond Jeddah, the gateway to Mecca and Medina - I stand converted to the view that any talk of there being a moderate Islam or Islam as a religion of peace merely because of the salutation sa'laam is so much bunkum.
In any event, the ummah sees Islam as a religion that demands absolute submission, which is not really the same as a religion that is predicated on peace and equality. And although the Quran does not stress on compulsion, it does not overflow with kindness towards those who do not submit to god's will either. The best they can hope for is to be protected by a treaty (dhimmah), which in this day and age would mean unlimited appeasement, and the privileges of the dhimmi are purchased by paying jiziya apart from humiliating conditions of subservience, for instance communal budgeting and a 'Muslim first' policy, as is being done in our country.
The manufactured rage over Pope Benedictine's comments at a German university about how the Sword of Islam cleared the way for Islam's march beyond Arabia - he was quoting from an obscure Byzantine text - revived memories of the late Aurobindo Ghosh (he spent his last years waging an intellectual battle against Islamofascism from his perch in Texas) and his painstaking research to prove that Islam and peace never co-existed; that the sword of Islam is as much a reality today as it was in the distant past. In a sense, he was right, as much as the Byzantine text the Pope quoted is correct in pitilessly stating a fact that we tend to overlook in our zeal to draw distinctions between moderate and fanatical Islam to cover up for the crimes of the latter more than anything else.
Indeed, India's history records this fact in the most lurid colours. The mass slaughter of Hindu men and enslavement of Hindu women and children, the destruction of Hindu antiquities and temples (of which the best examples are Somnath, Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura), the brutal efforts to efface Hindu tradition and the rapacious means adopted to expand the frontiers of Islamic rule - Jadunath Sarkar and RC Majumdar have chronicled how Muslim invaders, and later those who sat on the masnad of Delhi, were relentlessly engaged in waging jihad against Hindus - are too well-known to require elaboration.
The bloodletting in Jammu & Kashmir, the ethnic cleansing of the Valley to lay the foundation of Nizam-e-Mustafa, the bombings in Mumbai and elsewhere, the persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh and Malaysia by preachers of fanatical Islam who have now come to dominate the centrestage of politics in those countries and the pathetic, craven approach of accommodation and concession adopted by the political class of India which was, and continues to be, reluctant to confront the truth, should fashion any honest critique of Islamism and highlight its fascist character. This is not about indulging in Islamophobia, which so agitates the OIC and its cheerleaders, but about coming to grips with the true dimensions of Islamofascism, which should be of over-riding concern for those who believe in freedom and cherish the values of modernism that collectively form the foundation of free and plural societies.
Yes, there will be strident criticism and staunch opposition to any attempt to expose Islamofascism for what it is. And the most strident criticism and the staunchest opposition will not come from the OIC and the mullahs of Darul Uloom, Deoband, but from those who wilfully ignore facts to foist fiction which encourages bigoted hate mongers to typecast those who are appalled by Islamofascism as Islamophobes. The protest will primarily come from two quarters:
The Lib-Left intelligentsia, which continues to labour under the self-perpetuating myth that all of Islam is a religion of peace and only an insignificant, fringe minority is to be blamed for distorting the great faith that was born in the sterile sands of Arabia; and,
The so-called moderate Muslims who till now have skilfully used doublespeak to position themselves as representatives of the ummah, more so in liberal democracies. Their status is now seriously threatened by those who have no hesitation in acknowledging the true nature of Islam both as a faith and a weapon of subjugation.
Those who believe in liberty and freedom of thought need not fear either. Being charged with Islamophobia is a small price to pay for securing our future.
Criticism and Islam
By AFSHIN ELLIAN (Mr. Ellian, who fled Iran in 1983, is a professor of legal philosophy at Leiden University in the Netherlands)
Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders put the 15-minute movie about the Quran on the Internet Thursday night. But for weeks before anyone saw it, the Dutch flag was burned around the Islamic world. Iran's undemocratically-elected parliament endorsed a boycott of the Netherlands, and Web sites linked to al Qaeda called for terrorist attacks. Americans may be accustomed to images of angry bearded men setting their flag alight. The Dutch aren't. In response, the government raised the national terrorist threat level to "substantial" while Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende distanced himself from the movie. Until the last moment, he urged Mr. Wilders not to show the film.
The message of "Fitna" is that the Quran is the living inspiration for jihadists. Without the Quran's violent passages, the film suggests, Islamic terrorism would not exist. Mr. Wilders shows verses from the Quran alongside hate speeches by imams and graphic images of Islamic terrorism -- from 9/11 to the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the London attack a year later. He uses footage from the video-taped beheading of a hostage by Islamic terrorists. He also shows the most famous of the Danish cartoons (the one with a bomb on Muhammad's head) that triggered demonstrations across the Muslim world two years ago.
The Western world long ago learned to criticize, even mock, religion. Think of such movies as "The Life of Brian" and "The Da Vinci Code" or more serious texts on Christianity by Nietzsche, whose famous phrase "God is Dead" is part of popular culture. Competition of ideas is fundamental to the Western way of life. The Islamic world isn't accustomed to such discussions.
As in other countries, the terrible attacks of 9/11 raised existential questions in the Netherlands that remain the subject of heated debate to this day. They paved the way for the political rise of Pim Fortuyn, a flamboyant, openly gay former university professor and writer. Fortuyn fulminated against the dark sides of political Islam -- terrorism, the subjugation of women and homosexuals, and anti-Semitism. His murder in 2002 by an extreme leftist was seen as an assault on Holland's democratic order.
That shock was compounded in 2004 when in Amsterdam, the capital of freedom and tolerance, a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent shot and nearly decapitated filmmaker Theo van Gogh. The murderer declared that Islam demanded of him to kill Van Gogh, who had made a short movie that criticized the mistreatment of women in Islam. After the murder, the filmmaker's collaborator, Somali-born parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, was put under 24-hour police protection.
When Ms. Hirsi Ali went to live in the U.S. in 2006, Geert Wilders picked up the baton. He takes a hard stance on Islamic terrorism and calls for a stop to immigration, at least until Dutch Muslims are better integrated. Some of his arguments are pure polemic. For instance, he says the Quran is a "fascist" book. Since it is illegal in the Netherlands to publish Hitler's "Mein Kampf," he argues, so it should be illegal to publish the Quran. One can have a debate about the Quran, but to ban the book altogether is ridiculous, and he knows it.
Yet his outrageous remarks have stirred a constructive discussion about the Quran and Islam in the Netherlands that is more vigorous than in any Western or, for that matter, Muslim country. And uncomfortable as they may be for Dutch Muslims, they help them view their religion in a more critical light. Notwithstanding the growing appeal of radical Islam, the political participation of moderate Muslims is on the rise, a positive sign of integration. For the first time in Dutch history, two Muslims are in the cabinet.
Dutch Muslims have so far reacted calmly to "Fitna." There have not been any demonstrations, peaceful or violent, in the Netherlands. Perhaps this is further evidence that the hard debate has helped Dutch Muslims to understand Western values.
The issue isn't really Mr. Wilders's movie, or whether it incites hatred, which I doubt. It's whether we are capable of defending our values against the intolerance of radical Muslims. Some people wanted "Fitna" banned before seeing it. That's disconcerting. Dutch law prohibits a priori censorship. A strand in Western society -- a combination of European nihilism, self-loathing and timidity -- favors appeasement. It is not the strength of our enemies but our weakness that might be our ruin.
Should "Fitna" lead to violence and protests against the Dutch, Europe will hopefully show more solidarity than it did with the Danes during the cartoon crisis. Any weakness in the resolve to defend our democratic legal order should be seen for what it is: Betrayal and cowardice.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.