Tuesday, January 03, 2012
We won't eat halal meat, say MPs and peers who reject demands to serve it at Westminster
The Palace of Westminster has rejected demands to serve halal meat in its restaurants.
Muslim MPs and peers have been told they cannot have meat slaughtered in line with Islamic tradition because the method – slitting an animal’s throat without first stunning it – is offensive to many of their non-Muslim colleagues.
The stance has infuriated some parliamentarians who have eaten meat in the Palace’s 23 restaurants and cafes, having been assured that it was halal. Lord Ahmed of Rotherham said: ‘I did feel misled. I think a halal option should be made available.’
In 2010, The Mail on Sunday revealed schools, hospitals and restaurants were serving halal meat to unwitting customers.
Alison Ruoff, a member of the Church of England, said: ‘It’s a bit hypocritical that the Houses of Parliament, which have allowed other people to provide halal food, have ruled it out on their own premises.’
Spokesmen for the House of Lords and the House of Commons confirmed that halal meat was not served in their restaurants.
The Nauseating Moral Cowardice of the Liberal-Left Trenderati
The left laugh heartily at jokes ridiculing Christianity, but if they can savage one religion, why do they lose their sense of humor when it comes to one particular faith?
Did you hear the song Aussie comic Tim Minchin wrote savagely satirising Islam for Channel 4's Eid special? No, I didn't either. It didn't happen and it never would happen: first because no broadcast station in its right mind would ever allow it; second because I don't believe that Minchin would be stupid enough to write it.
And I'm not calling Minchin out for physical cowardice on this issue. From the Danish cartoons to the Paris bombing, we've seen far too many cases of artists testing the right to free speech – only to find that where certain religions are concerned, such matters are strictly verboten. But what I am definitely accusing him of is hypocrisy and moral cowardice, as regards the banned song he wrote for a Jonathan Ross Christmas special likening Jesus to a blood-drinking zombie.
Personally, I'm sorry we didn't get to hear the song. As one of those typical, laissez-faire, occasional churchgoing C of E types, I have no problem with having my religion being satirised. Also, the points he apparently made in it sound not just funny but also quite astute: yes, there definitely is something very weird about the New Testament story.
In the performance Minchin likened the resurrection of Jesus to the 1978 horror film 'Dawn of the Dead', singing: "Try that these days you'd be in trouble, geeks would try to smack you with a shovel."
"Jesus lives forever, which is pretty odd, but not as odd as his fetish for drinking blood," he sang while playing the piano before a studio audience and fellow guests including Tom Cruise and the cast of Downton Abbey.
In a reference to the Christian doctrine of the virgin birth, Minchin sang: "Jesus' mother gave birth to him without having sex with a dude, no she would never be that rude, never even been nude with a dude."
When I Tweeted this morning in response to this "Really looking forward to hearing Tim Minchin's fearless comedy song about Mohammed", some members of his fan club – including the ephebically pouty-smile-tastic Prof Brian Cox, no less – Tweeted back that he had written a funny song sending up Islam called "Ten Foot C*** And A Few Hundred Virgins."
Actually, though, when you examine the lyrics, you realise that the title is about as daring as it gets. Nor is it directed specifically at Islam. It's an equal-opportunities offence number, which also has a dig at Christianity, rapture-based cults and religion generally. Sure, it's brave even to broach Islam at all. But no way does it criticise Mohammed – or indeed, even mention him – with the same unbridled satirical glee Minchin deploys on Jesus (above) and has done in the past on the Pope. Had he done so, he'd be needing a bodyguard this Christmas.
Again, let me stress, this isn't a plea to Minchin to acquire set of cojones and commit suicide through the medium of satire. I wouldn't write a rude song about Islam if you paid me a million quid. Or even ten million. But what I equally wouldn't do is compromise my integrity by laying heavily into one soft-target religion while treating a rival one, far more ripe for satire, with kid gloves. To do so would, I think, make me look a hypocrite and a fraud.
But hey, why single out Minchin? The problem I describe is absolutely endemic among the liberal left trenderati. You find it with the 'comics' on Radio 4's beyond-dismal The Now Show; with the team that fronts the even-more-beyond-dismal-if-that's-possible-but-yes-it-is-it-really-is 10 O'Clock Live; with the creators of the daringly satirical Jerry Springer: the Opera; with that rag-bag of Paul-Nurse-worshipping, Establishment lickspittles who call themselves "Skeptics" – the Ben Goldacres; the Simon Singhs; the Brian Coxes; the that-comic-who-does-those-science-shows-saying-how-true-man-made-global-warming-is-whose-name-I-keep-forgetting; and the rest…
Sorry. I know it's the season of goodwill to all men and stuff, but really: have these faux-edgy lightweights ever actually stood up for any cause in their lives which requires an ounce of moral and intellectual courage or originality of insight? I don't mean showing solidarity with Palestine or boldly declaring how fraudulent they find homeopathy or saying how ridiculous they find Christianity or being rude about Tories or supporting student protests or any of that predictable, career-safe, spray-on-credibility tedium. I mean actually, for once in their lives doing something that puts them out on a limb, that doesn't tick all the usual green-left-liberal trendy boxes,that runs the risk of them never getting invited back as one of the resident lefty chortlemeisters on Radio 4's News Quiz? Course not. For all their pretence at out-there dangerousness, these guys are as safe and cosy and establishment as you could get. Truly, they are the veritable IKEA, the World Of Leather, the Mister Byrite of popular culture. I'm sure it pays the rent – but at what cost to their shrivelled souls?
Maldives Closes Hundreds of Resort Spas After Muslims Complain of ‘Anti-Islamic’ Activities -- Activities also known as spas
Too bad about their tourist industry, I guess
Maldives ordered hundreds of its luxury resorts to close their spas nearly a week after a protest led by opposition parties demanding a halt to “anti-Islamic” activities, the government said Friday.
A statement from the president’s office said “the government has decided to close massage parlors and spas in the Maldives, following an opposition-led religious protest last week calling for their closure.”
An official from the president‘s office said the tourism ministry notified the resorts Thursday but hasn’t confirmed if the spas have been closed. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
The Indian Ocean archipelago with 1,192 tiny coral islands is known for its exquisite resorts.
Thousands at last week’s protest called on the government to halt what they called “anti-Islamic” activities. Sunni Islam is the official religion in the Maldives and practicing any other faith is forbidden.
Last week’s protest was called by the opposition Adhaalat, or Justice, Party and several other groups that accuse President Mohammed Nasheed’s government of compromising principles of Islam and want strict Islamic law.
The protesters also want authorities to stop the sale of alcohol in the islands, shut down brothels operating in the guise of massage parlors and demolish monuments gifted by other countries marking a South Asian summit last month because they see them as idols.
They also wanted to halt a plan to allow direct flights to Israel.
Though the country does not allow stoning or executions, it is under scrutiny for its absence of religious freedom and for punishments such as public flogging.
Debates on religious issues have emerged since a group vandalized a monument gifted by Pakistan marking a South Asian summit last month with the image of Buddha. Buddhism was part of the present Islamic republic’s history.
An angry protest last month followed a call by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay for the Maldives to end floggings of women being punished for adultery.
Political Correctness - Our Titanic
Pandering will sink us, will weaken our foundations and our unique culture; a culture of tolerance yet of logic, of equality but also of independence.
It is our behavior (and not our thoughts) that should be the real issue. How we treat each other, whether we abuse or respect each other, whether we acknowledge all people with equality and fairness. That is the American way.
It is not the American way to become more like Saudi Arabia or Iran. There they have public dress codes, Shariah law and other niceties like stonings, beheadings and honor killings. Ours is a modern society based on humanistic behavior, on accommodating the individual - not serving the Sheik, the Imam, the police or local thugs.
Here we protect and nurture the individual, not subvert our freedoms in the service of the "greater good" as defined by Allah's unblemished representatives here on earth, or by a dictator's goons, as the case may be.
When the Irish, the Jews, the Indians and the Hindus applied for jobs, they chose their workplace and accommodated to the rules accordingly. When was the last time a Hasidic Jew with full length black coat and fur hat demonstrated outside Miami City Hall for the right to wear their preferred dress in any job of their choosing? When did Hindus demand new cafeterias to accommodate their dietary needs? When did Mormons require separate prayer facilities or Buddhists their temples? What of vegetarians, anorexics, Rastafarians?
Now Disney must accommodate the Hijab. And what if these Hijabs morph into the Taliban style Burkas? Why do the needs of the wearer, to hide all but the eyes, trump the sensitivities of the paying public, the understandable focus of the employer? Why does the Islamic disdain of certain Minnesota taxis for dogs and alcohol take precedence over the cab rider's normal and standard needs? Why install at our universities footbaths, Shariah compliant toilets, Hallal cafeterias and private prayer areas for a vociferous minority when every other minority (and there are many indeed) managed for decades in peace and mutual tolerance without demonstrations or violence? How many businesses can afford 5 prayer breaks a day? The religious Jew prays comfortably before and after work. Christians, Bahai, Buddist and the majority of Muslims meld rather than seek to dominate or separate?
I suspect the difference is either insecure or exaggerated victimization or possibly an imperialistic belief in religious and cultural domination. The truth is that whether a Muslim is a radical fanatic or merely strongly Shariah compliant and traditionally observant, many committed Muslims today would prefer Sharia law to have a stronger role in our laws, our mores and our social structures. They would prefer Islam to become the dominant or the sole World religion, for the Muslim Caliphate to once again reign supreme. They believe, as their dominant version of the Koran is clearly interpreted across the Muslim world, that their God is the only God, that their way is the only way and that domination is their right and their goal, whether by creeping Shariah, by internal change of their adopted country or by violent Jihadism.
This is not personal conjecture - this is the current predominant Wahabi view as exported by much of the mosques and madrassas worldwide, courtesy of our Saudi friends who have spent more than 2 billion dollars annually on their outreach program. Ahmadinejad's version of his own Shia caliphate (world domination) is not difficult to discern. This essential difference of our time is not well understood by the West. In the past, various cultures and religious expressions were happy to share the world with all others, a certain "live and let live" tolerance, where multiple paths lead to God, many lifestyles to happiness. Just honor my boundaries and I will in turn honor yours. No longer.
The new imperialism is no longer British riflemen marching into the Punjab, or Catholic missionaries and Spain's armies devastating the Indians of the South and Central Americas. No, the new imperialism is as insidious as it is subtle. It uses our laws, our freedoms, our delicate tolerances and passionate fair play to open our societies to all, to endlessly accommodate all, even those who would subvert, dominate and abuse our world and all its largely moderate citizens.
We should draw a line in the sand and say, enough. Why allow our hard earned freedoms and unrivalled refinements to be subverted by the fundamentalisms of the 7th century Middle East? For those who love and respect our freedoms we welcome you, members of all faiths, all religions, all cultures - for those who wish to push us back into the Dark Ages, we invite you to return to those dozens of countries, those nonexistent democracies, that practice these inanities, that specialize in the subjugation of women, the subversion of the individual.
We have freedoms worth fighting for, worth preserving. And many, hopefully more with time, are prepared likewise to do so. We should be a beacon for all the unfree, the abused, the disenfranchised. We already have a surfeit of tolerance in the West - we need to ensure our privileges are preserved and then shared more freely, more visibly amongst all those countries where freedom remains just a distant mirage.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.