Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The biology that feminists ignore

I really think feminism is a form of insanity.  It certainly ignores large slices of reality.  Almost any mother will tell you that her sons were boyish from the beginning and that her daughters were girly from the beginning.  So let me add a few little anecdotes to that effect:

A family I am close to have a 5-year old boy who has been boyish from the beginning.  At age 5 he loves building things.  And there is also a 2 year old girl in the family. I have just received an email from the mother concerned in which she said that her daughter "doesn’t have an ounce of ‘tom boy’ in her. I tried to dress her in a brown top yesterday and she cried until I took it off and replaced it with a pink one!"  LOL

I often have brunch in a coffee shop which is well attended by middle-class young mothers during the day. And I have always been a bit astounded by the almost totally invariant colours that the mothers put on their children.  In whole or in part, it almost always is pink for girls and blue for boys.  I often wondered at such a strong consensus but now I think I understand it.  It is at least in part what the kids themselves demand!  I remember that my son was quite choosy about his clothes when he was aged 2 or thereabouts.

And I know another family in which the mother IS a tomboy. She dresses in a way that feminists would applaud.  But to her great surprise, she found that she has a totally girly girl!  Now aged 5.  The little girl's genetic code completely swamped any example from her mother.  But her mother is a loving soul who buys her daughter plastic tiaras and lots of frilly things so there is no horrible feminism to upset the little girl.  She claims to be a "Princess" and we all just smile indulgently. 

A relative bought her from overseas a very girly dress -- all frills and gauze and bows -- the sort of thing you would normally see only in the Philippines these days.  But the little girl loved it and proclaimed it her favourite dress.

And it is relevant that the mother concerned has a fraternal twin sister who was a born Lady, very feminine from her earliest years.  The two girls grew up in the same environment but their genetics separated them starkly.  Being twins, they still get on well, however.

And I have mentioned before that a mother I know had 3 little boys in close succession who tended to play together.  She gave them boy toys -- trucks, trains, guns etc -- but one day was sufficiently influenced by feminist talk to see if her boys might like a doll.  So she gave them one.  In short order they ripped  its eyes out and tore its legs off -- and ignored it thereafter.  Normal boys do NOT like dolls!

I helped bring up a boy who one Christmas was delighted to get a "transformer" toy called Optimus Prime.  It could be changed either into a truck or a warrior.  Being a bit of a tease, I told him that his "warrior" toy was actually a doll. He was quite outraged and vehemently denied it!

And normal mothers don't harass their kids over their choice of toys.  The floods of tears are not worth it. In fact, some mothers are sufficiently impressed by the experience of having a totally boyish boy to become anti-feminists.  They become advocates for their sons in the face of feminist oppression at school and elsewhere -- JR.

There are now EIGHTY-FIVE Islamic courts dispensing 'justice' across the UK

Sitting in one room, a young Muslim woman tells an elderly cleric about the parlous state of her marriage to a 50-year-old man. ‘He oppressed me to the maximum,’ she declares. ‘He is violent, physically, and treats me like a dog.’

The woman — who looks barely out of her early 20s — describes her spouse as verbally and physically abusive about ‘every little thing’ she does.

When the husband’s around, he forces her to wear a headscarf. When he isn’t, which is often, he likes to travel to Tunisia, where she suspects he has secretly married several other women.

For all she knows, she adds, he might have accumulated as many as ten other wives. Fighting back tears, as she finishes this tale of betrayal, the woman glances to the cleric, who has a long white beard, and sits at a raised desk in front of a bookcase full of Islamic texts. Perhaps she’s hoping for a supportive smile, confirming she’s not at fault. Maybe she’s seeking reassurance that the man will hold her misogynistic, wife-beating husband to account.

Instead, the elderly cleric, whose name is Suhaib Hasan, starts laughing. ‘Why did you marry such a person?’ he chuckles.

Down the corridor, another vulnerable Muslim woman is telling a second elderly cleric about her ill-fated marriage. This woman, in her 30s, says that at 19 she was coerced by her family into marrying a Bangladeshi illegal immigrant (who duly gained British citizenship). They had two children, but the relationship foundered.

‘There was a lot of fighting. He threw stuff at me. He put me in debt,’ she says.

The husband, to whom she gave £38,000 during their time together, is now back in Bangladesh, where he’s taken a second wife. The woman has not seen him for four years, and therefore wants a divorce.

But the cleric won’t grant one. Instead, says a witness, he decides to ‘tell her about the “scientific biologic reasons for polygamy” ’.

Finally, the cleric, Maulana Abu Sayeed, makes an effort, in the words of the witness, to ‘persuade the woman towards acceptance of the marriage in polygamous form’.

This being the 21st century, the woman isn’t prepared to play ball. So she leaves unhappy.

Elsewhere, in the same building, a third hearing is taking place, presided over by a much younger cleric, Furqan Mahmood. In front of him sits a nervous-looking Muslim couple, who have several children.

They are, they explain, concerned that their marriage, conducted several years ago, might somehow be invalid. To blame is a technicality of Islamic law: the woman divorced her first husband in the UK courts, but failed to also obtain a religious divorce, or Talaq.

So the couple are worried this inadvertent breach of Muslim custom could, on paper, mean that she is living as an adulteress.

The cleric certainly seems deeply concerned. ‘It is going to be a difficult case,’ Mahmood, who wears long white robes, tells the couple. ‘We are going to ask our scholars to give you the answers.’

One potential way to adhere to the letter of Islamic law, he later explains, would be for the couple to undergo a process called Nikah Halala. This would begin with them divorcing, a step that would allow a cleric to legally declare the woman’s first marriage over.

Then, before re-marrying her second husband, the woman would be required to have a temporary marriage, to a third man.

‘She will need to have sex first [with the third man], divorce him, [and] wait three menstrual periods,’ reports a witness to the hearing. ‘Then she can return to the father of her children.’

This medieval-sounding procedure apparently derives from a passage in the Koran that stipulates it’s ‘not lawful’ for a divorced woman to sleep with her ex-husband ‘until after she marries a husband other than him’.

Quite understandably the prospect horrifies the couple.

After they leave, the witness asks Mahmood if there will be any ‘consequences’, should they decide against taking his advice.

‘What?’ he replies. ‘Do you think we are going to stone them to death, or something?’

This remark is, of course, a joke. However, the same does not apply to the other strange and at times deeply worrying events I have described so far.

They are, instead, among the very serious proceedings documented in a forthcoming book which claims to offer an unprecedented insight into the secret world of Britain’s so-called Sharia courts.

Written by Machteld Zee, a Dutch academic, the controversial, 200-page Choosing Sharia carries a detailed description of events that Zee claims took place over three days in 2013, when she was allowed to observe goings-on in two of Britain’s busiest Sharia courts, or councils.

Around 85 such tribunals, usually attached to mosques, are believed to operate in the UK, according to research by the think-tank Civitas.

They are designed to help religious Muslims settle financial, family and marital disputes according to the principles of their faith, as laid down in the 7th century.

To supporters, including many on the Left, such courts provide a unique and valuable service to the Muslim community by helping its members stay true to Sharia law, a legal system derived from the Koran and the rulings of Islamic scholars, known as fatwas.

In keeping with the principles of multiculturalism, critics of Sharia courts therefore almost invariably find themselves accused of Islamophobia.

That hasn’t silenced them, however. Indeed, recent years have seen growing concerns that Britain’s Sharia courts are fostering extremism, undermining human rights and creating a parallel justice system whose basic principles conflict with the law of the land. To this end, Home Secretary Theresa May recently promised a review of Sharia courts to ensure they support ‘British values’.

And last Thursday, a coalition of 150 women’s rights groups and campaigners presented a petition to David Cameron urging the Government to ban them from hearing divorce and other family cases on the grounds they are ‘denying vulnerable women and children access to equality and human rights’.

Last week, meanwhile, a House of Lords committee considered a Bill by Baroness Cox, a crossbench peer, that would force Sharia courts to ensure their rulings are compatible with the Equality Act. It would, among other things, prevent them from stipulating that men can be preferred over women in inheritance and property disputes.

Against this feverish backdrop, Machteld Zee’s book, which is based on her PhD thesis and will be published in January, makes explosive reading.

The 31-year-old academic, who describes herself as an atheist, was permitted to observe hearings at the Islamic Sharia Council (ISC), the country’s busiest Sharia court, based in a converted corner shop in Leyton, East London. The experience — one of the most detailed academic studies of Sharia courts ever printed — led her to conclude they are condemning Muslim women to ‘marital captivity’ and failing to properly protect victims of domestic violence.

‘In a toxic mix of religious fundamentalism, culture and tight-knit communities, Sharia councils uphold the theory and practice of the stronghold men have over women,’ she wrote.

During one controversial ISC case, for example, she says a qadi, or judge, refused to intervene even though a woman said her husband was effectively blackmailing her by denying her a divorce unless she gave him £10,000.

In another, she claims that she observed a male judge dealing with an abusive husband. The man was not referred to the police, but instead told to put things right by swearing on the Koran not to mistreat his wife any more.

During a third hearing, Zee saw a judge declare that divorces granted in British courts are worthless to proper Muslims. ‘A secular judge does not do religious divorces,’ she quotes him saying. ‘Can a kaffir [non-Muslim] come in and judge Islamic matters?’

Zee says the vast majority of the cases involved women seeking to divorce absent husbands, due to the fact that under Islamic law, men only need to say ‘I divorce you’ three times to separate from their wives — while women need the sanction of clerics, whom they must pay for the privilege.

‘Sharia councils exist so that Islamic fundamentalists can promote their ideology whilst at the same time making money by letting women buy their freedom,’ she observes.

In minority communities, Zee argues, Muslim women feel heavy cultural pressures to settle personal and family disputes via Islamic rather than normal courts. And, almost invariably appearing before male judges, they often disadvantage themselves in the process.

For example, the first ruling made in 2008 by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal in Nuneaton (Britain’s first Sharia court whose judgments complied with the Arbitration Act, making them legally binding) involved an inheritance dispute between three sisters and two brothers.

The tribunal found, in accordance with standard Sharia principles, the male heirs should be given twice as much money as the women.

Despite her critique of what she regards as institutional misogyny, Zee describes the judges in Leyton as ‘very friendly’.

‘The problem is not that they were mean, but that the foundation of their justice acts in a system of Sharia Islamic law, in which the principle focus is making women dependent on their husbands and clerics,’ she says.

According to Zee: ‘One judge said: “Under Islam, we should reconcile marriages even if there is violence.” They don’t care. It was shocking: they would have you cling to a marriage.’

It should, at this stage, be stressed that the Islamic Sharia Council takes issue with many of Zee’s conclusions, and says it vigorously disputes her version of events with regard to several of the cases she witnessed. A representative denied that the ISC condones domestic violence, and said allegations that its judges favour men are ‘absolute rubbish’. She added that it intends to file a formal complaint with the University of Leiden, where Zee works, calling for her PhD to be withdrawn in light of ‘serious factual inaccuracies’ in her account.

It’s impossible to say with 100 per cent certainty who is right, however, because the ISC (whose hearings are usually held behind closed doors) forbade the academic from recording her visit. Zee’s account is instead based on detailed written notes. Yet even without her testimony, an extended look at some of the senior figures behind the ISC does raise a host of unsettling questions.

Dig into its annual reports, for example, and you’ll find that a troubling proportion of the organisation’s most senior male clerics — many of whom sit on its small board of trustees — have, over the years, appeared to support and promote Islamic fundamentalism. One has even expressed a desire to turn Britain into a Sharia state and impose Islamic law on all its citizens.


Goodbye Christianity, hello multicultural wasteland...

By Peter Hitchens

If you want to wreck the country, get some grandiose people to sit on a panel. Make sure you don’t choose anyone who disagrees with your aim. Then write a pamphlet demanding the destruction of something good, and call it a ‘report’.

And most of the media, especially the BBC, will oblige by treating your propaganda as if it is some sort of impartial study.

The latest example is from the self-proclaimed ‘Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life’, whose demands were published last week, masquerading as the conclusions of a balanced study.

Would you believe they want to make state schools even less Christian than they already are – accusing our many excellent Church schools of being ‘socially divisive’ and of promoting ‘segregation’ – and to revise the Coronation and services of remembrance to make them more inclusive?

Of course, there are luminaries of the poor, bewildered Church of England among this report’s ‘patrons’ and on its ‘steering group’. Its chairwoman is a jolly nice church-going baroness. But what purpose do they serve in such things? They do not necessarily stand for the established order, even if they belong to it.

This may be a clue: among those who paid for this ‘commission’ were the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which until recently funded the rather militant Islamic rights group CAGE (about as far from a vicarage tea party as you can get) and the Open Society Foundations, backed by the ultra-liberal billionaire George Soros, a keen supporter of relaxing the drug laws.

Now, these modernisers have a point of view. I have a lot of time for atheists, humanists and members of other religions from my own. At least they’re interested in what seems to me, more and more, to be the most important question we face – what sort of universe is this? (Full disclosure: I am an old-fashioned Broad Church Anglican, 1662 Prayer Book, King James Bible and all.) But the idea that we should carry on adapting Britain and England to ideas and religions from elsewhere seems to me to be a mistake.

All we have and are is based on the Christian faith, which has shaped law, government, morals, music, landscape and education here for a thousand years. Abandon it, and what holds up the trust which keeps us from chaos?

I accept that Christianity is dying fast in this country. I know that many schools teach religion badly, if at all, and that ignorance is everywhere. But there is more than one response to this. You could say, as this ‘report’ does, that we should accept that this isn’t a Christian country any more, and adapt it to become a sort of religious salad of all faiths and none.

You could give up trying to teach Christianity as a living faith, and instead get children to study it as a quaint, eccentric curiosity. Or – and the weeks around Christmas are a good time to say this – we could say that we still have a chance to rebuild and restore what has been lost.

Why do we so lack the confidence to do this, and readily abandon a heritage of such power and beauty, which has brought us so much good, for a multicultural wasteland in which a dozen competing faiths squabble in the ruins, and everyone else bows to the neon gods of consumerism?

Perhaps there is a multibillionaire out there somewhere who would fund a ‘commission’ that would be pretty much bound to come up with such a conclusion (I could pick the members). We could call the resulting propaganda a report. Then everyone would have to take it seriously.


A politically correct Santa

Once upon a time, life was simple for a shopping mall Santa Claus. For a small fee, he’d growl ‘ho, ho, ho’, lift a child on to his knee, listen patiently to their requests, and send them on their way with a small gift.

But in today’s politically correct world, Father Christmas must safely negotiate the minefield of modern manners – and that is where School4Santas comes in.

Tim Connaghan spotted a gap in the market and set up the world’s first Santa school to help colleagues avoid the pitfalls. Connaghan has become the go-to St Nick in Hollywood, hired by celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Jamie Lee Curtis and Paris Hilton for private parties.

The 67-year-old, who sports a snowy beard and flowing silver mane, has used his 17 years’ experience as a professional Santa to train more than 3,200 others on grotto etiquette.

‘The days of hoisting a kid on to your knee and giving them sweets is long gone,’ says Tim. ‘It’s a very PC world and even Santa has to follow the rules. Bringing festive cheer has turned into a science.’

The ‘golden rule’ is that parents are in charge: ‘I would never touch a child first. I allow the parents to hand the child to me and place them on my knee. That avoids any accidental touching. Your hands must be visible at all times.’

Once the child is in place, the questions they pose can be a minefield: ‘I’ve had kids ask me if I can bring Mummy and Daddy back together again or cure Grandma’s cancer. You must always acknowledge what the child says and respond. I’ll say something like, “Santa only does gifts but I’m sorry to hear about that. Just remember, Mummy and Daddy both love you.” ’

Santa no longer stocks sweets in his big red sack: ‘One Santa was sued after a child stabbed the top of his mouth with a candy cane. I hand out small toys, trading cards, coins, books. Candy rots teeth and causes hyperactive children.’

This year’s most requested gift is a hoverboard, and Tim adds: ‘Children ask for pets too. I have to explain that pets don’t fly well on Santa’s sleigh.’

He carries a Santa survival kit including wet wipes, a hand sanitiser, breath mints and a spare red suit (‘I’m always getting peed on’), and says he never breaks out of character: ‘You have a moral responsibility to uphold Santa’s values. You can’t be caught boozing, smoking or doing anything un-Santalike. You can’t be naughty.’

He even politely declined a request by former world boxing champion Oscar de la Hoya to pose with a ‘fists up’ stance. ‘Santa’s a pacifist,’ he says.

Tim reveals that being a professional Santa can be a lucrative business – some can earn up to £10,000 a day: ‘Most Santas work only seasonally but I also shoot adverts and catalogues in June.’

He first donned the famous red suit to entertain fellow troops in Vietnam, and started School4Santas after retiring from his radio marketing job. The school runs every summer at venues across the US.

So does he ever get fed up of hearing White Christmas? ‘I love my job,’ he replies. ‘You never get tired of the joy Santa brings. And if you don’t like Christmas music, you’re in the wrong job.’



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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