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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Danish intolerance


    by Sunny on 16th May, 2007 at 3:57 am    

    The concocted controversy over Palestinian-Danish politician, Asmaa Abdol-Hamid, shows how intolerant the Danish have become over religious observance. From today’s Guardian:

    The 25-year-old social worker, student and town councillor describes herself as a feminist, a democrat, and a socialist. She has gay friends, opposes the death penalty, supports abortion rights, and could not care less what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. In short, a tolerant Scandinavian and European. She is also a Palestinian and a devout Muslim who insists on wearing a headscarf, who refuses, on religious grounds, to shake hands with males, and who is bidding fair to be the first Muslim woman ever to enter the Folketing, the Danish parliament in Copenhagen.

    “This goes far beyond the extreme right,” says Toger Seidenfaden, editor of the Politiken daily newspaper. “Asmaa is insisting on the right to be a religious Muslim and that’s provoking broad debate among the public.” The key issue is the headscarf and whether it can be accommodated in parliament. This month Ms Abdol-Hamid gained the candidacy for a safe Copenhagen seat for the leftwing Unity List.

    “Some Muslims don’t think it’s right for a female to act like this. They go to my father and tell him, get her married, get her married,” she laughs. “Others think you can’t be Muslim and Danish at the same time. Some of the Muslims and the extreme right are just the same.”

    Insisting on the right to be religious and a politician, well ain’t that scary. The Danish establishment seems to have forgotten the basic ideals behind liberalism and tolerance.



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    325 Comments below   |  

    1. Rob — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:48 am  

      You mean Danish, right? (feel free to delete this comment after you’ve corrected the post!)

    2. Chairwoman — on 16th May, 2007 at 8:57 am  

      Beat me to it!

    3. DavidMWW — on 16th May, 2007 at 9:29 am  

      The headscarf is a harmless affectation and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be accommodated in the Danish parliament. Refusing to shake hands with a man, however, strikes me as not just irrational but rude.

      What is the thinking behind it? Something to do with lust?

    4. soru — on 16th May, 2007 at 10:00 am  

      The mistake is significant: unlike the Netherlands, Denmark was never much of an imperial nation, so never really had or felt the need to negotiate a compromise between the ways of different cultures.

    5. steve — on 16th May, 2007 at 10:20 am  

      No, the problem is she is mixing her personal faith with public life.

      What should happen is all politicuians should agree to seperate religion from state and not allow personal faith to impinge on public decisions.

    6. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 10:34 am  

      yes not very tolerant.

      {but then neither is refusing to shake people’s hands. that’s a bit silly whichever way you look at it if you view yourself as a professional human being as opposed to a walking sex object. and dumb from a female empowerment point of view. }

    7. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 10:34 am  

      i mean that refusing to shake people’s hands sounds intolerant to me.

    8. Unity — on 16th May, 2007 at 10:35 am  

      Steve:

      In what sense is wearing a headscarf an example of personal faith impinging on public decisions?

      Would we even be debating this were the story about a politician who decided to wear a had to cover their bald patch?

    9. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 10:44 am  

      Yes, I was quite struck - during the Church of Scientology fracas on Panorama - when their spokesman deliberately witheld his hand.

      Defining debate by body gesture, including deliberate witholding of the equality that a handshake implies, or standing too close to someone, is as much about dominating the terms of the discourse as it actually is about the discourse itself.

    10. Rumbold — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:13 am  

      The Dutch have always been a curious people, torn between the liberal republicanism of its merchants in cities like Amsterdam (who lent money to the Spanish even while at war with them), and the harsh Calvinist outlook of the majority of those who lived in the countryside. In the golden age of the Dutch Republic, great strides made in the humanities, arts and sciences sat side by side with horrific state-sanctioned torture.

    11. steve — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:14 am  

      The problem is that she is described as a muslim first. Why on earth we take seriously anyone from any religion who considers themselves a “religion” before a person is beyond belief.

      The big issue is that she wants her religion to be at the forefront of her politics. Not on, in any way shape or form. And I would say this about a jew or a hindu or a christian or even a satanist.

    12. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:21 am  

      Rumbold,

      They are indeed, a strange, shapeshifting race who took over Denmark without a shot being fired, or anyone even noticing.

    13. Rumbold — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:22 am  

      Oh, er.. please delete #10. I read it too fast.

    14. Rumbold — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:24 am  

      Thanks Douglas Clark. I deserve that.

    15. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:33 am  

      Rumbold,

      Err no, you didn’t. I should have stuck one of these on at the end, ;-)

      Young Mr Hundal will have some explaining to do later, I think. Still, he did post it at 3:57am.

    16. Chairwoman — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:37 am  

      I assume young Mr H is still abed

      (Perhaps under the duvet is the best place to be after one’s confused Denmark with Holland)

      :-)

    17. Rumbold — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:38 am  

      I knew you were joking, but I still deserved that and more. Mon dieu.

    18. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:42 am  

      It is not that long ago that most ‘repectable’ women in the UK wore a hat or headscarf when they ‘went out’. If you look at her picture, it’s really no big deal. What might be a big deal is if someone stood for election with full face covering. That would be pushing it.

    19. ally — on 16th May, 2007 at 12:15 pm  

      Those North Europeans all look the same to me too.

      Anyway, it shocks me that some otherwise sane people seem to think excluding this woman from politics because she wears a scarf and declines to shake hands is in any way acceptable or reasonable.

      Doubtless they are the same people who bemoan the fact that Muslim women are inherently oppressed and never take initiative to involve themselves in society.

      Then when one does, they say ‘ah yes, but she’s probably just an Islamist stooge who wants to introduce Sharia law and behead everyone.’

      Then they learn that she’s a progressive liberal and they say ‘ah yes, but she wears a scarf on her head and doesn’t shake hands.’

      It would be much simpler if they could just cut to the chase and say, ‘look, we hate Muslims and don’t want them in Parliament.’

    20. ZinZin — on 16th May, 2007 at 12:36 pm  

      Refuses to shake hands with males?

      Unacceptable. Shame she had all the right credentials.
      As for the headscarf its not a religious requirement, muslim women are told to dress modestly the hijab is not necessary.

      Is it Islamophobia or just a clsh between secular and religious values?

      Posting at 3.57am go to bed Hundal.

    21. soru — on 16th May, 2007 at 12:45 pm  

      Kind of losing track of who is being sarcastic here…

    22. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 12:47 pm  

      “It is not that long ago that most ‘repectable’ women in the UK wore a hat or headscarf when they ‘went out’. If you look at her picture, it’s really no big deal. What might be a big deal is if someone stood for election with full face covering. That would be pushing it.”

      A very good point. Half the problem is that people don’t realise or forget how things have changed and how quickly they change.

      Even if she stood with her face covered, in the end she will win or lose courtesy of the electorate.

      On a general note, the discussion regarding the headscarf, and the handshake is pointless.

      What is more frightening is how frigthened people are -and how easily they are made to fear (and hate). On all sides.

      In this particular case, lets not forget there is an election going on - and she is standing in a winnable. Just look at the shenanigans of our own senior politicians when it comes to elections.

      Recall how Mandelson masterminded a smear against the Lib-Dems in a by-election (pre-1997) simply because the Lib-Dems had suggested there should be a Royal Commission on drugs.

      I believe the line he took was that Lib-Dems would legalise drugs (implying all drugs).

      On the basis of the above I would say there are genuinely intolerant people who haunt these boards - masquerading as progressives. You know who you are.

      Or maybe you don’t.

    23. ZinZin — on 16th May, 2007 at 12:53 pm  

      On the basis of the above I would say there are genuinely intolerant people who haunt these boards - masquerading as progressives. You know who you are.

      Or maybe you don’t.

      Refresh your going to have to name and shame.

    24. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 12:56 pm  

      No I couldn’t.

      That would be too much like Blair.

    25. sid — on 16th May, 2007 at 12:59 pm  

      I think you mean soru and sonia, don’t you Refresh? Come on now…

    26. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:01 pm  

      Not telling

    27. ZinZin — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:03 pm  

      Go on.

    28. sid — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

      Shall we all decamp to le Raj and throw forks at each other?

    29. ChrisC — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:07 pm  

      “On the basis of the above I would say there are genuinely intolerant people who haunt these boards - masquerading as progressives. You know who you are.”

      I don’t know about “haunting” but you can count me as an “intolerant progressive” if you mean intolerant of dangerous superstitions.

    30. Sunny — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:08 pm  

      Whoops! I’ve changed it from Dutch to Danish, my mistake.

      Steve: The problem is that she is described as a muslim first. Why on earth we take seriously anyone from any religion who considers themselves a “religion” before a person is beyond belief.

      Being religious is part of a person’s identity. As long as the person can do the job, it shouldn’t matter what they describe themselves as first. This is ludicrous thinking… like saying someone American can’t do a banking job here because they describe themselves as American than English. She is progressive, can do the job (by the looks of it), that is all that should matter. The electorate should judge her on that basis, not whether she shakes hands.

    31. ZinZin — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:11 pm  

      A progressive who refuses to shake hands with men. Thats a new one.

    32. Kismet Hardy — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:12 pm  

      I’ve always had something of a Hamlet complex, seeing as I look suspiciously like my uncle and my father’s ghost often tells me to stab him even though he’s still alive, and I do chuckle a lot over the fate that befell rosencratz and gilderstein, but yes, the danish. Anyhoo, if you’re ever crazy enough to go there and not smoke nepalese temple balls or drink enough to lob off your lobes a la van gogh, you know, just there to see the windmills or what have you, the whole place reveals itself to be a seedy, sordid place indeed instead of the scene from bladerunner we see it as. So there you have it. No point to make after all

    33. Kismet Hardy — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:14 pm  

      Ah, see I read Dutch. Hence the above. The danes have great dogs

    34. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:15 pm  

      Sunny,

      Line 2, Netherlands?

      Your friendy sub-ed :-)

    35. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

      Or,

      Your friendly sub-ed :-)

    36. DavidMWW — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:19 pm  

      Shaking hands is part of the job of being a politician. So the electorate should certainly take that into account when deciding whether or not to vote fore her. I personally would not vote for anyone who refused to shake my hand, especially if their reasons for such rude behaviour are irrational.

    37. bananabrain — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:26 pm  

      the issue is not about principle, but about degree. would it be OK if, say, it was the accepted way of saying hello in denmark to squeeze the other person’s bottom? we can all see how that might cross the line. if this lady doesn’t wish to shake hands or show people her hair i don’t see how it affects her ability to do the job. i feel differently about the niqab, of course, because that crosses the line and inhibits communication by hiding the face. i would say the same thing if someone wanted to go to parliament topless - it is not about principle, but degree.

      i find it nonsensical that people question which of one’s identities comes “first”. surely it depends on the situation? it is also a common fallacy of the enlightenment to consider religion a “private” matter, whereas citizenship is “public”. this may work very well for christianity, which is about invisible, intangible symbols and theology, but doesn’t work at all well for religions where you are required to be a visible adherent, such as judaism, islam, hinduism and sikhism. would they be making this fuss, i wonder, with a sikh turban? with a hindu forehead-mark? or is this about muslims? i suspect the latter.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    38. ZinZin — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:33 pm  

      the issue is not about principle, but about degree. would it be OK if, say, it was the accepted way of saying hello in denmark to squeeze the other person’s bottom?

      Poor analogy that BB. I take your point as the French do have a habit of kissing each other on the cheek when they greet each other, which i would be uncomfortable for myself. The shaking of hands is essential for her job I’m afraid. Also it is a form of sex discrimination.

    39. Sunny — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:38 pm  

      The shaking of hands is essential for her job I’m afraid.

      How? In India the standard form of greeting, doing a namaste does not involve shaking hands. I agree with David in that one is welcome not to vote for her if she refuses to shake hands. But for me, more important are her views on how she can improve and help the political system and contribute to Dutch society.

      She is progressive in her views towards gays, the welfare state, the environment and women, that’s good enough for me with regards to work.

    40. Don — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:41 pm  

      As long as we have bleedin’ bishops on parliament we can hardly talk about carrying your religious identity into politics. And objecting to the headscarf is just daft.

      But can anyone tell me what the usual position is on women shaking hands with men? Is this general? And how does she deal with it? Just leaving someone’s hand hanging in the air is incredibly rude, almost aggressive. It must get tedious if she has to explain it umpteen times a day.

    41. ZinZin — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:43 pm  

      This is Europe not India. shaking hand is a custom, an important part of social intercource in Europe. What has India got to do with it?

      I am aware of the difference iin customs throughout the world not all of them but I am aware of them. Miss Abdol-Hamid should shake hands with everyone, to refuse to do so is impolite.

    42. ZinZin — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:44 pm  

      Damn my spelling.

      This is Europe not India. Shaking hand is a custom, an important part of social intercourse in Europe. What has India got to do with it?

      I am aware of the differences in customs throughout the world not all of them but I am aware of them. Miss Abdol-Hamid should shake hands with everyone, to refuse to do so is impolite.

    43. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:45 pm  

      “Poor analogy that BB. I take your point as the French do have a habit of kissing each other on the cheek when they greet each other, which i would be uncomfortable for myself. The shaking of hands is essential for her job I’m afraid. Also it is a form of sex discrimination.”

      This is getting sillier by the post.

      Shaking hands is not a part of the job. Neither is kissing babies. The job of politicians should be to represent people, and for that it takes communication and interpersonal skills.

    44. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:50 pm  

      Actually ZinZin, how long is it since women and men have been shaking hands?

      I may be wrong, but I believe you wouldn’t have to go back too far to see that men and women here did not shake hands. And do not do so in general.

      In fact I would go further and say that men don’t seem to shake hands with each other except in a formal setting.

      You could even argue, politicians use the practise to ingratiate themselves with the electorate (similar to the cynical kissing of babies).

    45. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:51 pm  

      So is being cynical part of the job of being a politician?

    46. ChrisC — on 16th May, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

      “She is progressive in her views towards gays, the welfare state, the environment and women, that’s good enough for me with regards to work.”

      What are her other progressive views towards women, apart from her obviously progressive position on handshaking?

      “Actually ZinZin, how long is it since women and men have been shaking hands?”

      What kind of argument is that?
      Don’t worry, she’s backward but only 50 years backward?

    47. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:01 pm  

      “Actually ZinZin, how long is it since women and men have been shaking hands?”

      What kind of argument is that?
      Don’t worry, she’s backward but only 50 years backward?

      Is it 50 years?

      And is it backward?

      As it happens, its a very good one to show the silliness of the argument.

    48. Kismet Hardy — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

      Pastries. Danish pastries. Of course.

      Shaking hands is really bad body language. It keeps two people making contact at arms length. Best thing ecstasy did for the Brits. Taught us all to hug. European way of kissing on both cheeks is a bit too luvvie for my liking, though.

      Shaking is just weird. St Vitus Dance. How’s that a welcoming hello? And Dane Bowers isn’t Danish

    49. ZinZin — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:10 pm  

      Refresh I will tell you why I am making an issue around the shaking of Hands. I have Asperger Syndrome, as a result of this condition, well curse, I have become obsessed about social skills, personal relationships or interpersonal skills. If i refused to shake anyones hand that would be considered rude, yet use some religious dogma then thats alright then. Doesn’t make sense.

      http://www.ministryoftruth.org.uk/index.php?s=asperger+syndrome

      Unity gives a decent write-up about Asperger syndrome.

      Refresh I have been spoken to about my conduct in work regarding inappropriate behaviour and inappropriate humour when i have been unaware of the offence that i caused. That is why i am amazed that the issue of refusing to shake hands with men is being downplayed. a progressive yes but one with serious issues regarding men.

    50. steve — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:13 pm  

      Being religious is part of a person’s identity. As long as the person can do the job, it shouldn’t matter what they describe themselves as first. This is ludicrous thinking…

      But surely faith is personal not public.

      I employ staff, I don’t care if they are black blue yellow muslim hindu christian satanists whatever, I want to know can they do the job. I don’t agree with giving time to religious activities at work, otherwise, as one of my staff said, ” as a Jedi, i need May 4th off”.

      Keep faith personal, out of public life. you can use your morals in public life, just not your faith.

    51. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:16 pm  

      chris c makes the most pertinent point.

    52. steve — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:17 pm  

      The electorate should judge her on that basis, not whether she shakes hands.

      exactly, and my thinking is that if someone chooses to believe in a made up concept in their own home, that is fine. If they then choose to present themselves as a member of a made up concept in public, a case of “an emotional crutch”, I would question whether that peson has the skills to look at issues analytically rather than let their personal faith impinge upon it.

    53. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:17 pm  

      ZinZin, thank you for that.

      I’ve just taken you off the intolerant list.

      For now, and on this issue :)

    54. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

      “chris c makes the most pertinent point.”

      Which is?

    55. AsifB — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

      It is indeed intolerant to be concerned about her headgear. And mostly, who in their right mind wants to shake hands with politicians or estate agents?

      The Grameen Bank got round this all using the ‘Adam from the Apprentice’ US army style salute.

      I think what male posters have beenn upset about is the implication of double standards - if she didn’t shake hands or hug with anyone that would seem more rational.

      Far be it for me to imagine whats in her head, but her no shake stance does seem more out of the Tabligi or Muslim Brotherhood schools of etiquttee rather than that of someone who say, supports gay marriage.

    56. ChrisC — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

      “And is it backward?”

      Well it’s hardly “progressive” is it?

      Meanwhile I await the details of her “progressive” policies towards women and gays to which Sunny alluded.

    57. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:24 pm  

      this!

      “What are her other progressive views towards women, apart from her obviously progressive position on handshaking?”

    58. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:25 pm  

      seems to me if someone’s a woman and muslim boom! we’re expected to have sympathy Automatically because of those two things. so - that’s why chriscc’s point seemed rather pertinent to me - there’s not much point saying she’s friendly to ‘gays’ without elucidating that.

    59. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

      and this hijab business - its very boring now

    60. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

      ChrisC the issue under discussion is how its been blown out of all proportion. Which I contend is part of the rough tumble of electoral politics.

      I wasn’t aware we were discussing her politics. Its not as if you are being asked to vote for her.

    61. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

      Sonia - #57 thanks for the clarification. Its not always clear from your one-liners what you refer to.

      #58 “seems to me if someone’s a woman and muslim boom! we’re expected to have sympathy Automatically because of those two things.”

      I am shocked, disturbed and disheartened by that statement. Surely you’ve been reading comments on this subject ever since PP has been around.

    62. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

      This is all going a bit pear shaped.

      Sunny, Post 30:

      “Whoops! I’ve changed it from Dutch to Danish, my mistake.”

      Sunny, Post 39:

      “But for me, more important are her views on how she can improve and help the political system and contribute to Dutch society.”

      Well, I suppose, given the problems she’s being having in Denmark, a quick move down the coast to Holland isn’t too much of an inconvenience. Bloody hell, how many words do they need to describe themselves, Holland, Dutch, The Netherlands? ;-)

      Handshaking.

      According to Wiki, it’s very popular in Islam, accompanied by the greeting “As-Salamu Alaykum”, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were a mano et mano thing. Is this right?

      The only story I ever heard about handshaking was that, in Europe, at least it was about proving you weren’t holding a dagger or the like. But it has been sort of socialised into the context of ‘everyone is equal here’. Obviously, just before you get completely shafted, usually by your Bank Manager, or a Politician come to that.

    63. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:33 pm  

      Good post Douglas.

      “pear shaped” well we are fast approaching the magical #73.

    64. Soso — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:38 pm  

      This is Europe not India. Shaking hand is a custom, an important part of social intercourse in Europe. What has India got to do with it?

      Spot on, Zin Zin.

      I mean, there are Hindu Fakirs who hang 100 pound weights from their testicles, so if the Danish are looking for a politician with balls……..

      Her refusal to shake hands with males, a fundamental aspect of western social discourse, is a clear sign she rejects the values of her adopted society.

      What else can be read into that? That she’s a fan of the islamic *mickey-mouse* club? Perhaps.

      Gestures count for much, MUCH more than words. Her insistance on placing Islamic “values” ( not shaking hands) above the secular values of the western world she inhabits means she’s no business being in politics, because politics is all about legislating and enforcing SECULAR law.

      We don’t hire bus drivers to fly planes.

      Her refusal to engage with western people on the basis of their customs is undeniable proof she places the “higher” law above secular law; it tells us all we need to know about where her true sentiments lay.

      This is one of the flimsiest ruses we see nowadays.

      Her committment to leftist, progressive values is, thus, about as convinving as a gay man claiming he *really* loves women, their bodies, breasts and thighs, but will never have sex with one.

      He loves women cuz he says so, you see.

      Take him on his word.

      This gal, Sunny, is the islamist far-right draped in leftist/progressive DRAG…. a very common sight these days.

      Lift her skirts, though, and you’ll find something other than the progressive vagina and breasts she claims to have.

      If you were to challenge her progressive credentials by asking her to denounce the treament of gays, women and minorities in majority Islamic countries, you’d draw a complete fucking blank.

    65. Sunny — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:38 pm  

      If they then choose to present themselves as a member of a made up concept in public, a case of “an emotional crutch”, I would question whether that peson has the skills to look at issues analytically rather than let their personal faith impinge upon it.

      steve, you’re welcome to then let the electorate judge on that basis. I don’t have a problem with that.

      But I find it mighty silly to assume that just because she does not want to shake hands with those of the opposite sex, it automatically means she cannot do her job properly. The two are not related and any excuse to that extent does not wash.

      Don’t worry, she’s backward but only 50 years backward?

      How does one define backward? Are teenage pregnancies backward? Is binge drinking and puking up on the streets backward? How does one define backward and what is civilised in this context?

      I would question whether that peson has the skills to look at issues analytically rather than let their personal faith impinge upon it.

      Well this is rather amusing, since we’ve had a prime minister for ten years who was quite the devout catholic and still believes god will save his ass on account of going into Iraq. Our friendliest ‘ally’ is a President in grip of evangelical Christians and we have a House of Lords full of bishops, not even discounting the role that the Archibishop of Canterbury plays here. So this idea that we have complete seperatation of faith and politics here or in external affairs is ludicrous. And yet I don’t see a big campaign going to abolish the monarchy and the bishops and become a completely republican nation based on rigidly defined secular values.

    66. Kismet Hardy — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:45 pm  

      Progressive vagina?!

      That’s the best name for a riot grrl act I’ve ever heard

    67. Sunny — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:50 pm  

      We don’t hire bus drivers to fly planes.

      Is this meant to be an argument?#

      because politics is all about legislating and enforcing SECULAR law.

      Again, I wish people would think before writing… it really doesn’t help to have the conversation dragged down to such level of stupidity.

      Law isn’t secular or religious - law is law decided on by lawmakers. It may be about religion or it may be about drugs control. There is nothing known as secular law.

    68. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

      Law isn’t secular or religious - law is law decided on by lawmakers. It may be about religion or it may be about drugs control. There is nothing known as secular law.

      Huh? Of course there is Sunny, it is a form of Law tied to non-religous beliefs. If you can have “Religous Law”, you can have “Secular Law”. In fact if you took a few seconds to search Google before you posted you might have found a lot of articles on the subject.

      We all post without thinking sometimes Sunny, you did so here.

      Perphaps there is a big context here and I ought read all the postings to see the converasion that lead to this comment, but I cannot be arsed :)

      TFI

    69. ally — on 16th May, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

      Kismet, you’re on fire today!

      I’m astonished that nobody has yet tried to claim that if she wants to be a Danish MP she should have to eat bacon every day for breakfast, because that’s the Danish custom, innit?

      Although if she was Dutch she could probably get away with a big bag of skunk and some porn.

    70. Chairwoman — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:02 pm  

      Sunny - Our PM isn’t actually a Catholic at all, but he goes to RC service because his wife and children are Catholics.

      At one time the papers were full of speculation as to whether he’d convert to Catholicism when he left office.

    71. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:02 pm  

      “Others think you can’t be Muslim and Danish at the same time. Some of the Muslims and the extreme right are just the same.”

      … and there she is bang in the center refusing to shake peoples hands …

      TFI

    72. Sunny — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:09 pm  

      and there she is bang in the center refusing to shake peoples hands

      yeah, because that really is about the only useful thing politicians do.

      At one time the papers were full of speculation as to whether he’d convert to Catholicism when he left office.

      point taken, but he still keeps citing god like every other day. I look forward to people putting forward the argument more forcefully that because Blair believes in God, he’s not fit for office. Or that Bush isn’t, given most people opposed to Muslim practices are neo-cons.

    73. sid — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

      Some of the Muslims and the extreme right are just the same.

      A Muslim woman who refuses to shakes hands with men is the same as a member of the BNP?

      I’ve seen some overreactions on this blig, but that’s got to be in the all time festive 10.

    74. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

      TFI - you made me smile with your #71.

      And it got me thinking about how we greet each other. Maybe we should have different methods based on gender, familiarity, mood etc. We could communicate a lot more of our intent rather than simply declaring that our right hand isn’t carrying a dagger.

      In your case, to express a whole load of affection, I would squeeze your intimates with ferocious intent.

      Its either that or tweaking of the nose.

    75. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

      Damn - gone past #73.

    76. sid — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

      It’s ironic, isn’t it, how Preacher Tony, who insisted that his children get baptised in Nazareth, is the poster boy of the secular Decent Left?

    77. sid — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

      Damn - gone past #73.

      Oh you mean it gets worse?

    78. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:18 pm  

      I suppose we could be hopeful and say that it trails to a trickle after #73.

    79. DavidMWW — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:22 pm  

      70-something comments but still no explanation WHY she refuses to shake men’s hands. Does anyone know? I’m genuinely interested.

    80. Chairwoman — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

      I think the namaste should be universally adopted. It manages to convey good manners, while being totally acceptable to all faiths and cultures (BNP excepted).

    81. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

      The Friendly Infidel,

      I tried Googling as you suggested. Does Google not work on the basis of the most relevant first? As there were 1,600,000 hits, I was surprised to find that the first page was mainly loopy or historical stuff. After that I gave up.

      The definition of a secular society that I am most comfortable with is one where no one religion is given precedence over another, and that the laws, secular laws if you like, are drawn up on the basis of equitable treatment for everyone. Personally, I think that out trumps any religious law. Which, by definition, is going to favour church dogma, or more likely economic dominance when it can get away with it. The Protestant ascendancy in Northern Ireland is close enough in time and geography to be a reasonable example.

      We need a far more fluid system of law these days than can be applied by people reading ancient texts. And adapting them as they see fit.

    82. Sunny — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

      The definition of a secular society that I am most comfortable with is one where no one religion is given precedence over another, and that the laws, secular laws if you like, are drawn up on the basis of equitable treatment for everyone.

      Let me stress this again. By definition any law drafted by lawmakers is secular law, so the law is the law. The woman in question is not asking for Sharia’h law, she is happy to be Danish and happy work within the system for good governance.

      This is a problem I have with some so-called liberal /progressives - they spend all their time obsessing and being intolerant over instances such as this when the real problem are the Muslim Brotherhood types who would deny equality to gays, women etc.

      People such as Asmaa Abdol-Hamid should be embraced because they open the door for further integration and the involvemment of Muslims within existing political systems. Otherwise you push them into the hands of Hizb ut-Tahrir kinds who argue that Muslims will always be discriminated against and should not participate in the political system.

      As yet, all we here are lame arguments such as:
      We don’t hire bus drivers to fly planes.

      Yeah, we don’t. And?

    83. ChrisC — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

      Sunny - still waiting for the examples of her “progressive” policies - do you have any?

      (And I will rise to your wonderful red herring!)
      Of course binge drinking is “backward”.
      But I’m not sure a ban on co-ed handshaking will necessarily sort it out!

    84. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 3:57 pm  

      Douglas, put it in quotes when you search, it forces the engine to look for the exact match. This reduces it down to 146,000 hits. While I’m on google tips, check out how to use “site:” and “inurl:” searches they are monster cool and the former incredibly useful. For instance this custom search shows that until today “secular law” as a combination of word only appears once on PP, and that was OP.

      http://tinyurl.com/33zoyb

      Refresh, the day I meet you I’ll remember to wear a cricket box :)

      Sunny, that was funny, I suppose kissing babies is the other ‘useful’ skill, thankfully only deployed shortly before an election.

      We need a far more fluid system of law these days than can be applied by people reading ancient texts. And adapting them as they see fit.

      Now there is the truth, things are moving so fast that our system of law is creaking. I saw a great quote that stated that during the summer recess our MPs should be made to work in their county courts implementing the Laws that they passed, a principle in the software industry known as eating your own dog food.

      TFI

    85. DavidMWW — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

      Sunny,

      People such as Asmaa Abdol-Hamid should be embraced

      I’m not sure that she’d agree with you there :-)

    86. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

      heh heh..throw forks to each other.

      who here said they want to exclude her from politics anyway? people are still allowed to express their opinions are they not. obviously its silly for the danes to make a fuss based on a headscarf and even not shaking hands. i was merely making points ‘tangentially’ - why shouldn’t i express my views at the silliness of making a point about not shaking hands. :-) trust refresh to get all worked up. *there there*

    87. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:05 pm  

      85. heh good one.

    88. Kismet Hardy — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:05 pm  

      Everyone should hug people they like and politely keep their distance if they don’t like each other

    89. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:06 pm  

      all politicians are suspect so i daresay ms. asma will turn out to be no different

    90. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:07 pm  

      TFI - you may wish to consider a prosthetic for the nose a la Tycho Brahe.

    91. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:09 pm  

      Let me stress this again. By definition any law drafted by lawmakers is secular law, so the law is the law.

      Basically you are saying that the role “Lawmaker” is a purely secular construct, therefore they can only pass ’secular law’ by definition? Can you not have non elected religiously inspired Lawmakers? i.e. isn’t the act of making Law is what makes one a ‘Lawmaker’? like the act of making holiday, is what makes you a ‘holidaymaker’?

      I’ll get my coat.

      TFI

    92. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:11 pm  

      Sonia - nothings tangential in PP it seems.

      I thought your #58 was pretty clear.

    93. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

      Refresh, my profile is bad enough without making my nose bigger. I’ll risk a tweak, just consider stopping if the screaming gets to intense.

      TFI

    94. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

      yes refresh..:-) i don’t see why because someone is female and muslim they AUTOMATICALLY deserve anything that any other human doesn’t..

      i don’t mind if you find that shocking..shock away!

    95. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

      frankly refresh - you’re a bit like Anas in your Muslim obsession you are.

    96. sonia — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:14 pm  

      kismet - good one..ha ha

    97. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:19 pm  

      We could communicate a lot more of our intent rather than simply declaring that our right hand isn’t carrying a dagger.

      I have to say that I find it absolutely amazing how violent we where in the past. I mean, we complain about knife crime, but we developed a social system to ensure that the other person wasn’t about to stab you … you have to assume that it was a real problem, not only that, but a problem amoungst rich people to!

      We just have no idea how lucky we have got it these days … or what we could slip back to …

      TFI

    98. ChrisC — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:22 pm  

      Sunny - People such as Asmaa Abdol-Hamid should be embraced.

      I’ve Googled and struggled to find the “progressive” views on women and gays to which you referred.

      Could you let us know where we can read them?

    99. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

      The Friendly Infidel,

      Re 97.

      It goes all the way to the top. The distance between the front benches of the government and the opposition in the Commons is exactly two sword lengths and one foot……allegedly.

      http://www.aboutbritain.com/HousesParliament.htm

    100. Soso — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:39 pm  

      70-something comments but still no explanation WHY she refuses to shake men’s hands. Does anyone know? I’m genuinely interested.

      Because she harbours supremacist sentiments, that’s why.

      Of course, the prejudice is always presented as *religious obligations*.

      Law isn’t secular or religious - law is law decided on by lawmakers. It may be about religion or it may be about drugs control. There is nothing known as secular law.

      And you’re calling ME stupid ??!

      The laws of the EU, Sunny, have long since been freed of religious diktats. The EU constitution doesn’t even mention Christianity. If you make no distinction between religious and secular law, then you shouldn’t at all mind if The Catholic Church drafts all legislation concerning abortion, birth-controle and such.

      Like those Catholic priest-recruitment posters say; “Why not answer to a higher calling”.

      This drag-progressive clearly places her ‘Catholic’ principles BEFORE the interests of rational, secular legislation. If she won’t even shake hands with non-muslim men because her religion says she shouldn’t, then how the hell can she be expected to promote and protect non-muslim institutions and legislation?

      This isn’t about a handshake, it’s about where one’s true motivations lay.

      Why can’t you see that?

      If you can’t pierce the ruse, Sunny, then you are no different than those blinkered 90s progressives who galavanted about bestowing Knighthoods on religious extremists.

      Christ I’ve had a Muslim memeber of parliament in my riding who’s been sitting for some four mandates now. She shakes everybody’s hand; male, female, veiled, non-veiled, Muslim, non-Muslim.

      She is a what a progressive Muslima looks and acts like.

      Before stepping out to go to work in the morning, she checks her *Halal* and her *Harem* at the front door of her house, where they remain until she returns home in the evening.

      Her religion is entirely a private matter. She harasses no one with it.

      If that is too much to ask of a Falwell-girl, and if said Falwell-girl sees Islam-as-a-whole-way-of-life, then that Falwell-girl should run for office in a majority Muslim country.

      Besides, that’s where the protection of gays and women is really needed.

    101. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

      You see Sonia - you claim that - but the evidence before you is quite different is it not? I hold the opposite view.

      That’s what shocks me. Not your views or inclinations.

      Why compare me with Anas, when you can address me directly.

      Obsession? No not so. False premises is what I am challenging.

    102. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:52 pm  

      This thread itself proves the opposite of what you claim. Why else 100 posts without addressing the opening statement - but happily discuss what she is wearing and who she shakes hands with - to the point of ridiculing her.

      Even to the point of having her akin to the BNP.

      I noticed you don’t challenge the outlandish.

    103. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 4:54 pm  

      TFI - a gentle tweak to screaming point it is then.

    104. ChrisC — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

      What is the opening statement?
      That the Danes are intolerant of relgious observation?
      Well, who can blame them?
      I would be pretty intolerant of overt religious observation (to the extent of refusing to shake hands with the opposite sex) from someone seeking to become a lawmaker.
      Sunny hasn’t come back with any examples of her “progressive” pro-women and gay policies her claimed on her behalf, so all I’m left with is the impression, which she clearly wants to make above all else, of her “devotion”.

      (Oh, and what does TFI stand for?)

    105. Anas — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

      Huh I have a Muslim obsession, Sonia? Who doesn’t on PP? I mean, if you didn’t find Islam and the actions of some of its adherents especially of interest you’d get bored of PP pretty quickly.

    106. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:05 pm  

      ChrisC - that’s more like it.

      Are there any other items/actions which are reminiscent of religious onservation in Danish political life?

    107. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

      TFI - a gentle tweak to screaming point it is then.

      oooh, feel that peace and love ;)

      TFI

    108. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:09 pm  

      Anas, PP as it stands would not be sustainable. It would have to address a whole new set of participants.

      Not to say - I don’t welcome it as a forum. Its great fun. Its like Cheers, so many characters.

    109. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:10 pm  

      TFI - it took a lot for me to even consider greeting you, this method seems to be a happy compromise.

    110. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

      Chris, I’ve absolutely no idea.

      What does the ‘C’ stand for?

      If anything I stand for the freedom to piss someone off without expecting violence in return, something that Refresh is struggling with today.

      heh heh heh

      TFI

    111. ChrisC — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:14 pm  

      C stands for my middle initial - Charles

    112. sid — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:17 pm  

      There are plenty of others (ahem, Soso) who have an unhealthy obsession with all things Muslim. They really should get out more.

    113. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:18 pm  

      TFI - you know I am only joshing you. Don’t you?

      Must admit the thought of tweaking your nose does bring a smile to my face.

      Well lets face it the whole thread’s been playground material. It was doomed from the start.

    114. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

      Refresh, of course I do, and in return I hope know that I was doing the same in return :)

      Believe me from the size of my nose, you’d need big hands.

      As for the playground matterial, its a stupid subject.

      Sonia is right, she is muslim and female, big fat hairy deal. Also Chris is right, where are these progressive policies that we are meant to endorse? She’s got a Gay Best Friend whom she cannot bring herself to touch for ‘religous reasons’. Wow.

      All we are left with is a the statement that she devout … are we that desparate to find and classify ‘moderates’ I heard some chap on the Today program claim the Hamas leader was ‘moderate’? What a moderate joke.

      The thread is a playground because the subject is a bit of a joke.

      TFI

    115. lithcol — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:34 pm  

      Sunny 82,

      Has a solution for the avoidance of hand shaking.

      “Asmaa Abdol-Hamid should be embraced”. OK taken out of context but food for thought.

      Recently returned from a conference in Russia. Much backslapping and bear hugging when greeted. Enough of mamby pamby handshaking.

      Identity, left leaning atheistic heterosexual meat eating male. I don’t make a big issue of it though and I have many friends who are none of these things.

    116. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:37 pm  

      I look forward to people putting forward the argument more forcefully that because Blair believes in God, he’s not fit for office. Or that Bush isn’t, given most people opposed to Muslim practices are neo-cons.

      Well when I heard claims that Bush said that ‘god told me to do it’ my hair stands on end. Also when his father was in office and thought the Earth was 3000 years old, makes me feel sick.

      There is nothing wrong with a bit of faith as long as you don’t let it cloud your judgement, or you enforce it on others. Perphaps this chick is able to make rational decisions without it being through the prism of Islam, but she is certainly enforcing her views by refusing to welcome people in the manor that that established in the Western world.

      Hell if I was in Iceland and they wanted to rub noses with me, I’d happily do so. Provided that Refresh had let of my nose of course.

      TFI

    117. Don — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

      So, in the United States you are considered unfit for public office unless you declare a profound religious belief.

      In Denmark, unfit if you do. Do the Danes apply this across the board?

      In the UK, a strong position either way is considered rather infra dig, but not to the point of being a major hurdle. As Campbell put it, ‘We don’t do god’

      I prefer our system. If forced to choose between the other two (assuming the Danes are consistent) I’d go for the secularist approach - surprise, huh? Not to exclude believers - that would be unreasonable, but to check on their priorities.

      A question along the lines of:

      ‘If the expressed will of the electorate was in conflict with your perception of god’s will would you

      a) Go with the electorate and accept post mortem consequences from a supreme being with a rep for serious grudge-holding.

      b) Go with god, where were the electorate when he made the world, eh?

      c) Resign.’

      I’d love to hear an honest answer from George Bush, Ruth Kelly and the lady in question.

    118. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:45 pm  

      Sid,

      And here was me thinking that sosos’ knowledge of Byzantine steam engines was the high spot of the thread. The odd, and strangely attractive thing about PP threads is that they can wander between Greek Fire, squeezing ladies bums, shapeshifting Dutch, amateur nose jobs and progressive vaginas, and still be semi coherent. I agree with Refresh, it’s a sort of virtual Cheers.

    119. Sunny — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:45 pm  

      Soso: Because she harbours supremacist sentiments, that’s why.

      Of course, the prejudice is always presented as *religious obligations*.

      Clearly you must know her motivations better than us without having even talked to her or know anything about her. She refuses to shake hands with all men, not just non-Muslim men. It has nothing to do with religious supremacism, plenty of Orthodox Jews do the same.

      The laws of the EU, Sunny, have long since been freed of religious diktats.

      In that cases Soss - answer me this. To be consistent you would then surely advocate we cut our close ties with the United States or move away from their foreign policy since domestic policy (re: the abortion debate now) and foreign policy is frequently dictated by religious beliefs and many openly evangelical groups lobby the US govt.

      right?

    120. Don — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:51 pm  

      soso,

      You might want to glance at the Irish constitution sometime.

      ‘In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, …

    121. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:57 pm  

      Tycho, how much contact do you have with your best gay friend?

      And by the way

      “Sonia is right, she is muslim and female, big fat hairy deal.”

      would have been the best statement to have made on the subject, if it had been made.

    122. bananabrain — on 16th May, 2007 at 5:58 pm  

      the refusal to shake hands is not about “when in rome”, or the norms of the western world. it’s deeply deeply personal. who you allow to touch your body is not something you can “leave at home”, because your body accompanies you into the public domain. for example, i am permitted (monthly cycle allowing) to squeeze mrs bananabrain’s behind. nobody else is permitted to do so, full stop. otherwise, both she and i would have something to say about it. the same goes for, ah, viewing privileges, as it were. my more devout cousins do not shake hands with the opposite sex, because from their point of view, hands or bums makes very little difference, because of the great seriousness with which they view physical contact and gender relations.

      the point is that your body is your own and is off-limits by default, except to your immediate family and spouse. once this general principle is established, it is a matter of where you draw the line. with that said, some people distinguish between “parts of the body that normally remain covered” and parts that don’t, whereas some people rely upon the embarrassment factor - at least a few rabbis of my acquaintance will shake a lady’s hand if it is held out to them rather than embarrass her by not taking it, although others will not. personally i don’t care how someone does this. if someone makes namaste to me, or bows, than i know about that. if someone wants to shake hands, fine by me. if someone wants to do euro-kissing, fine by me. if i meet someone who i wouldn’t expect to shake hands with (e.g. wearing a hijab or other head covering) i wait and let them make the first move. actually, in my experience muslim women do this rather charming thing of a slight head-bob combined with placing their hand over their heart and i find that to be more than adequate for conveying respect.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    123. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:02 pm  

      Spot on Bananabrain.

    124. Soso — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:03 pm  

      There are plenty of others (ahem, Soso) who have an unhealthy obsession with all things Muslim. They really should get out more.

      Is voting four times for a SECULAR female Muslim M.P. considered an obsession, Sid?

      Four terms in a row and she’s doing a great job. Her name is Fatima Houda-Pepin, in case you’re wondering. Her views on radical Islamists are no different than mine, although she’s better at flushing them out than I am.

      She spearheaded last years opposition to the implemetation of Sharia law in both Québec and Ontario, and she took to task the faux-progressive Wahas who, like our little Dane, talk left, but walk right. Her opinions on sharia-creep were taken very seriously, but had they been expressed by someone such as I, they’d have been labelled islamophobe.

      It never ceases to amaze me how well-meaning, critical thinking people can be thrown so completely off the tracks by “a little lamb of god” who blithly spouts a few clichéd progressive terms.

      Yep, an individual who, for “religious” resons, won’t so much as shake hands is expected to uphold legislation, laws and a constitution that fly in the face of everything she believes in, eveything she holds dear in that same religion.

      There is a sucker born every minute.

    125. ChrisC — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:08 pm  

      Sunny - examples of her “progressive” views towards women and gays to which you alluded?

      Found any yet?

    126. Ms_Xtreme — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:13 pm  

      Wait. Did anyone else burst out laughing when they read her beliefs? Supporting abortion and homosexuality, but then refusing to shake a man’s hand due to RELIGION?! Typical confused Muslim I’d say.

      I’d decline her application due to mental instability and incapability to prioritize.

      The scarf isn’t even an issue.

    127. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:25 pm  

      plenty of Orthodox Jews do the same.

      Sure, lets keep them out of office too.

      TFI

    128. Don — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:29 pm  

      As so often, b’brain has put it with forensic clarity.

      We’re still a bit short on detail, but if it is the case that Asmaa has adopted a liberal position on abortion rights, homosexuality and (presumably) the other issues which exercise progressives so much, but that she has chosen to retain the religious obligations relating to modesty, diet, charity and prayer, then isn’t that the itjihad which so many are asking for?

      As a politician she is, I think, obliged to make her reasons clear to the electorate. But having done so, she is under no more obligation to uncover her head or shake a man’s hand than she is to down a pint or eat a bacon butty.

      So long as she can answer the question in #117 with a or c.

    129. Sunny — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:41 pm  

      but then refusing to shake a man’s hand due to RELIGION?! Typical confused Muslim I’d say.

      No it’s not. This is where people get so goddamn confused. This is about choice people, CHOICE.

      Giving women the CHOICE to go forward with an abortion, giving homosexuals EQUALITY under the law and the CHOICE to live how they want to live. Having the CHOICE not to shake other people’s hands if you don’t want to.

      It’s not about supporting them, and people really should be careful before handing out the ‘confused Muslim’ Ms_Extreme, without knowing them better.

      t never ceases to amaze me how well-meaning, critical thinking people can be thrown so completely off the tracks by “a little lamb of god” who blithly spouts a few clichéd progressive terms.

      You’re boring me with your tripe Soso. You haven’t answered my question and frankly you’re deluded if you think your views are progressive/liberal.

      Bananabrain - hit the nail on the head as usual, thanks.

    130. Chairwoman — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:45 pm  

      Refresh @ 108 - Where everybody knows your nom de plume :-)

    131. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th May, 2007 at 6:52 pm  

      Sunny, and people have the CHOICE to dislike and disapprove of her based on her DECISIONS and ACTIONS.

      TFI

    132. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

      Soso, you wouldn’t come across as an ‘islamophobe’ if you didn’t also attack every other manifestation of Islam.

    133. lithcol — on 16th May, 2007 at 7:19 pm  

      We will have to wait and see how Asmaa Abdol-Hamid performs if elected. If she lives up to the liberal principles she professes, all well and good.

      She will almost certainly come under pressure from more conservative muslims and this will be the true test of her liberal outlook ( handshaking excepted ).

      Let us wait and see.

    134. Refresh — on 16th May, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

      Chairwoman

      “Where everybody knows your nom de plume ”

      We can be the regulars that complain about the rif-raff they’ve started letting in.

    135. Sunny — on 16th May, 2007 at 7:49 pm  

      Sunny, and people have the CHOICE to dislike and disapprove of her based on her DECISIONS and ACTIONS.

      Sure they do. But the reasoning is spurious, as Bananabrain has demonstrated above.

      We have politicians who have affairs but we say their private life is seperate from public life. We have politicians who openly lie about policies, but they’re allowed to get away with it.

      I don’t see how touching her hands, her own body, should be a public good. That’s up to her, not you folks, on which part of her body she should let others touch. A woman’s body is her own property, not public property, and she should have the choice to set the terms of engagement, not you folks.

      The Danes claim to live in a meritocracy and they claim that they want openness and tolerance, that’s why the published the cartoons right? Now I’d like to see tolerance towards someone who doesn’t follow their cultural norms (within the law), and do their duty in whatever line of work they choose.

    136. Ms_Xtreme — on 16th May, 2007 at 8:09 pm  

      I’m sorry Sunny, are you debating that she’s not shaking hands with men because of CHOICE?

      So then this means what? — on religious grounds, to shake hands with males

      If she’s going to choose to adopt certain religious rules and disregard others (which are far more important than the ones she’s disregarding), to me it is shady.

      If you read up on Islam, non-sexual physical contact with the opposite sex carries a far lesser charge than that of homosexuality and abortion.

      Her prioritizing is based on choice, fine. But then she needs to state that not shaking hands is just as much of a personal choice as it is religious.

    137. Ms_Xtreme — on 16th May, 2007 at 8:12 pm  

      Oh and typical confused Muslim to me means someone who prioritizes nonsense religious rules that are derived from testament over legitimate serious guidelines from the Quran.

    138. Derius — on 16th May, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

      Asmaa Abdol-Hamid has an impressive record of defending liberty and freedom. On the 29th October 2005, on behalf of 11 separate Muslim organisations, she heroically defended the principle of free speech by filing a complaint to the police against the Jylands posten newspaper, as it had published 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammed shortly before.

      Again acting on the behalf of 11 Muslim organisations, Asmaa Abdol-Hamid decided that she would again defend liberty and free speech by taking the case against the Jylands Posten Newspaper to the European Courts of Human Rights, as the first ruling had shown that the newspaper had acted within Danish Law. This was done in March 2006, and as far as I am aware, a decision is still pending.

      Unfortunately, her strong convictions in free speech were misunderstood. The Unity List party, of which she was a member, began to distance themselves from her. They also went on to say:

      “The message Asma sends is not the primary message of the Unity List Party”

      Poor Asmaa was also misunderstood by the Socialist People’s Party. Not realising that she was in fact a socialist, as well as a staunch defender in free speech (as long as your views don’t conflict with hers) , Karsten Honge, their spokesman, said the following:

      “We are rooted in free thought, liberation, tolerance and Humanism, and I think that if you are trying to limit free speech in Denmark by banning simple drawings as those in question, then you belong with the reactionaries”

      Asmaa has also shown a deep belief in Western values. In May 2005, a young man named Amar Hasan was shot outside a nightclub by a bouncer. When an Iman named Abu Laban said publicly that this should be settled out of court by a blood money payment, it caused an outcry in Denmark. However, Asmaa Abdol-Hamid wrote a letter to the editor of Fyens Stiftstidende on the 16th June 2005, supporting the Iman’s decision.

      Despite her problems in the political arena, Asmaa has had her own talk show, and now appears as a co-presenter once a week on one of Denmark’s main channels. She has often fiercely defended Muslim women’s right to wear the hijab, though hasn’t quite yet got round to defending the right for Muslim women not to wear the hijab, though I’m sure that’s merely an oversight on her behalf.

      She has also reduced greatly the irrational fears of some Danes that Islam is a colonising power in Europe. Recently she said to the Danish Press that “Denmark is in many ways an Islamic society”.

      Unfortunately, she still has some harsh critics. One such group, which has been very scathing of her, and has unfairly suggested that she is not all she appears to be, is the Iranian Women’s Rights Movement. Fortunately, most people are aware that this organisation is completely Islamophobic, and their views should be dismissed without any argument or evidence.

      Well, one can only admire and support Asmaa, And she is, at the end of the day, just your average socialist liberal totalitarian devout Muslim. Bravo!

      Additional Sources:

      http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/todaysfeatures/2006/April/todaysfeatures_April14.xml§ion=todaysfeatures

      http://www.qmt.org.au/news+article.storyid+83.htm

      http://news.sawf.org/Lifestyle/10251.aspx

    139. lithcol — on 16th May, 2007 at 11:28 pm  

      Thanks Derius,

      It seems that the handshake thing is not as innocuous as some think. It would appear that she is truly, deeply a true believer.

      She has homosexual friends. Are these just non-Muslim? Will she support the rights of Muslim homosexuals? Will she defend the rights of any individual to accept or reject belief in a particular religion? Will she defend the right for free, open debate of any belief system? Will she fight for equality between the sexes?

      She has clearly, on past form, no interest in freedom of expression. Did she condemn the Imams who added their own sordid cartoons and then toured the middle east fomenting violence against Denmark? Did she condemn the murder of the nun? Did she condemn any of the violence against Danish institutions?
      Is she fit to enter the parliament of a liberal secular democracy?

      As I have posted earlier, if elected the true test of her professed liberalism will come when she is confronted by conservative muslim opinion over particular issues. I have my doubts that her alleged progressive thinking will shine through.

    140. Jeevan — on 17th May, 2007 at 12:49 am  

      The focus still has to remain on that Asmaa is not being accepted on the grounds that she covers her hair and doesn’t want to shake hands with a man. Shouldn’t her appearance and greeting be insignificant in an electoral representative - quite worrying!!!

      If on the above grounds the Danish parliament are up in arms even before she has been elected, and are not basing it on those fears you have already mentioned about facing conservative muslim opinion but on superficial nonsense that is a real worry. Her appearance and greeting are not physically offensive, so what are the parliament so afraid of….in a democracy the electorate will decide if she enters based on her campaign and proposed policies not the institution.

      If a member of the BNP was voted in as an MP i would be more than mildly irritated but recognise their right to campaign and represent their constituency, however much i disagree with what they stand for. - Outrageous motions get passed through parliament frequently from the centre parties and not fringe elements - in any country… a weapon of mass destruction anyone??????

    141. lithcol — on 17th May, 2007 at 1:11 am  

      Jeevan,

      As you point out the electorate will of course decide. She may get elected and as far as I understand her true views she will probably reflect minority views.

      Just as we may have a few BNP members in the future, the majority of elected members will not be white, anti-Semitic supremacists and will have no influence on policy.

      The discussion here is whether she is really liberal in her outlook. Will she support minorities eg homosexuals and particularly muslim homosexuals?

      Given the party she is allied to she couldn’t possibly represent the views of conservative muslims since many of these would be antithetical to the party she purports to represent.

      I don’t give a fig about her headwear or her apparent distaste in pressing the flesh. If I was in her ward I would be asking her what she stands for and making my decision whether or not to vote for her on the answers I recieved.

    142. Refresh — on 17th May, 2007 at 2:11 am  

      Lithcol

      “The discussion here is whether she is really liberal in her outlook. Will she support minorities eg homosexuals and particularly muslim homosexuals?”

      A lot of commenters would like it to be but the discussion here is not about her liberal outlook. Its about tolerance in Danish society.

      I think everyone actually knows that.

    143. ChrisC — on 17th May, 2007 at 8:44 am  

      Derius - good googling!

      It looks like Sunny has simply taken the Grauniad’s word about her “progressive” views (since he has pointedly failed to offer any independent references to them).

      Not so progressive after all, it seems.

      “A lot of commenters would like it to be but the discussion here is not about her liberal outlook. It’s about tolerance in Danish society.”

      Well it’s about both, isn’t it?
      If the Danish wish to be intolerant towards (from Derius’s evidence) this not so progressive woman then who can blame them?
      Count me amongst the intolerant.

    144. lithcol — on 17th May, 2007 at 9:59 am  

      Naser Khader describes Asmaa Abdol-Hamid as an Islamist.

      Speaking at a conference on the theme; “Islam in Democratic Societies: The Struggle Between Radical and Moderate Islam and the Future of Islam in the West”. Tufts University in Boston ( April 2007 ) Khadar stated;

      “Islamists use the victim mentality as leverage to gain influence, and the left wing and the Unity List love to sacrifice. Therefore they have now also nominated an Islamist to Parliament,” ( Unity List are aloose bunch of hard line communists ).

      Khader has been a popular Danish MP for some time. He is Muslim and founded the organization Democratic Muslims. Like other progressive Muslims in Denmark and elsewhere he has received threats of violence from radical ( intolerant ) Muslims.

      On the whole Denmark is a tolerant country, but there is no room for tolerance of the intolerant as Khader has pointed out many times.

    145. Ravi Naik — on 17th May, 2007 at 10:00 am  

      I think it is very unfair to label Danes (and Norwegians) as racists and intolerent. I stayed in Copenhagen for a few days, and I was very impressed with this beautiful country. It is a vibrant cosmopolitan society: you see a lot of mix couples, and couples with adopted children from overseas. People are friendly and treat you with respect.

      I believe it is important for foreigners conform to the basic rules of the host nation. Covering yourself and not shaking hands is considered rude in Europe. Think about the reverse: not covering yourself is considered rude in parts of the Arab world…

      Multiculturism is a process that helps ease culture shock, and I am all for it. But people who take confort from it should make an effort to understand and engage with the host nation, not alienate themselves with their own version of culture or religion.

    146. sonia — on 17th May, 2007 at 10:06 am  

      ravi’s got some good points - the irony is when people want to maintain their own culture without realising everyone else wants to do the same too, and then it becomes a fight of whose culture?

    147. sonia — on 17th May, 2007 at 10:11 am  

      anyway why is everyone pretending all of a sudden that politicians haven’t lost elections or ‘been accepted’ on the basis of their constituents’ prejudices! we’ve seen all the ’scandals’ about UK politicians. and of course people shouldn’t use silly things to gauge who they want to vote for but they do - all sorts of silly things - from what they look like, colour, religion, sexuality, blah blah.

      the whole political system is fucked - i would have thought that is really the pertinent point.

    148. sonia — on 17th May, 2007 at 10:32 am  

      anyway, never mind all this. i’m off to write some more about the iranian women’s movement and find out if the attempts to get divorce reform in bangladesh were ever successful. i had no idea but apparently my dear country didn’t let women initiate divorce proceedings. of course the reform is opposed by the Mullahs who say it would undermine the Islamic faith ( pah) and anyway the country is in a state of chaos now so who knows what the hell happened. *these religious men really have a lot to answer for* undermine islamic faith indeed - so unfair, we women have to struggle for this.

    149. sonia — on 17th May, 2007 at 10:36 am  

      i wonder if to get more attention to these causes we should explore the flipside: dress up as niqabis and claim the mullahs aren’t allowing us to practise our religion and how intolerant was that? i daresay that’s what islamic feminists have cleverly figured out is a good way to get their rights: well you said that’s what it said in the religion..

    150. Roger — on 17th May, 2007 at 10:43 am  

      The interesting question is how does Ms Abdol-Hamid manage to combine her opinions. If she beleives her religion obliges her to wear a headscarf and not shake hands with men, why doesn’t she believe that her gay friends should be stoned to death and that