Every liberal, open society should make some attempts to help or facilitate groups of people who may not have access to “normal” services. This is why, for example, we have a welfare state that aims to help less well-off people to provide them with the same opportunities with richer families. These exception are also made in the case of disability (getting shops to provide access), race and gender (anti-discrimination legislation) and even religion.
Sikhs for example, were exempted decades ago from being legally obliged to wear helmets when driving a motorcycle on account of their turbans. Are swimming polls the new battleground? Now this is a wierd one. Women usually have specific slots at swiming pools where no men are allowed. But how far does this policy go?
David T at Harry’s Place has uncovered a case in Hackney of a session only for Muslim Males, which I find completely bizarre. Not just men-only swimming but Muslim men only. I’m willing to bet money that if this story is true, and David has confirmed it is, then it’ll be in the national papers within a week.
Here’s the problem. As a society gets more diverse, we need to have a framework so that while groups who need specific help are catered for (though I don’t understand why in this case Muslim men can’t swim with non-Muslim men), without going over the top. People will argue, quite rightly, that if Jewish Hassidic women can be catered for, why not Muslim men? The problem in this case is that it affects other people who also pay for the pool. In the Sikh turbans case, only Sikhs are affected by not wearing helmets.
Furthermore, it feeds into a competing claim for victimhood. The BNP will use stuff like this to point out that facilities and opportunities for white working class people is being cut. Hindu and Sikh “community leaders” will try and invent ways in which their own sensibilities can also be catered. Melanie Phillips will call it an example of “dhimmification of Britain” yada yada. Its a huge minefield and one that liberal-lefties must find an answer for otherwise the Daily Mail will use it for its own agenda.
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Filed in: Culture,Religion