Where do you stop with diversity?


by Sunny
14th April, 2008 at 4:12 am    

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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  1. ROGER — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:04 am  

    ” In the Sikh turbans case, only Sikhs are affected by not wearing helmets.”

    Not so: other taxpayers pay for the care of the families of sikhs who die as a result of not wearing helmets on motorcycles and their hospital treatment if they survive. However, I suspect that other factors- their philosophy of life, for example- mean that sikhs are less likely than other motor cyclists to die a a result of their means of transport and- if they do die more often- their organs may benefit several other people. In fact, in this case, perhaps it should be assumed that any motorcyclist not wearing a skidlid is a would-be organ donor. A friend who worked in the N.H.S. said the acronym for motorcyclists was “mods” mobile organ donors.

  2. MaidMarian — on 14th April, 2008 at 8:50 am  

    ‘Its a huge minefield and one that liberal-lefties must find an answer for.’

    Candidly, no it isn’t. I am more than capable of recognising cultural diversity and religious difference but that doesn’t mean that I have to bend my knee before every taboo.

    Public facilities are just that, public – whilst private religion is (or at least it bloody well should be) private. If one’s religion gets in the way of one using public facilities that frankly is just too bad.

    No doubt the cry will be, ‘why should I fund pools etc when my religion prevents me from using them.’ Well, why should I fund schools despite not having children? I do it because I realise and accept that there is such a thing as society and I do my very best to integrate myself into that society because that is the greater good.

    If cultural or religious concerns prevent a person making any effort to integrate, that is 100% their problem as far as i’m concerned. I don’t bend my knee to that. Integration and diversity are in no way mutually exclusive.

    The framework that the article seeks is, what in the old days at least, was called civil society. Civil society takes precedence above religion and culture, end of. Civil society is plenty inclusive and, often understated, there are any number of integration success stories. I have no problem drawing the line – I just can’t understand why others make such hard work of it.

    It seems to me that, remarkably, Hackney of all people are taking the hyper Thatcher view that there is no such thing as society. They are wrong.

    A suggestion – go to youtube and type in, ‘Rescue Me, sensitivity.’ That 5 minutes captures it so well.

  3. billericaydicky — on 14th April, 2008 at 8:53 am  

    Another timely article Sunny. It does seem to be true, a family member in Hackney says the story is doing the rounds and everyone is really pissed off about it. It won’t be long before it’s on the BNP site and it will mean more votes for Nick Griffin come May the first.

    I am going to pursue this to find out who authorised it. It can only have come from a couple of sources. Either a Muslim group has complained and I will want to know on what grounds. Either that or some self hating white council official has decreed it on some loony race equaliy grounds. I,ll keep you informed.

  4. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 9:13 am  

    I am trying to get to the bottom of this.

    Until March, on one Clissold Leisure Centre brochure, the Sunday morning slot was called a “Modesty Swim”.

    http://www.gll.org/uploads/Clissold_Leisure_Guide_January-March_2008.pdf

    There was both a women only and a men only ‘modesty swim’.

    Now, there is no women only ‘modesty swim’ on Sundays.

    However, an un-advertised ‘muslim men only’ swim is taking place at the exact time that the male only ‘modesty swim’ used to take place. That does not appear on any timetable or current published document at all. However, it was described to me as ‘muslim men only’, when I was told by staff that I could not attend.

    I also see that a muslim group is describing it as a “swimming session for muslim men”.

    http://www.muslimeye.net/islamic-events-010208.htm

    What seems to have happened is this. Clissold Leisure Centre told me that gender segregated swimming had been cancelled. In fact, it had been replaced with gender AND religious segregated swimming. However, CLS is not advertising the fact that these sessions take place.

    Why they’re not advertising it, I don’t know. Perhaps these are private sessions. However, I can’t find anything which suggests that they’re being privately run. Even if they were private, I’d oppose private hire of the pool at family friendly times, when demand from the general public is at its highest.

    This makes me think that CLS was always providing religiously segregated swimming. ‘Modesty swim’ was merely a euphemism. They have now hidden the fact that they’re continuing to lay on religiously segregated swimming, but for reasons entirely opaque to me.

  5. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 9:13 am  

    billericaydicky – if you do find out what is going on, please email me on davidt.harryblog@gmail.com

  6. MaidMarian — on 14th April, 2008 at 9:30 am  

    David T and others –

    Perhaps a bit of an aside. Clissold Leisure Centre is a Lottery funded facility I believe. If the complaint comes from a religious group then the gambling element of this is a valid consideration.

    My bet (!) is that this is a well-meaning thing gone horribly wrong – at least I hope it is.

  7. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2008 at 9:32 am  

    It is only a “minefield” if you believe that certain groups deserve segregated access to public facilities.

    I would have thought that the “liberal-lefty” position – or at least the liberal position – should be quite clear.

  8. Letters From A Tory — on 14th April, 2008 at 9:51 am  

    He’s an idea – ban discrimination of all types. If people are so pro equal rights and equality, how can this kind of behaviour be acceptable, let alone legal?

    http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

  9. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 10:17 am  

    Either a Muslim group has complained and I will want to know on what grounds. Either that or some self hating white council official has decreed it on some loony race equaliy grounds. I,ll keep you informed.

    That’s about all it would take: Strident Muslim patriarchial types passing off their dipshit interpretation of gender segregation together with some compliant woolly-wooftie white liberal official. And what have we got? Muslim-male only swimming lessons!

    Because they’re worth it.

  10. bananabrain — on 14th April, 2008 at 11:25 am  

    just fyi:

    although the strictly/ultra orthodox/hassidic groups would definitely insist on segregated swimming sessions for both men and women, they would most definitely *not* insist on jewish-only sessions. as long as it is *just* men or *just* women, they wouldn’t have a problem.

    actually, in my experience the frummers of hackney tend to get on rather well with their muslim counterparts, because they have very similar issues about modesty and segregation of the sexes.

    i don’t really see what the purpose of muslim-men-only swimming would be intended to prevent. but then again, i dare say that’s the point.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  11. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 11:35 am  

    Sid

    Hows about you and me take our kiddies swimming next Sunday morning… see what happens to us?

  12. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 11:57 am  

    Only if we can wear our umbrella-fabric modesty swimsuits. It’s part of the Sunna, don’t you know.

  13. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:08 pm  

    hahaha. I’m seriously thinking of buying some. They look ok.

    I mean, my body isn’t really that great. The more that is covered, the better

    http://www.modestswimwear.co.uk/menswimwear.htm

  14. Anas — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:20 pm  

    A bit hypocritical for Harry’s Place to criticise gender apartheid, given their support for apartheid in general, no?

  15. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:23 pm  

    hahaha.
    I don’t get it – if men have to wear those swimsuits, why do they have to be in Muslim-men only pools?

  16. Boyo — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:26 pm  

    “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.” I strongly disagree. Why should society continually bend to the needs of minorities? Quite the contrary in fact. BTW, I’ve never seen a Sikh on a motorbike. Has anyone else?

  17. Boyo — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:28 pm  

    “if men have to wear those swimsuits, why do they have to be in Muslim-men only pools?”

    Because the other men would laugh at them?

  18. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:31 pm  

    Another one of my bugbears is muslim parents who make their 6 year old daughters wear headscarfs! Where does it say in the Q/S that girls who haven’t reached puberty should be covered? When I ask them, I invariably get “Got to get them used to wearing burqa, innit.”

  19. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:39 pm  

    Because the other men would laugh at them?

    Or more probably, other women.

  20. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:44 pm  

    Given that one of the major attractions of organised religions, is that you get to join a club of people who self-identify as virtuous.

    People who join clubs, like to signal to each other that they’re members.

    The point of religious dress is to demonstrate to other people that you’re a member of a club of virtuous people.

    Obviously, this is also a pretty good way of pissing other people off.

  21. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:49 pm  

    Who is doing this? Who are the specific people who organise or campaign for these kinds of things? What are their names? Name them and shame them. Not only is it wrong to have this kind of separatism, it also gives the racists and bigots an excuse to kick us all.

    Personally, I think a case might be made for single gender swimming sessions, but making them for just one religious or ethnic group, is outrageous.

  22. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:58 pm  

    That’s about all it would take: Strident Muslim patriarchial types passing off their dipshit interpretation of gender segregation together with some compliant woolly-wooftie white liberal official.

    More like opportunism. It seems Orthodox Jewish women were the first to have a segregated swimming session. If the Jews can have them, why can’t we, was probably the thinking.

  23. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:02 pm  

    i don’t really see what the purpose of muslim-men-only swimming would be intended to prevent.

    The lascivious glance of Hackney gay men?

    Imagine the scene after the following is relayed via gaydar or the pink paper:

    MEN ONLY SWIMMING SESSIONS AT CLISSOLD SWIMMING BATHS

    Gotta admit it would be funny.

  24. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:06 pm  

    Not that funny. There are plenty of men-only saunas all over London which cater to queer folk.

  25. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:10 pm  

    I did suggest, mischievously, that Muslim Male Only swimming might be held at Chariots.

    (A friend of mine who used to go there frequently certainly met his fair share of muslim lads in the cubicles…)

  26. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:11 pm  

    Obviously, this is also a pretty good way of pissing other people off.

    Why does it piss you off? I can understand something like the burqa pissing you off, because it is unnerving not to be able to see someones face. But I don’t feel pissed off seeing a woman in a hijab, a man in a turban, or a Hassid in black hat.

  27. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:17 pm  

    Not that funny. There are plenty of men-only saunas all over London which cater to queer folk.

    Exactly. I was only being facetious. Maybe that’s why it was made ‘Muslims only’. Although it wouldn’t protect them from gay Muslims.

  28. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:31 pm  

    DavidT

    I bet you haven’t had such a cheery story for a long time. I can just picture you wringing your hands in glee as the spin dawned on you.

    Must be like the good old days.

    Sunny, so what is the story here?

    That there are muslim men who are concerned about not being able to swim because of the ridicule they may face if they go swimming dressed covered from the navel to the knees? Do you recall the story about a modestly dressed muslim woman who was hounded out of the swimming pool by a fellow male swimmer. Who was challenged by the media there? Not the man for his agression.

    DavidT – yes, do buy the swimwear and do go. I would be surprised if you have problems attending.

  29. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:32 pm  

    If some white men said they only wanted to swim with other white men, do you think it would be acceptable Refresh?

  30. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:44 pm  

    And maybe its not enough for an individual to cover themselves, maybe they wouldn’t want to see other men dressed in thongs and semi-thongs (or obviously women).

    DavidT, if the sessions are not mentioned anywhere in official literature or you couldn’t find information – its obvious you are lurking on muslim websites to find juicy bits to make public – and then hope everyone else picks it up and who knows what. Presumably that is why you passed this on to Sunny.

    Now as Bananabrain, already points out this approach is not out of the ordinary for some jews, did it not occur to you that it would be reasonable to make the comparison?

  31. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:47 pm  

    Refresh

    I was told that I could not go. No mention was made of dress code. I was told, explicitly, that it was a Muslim Only swimming period.

    Clissold Leisure Centre used to call this the “Modesty Swim”. Now, however, all references to the event have been removed from its website. However, it does take place. I see that Muslim websites describe it as swimming for Muslims. Another GLL run facility – Kings Hall – run swimming hours which are explicitly billed as Muslim Only.

    Here’s a thing. How would you explain this to your child?

    Why does it piss you off? I can understand something like the burqa pissing you off, because it is unnerving not to be able to see someones face. But I don’t feel pissed off seeing a woman in a hijab, a man in a turban, or a Hassid in black hat.

    Oh, I don’t mean that it is ‘unnerving’. I just mean that people react badly to others advertising the fact that they’re particularly holy: and that you, by contrast, are profane.

    This is one of the firmest bases of anti-clerical humour after all.

    By contrast, people react very well to the message that “you’re just as good as me, and we’re all in this together”.

    So if any of you fancy coming swimming with me and my son on Sunday…

  32. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:47 pm  

    Jag, I suspect that is not the story though. As is the case with most of these things.

    I would be very surprised that its a matter of muslims swimming with muslims (men). I think its probably the story of swimwear and modesty.

    Lets have a sniggering DavidT turn up in his new gear and see what happens.

  33. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:49 pm  

    its obvious you are lurking on muslim websites to find juicy bits to make public

    Dude – I just wanted to go swimming with my 5 year old kid, on Sunday morning, in the local pool.

    You know, like most ordinary people do.

    That is, people who don’t base every aspect of their lives around religiously mandated restrictions.

  34. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:49 pm  

    Refresh, what?
    So you’re saying it’s OK for Muslims to demand their own segregation as long as they insist it’s for reasons to do with modesty? Where does this end?

  35. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:52 pm  

    Maybe you’re right that it has been spun by the right wing press Refresh.

    However, if you can’t see why having a swimming session at a public baths in a multicultural society in which only Muslims can participate is disturbing then you’re misreading why people are concerened. Muslim men can wear their all body swimsuits, why do they have to force everyone else out of the public space? Just ignore them if you don’t want to see men in their swimming trunks.

    Of course the alternative is to open up your own swimming pool and run it as a members club with strict dress codes. But in a public space, it can be offensive. Surely you can see that?

  36. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:53 pm  

    Sid, you know that is not what I am saying.

    I don’t think it would be sustainable. Sessions where a dress code applies is.

  37. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 1:59 pm  

    Any objections to a “no hijab” dress code, then?

  38. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:01 pm  

    Oh, I don’t mean that it is ‘unnerving’. I just mean that people react badly to others advertising the fact that they’re particularly holy: and that you, by contrast, are profane.

    I don’t have that reaction myself, but fair enough if you do. I think your presumptions are pretty loaded there. If you go around thinking anyone in the world who dresses differently than you and manifests spiritual belief outwardly is in conspiracy against you, you’re going to have a troubled mind for the rest of your life.

    By contrast, people react very well to the message that “you’re just as good as me, and we’re all in this together”.

    I’m trying to work out why my heart surgeon uncle who wears a turban, to use one example, is any less in it togther with you just because he wears a turban. You’re taking the extremes as the norm, of people of high religiosity bossing you with their appearence.

    Where do dreadlocks sit with you? Are Rastafaians still responsible for the problematic issue of blacks in society? That was the mantra when I was growing up.

  39. Derius — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

    Integration via segregation. What a brainstorm.

  40. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:08 pm  

    ‘Maybe you’re right that it has been spun by the right wing press Refresh.’

    It hasn’t yet, but it will be now – hat tip to DavidT.

    In general public facilities are used to suit demands of the public and groups from within that public. Its always been like that.

    An example might be why a public park can be shut off to run a Proms in the Park event, where a free and open space becomes closed and chargeable. Similarly this is how football pitches get used on Sundays.

    So I am saying its a non-story – but it seems still worth adding to the thousands of others.

  41. marvin — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:10 pm  

    Refresh means only for religious people. They have a special place in society where they can have their whims met, especially if they kick up a fuss. At the expense of others. Even though we are supposed to have laws against discrimination.

    Imagine the furore over a no-hijab policy! No non-believer (is there a nicer term that kaffir?) policy is fine, however.

    Discriminating to people who don’t dress a certain way is fine with Refresh, so long as it’s the non-religious being discriminated against, and not the other way around.

  42. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:11 pm  

    An example might be why a public park can be shut off to run a Proms in the Park event, where a free and open space becomes closed and chargeable. Similarly this is how football pitches get used on Sundays.

    But they’re not closed off for only one ethnic or religious group.

    If only Christians were allowed to the Proms, that would be comparable.

  43. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:15 pm  

    You see Refresh, if it was a ‘womens only’ swimming event, I don’t think people would object too much. When you say its a ‘muslim women only’ programme, it becomes very offensive, and a litle disturbing too. It becomes sectarian, and seems to say there is something dirty about non Muslim women. Why should a Muslim woman who is shy of swimming in front of men, also consider the gaze of non Muslim women to be just as harmful and inhibiting to her?

    Do you get what I’m saying? I can sort of see your point, can you see mine?

  44. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:22 pm  

    No jag et al, that is not how I see it. That is why I would ask DavidT does attend. I don’t see a single reason why he could not. The fact that the attendants may not have understood this could be the issue.

    #43 nice post. Expect similar responses when it gets into the rags.

  45. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:33 pm  

    So I am saying its a non-story – but it seems still worth adding to the thousands of others.

    What do you mean by “non-story” in this case, Refresh?
    1) That it didn’t happen at all
    2) That it didn’t happen the way it has been reported
    2) If this did happen, it is unimportant to the grand scheme of things
    3) People should be able to enforce their own religion/race only clubs onto public institutions. WTF is the fuss about?

  46. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:34 pm  

    Jag

    If you go around thinking anyone in the world who dresses differently than you and manifests spiritual belief outwardly is in conspiracy against you, you’re going to have a troubled mind for the rest of your life.

    My personal reaction to religious friends and relatives is that they’re wasting their time, but are essentially harmless.

    However, historically, telling other people that they’re sinful but you’re saved, has not been the best way to win friends and influence people!

    Where do dreadlocks sit with you? Are Rastafaians still responsible for the problematic issue of blacks in society?

    Turbans and dreadlocks seem mostly to be badges of a cultural group. I don’t know what else they’re supposed to signify.

    Shaving your hair off and wearing a wig (as haredi jewish women do) or wearing a hijab, is certainly capable of being read as a statement that (a) you are a slut but (b) I am pure.

    Refresh:

    An example might be why a public park can be shut off to run a Proms in the Park event, where a free and open space becomes closed and chargeable.

    Any objections to a Christians Only Proms in the Park?

    That is why I would ask DavidT does attend. I don’t see a single reason why he could not.

    Well, I did attend. And I was told that I could not take my 5 year old son into the pool because it was “Muslim Only Swimming”.

  47. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:36 pm  

    However, historically, telling other people that they’re sinful but you’re saved, has not been the best way to win friends and influence people!

    Not all people who wear a cross or wear a hijab or a yarmulka are calling you a slut or depraved or unsaved, David.

  48. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:39 pm  

    If you want to check that there really is religously segregated swimming, here’s the link for another local pool run by the same company which announces its policy as “Muslim Men Only”

    http://www.gll.org/pool_programme_search.asp?cid=32&cbid=3

    (Click Saturday)

  49. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

    Not all people who wear a cross or wear a hijab or a yarmulka are calling you a slut or depraved or unsaved, David.

    I appreciate that: but that is kinda the message of Christianity (and, as far as jews go, Judaism).

    Certainly there are versions of both religions (i.e. much of Anglicanism, Reform Judaism) which depart from that central message. But then, they also don’t really believe in god either!

  50. Justforfun — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:46 pm  

    Well, I did attend. And I was told that I could not take my 5 year old son into the pool because it was “Muslim Only Swimming”.

    Not circumcized? That’ll be the reason .

    - they say they are all in ‘modesty’ suits but more likely in birthday suits – who knows what is happening ? – they could all be nanga punga for all we know – or is that on Tuesday nights when it’s Ganga night.

    Hang on – Ganga night – has a nice ring to it – not a bad idea – a few drops of Ganga water into the pool, a bit of faith – should be enough to transform the pool. What do people think? Also the health benefit of giving your immune system a good kick in the pants.

    What is going on in London – I seem to missing out on all the fun.

    justforfun

  51. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:47 pm  

    “Muslim male only swimming sessions available to all those who meet the Swim safely guidelines.”

    Or rather:
    “Muslim male only swimming sessions available to all those who will be in Jannah in the Akherat unlike the rest of you kafirun and munafiqeen.

  52. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    I appreciate that: but that is kinda the message of Christianity (and, as far as jews go, Judaism)

    Just don’t take it personally. I don’t.

  53. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:53 pm  

    Muslim male only swimming sessions available to all those who will be in Jannah in the Akherat unlike the rest of you kafirun and munafiqeen

    hahahaha.

    But – pace Jag – that really is kinda how this comes across.

    Yeah, I know, don’t take it personally… The thing is, particularly if you have come from a religious background, you know exactly what (a good proportion of) religious people do think about sinners. And they do mean it personally.

  54. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 2:57 pm  

    ‘WTF is the fuss about?’

    That was my point.

    DavidT

    ‘Well, I did attend. And I was told that I could not take my 5 year old son into the pool because it was “Muslim Only Swimming”.’

    You make it read as if it was because you had your son with you. More details are needed – ask specifically about the swimgear.

    Come on DavidT, there is more to you than this:

    ‘Any objections to a Christians Only Proms in the Park?’

    These events exist, might not be called that – but there are Christian musical festivals. In fact my partner almost went one year.

  55. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:00 pm  

    So you’re cool with people being able to enforce their own religion/race only clubs onto public institutions?

    And you would be the first to complain about “White Sahib only” clubs.

  56. MaidMarian — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:02 pm  

    This is all well and good (and interesting). But what about the point of the article?

    It would appear that there is a consensus that religion is not the framework the article seeks.

    What is?

  57. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

    Sid, I don’t understand what you are trying to say. There is no enforcement – unless you have evidence – there is demand.

    Stop being obtuse.

  58. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

    hahaha, I’m being obtuse.

  59. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:06 pm  

    and sneering

  60. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:09 pm  

    yes I’m sneering at people who are hoisting their own private dictats onto public institutions. You’re feeling uncomfortable because in this case, they happen to be muslims.

  61. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:25 pm  

    ‘The old Pakistani Mirpuri Islamist bigot in Refresh finally comes out…’

    Wrong! The bigotry, for all to see, is not from me. I would suggest acquiescing to #43 is bigotry.

    Sid, I am uncomfortable on a number of fronts. Most of it do with the drip drip effect of demonisation.

    To suggest that these things happen by diktat is grossly inaccurate, and does not account for how life works here. You call it diktat, when its simply a matter of demand. And as for the muslim angle, there can only be the one I mentioned – dress code.

    Why do you insist on being laboured by everything else except that?

    It’ll be a wonder that ‘those’ sessions don’t appear in the rags as muslims training for water-borne missions.

    Since DavidT raised the issue, he should do us all a favour and see if he can get in with his newly acquired gear; and he should try the same experiment with ‘jews-only’ swimming sessions and when he’s done try going in his new attire to an ‘open’ session.

  62. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:29 pm  

    Actually, Refresh is one of the more sensible commenters around. You on the other hand are a nobody.

  63. considerthis — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:31 pm  

    To go back to Sunny’s original point, people should be able to wear whatever kind of swimwear they want in a pool. And if they get jeered at, as everyone’s so afraid of, lets expel the jeerer from the session, this being the definition of ‘enforcing’ a tolerant liberal society.

    But all this ‘we need modesty swimsuit hour for muslim men in case (gasp) a member of the public feels the need to point and stare at some point in the future’ is putting paranoia firmly at the front of policy making – an attitude which will prove as short lived as it is unhelpful.

    As for women’s hour, I think many women (secular agnostics like me included) are extremely happy to have segregated sessions so we dont get leered at in the pool from sexually repressed adolescents…I dont see this is a religious issue. Just a biological one.

  64. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:32 pm  

    If it helps, I had a go at women only swimming, bang in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, which is used near exclusively by Haredi jewish women…

  65. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:35 pm  

    No DavidT it does not help.

    Did you get it into the national rags? If not why not?

    And don’t tell me its because jews aren’t topical, muslims are.

  66. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:38 pm  

    Finally!

    Considerthis, you are definitely on the right lines.

    Women and men should not leer and be leered at, whether by adolescents of otherwise.

  67. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:40 pm  

    Say that to the Muslims who have set up the Muslim-male-only swimming club, Refresh.

  68. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:48 pm  

    ANYHOW….

    I have now spoken (again, and at length) to the Duty Manager of Clissold Leisure Centre.

    He tells me that:

    1. The session was originally a private hire by a mosque. However, the mosque stopped paying. Therefore, Clissold Leisure Centre took over the event, instituted a Muslim Only Swimming session

    2. The session was indeed Muslim only. It wouldn’t be sufficient for me and my son to wear a particular sort of swimming costume. We actually had to be Muslim.

    He told me that there was a swimming session for Jewish women on Wednesday evenings: which was a private hire. He suggested at one point that the group might have a grant which allowed it to hire the pool for that time.

    Personally, I’m not opposed to private hire of pools providing that:
    - it is not at prime family time (i.e. weekends)
    - it is open to all sorts of clubs, and not just sectarian associations
    - the groups are charged full price
    - the groups are not given grants to allow them to hire (i.e. to disguise the fact that this is publicly funded religious segregation).

    SO…

    Who fancies coming swimming with me and my 5 year old. I mean, I wonder what they’d do if they were faced with a jew, a sikh, a muslim and a hindu with their small children (male and female) in tow.

    Would they really turn us away?

  69. Rumbold — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:54 pm  

    Do they let Ahmadi Muslims swim I wonder?

  70. Sunny — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:57 pm  

    Refresh, try reading both the posts before you start whining, yes?

    Letters from a Tory:
    He’s an idea – ban discrimination of all types. If people are so pro equal rights and equality, how can this kind of behaviour be acceptable, let alone legal?

    Well yes, I would love for discrimination to be banned – even at Parliament, but we’re not getting there any time soon are we?
    What you may mean is that subtle discrimination is allowed because its not explicit as is in these cases.

    Anyway, I’ve given examples where such discrimination works – in the case of old people, disabled people, women etc. Its simply about offering access to all parts of the public and recognising that one size/ one model does not always fit all.

  71. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:59 pm  

    Sid, now that we’ve set DavidT a mission I think it would be useful wait until he gets some proper information.

    Just so I’ve understood you – say what exactly?

  72. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:03 pm  

    I have got proper information.

    This is segregation “on the rates”, innit!

    Anyhow, I thought that we were all born Muslim, and needed merely to ‘revert’.

    But as I’ve never believed in anything, surely I simply remained Muslim.

  73. Sunny — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:04 pm  

    considerthis – well said.

    David T:
    Personally, I’m not opposed to private hire of pools providing that:
    - it is not at prime family time (i.e. weekends)
    - it is open to all sorts of clubs, and not just sectarian associations

    Mmm… I disagree. A private hiring means the group should be allowed to set their own policy. How is anly allowing people from one company any more ‘egalitarian’ than only allowing Muslim men or Jewish women?

  74. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:14 pm  

    ‘Refresh, try reading both the posts before you start whining, yes?’

    Where is the other one? Surely I shouldn’t have to aggregate posts to appreciate what was being said and respond?

    I’ll stop whining but I ask you ensure you get the full facts from DavidT, before he drags PP back into the dark ages.

    DavidT, so it was initially a private hire and presumably the management themselves decided to continue the sessions – presumably because there was a demand? Did you ask them why they decided to call it ‘Muslim-only’?

    As for the management of public facilities, it would be their remit to maximise use and try to attract as broad a cross-section of the communities they serve.

    Sid, as I understand the feedback from DavidT, there was no diktat. There is no muslim group agitating for a male muslim only swimming session.

    You can smell these stories a mile off!!

  75. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:15 pm  

    I think you misunderstand.

    I accept that all clubs will only allow their members to participate. So it makes no difference to me, as long as those members are defined by gender, religion, sexual orientation, interest in re-enacting key scenes from Jaws etc.

    However,

    - I’d like the club members genuinely to be paying for themselves (and not, for example, receiving a specific grant from the council, to pay for religiously segregated swimming)

    - I’d like the pool genuinely to allow any club to hire the pool at any time. So, if I formed a club of parents with toddlers, we would equally be allowed to hire the pool.

    - I’d also favour restricting private hire to non-peak family times (e.g. weekday evenings, rather than weekends)

  76. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:21 pm  

    That’s the history of it.

    I think that some of the other “muslim only sessions” in other pools are in fact, private hires by mosque swimming clubs: which I’ve no problem with as long as they fall within the parameters I suggested above.

    Others are public sessions laid on by the Hackney Council funded leisure centre, as part of its attempt to cater for diversity etc.

    Did you ask them why they decided to call it ‘Muslim-only’?

    The guy I spoke to wasn’t really able to say. He told me that it was “Things to do with their religion which mean that they can’t swim with non muslims”. But he couldn’t elaborate on what those “things” might me.

    I can’t think of any “things”. Can you?

    I specifically asked whether I could swim if I wore a particular sort of costume, and was told that this wasn’t sufficient.

  77. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:24 pm  

    DavidT,

    ‘I have got proper information.’

    Now you have. Almost.

    ‘This is segregation “on the rates”, innit!’

    Rubbish, if you weren’t so intent, you would see there are clearly some parts of the population who are not getting out to swim, and if it means they can then its actually better for their health and safety. Perhaps engaging them in healthy physical exercise, rather than none at all, is better all round even to the extent of saving on the national health bill.

    As an aside, did you run a story on Harry’s Place on how the NHS had been wasting public money trying to pamper muslims by asking them to give up smoking during Ramadan?

    ‘Anyhow, I thought that we were all born Muslim, and needed merely to ‘revert’.’

    My goodness, as if you hadn’t tried to stir it enough.

    ‘But as I’ve never believed in anything, surely I simply remained Muslim.’

    God only knows.

  78. considerthis — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:26 pm  

    I think the answer is fairly simple, from a philosophical point of view.

    Separating genders at a swimming session is ok – as it is not discriminating between people within that gender, whether black, white, sikh, muslim, lesbian or whatever any more than kids swimming lessons do. At such sessions women can presumably wear what they want in the pool, providing its hygienic

    Similarly, I dont see why pools shouldnt do mixed gender nudist sessions or whatever if there’s public demand (bizarrely, my local pool in Edinburgh did this: I was reliably informed that most of the regulars were octogenarian pensioners??!).

    In this case, if it was a men-only modest swimwear wearing session, open to all – gay, sikh, atheist, muslim, etc – I dont see why it shouldnt be ok, though of course as DavidT says prime time is a slightly strange choice for the leisure centre to pursue such niche clients…

    However, its not, its for muslims only, and like the jewish women who hire the pool privately, they ought to pay for the ‘privilege’, if thats what it is, of excluding others, according to the rules of a private members club.

    I think this issue is important because you could use exactly the same argumentation for public funding of faith schools, etc, which is worth significantly more to the public purse than swimming pool sessions.

    Personally I dont think theres anything wrong with catering for diversity, so long as it doesnt involve excluding society, which is the problem in the current instance…

    peace y’all

  79. Sunny — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:29 pm  

    before he drags PP back into the dark ages.

    Is this one of those days when you become hysterical again?

    First, I posed this question and used this example to genuinely ask a question on where such lines should be drawn.

    Secondly I pointed out that such examples hurt Muslims more than anything. Your attitude is that we should never talk about it. Except that only helps the right-wing media and people like you sit there and whine that the world is against them.

    How about you offer constructive arguments Refresh instead of accusing other people of everything under the sun?

  80. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:30 pm  

    Rubbish, if you weren’t so intent, you would see there are clearly some parts of the population who are not getting out to swim, and if it means they can then its actually better for their health and safety. Perhaps engaging them in healthy physical exercise, rather than none at all, is better all round even to the extent of saving on the national health bill.

    What about racists, who are unprepared to swim with black people?

    Special hours for them?

    In some boroughs, nearly 20% voted BNP, so perhaps we should be catering to the special needs of this community

    (Many of them are fat)

  81. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:34 pm  

    DavidT,

    ‘Did you ask them why they decided to call it ‘Muslim-only’?

    The guy I spoke to wasn’t really able to say. He told me that it was “Things to do with their religion which mean that they can’t swim with non muslims”. But he couldn’t elaborate on what those “things” might me.

    I can’t think of any “things”. Can you?’

    You would have done us all a service, by getting that information upfront, and if you were keen to pursue the story further, got to the bottom of this:

    “Things to do with their religion which mean that they can’t swim with non muslims”

    by asking whoever made the decision at the pool, and perhaps even approached the mosque. But then you would have to be seen as someone genuinely interested, and seeking a ‘story’.

  82. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:39 pm  

    I don’t know what mosque this is. All I know is that it is one of two swimming pools in the borough which explicitly hold non-private hire Muslim Only Swimming.

    What I was told by the Duty Manager today was precisely what I was told by a (different) Duty Manager yesterday.

    So, whatever the logic is, Muslim Only swimming is being enforced by a Hackney Council pool

    I’m not blaming Muslims in general, or a mosque or anybody other than Clissold Leisure Centre for this. It won’t be the mosque or “muslims” paying damages if customers sue for unlawful discrimination, after all.

  83. Jag — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:47 pm  

    Anyhow, I thought that we were all born Muslim, and needed merely to ‘revert’

    That’s handy!

    I bet the Christian evangelists are cursing their luck that they didn’t think of that one first.

  84. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 4:50 pm  

    in the case of the christian evangelist: Everyone’s a sinner baby.

  85. bananabrain — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:00 pm  

    I appreciate that: but [people who wear a cross or wear a hijab or a yarmulka are calling you a slut or depraved or unsaved] is kinda the message of Christianity (and, as far as jews go, Judaism).

    Certainly there are versions of both religions (i.e. much of Anglicanism, Reform Judaism) which depart from that central message. But then, they also don’t really believe in god either!

    david t, shame on you, you ought to know better than to make such an entirely untrue series of generalisations. FYI, a little bit of jewish theology – we don’t divide humanity into “saved” and “unsaved”. there is no universal salvation theology in judaism over and above the mishnaic statement (C2nd) that “the righteous AMONGST THE NATIONS (that means EVERYONE) have a portion in the World-to-Come”. moreover, we’re not entirely clear what the WtC actually is, except that it’s a good thing. it certainly isn’t “hell”. in the words of alistair campbell, we don’t do “fire-and-red-hot-pitchforks-style-hell”. as for that being “the message”, you are so far off the mark that, well, i don’t think you can even see the mark. as for reform jews not really believing in G!D, shame on you for that, too.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  86. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:04 pm  

    “though I don’t understand why in this case Muslim men can’t swim with non-Muslim men”

    Personally I don’t understand why men can’t swim with women.

    Are we saying that sex-segregated sessions are OK?

  87. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:18 pm  

    as for reform jews not really believing in G!D, shame on you for that, too

    Oh come on! Of course they don’t!

    They believe in some sort of wishy washy Sea of Faith construct …

    Saved is, I grant you, more apt to Christian theology: but there’s certainly the notion of the redemption and reward of those who are true to their covenant hardwired into all these abrahamic faiths.

    Nonsense, of course. God doesn’t care: largely because god doesn’t exist.

    Just my opinion, though. I’m generally pro-religion, in much the same way that I’m pro art.

  88. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:27 pm  

    Sunny,

    There will soon be every reason to get hysterical, if we start going backwards. But DavidT has been ‘gracious’ enough to get us the facts, the best he can. I wish he’d done that before he’d gone public, lets hope he corrects himself.

    I am glad to say my hunch was right.

    There seems to be a demand for private sessions and there is a public interest to get as many people out swimming as possible. There is clearly no diktat from muslim groups (which is what was suggested and not countered).

    As editor-in-chief I think it is quite in order for you to expect more details from DavidT before running his stories.

    As for harming muslims, of course it does. PP has for a while exposed the shoddy journalism (or perhaps deliberately so) on these anti-muslim stories. That should continue.

    What is needed are calm heads, restraining all those that see muslim conspiracies everywhere. DavidT take note.

  89. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:31 pm  

    cjcjc

    All-girl schools not allowed?

    ‘Why men can’t swim with women’?

    I think Considerthis covered it quite well (excuse the pun).

  90. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:39 pm  

    Refresh, from my reading, considerthis spoke about the right to wear modesty swimwear in public pools. No one here has denied that this should be the case. I take it you agree with this statement by him too:
    “Personally I dont think theres anything wrong with catering for diversity, so long as it doesnt involve excluding society, which is the problem in the current instance…”

  91. Niels C — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:44 pm  

    Guess some muslims have a hard time in France.
    My experience is that you are only allowed in the pool, if you using briefs.
    Bur on the other side the design of compitition swimwear points the muslim way
    http://www.speedo80.com/lzr-racer/products/male-bodyskin-no-arms/

  92. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:46 pm  

    “All-girl schools not allowed?”

    If state funded, and boys wanted to study (swim) at the same time and were being excluded
    because it was girls’ study time, then no, not allowed.

    That’s the better analogy.

  93. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:53 pm  

    Sid,

    Stop trying to trip me up. We have made progress on the substantive issue, so lets leave it at that.

    I didn’t say I agreed with everything she said. Her earlier intervention was saying that she has reasons to support all-women sessions as she objects to being leered at by adolescents. Which is commendable and highlights concerns of some women. Enough women for all-women sessions to be run up and down the country.

    My point is that the same can apply to men, which is really where all this is pointing to. That men too are susceptible to leering (yes by other men). Hence the dress code.

    Considerthis’ second intervention was addressing the point that there should not be discrimination as to who attends. And I am saying that was never the issue here.

    That is to say, there is no rule or view which says muslims can’t swim with non-muslims.

    Misreading/misrepresenting that is the reason for the excitement.

  94. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 5:56 pm  

    Considerthis’ second intervention was addressing the point that there should not be discrimination as to who attends. And I am saying that was never the issue here.

    That is to say, there is no rule or view which says muslims can’t swim with non-muslims.

    In general there isn’t, thanks to legislation. But in this particular case there clearly was. You’re attempting to obscure the particular with the general.

  95. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 6:01 pm  

    Sid,

    I should have been clearer –

    ‘That is to say, there is no rule or view which says muslims can’t swim with non-muslims.’

    I meant that there is no religious rule or view.

    The implied criticism so far has been muslim men only want to swim with muslim men. That is clearly not the case.

  96. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 6:10 pm  

    Sid, with regards the key point:

    What about men leering at other men?

  97. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 6:14 pm  

    This explains your confusion. This was not the case at all, and I think there has been no attempt made to imply that muslim men can only swim with muslim men by religion.

    Your comment:
    “You call it diktat, when its simply a matter of demand.”

    is curious. Where is there any justification, statutary, legal, or otherwise whereby muslim men may demand that they must only swim with other muslim men.

    But I suspect you will find a way to justify why muslims should enforce “demands” based on spurious interpretations of religious law and then become offended when criticism ensues.

  98. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 6:22 pm  

    Sid, you are giving me headache!

    Its demand as in market demand.

  99. Sid — on 14th April, 2008 at 6:25 pm  

    you mean they paid for it? yeah, that justifies it then. ;)

  100. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 6:27 pm  

    You know Sid, I don’t know what it was about that last few posts of yours, but its flicked a switch with me.

    I’ve decided that you are quite a nice, cuddly guy. Harmless.

  101. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 6:28 pm  

    I spend a fair amount of time in France, and it is indeed the case that pools will not let you in (if you’re a man) if you’re wearing voluminous boxer short style trunks (as is my wont).

    In fact, the last time I went, I was FORCED to wear speedoes (which they provided to me). I looked terrible and flabby in them. I would have positively welcomed a “modesty swim” dress code, to be honest.

    The reason they give for these speedos only requirements is “hygene”. Theoretically, their concern is that you might wear shorts which were not really proper swimming trunks, and bring the dirt from the street into the pool

    But, actually, what they want is for you to wear something which is so tight that it makes it difficult for you to fiddle with yourself undetected.

    (This is how a French friend explained it to me, at least)

  102. bananabrain — on 14th April, 2008 at 6:35 pm  

    Oh come on! Of course they don’t! They believe in some sort of wishy washy Sea of Faith construct …

    david, i grew up in the reform movement and i can assure you that this is incorrect. obviously they’re more universalist in tone, but there is still very much an idea of a personal G!D, albeit in a non-systematic theological system like judaism nobody signs up to a catechism no matter which stream they join. the nearest thing we have is maimonides’ 13 principles and we don’t even agree on that.

    Saved is, I grant you, more apt to Christian theology: but there’s certainly the notion of the redemption and reward of those who are true to their covenant hardwired into all these abrahamic faiths.

    it is redemption of the *jewish people* from *exile* and, through us, all humanity, via the advent of the messianic age. it is NOT redemption from “hell” through “salvation”, let alone conversion.

    Just my opinion, though. I’m generally pro-religion, in much the same way that I’m pro art.

    well, don’t expect to get very far as an art critic if you insist that rembrandt wasn’t in the least bit interested in the relationship between light and skin.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  103. David T — on 14th April, 2008 at 7:00 pm  

    I’ve been to Reform services. It largely consisted of a Rabbi wearing a tallis made out of a rainbow flag saying Quaker-ish things while a church organ played in the background.

    Great stuff!

    Anglicanism is better though, as it has vicars in frocks.

  104. Don — on 14th April, 2008 at 7:53 pm  

    Still don’t know why the (to me) perfectly reasonable and widespread practice of men/women only sessions doesn’t satisfy the demands of modesty, given that acceptable swimwear is available and presumably permitted by the baths.

    If a muslim man has covered his Awrah, then how can it matter what religion the bloke in the next lane is?

    Is it that a particularly tenacious gay bloke might be aroused despite the modest costume? But that implies that there are no gay moslems, which is clearly not the case.

    Is it worry that men in less concealing costumes might lead virtuous muslim men into temptation? In which case you are pretty safe with me in the pool. Twenty years ago, yes, the sight of my upper-thighs doing the crawl made many a hetero re-think his position but those days are sadly gone.

    But if it is that, then we have a situation where people are being excluded – albeit for limited periods – from a public facility because their conventional and unremarkable outfit might arouse the lust of others. I’m always wary of the slippery slope fallacy, but that would establish a principle with worrying implications. Football players, cyclists and joggers in public parks, for example frequently wear shorts well above the knee.

    If there genuinely is a (market or otherwise) demand for sectarian swimming, what is the rationale? If it isn’t modesty, then what is left other than a distaste for sharing a pool with someone of another religion?

    billericaydicky got it in #3. Whoever made this decision, it was counter-productive. Only a jerk would object to showing up at a baths and being told it was women only session, or mothers and babies. But being excluded because of your religion is going to play big with the BNP sniffing for grievances to exploit.

  105. Boyo — on 14th April, 2008 at 7:59 pm  

    Um… if Islamophobia is racist, surely Muslim-only swimming is racist too? I mean, you can’t have it both ways (although of course you can try).

  106. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 9:13 pm  

    ‘If there genuinely is a (market or otherwise) demand for sectarian swimming, what is the rationale? If it isn’t modesty, then what is left other than a distaste for sharing a pool with someone of another religion?’

    That is the line the rag-end of the media will want to play regardless of the facts.

  107. fugstar — on 14th April, 2008 at 9:14 pm  

    Maybe there are other people who would prefer single gendered swimming facilities. I’d imagine that david twee probably got it off an email that wasnt targetted at him, but that was encouraging people to go swimming with a bunch of muslim mates. some people just read the failure of multiculturalism into the most mundane arrangements. Its a simple case of mind your own business and people trying to limit the horizons of possibility by appealing to a timeless memory of english naked mixed bathing in the thames

    No doubt someone somewhere can spin it to imply aqueous militant training in the swimming baths of skegness. I look forward to seeing a bro in mili-scuba gear and sunnah compliant flippers on the front page of the sun.

  108. Don — on 14th April, 2008 at 11:02 pm  

    Refresh,

    It was a genuine question. It wasn’t aimed at you specifically, although as you clearly have a view I would have appreciated your perspective. What is the rationale? Is there such a demand and if so why?

    Your response was a cheap shot rather than an answer.

  109. Refresh — on 14th April, 2008 at 11:33 pm  

    Don,

    It wasn’t a shot.

    It was a recognition of what the tabloids will do.

    I do have a view and it is as simple as this: the tiniest of stories are or will be magnified and grossly overstated. And this most definitely is one.

    For all we know the mosque initiated the swimming program, persuaded by a Community Health Trust program, several years ago for their youngsters which became popular amongst the adults, and eventually got taken over by the management of the facility.

    I am pretty sure its probably no more than that.

    How the fact that a pool is unavailable for say 90 minutes gets translated into segregation and yes even racism I will never know.

    That was rhetorical, answer not required.

  110. Sunny — on 15th April, 2008 at 1:02 am  

    I do have a view and it is as simple as this: the tiniest of stories are or will be magnified and grossly overstated. And this most definitely is one.

    Refresh, this is the problem isn’t it. When its Muslims who might be blamed for something, then you blame everyone else incl the media. When its Muslims in the firing line then every little thing is turned into the next holocaust. Jeez, this is why I find it difficult to take you seriously – you squirm so much its unreal.

    The point isn’t what the Express will do with this – that is a given. The point is why these situations exist and how they can be resolved. You pointedly haven’t answered Don’s question because you don’t have the answer. You just want someone to blame for even raising the issue.

  111. Refresh — on 15th April, 2008 at 1:34 am  

    Sunny,
    Is this really the problem?

    Given what has transpired on this thread, do you still think there is a story which points to any misdeed on behalf of the muslims using the facility?

    Be honest.

    Have you done the groundwork to back up the original assertion?

    Of course I squirm when I see this level of debate. Do you want me to castigate muslims for using the pool? Or what? I’ve clearly said this is a non-story and done my level best to ascertain the facts. Which I think was your job.

    So am I blaming the media? I will be doing, knowing full well they will have had a helping hand. At least in this case we are privileged enough to get some of the facts before they are ‘mainstreamed’.

    I think you should back up what you are saying.

    Why do these situations exist? I think I said how I think this one came about. See my post #109. Add to that the daily diet of muslim stories. If you disagree with that then you are going back on what you have been saying for quite a while.

    I pointedly haven’t answered Don’s question, because I don’t quite know what it is. If its the case that Don is suggesting that some muslims may not swim in communal baths because of some sort of aversion, then that has been answered well enough. Unless you want it repeated.

    I am blaming you for raising the issue because there is NO issue. Unless you have got the facts to prove otherwise. Its not enough to say it may or may not prove to be the case when you could have asked DavidT to elaborate – which he now has done.

    Next holcaust? Who knows. Clearly the BNP (amongst others) would like to make the most of this and every other story.

  112. Refresh — on 15th April, 2008 at 1:45 am  

    Don, to be honest the reason I didn’t respond directly was and I am being genuine here – it didn’t merit it.

    It was speculation heaped on speculation, which ironically I probably started.

  113. David T — on 15th April, 2008 at 8:57 am  

    How the fact that a pool is unavailable for say 90 minutes gets translated into segregation and yes even racism I will never know.

    Come on. Let’s have a straight answer.

    Would you object to a no-Muslims swimming session?

  114. considerthis — on 15th April, 2008 at 9:35 am  

    French swimming pools might not be great for muslim guys – the speedo thing is some kinda national law there – but everyone has to cover their heads, so maybe its mujahaba friendly?!

    In Britain, compared to the continent, we’re far more open to diverse cultural requirements. In France its basically illegal to segregate pools or whatever by gender, or even allow religious symbols to be incorporated into sporting outfits, so great is the level of secular hysteria.

    If we want to safeguard what is good and progressive about the UK (ie respect for religious belief and difference) then we can’t afford to go overboard and risk turning public opinion sour, as stories such as the one above have a tendency to do.

    Surely if all communities respect each other and attempt to find compromise, instead of encouraging exclusionary policies, we will find that Britain is a far saner and pleasanter place to live

    BTW – Sid I am a woman not a man. thanks…

  115. bananabrain — on 15th April, 2008 at 10:58 am  

    david t:

    I’ve been to Reform services. It largely consisted of a Rabbi wearing a tallis made out of a rainbow flag saying Quaker-ish things while a church organ played in the background.

    And, so, on the basis of that, you think you know all about reform judaism? that, on the basis of that, they don’t believe in G!D? if i were feeling uncharitable, i might remark that i can understand why some people criticise harry’s place for jumping to the wrong conclusions on the basis of having misunderstood the basic facts. in fact, on this subject, you sound exactly like the sort of pompous ignorant imbeciles that i constantly hear whenever i go anywhere near the united synagogue, surrounded by a miasma of ancient fishballs. the reform movement does some seriously good work in the area of informal education, interfaith work and social action which people like you would do well to learn something about. i may not agree with their theology or their take on halakha, but at least i do them the courtesy of giving them credit where credit’s due. and if their services are dull, over-directed and churchy, then frankly the only difference i can see between that and the united synagogue is a) the lack of the organ b) the fact that everyone is talking all the way through about football and c) people park round the corner rather than in the car park. in the words of nigel molesworth the “goriler of 3b”, i diskard you.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  116. bananabrain — on 15th April, 2008 at 10:58 am  

    damn all formatting. damn damn damn.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  117. Refresh — on 15th April, 2008 at 11:00 am  

    DavidT

    Yes I would.

  118. bananabrain — on 15th April, 2008 at 11:03 am  

    i object to it too, just as i would object to anything like that (including jews-only) which was not the result of a private booking. “modest dress” or segregated is fair enough in certain environments, or privately arranged ones, but i can’t see how a “muslims-only” session at a public pool in public time would be acceptable.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  119. fugstar — on 15th April, 2008 at 11:29 am  

    if you fly on a thai airplane, you can have a muslim meal.

    its your option. ian brown opted for muslim food when he was in prison. some people find it the superior option, who arent muslim.

    ‘muslim’ session at a sweimming pool means
    single gender
    no enforced communal showering
    hawrah’s covered (for boys thats belly to knees)
    no lechery

    118
    Yeah i get annoyed when it turns out that the ahmedis have planned ahead better and booked venue X for their equivalent of eid before me.

    nobody is really asking for the rest of the world to ‘accept’ them the majority of the time, the pools are available to all. if one really wants to swim with bros, im sure theres a number you can ring on the advert. pfft!

  120. Sid — on 15th April, 2008 at 12:24 pm  


    Surely if all communities respect each other and attempt to find compromise, instead of encouraging exclusionary policies, we will find that Britain is a far saner and pleasanter place to live

    BTW – Sid I am a woman not a man. thanks…

    I fully agree with both those statements!

  121. David T — on 15th April, 2008 at 12:31 pm  

    I’ve just spoken to Clissold Leisure Centre

    They’re changing their policy.

    I’ll post on this shortly.

  122. David T — on 15th April, 2008 at 1:30 pm  
  123. Refresh — on 15th April, 2008 at 7:07 pm  

    DavidT,

    Couldn’t you have just approached the management in the first place and pointed out how their designation for the slot has left people confused and was likely to generate resentment towards a particular section of the community? That’s what most honest citizens would have done.

    At least you’d have avoided all the TV appearances you’re going to be pressed to make; and in the past you’d have made it onto Kilroy.

  124. Adnan — on 15th April, 2008 at 9:49 pm  

    Well argued Refresh.

    The way this thread has evolved is just like another PP thread (the one by a guest contributor) regarding a BBC program about Sharia in Nigeria as a means of “promoting” Sharia. That thread generated a load of indigination, but it was clear to anybody who watched the program, that most of the comments (including the person who raised the thread) were from people who had not seen it. It was only until the 80th email that somebody who had watched the program pointed out that the program did the opposite to what was alleged.

    It’s not the first and won’t be the last storm-in-a-teacup Muslim thread on PP. Anyway, DaveT is a bit slow on this one as the Daily Mail has a similar article for a Croydon pool (but, apparently, Dave, non-Muslims are allowed provided the cover themselves appropriately).

  125. Refresh — on 15th April, 2008 at 10:48 pm  

    Thanks Adnan.

    I am sure there are also unintended consequences for people’s jobs, especially when crass attempts are made to correct an unintended wrong. Putting together a lynch mob from Harry’s Place has never been difficult.

    I pictured DavidT in his victorian dress and top-hat gathering his crowd in the darkness each carrying a flaming torch. Followed by a fiery speech whilst holding aloft his five year old son, the innocent victim of a grave injustice. ‘This will not stand!’ is the cry before they march on the swimming pool.

    Small mercy, I guess, he could have been marching on the mosque.

  126. billericaydickey — on 17th April, 2008 at 9:23 am  

    Just an update on the bathing and BNP in Hackney. The Hackney Gazette and the East London Advertiser not only didn’t run the ads they made no reference to the whole affair. It’s as if it never happened. Nick Lowles thanks everyone who protested in his blog on http://www.hopenothate.org.uk.

    Hackney Council have said the whole thing about Muslims only was a mistake but admits that Dave T and his son were refused entry because they were not Muslims. I think the fact that I had organised about twenty people to turn up at nine on Sunday to pay and walk in might have had something to do with it. They council were told they would have to organise a security firm to stop us and the whole thing would have just turned into a televised fight.

    Nice one Dave T and Sunny for the publicity.

  127. David T — on 18th April, 2008 at 12:56 pm  

    Now, here’s an interesting thing.

    The Daily Mail coverage was actually… pretty good:

    http://tinyurl.com/5ucbfn

    Key points:

    1. The Daily Mail went to the moderate and progressive Dr Taj Hargey of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, instead of the reactionary Mawdudist clique, the Muslim Association of Britain.

    2. The article is presented as Hackney’s discriminatory policy, which the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggests may be unlawful: not as a “Brown Hordes Are Destroying Our Country” story.

    3. It includes a quote which makes it clear that many Muslims are horrified by attempts to segregate them:

    “I spoke to a number of Muslim friends, and none of them had heard of a religious prohibition on swimming with non-Muslims.

    “One friend was so disgusted with Hackney for trying to segregate Muslims and non Muslims that he suggested that he take his little daughter swimming with us, just to prove the point.”

    So, all in all: well done the Daily Mail.

    Never thought I’d say that!!

  128. David T — on 18th April, 2008 at 12:57 pm  

    Council, not Association, I mean.

  129. Refresh — on 18th April, 2008 at 1:16 pm  

    So DavidT you were wrong all along weren’t you.

    The Daily Mail handled it, and that is as much as we need to know – and of course it got all the same old responses.

    And you’re pleased with the Daily Mail.

    BTW Like the new look, when did you shave it off?

  130. David T — on 18th April, 2008 at 1:31 pm  

    We handled it Refresh. The Council basically changed its policy on the hoof. It started getting calls from the Hackney Gazette, ITN, me, and various other people…

    Strangely enough, the day after people started to enquire and complain, the “Muslims Only” advertising on the GLL website was mysteriously taken down.

    So, congratulations to all of us for ensuring that this matter was dealt with so swiftly and so well.

  131. Sid — on 18th April, 2008 at 2:41 pm  

    Well done us, and DavidT in particular.
    DavidT also 40 today!
    So ma’asha’llah and mazeltov as they say in Hackney.

  132. David T — on 18th April, 2008 at 2:46 pm  

    actually, not for 3 weeks… but a party then would clash with the birth of my baby daughter (ma’asha’llah for that!)

  133. Sid — on 18th April, 2008 at 2:57 pm  

    indeed.

  134. fug — on 18th April, 2008 at 3:56 pm  

    MAB , Maududist. hahahah. Somebody needs ummahtography lessons… or parhaps not.

    how comes i only hear about Dr Taj when someone wants a willing partner to slag of X muslim organisation? Doesnt appear to be part of any social work or have any traction, even in Oxford.

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