The rise of secularism?


by Ala
19th September, 2008 at 6:16 pm    

The annual Pew survey of global attitudes has found a rise in anti-semitism and Islamophobia in Europe.

A spring 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Pew Global Attitudes Project finds 46% of the Spanish rating Jews unfavorably. More than a third of Russians (34%) and Poles (36%) echo this view. Somewhat fewer, but still significant numbers of the Germans (25%) and French (20%) interviewed also express negative opinions of Jews. These percentages are all higher than obtained in comparable Pew surveys taken in recent years. In a number of countries, the increase has been especially notable between 2006 and 2008.

What could this sudden rise mean? People becoming more bigoted? A rejuvenation of the indignation behind the holocaust and anti-Jewish pogroms? Islam becoming more hated? Yeah right, how much more hated can it get? The most likely explanation might be simpler: more people hating religion in general. As Christoper Hitchens has pointed out, Islam may be the fastest growing religion, but atheism is the fast growing group in the world.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Race politics,Religion






210 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Past Present & Future » Blog Archive » sister sonia the social pariah

    [...] thread, titled the ‘rise of secularism’ like many others on Pickled Politics, soon veered off topic, well perhaps not really, as i was explaining my take on the [...]




  1. Roger — on 19th September, 2008 at 6:23 pm  

    It would be interesting- and useful- to know precisely what they mean by “rating unfavourably”. Precisely which qualities are jews or muslims said to possess- or not possess- that are thought to inspire negative opinions?
    As to jews, there’s the further complication that antisemitism is sometimes ostensibly religiously-based and sometimes ostensibly racially-based according to the convenience of the hater.

  2. Leon — on 19th September, 2008 at 6:33 pm  

    Fastest growing in terms of what numbers?

  3. Don — on 19th September, 2008 at 6:47 pm  

    The most likely explanation might be simpler: more people hating religion in general

    I find that unlikely. If someone has beome an atheist there might be a hostility to the locally dominant religion, but why would it be expressed through anti-semitism? I just don’t see a logical connection.

  4. Jai — on 19th September, 2008 at 6:49 pm  

    As to jews, there’s the further complication that antisemitism is sometimes ostensibly religiously-based and sometimes ostensibly racially-based according to the convenience of the hater.

    In Britain, at least, the same principle of “interchangeability” could also be said to frequently apply in the case of Muslims and Asians, from the perspective of many bigots. According to the latter’s convenience, as Roger has correctly said.

    Beyond whatever they may pick up via the media and hearsay, they may not necessarily know enough about Islam to base their hatred on an informed opinion. However, they do hate Asians, and the recent demonisation of Islam and its followers just gives them a “hook” to hang their bigotry on and justify/rationalise it.

    On the flipside, the actions of terrorists and extremists in the name of Islam during the past few years would also have pushed people who would otherwise have been neutral or amicable towards a more negative stance.

  5. Ala — on 19th September, 2008 at 7:18 pm  

    The most significant event that set people against Islam was 9/11, I’m guessing, yet the sudden rise came later.

    Don, if someone hates all religions that not going to be favourable to any instance of them. They wouldn’t be favourable towards Judaism anymore than Christianity, and yet this may be misconstrued as anti-semitism/racism. It doesn’t matter that they’re not local religions; disdain for religion is usually based on how it affects the world globally.

  6. ParagKapoor — on 19th September, 2008 at 7:19 pm  

    If more and more people are becoming lukewarm towards religion then the question is what is religion offering people today? More and more people witness much of extremism which is highlighted in the media and it produces a negative result. It is then no surprise that people choose to be in a group which is away from extremism or choose to be away from religion at all. How many role models do we have today other than the ones who honestly first started their respective religions? People need more role models to look upto and learn from.

  7. Parag Kapoor — on 19th September, 2008 at 7:34 pm  

    We can’t always blame the media too, it’s a mere reflection of the society. The growing number of atheists would become a challenge for the Religious leaders.
    Islam might be the fastest growing religion at this point but no doubt we see more and more anti-islamic coverings too.

  8. Ravi Naik — on 19th September, 2008 at 7:52 pm  

    “atheism is the fast growing group in the world.”

    Please, do not conflate secularism (the title) with atheism (conclusion). Secularism is neutral on questions of religious beliefs, whereas atheism is not.

    What could this sudden rise mean?

    Rise of radical Islam in Europe? Policies of the Israeli government (which people often confuse with judaism?)

    Islam becoming more hated? Yeah right, how much more hated can it get?

    History books can give us a clue of how much worse can it get.

    The most likely explanation might be simpler: more people hating religion in general.

    Sorry, but that would mean an increase in prejudice against Christians, Buddhists, and other religions as well. There is no evidence to suggest this link.

  9. Don — on 19th September, 2008 at 9:04 pm  

    Ala,

    ‘ if someone hates all religions that not going to be favourable to any instance of them.’

    Atheism is not about hating all religions. It’s about not believing in god. Could we establish that?

    The article identifies the most hostile groups as being over fifty and of low education. I doubt that that is the demographic swelling the ranks of the godless.

    The question in the survey appears to have been about attitudes to jews and moslems, not the extent to which you find their sacred texts convincing. About people, not ideas.

    I suggest that this is more about the ignorant, the insecure and the fearful reaching for the oldest scapegoat. Anti-semitism runs deep in the places mentioned, but it crops up everywhere.

    As for Islamophobia, yeah a lot of it is covert racism but the ‘Kill,kill,kill’ school of public relations is a factor.

    Your argument that the rise in bigotry, anti-semitism and islamophobia in Europe is largely due to the rise in atheism and secularism is entirely unconvincing.

  10. persephone — on 19th September, 2008 at 9:15 pm  

    I went on the link, to no avail, to see if this Pew Survey also looked at opinions about Catholics, Sikhs & other religions apart from those listed. Anyone know?

  11. douglas clark — on 19th September, 2008 at 9:33 pm  

    Ala,

    You said:

    The most likely explanation might be simpler: more people hating religion in general. As Christoper Hitchens has pointed out, Islam may be the fastest growing religion, but atheism is the fast growing group in the world.

    I kind of agree with this guy:

    http://www.chickyog.net/2008/09/18/atheists-not-clubbable/

    What the religious have never really gotton, like over man, is that being an atheist isn’t really being anything at all. It is to see religion as irrelevant, but largely not to deny believers their morphine.

    Granted there are some atheists, we tend to call them secularists, who want to make it into a movement. Most atheists couldn’t be arsed.

    If I can be serious for a moment, the word secular has been pulled through the wringer.

    It is fair to say it can be expressed as representing a hight spot of Western Culture when it was supposed to represent the concept of a forum where everyone accepted that the state has nothing to say on the subject of religion and both it, the state, and they, the religions should remain apart. I suppose this is based on Jesus Christs’ render unto God, that which is his and render unto Ceasar, etc…

    That has been a theme of sensible Western government for some time now. It would be a tragedy to see it break down.

    But and but and but. We have seen the rise, in both this country and the USA of the brainless morons. Our basic governance being handed into the paws of Christian fundamentalists – not Muslims, Ala, Christians – who are likely to do immense damage to any ideas of community beyond their, conservatively restricted, Church. I absolutely detest Christian fundamentalists, and if there is a war to come, it is they that I will be against.

    Anyway, a disbelief is really no such thing. It is an absence of belief. It is not curable. And neither is it a movement.

    It’s just the way we are.

  12. Ravi Naik — on 19th September, 2008 at 10:28 pm  

    I absolutely detest Christian fundamentalists, and if there is a war to come, it is they that I will be against.

    How about fighting against all forms of fundamentalism?
    It is really the same beast under different guises, no?

    Your argument that the rise in bigotry, anti-semitism and islamophobia in Europe is largely due to the rise in atheism and secularism is entirely unconvincing.

    There is of course the case of the rise of antisemitism in France in part because of Muslim youth. Though Le Pen and NF are pretty antisemitic as well.

  13. Boyo — on 19th September, 2008 at 10:35 pm  

    Racism is one thing, but islamophobia… it would be interested to have a base-line, ie what was the level of anti-Muslim sentiment before 9/11.

    Some people will always be racist, but surely it’s no surprise there is antagonism against Muslims as terrorism in the name of Islam continues? It would be surprising if there was not – some people act as if this was just a weather system that arrived out of nowhere.

    In any case, how do you define Islamophobia? If you read Islamophobiawatch any criticism of Islam, from sharia and its view on gays and women to terrorism is Islamophobic. Yet we never hear the other side – what after all is Islamic terror, supported by around 100,000 British citizens, other than the worst kind of racism? I don’t believe 100,000 British non-Muslims would be likely to support terror campaigns against Muslims, yet the finger of blame is always pointed the other way. Now that’s a kind of racism – it’s as if, well, we wouldn’t expect anything more from Muslims, but non-Muslims…

  14. Random Guy — on 19th September, 2008 at 10:55 pm  

    Um…..OBVIOUSLY there will be more animosity to Muslims (primarily) and other religous groups since 9/11 and the continuation of American/UK interference in the Middle East post 9/11. I don’t see what is suprising here. In a bunch of countries where the media is so powerful in propagandising one point of view, this study is no surprise.

    And Boyo, what is Western Foreign Policy that equates to hunudreds of thousands of dead innocents if you have the gall to describe these muslims as the worst kind of racists? What does that make you?

  15. Leon — on 19th September, 2008 at 11:19 pm  

    What the religious have never really gotton, like over man, is that being an atheist isn’t really being anything at all. It is to see religion as irrelevant, but largely not to deny believers their morphine.

    Granted there are some atheists, we tend to call them secularists, who want to make it into a movement. Most atheists couldn’t be arsed

    Well said.

  16. Ala — on 20th September, 2008 at 12:02 am  

    I seem to have conflated atheism and secularism; I can’t even remember why now. I feel like I should change the title.

    And Don, you’re right, I was thinking more of anti-theism.

    This whole thing would have been cleared up if the survey sample was asked what they thought of Christianity, so we can establish whether this is a case of discrimination.

  17. douglas clark — on 20th September, 2008 at 12:22 am  

    Ravi Naik @12,

    I have always seen you as my chum on here.

    Of course:

    How about fighting against all forms of fundamentalism?
    It is really the same beast under different guises, no?

    Of course it is Ravi.

    There is not, as far as I can tell, an iota between you and me.

    We are both against fundamentalism, I think. Correct me if I am wrong?

    And given Ala at 16, I do not think there is an an iota of difference between Ala and me, or you, either.

  18. douglas clark — on 20th September, 2008 at 12:38 am  

    Leon @ 15,

    I take it that, as a fellow atheist, you couldn’t give a shit what I think?

    Well, I don’t give a shit what you think either!

    Except, you do tend to talk sense.

    Hmm…..

  19. Leon — on 20th September, 2008 at 12:45 am  

    Haha not quite, I just know it’s not a gospel to follow but a view to reason with and understand. ;)

  20. digitalcntrl — on 20th September, 2008 at 2:54 am  

    “but atheism is the fast growing group in the world.”

    praise be to god…

    no I am not an atheist…

    I don’t have a problem with religions per se but the bigotry, intolerance, and judgementalism of others by many of those a little too religiously inclined is what I find nauseating.

  21. Roger — on 20th September, 2008 at 5:56 am  

    “Granted there are some atheists, we tend to call them secularists, who want to make it into a movement. ”

    If we- who are “we” here, Douglas?- tend to call atheists secularists, we are mistaken. Secularists think that the state should have no concern with religion- either to encourage or discourage it. There are religious secularists, even muslim secularists- ‘though I’d argue they have ceased to be muslims except in a cultural sense, given the basic tenets of islam. Atheists who are atheists the way religious believers are believers tend to hold quasi-religious beliefs- such as marxism- as firmly and irrationally as religious believers with atheism a product of the belief.

    As I said, it’s a pity that we don’t know more about this survey- what were people asked? did the surveyors ask “Which groups of people do you rank unfavourably?” or “Do you rank these groups unfavourably?”? Were they asked exclusively about religion or were nationalities/races or other categories included? Were people asked their opinions about belief systems or about followers of those beliefs? When and where were the interviews conducted? Unless we know a lot more about methods, we cannot safely draw any conclusions from this study.

  22. douglas clark — on 20th September, 2008 at 6:10 am  

    What?

    Before it all falls apart.

    Perhaps the very best thing about this website is that folk who appear to have nowt in common can still see each other as chums. Or at the very least talk to each other without falling out. That is probably what makes this a unique, and I mean unique, place on the whole internet. So, praise be to Sunny for creating a zone where Rumbold and I, for instance, could at least discuss our differences, without falling out.

    I respect a lot of what Rumbold has to say.

    Funny, that, I’d never have thought it. Which, I’d argue is the point about a place like this. It is about changing minds. Or sharing minds.

    I have enormous respect for all of you who have made this, the way it is, so I do.

    There is, I hope and believe, mutual respect…

  23. halima — on 20th September, 2008 at 8:47 am  

    I tend to agree that people have a negative view of ‘religious’ people. Which is a shame really, just as prejudiced, based on crazy actions of some religious groups we take such a broad brush prejudice. Turn the coin around – was it Tariq Modood who talked about ‘secular fundamentalism’.

    But there are plenty of people who don’t like religion and its nothing to do with recent events – it’s just not something they value and associate with their lifestyle and morality. fair enough.

    I wonder, how much is light hearted and how much is serious – for example, prejudice arising out of associated acts of terrorism is more common now, but a more open minded approach might suggest that we don’t assume because one man rapes, so do they all. Prejudice against scientologist is coz peope think of Tom Cruise.

    I suspect prejudice in Europe against Jewish people hasn’t abated just coz because people find another population to victimise. In any any case prejudice against jewish people is different these days hence people describe, rightly, anti-semitism as a very light sleeper.

    At the end of the day, divide and rule works for people who discriminate against all minorities – and they like to play one group against another until they’ve helped to dismantle the laws that protect us all…

  24. halima — on 20th September, 2008 at 8:52 am  

    “I have enormous respect for all of you who have made this, the way it is, so I do.”

    Yup!

  25. El Cid — on 20th September, 2008 at 9:27 am  

    This survey seems dodgy. I’d like to see the methodology (hardly newsworthy but would shed more light).
    46% of Spaniards rating Jews unfavourably? I’ve never in all my life come across anti-Jewish sentiment in Spain. Of course, that doesn’t mean a thing. Just because I haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
    Maybe people were thinking about the New Testament and the crucifixion. More likely, there is some mix-up with Israel. Spain is rather pro Palestine. As I said, I would like to see the methodology, whether the questions were leading, whether they were properly translated and equal across various languages, etc. I suspect it is dodgy, which would make the survey meaningless.

    P.S.
    I am encouraged by the comments. Tolerance is a greater good than victory in a battle of conflicting ideals.

  26. douglas clark — on 20th September, 2008 at 10:25 am  

    El Cid,

    I am encouraged by the comments. Tolerance is a greater good than victory in a battle of conflicting ideals.

    That has been the whole point of this web site. It is not just tolerance, it is about mutual respect. I have made friends, I like to think, with folk I have nothing, obviously, in common with. To the extent that I would frankly fight and die for them.

    Friendship beats religion beats stone.

    I like to think. Amongst the regular commentators such as your good self, obvuiously.

  27. Sid — on 20th September, 2008 at 2:33 pm  

    The most likely explanation might be simpler: more people hating religion in general. As Christoper Hitchens has pointed out, Islam may be the fastest growing religion, but atheism is the fast growing group in the world.

    Antisemitism is a hardy perennial. In Europe prejudice against jews is not based on dogma but on weird race-related baggage (of the collective kind). In the Middle East I supect it it is more dogmatically and politcally related rather than by race. And incidentlly, I’m prett sure that if Pew were to conduct a similar survey of anti-semitism in the Middle East, numbers would be a lot higher. Not that they’re at acceptable levels here.

  28. Sid — on 20th September, 2008 at 2:44 pm  

    Another survey I’d like to see commissioned by Pew would be ‘Attitudes towards Secularism and Atheism in Muslim-majority countries’.

    I’d like to see an increase in intelligent Islamophobia of the dogmatic and non-self-loathing kind. Wishful thinking, I know.

  29. kepler — on 20th September, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    Overview here – http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=262

    full report here – http://pewglobal.org/reports/pdf/262.pdf

    which I haven’t read – is 73 pages (survey details pg 44 on, for those interested in methodology)

  30. marvin — on 20th September, 2008 at 4:19 pm  

    More than a third of Russians (34%) and Poles (36%) echo this view. Somewhat fewer, but still significant numbers of the Germans (25%) and French (20%)

    Sorry Ala, this has very little to do with atheism. I wish it were the case!

    Poland for example is really quite a catholic country. I am not aware of the religiosity changing particularly significantly in Europe in recent years.

    These statistics match up exactly with far-right politics. Anyone seen Ross Kemp in Gangs? He visited the neo-nazi gangs in Poland and Russia. French 20%? Well, remember that recent French election where the French National Front got 17% of the vote? Russia has a massive neo-nazi problem, followed by Poland.

    There has been a significant rise in the far-right across Europe, as a reaction to drastically changing societies, and just plain and simple racism on the sight of increasing immigrants in these countries.

  31. Amrit — on 20th September, 2008 at 5:26 pm  

    I’ve wondered this before and I’ll wonder it again (not to say that Islamophobia is in any way justified): wtf is up with anti-Semitism? WHY? Especially after the Holocaust?

    I can’t help thinking that in this increasingly ‘tribalised’ world, the ones doing the hatin’ are probably those of religious groups who feel like they should as it affirms their own identity. My mother telling me (completely earnestly) that Sikhs aren’t doing enough to produce children compared to Muslims is one example… I mean, you can get ignorant atheists, of course, but on the whole it takes a fair bit of thinking and critical analysis to arrive at that point, so I too would say anti-theism and/or tribalism rather than secularism/atheism. Secularism is a dodgy one, because it’s used to promote hidden agendas in France, if nowhere else.

    People can be so stupid (especially in groups), I think I may just have answered my own Q. I personally they all just need to get some, and they’ll stop hating’ so much :-D .

  32. marvin — on 20th September, 2008 at 6:06 pm  

    Of course, with the media more than happy to be the megaphone of assorted islamist nutterers, about outbreeding the kuffar, or imposing islamic values on the others or violence resulting in martyrdom; then with police and security services regularly discovering aspiring jihadists — then a caution of Islam and by extension Muslims would not be incomprehensible by the average person.

    Though bigotry is often a tar brush, it’s somewhat odd that it’s jews who are almost always the first to get it… I suppose it’s traditional. :P

  33. douglas clark — on 20th September, 2008 at 6:13 pm  

    marvin,

    Why did you say this?

    Sorry Ala, this has very little to do with atheism. I wish it were the case!

    It has clearly got nothing whatsoever to do with atheism. Atheists don’t care which religious belief you have.

    Mostly we see them all as deluded and backward.

    But we, generally, aren’t aggressive about it. Despite being the majority, if you take church attendance as a measure, into account. Not that there is a broad, atheistic position, exactly. We all tend to go our own way….

  34. marvin — on 20th September, 2008 at 6:33 pm  

    My desire is to see more atheism, less religiousity, and more debate and acknowledgement about it officially and in the class room.

    I think I worded that wrong. I do not wish atheists to hate religious people at all. Not unless they are particularly odious, but I see this as a rarity; I would say most religious people are very nice people, despite their belief system :)

  35. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 8:16 pm  

    Again, people are not defining what they mean by ‘secular-ism’./ Ala are you conflating it with ‘hating religion’?

  36. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 8:31 pm  

    it seems to me its people with one kind of religion who are hell bent on hating those who are of a different religion.

    but in any case, i thought the whole point of the ‘secular’ was that you have whatever religion you have, because one religion over another isn’t promoted by the State apparatus.

    this would seem to me, to give more people religious freedom, given that people want to follow different religions.

    clearly what people think of as secular or (secularism) must be different, because so often i hear people talking about what individuals are doing, in the “public sphere”. which is rot of course, because the difference between a secular state and a non-secular state, (or the way it should be) is the influence, or intertwining of religious institutions and state authority.

    if you’re an invidual hanging about preaching on street corners, that’s one thing. that’s not a problem for most people really. not at all. people generally want to have religious freedom.

    now for some reason the french seem to understand things somewhat differently, so perhaps that’s muddied the waters.

    perhaps ala wants to define what she means by ‘secular-ism’, and if she’s talking about intolerance on the part of individuals practicing religion,she should say so.

    its so hard having discussions when no one actually says what they mean, or the principles involved, and use -ism terms freely.

    because I wouldn’t define as a ‘secularist’ if that meant interfering with what individuals who have no state authority are doing – whether thats hanging about the streets preaching islam, wearing outlandish clothes or preaching satanism.

    but definitely i am a secularist when it comes to de-linking the power of religious insitutions with the State authority and apparatus.
    Most definitely so. what Religion you follow or not SHOULD NOT have any conncetion with what rights you have as a citizen. if everyone has the right to wear something they want, so if your choice is religious based that’s up to you. of course similarly, when others aren’t given the freedom to wear what they want, on the grounds of religion, you can’t expect special favours, not on the grounds of religion anyway. it should be on the grounds of individuality, and it should be advocating similar freedom of choice for other people. ( like, think uniforms people)

    Can you understand what i’m getting at Ala? I’m making distinctions along the lines of power. I don’t like the religion i grew up with, and i’m not happy about the fact that in bangladesh, the law of my state deals with me not as an invidiual, but as a female Muslim. that clearly is not secularism, in my mind. Its prejudicing its treatment of me, based on what they claim should be my religion, because of the family i was born into.

    So – can you understand where my ‘secularism’- as i understand it comes from ?

  37. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 8:36 pm  

    p.s. ala, i hate to be so critical, but “atheism” isn’t a “group”.

  38. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 8:38 pm  

    p.s. i know religionistas are fond of banding together but they shouldn’t assume others are doing the same on the basis of their lack of faith in a deity. they might be of course, but you can’t assume it. that will be because there are a myriad of reasons why people wont’ believe in a deity, and a large part of that is how people define deity in the first place.

  39. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 8:43 pm  

    it’s ridiculous, i don’t like the religion i was brought up with, pr the set of beliefs that pass for the religion i was brought up with. I have every right (and if I don’t I bloody well should do) to criticise that religion without people suggesting i am ‘hating muslims’. that’s bollocks because obviously my family is muslim and they say i am too. just because i think the prophet sounded like a dick and i dont like the picture of God it paints doesn’t mean i don’t have the relationships, empathy and connections to those who choose to believe in that religion. that’s entirely their business, and what I ask for simply is to be able to discuss my views alongside listening to them say what their views are. the prophet is a historical figure and does not belong to anyone.

    the whole point as far as i can see, of my critique of religion is the negative attitude on individuals, people, i.e. the real things in this life. if it makes someone happy to believe in a god or a fairy, frankly, i’m happy for them. religion is nothing special at the end of the day, its all about belonging. how many muslims go around talking about theology? not many. because no one cares!

  40. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 8:46 pm  

    what it seems to me ALa is really talking about, is the negative perception of communities who are ‘other’ in some way. and religious people are just as much culprits in this game, as are non-relgious people.

  41. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 9:04 pm  

    good points from don in no. 9

    interesting point is that probably the largest group of people actually ‘becoming’ atheists, (rather than being born into families and everyone’s gradually pretty much lost religious belief) are the ‘shock horror! apostate’ crew of people brought up as Muslims. its to us that its a really big deal actually, giving up this belief in a nasty god, and its such a relief. Usually means you’re happier and not going around hating people.

  42. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 9:06 pm  

    douglas – 26,

    “Friendship beats religion beats stone.”

    absolutely.

    wasn’t it over on the other thread Ala was explaining why religious parents who only will let their kids mix with co-religionists should have faith schools to indulge their segregation?

    friendship definitely trumps religion

  43. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 9:07 pm  

    28 sid good one

    i hadnt realised so many people in muslim countries conflate atheism with satanism!!

  44. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 9:14 pm  

    yes perhaps anti-theism is more appropriate to talk about atheism. still anti-theism is about opposing the dominant theism of the day, and again, cannot be conflated with people who are against other communities of people who are religious of some kind or other. you can be totally anti-theistic and not “hate” the believers of religion. similarly you could be anti-theistic and hate all sorts of people. anti-theism is an intellectual position. it might lead to some emotional state, but why hatred over any other?

    so you could suggest that this particular intellectual position leads to hatred of religious groups, if you wanted to, but please make it clear what your assumptions are.

    of course, hatred is a funny term, its about very strong emotions. Dismissing the idea of a god which has scared everyone and stirred so much intense emotion through the centuries) might be seen as intensely emotional(usually by people who don’t want you to dismiss this god) but doesn’t at all equate to developing hatred of religious groups. you might feel pity for them though- is that what you’re really talking about Ala?

  45. sonia — on 20th September, 2008 at 9:18 pm  

    of course the real problem here is that if people criticise religion, dogma, the forcing of beliefs on people for so many centuries, then that is called ‘hating religion’ and ‘hating religious communities’.

    i still think one of the best vehicle for hatred is to set yourself up as a religion, and say God told you to kill those people who are non-believers. of cours the other is to set yourself up as a Nation-state and encourage hatred of some other nation-state who is your enemy and set your army onto them/.

  46. halima — on 20th September, 2008 at 9:30 pm  

    we’ve established lots of people hate religion.

    perhaps we should now try and establish how many people hate secularism. I can’t hear that many people on this site saying I hate secualarism.

    who’s da fundamental?

  47. douglas clark — on 20th September, 2008 at 9:42 pm  

    Sonia @ 42,

    absolutely.

    Well, frankly, if I can’t count on you as a chum, then there is no hope for me :-)

    Friendship extends, subsumes even, other stuff.

    I think.

  48. Amrit — on 20th September, 2008 at 10:41 pm  

    @ douglas and sonia:

    Amen (lol)! Friendship is the stuff of life. Might I just make a point here of saying that G*d has never asked to be MY friend. :-D Although I suppose that if he HAD, I might’ve ended up like Mary, or Jeanne d’Arc… lol

    @ halima:

    Well… fundamentalist religion is a beast much easier to disagree with than secularism. Secularism’s a fair bit more flexible, so it’s rather hard to hate or condemn in the same way – especially in its ideal form.

    Sonia, when I mentioned France, that was because France is usually held up as a model of secularity. However, what people tend to forget is that in countries like France (and Turkey), one religion will be quite dominant since well before ‘secularism’ became the golden rule, and may thus have an impact on the ‘secularism’ of that country.

    I read a paper on integration and the difficulties presented to it by the hypocrisy of French secularism , which pointed out (for one) that all the laws designed to promote laïcité by banning religious symbols are not uniform, but only cover OVERSIZED religious symbols, i.e. a Sikh turban or a Muslim hijab, but not a Jewish yarmulke or Christian cross.

    Now, I’m not trying to side with any one party, but that does seem like targeting very specific groups of people to me, as with all the measures designed to make people ‘French’ above all else – which doesn’t seem terribly secular to me. In fact, I WOULD even go so far as to say it doesn’t help the cause of non-white, non-Jews or non-Christians terribly… Although France is a country VERY loving of tradition. Reminds me a lot of America in many little ways.

    (Let’s not even get started on Sarkozy… lol).

  49. sonia — on 21st September, 2008 at 12:34 am  

    good points amrit. the whole hijab thing in france did seem to be more about integration than anything else. besides making a fuss about what individuals are wearing in the name of religion is self-defeating. its not what individuals are doing we should be worried about, its about the power of institutions. also for some reason, in france liberty seems to be more understood on the level of the group/state rather than the invidual. and ironically yes America has a lot in common with France and vice versa in as much as patriotism is encouraged, ironically in the name of liberty and all that.

    and you’re absolutely right about france being a country very loving of tradition. look at the food…!

  50. sonia — on 21st September, 2008 at 12:37 am  

    douglas 47 – absolutely, you’ve had hugs from me before and here’s another one!*squeeze* i would definitely agree friendship subsumes the other stuff, which is why i think the whole faith school segregation thing is so problematic. you’re limiting your kids horizons and not giving them a chance to make up their own minds.

    its also much harder to propagate discrimination when your kids are friends with the people you’re trying to demonize.

  51. BenSix — on 21st September, 2008 at 1:49 am  

    Militant secularists could be just as dangerous as any religious fundamentalist. I don’t want to draw myself into empirical examples, because the hypotheticals are so obvious.

    * Secularism is generally the belief that governing bodies should exist separately from religious belief.
    * A secularist would wish to secularise.
    * A secularist may apply this wish to a policy of military interventionism.

    And thus we have a supporter of war, who may not have considered geographical context, socio-political context etc..

    Ben

  52. marvin — on 21st September, 2008 at 3:14 am  

    Militant secularists could be just as dangerous as any religious fundamentalist.

    You mean militant atheists, surely. Even then, it’s confusing to militantly not believe…

  53. Muhamad [peace be upon me] — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:18 am  

    Well, frankly, I don’t give a fig for anything that doesn’t have free love…and psychedelic T-shirts and music.

  54. Don — on 21st September, 2008 at 12:34 pm  

    Ben,

    * A secularist may apply this wish to a policy of military interventionism.

    I suppose a secularist, like anybody else, may do all manner of things but I’m struggling to think of an example where anyone urged military intervention to impose secularism on another country.

  55. BenSix — on 21st September, 2008 at 12:54 pm  

    Why, many supporters of the War on Terror (or, as Sam Harris rather more originally put it, a war on pestilential theology).

  56. Ashik — on 21st September, 2008 at 1:53 pm  

    Sonia 39:

    ‘ have every right (and if I don’t I bloody well should do) to criticise that religion without people suggesting i am ‘hating muslims’. that’s bollocks because obviously my family is muslim and they say i am too’

    In your case Sonia you have done a very unIslamic and unBengali (according to scripture and Bengali cultural mores) thing by marrying [name deleted- Rumbold]. Therefore you are no longer a Muslim. Hence your criticisms have to be seen in this context. You are unlikely to be engaged in mere philosophical and intellectual criticism of religious/Islamic dogma but in validating your own lifestyle choice, with which (knowing Bengalis) members of your own family no doubt have grave concerns.

    Personally I think that if you are happy with your choice and the consequences then there is little need for you to comment (almost always negatively) on a religio-cultural identity you have voluntarily left behind. Naturally your avenues of critical debate have been narrowed. Given your personal experiences you do not come from a neutral position.

  57. Ravi Naik — on 21st September, 2008 at 3:05 pm  

    Personally I think that if you are happy with your choice and the consequences then there is little need for you to comment (almost always negatively) on a religio-cultural identity you have voluntarily left behind.

    So, only someone who has “good credentials” according to you is able to comment on his/her life, family and cultural identity? What a joke.

  58. Ala — on 21st September, 2008 at 5:23 pm  

    Sonia, we established that I must have been either drunk or tired when I wrote this: I’m sorry, and I shouldn’t have mentioned secularism.

    And I’m generally talking about an anti-theist position of unfavourability towards all religions as delusions that are either useless or harmful.

    I was suggesting possible explanations for the apparent rise in unfavourability towards Islam and Judaism. But I realise it’s a long shot. Either way the survey, as some have pointed out, is not worth the paper it’s printed on if questions weren’t phrased properly.

  59. El Cid — on 21st September, 2008 at 5:24 pm  

    Thank you Kepler for the link
    I have 2 problems with the methodology.
    1) I think the survey answers are distorted (i.e. polarised) because respondents aren’t given the option to say they view a particular group neither favourably nor unfavourably. “Don’t know” is not enough.
    2) There is nothing to show how the questions were translated between the different languages. I think it is naive to think that translation is unimportant in cross-border comparisons.
    I would also like to add that, looking specifically at the Spanish bit, that the percentage of respondents who viewed “Jews” FAVOURABLY fell to 37 pct from 58 pct in 2005. Seems like an unusually large swing don’t you think? I can’t help wonder whether Israel/Jews getting mixed up here. Just a gut suspicion. When was the bombing of Lebanon again?

  60. Ala — on 21st September, 2008 at 5:27 pm  

    And Sonia, I didn’t call atheists a group, Hitchens did. If we want to talk about numbers, and how many there are, then we use the term group for ease of communication.

    It would seem silly to say ‘the atheist is the fastest growing type of person’. And I’m not a religionista if you were implying that.

  61. Roger — on 21st September, 2008 at 7:32 pm  

    duplicate- apologies

  62. Roger — on 21st September, 2008 at 7:33 pm  

    I think there is an inherent and insoluble defect in Europe and the U.S.A. in the way that this survey is carried out. As I said, the problem is with the definition of jews. If I were asked “Do you have an unfavourable opinion of christians or muslims?” I would answer yes. If I were asked the same question of jews I would answer no. This because I automatically think of muslims or christians as religious believers with the behaviour that such belief is associated with, whereas I do not think of jews in that way. I would think of Harold Pinter or Lewis Wolpert as jews in such a context, whereas i would not think of people with muslim or christian ancestry in defining muslims or christians. Logically, if Pinter or Feynman are jews, then Richard Dawkins, the son of an Anglican clergyman, is a christian, but we way many people learned to think of and define jews in their childhood does not allow that distinction.
    I think that many other people would probably make similar assumptions when asked such a question and so give a not-completely-accurate response.

  63. marvin — on 21st September, 2008 at 7:41 pm  

    Personally I think that if you are happy with your choice and the consequences then there is little need for you to comment (almost always negatively) on a religio-cultural identity you have voluntarily left behind. Naturally your avenues of critical debate have been narrowed. Given your personal experiences you do not come from a neutral position.

    Right, so much more neutral to come from a strict Muslim and Bengali perspective, other perspectives would be biased. Hmm.

  64. sonia — on 21st September, 2008 at 10:57 pm  

    i wasn’t implying you were a religionista ala, i don’t know anything about you. there’s no reason to apologise, you can bring secularism into it if you want but just explain a bit more about what You understand as secularism. you have a perfect write to say what you think, its just useful to get things clear.

  65. sonia — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:11 pm  

    i think it highly presumptuous of you ashik to suggest i have little need to comment on a socio-religious identity i have left behind. a) you don’t know anything about my identity or my marriage b) and in any case i wasn’t talking about identity, i was talking about belief systems and institutions that impose these upon you. c) yes i don’t believe in god and hell anymore so luckily now can think of religion without the shivers. d) i dont know anything about your background so i wont presume, but i come from a muslim family, and i am from bangladesh. you can’t change your religion without being called an apostate and you certainly wouldn’t choose to draw that kind of attention to yourself. or without losing your family. they are extreme choices and i don’t see why i should be forced to either lie low/or if i’m totally honest, lose my family. the mere fact this stark choice exists makes it a reality for me.

    i would give a lot for it to not be a reality for me but just some abstract social commentary. i wish!

    so this religio-cultural identity does affect me ( and i don’t need to explain to you how it should be obvious) and in fact seems to do so even more now that i have married ‘out’. so i have every right and need to comment on my situation and the social dynamics that complicate life for me.

    and yes of course my position is not neutral, why do you think i said it was? frankly i’d like it if i could tell my family i’m an apostate (shock horror!) because they don’t think i’m an apostate for marrying my husband, who converted in bangladesh so technically my marriage is halal in the eyes of “our” allah. and why did we do all this? because of family that’s why, and in many ways, the law in bangladesh.

    i think i have every need to comment about the kinds of things i am commenting on, because as my sister “pointed out” to me this summmer, “you’re born in this culture and you’ll die in this culture, don’t think you’ve escaped”..it’s not as if these cultural strangleholds don’t affect us ‘married outs’/apostates anymore. they affect me and millions of other young men and women so frankly as a social commentator, i will absolutely say what i think. its very relevant because there are loads of young muslims who have to lie to their families because their families are franky intolerant about their children having individual thoughts or beliefs or lack of beliefs.

  66. sonia — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:16 pm  

    the problem with christopher hitchens anyway, to get back to the point, is not his ideas about god or metaphysics, but the way he doesn’t think about groups and institutions. he’s a bit of a groupist, that’s what i don’t like about him, he’s got the right ideas about god but not extending his analysis to social groups and power.

    at the end of the day a belief or lack of belief in god/fairy/ etc. isn’t really the point, its the membership of groups that force belief systems as an identity on their individual members and keep those members under strict social control.

  67. Desi Italiana — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:21 pm  

    Sonia:

    “frankly i’d like it if i could tell my family i’m an apostate (shock horror!) because they don’t think i’m an apostate for marrying my husband…and why did we do all this? because of family that’s why…”

    I say do it. Just today, everyone was getting prepared to go to the Gurdwara, and they all expected me to go. When they said, ‘What time will we see you there?” I responded, “I’m not going.’ And they said, “Why?????’ and I involantarily made a face and said, “Because I don’t want to.” They were surprised, hurt, etc, but it is my life, and I should have the right to do what I want.

    Not that I’m against Sikhism (or Hinduism, for that matter, since I equally dislike going to the mandhir) but I do not want to be forced to abide to things that I care little for (i.e. it is not important for me to follow any religion and visit a place of worship for personal satisfaction).

  68. Desi Italiana — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:23 pm  

    Sonia:

    “the problem with christopher hitchens anyway”

    is that he is a nerd and mostly discredited in the eyes of numerous people for his glib takes on many things.

  69. sonia — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:25 pm  

    and for your information, ashik you may think its “unbengali” to have an english husband, but frankly there are plenty of mixed bengali/something else couples in dhaka. and its actually not that uncommon in my parents circle. i’m sure you’ll understand (what with your usual sylheti vs dhakaiya spiel) about inter-regional differences in bangladesh and the fact that when my sister got married to her bengali muslim husband because he was from Comilla and we’re from Jessore this caused more hoo-ha than my marriage. we’re even more insular when it comes to our neigbours i think. the one thing my mother always said to me to not do was to come home wanting to marry a pakistani man. so you see, in the end she wasn’t going to complain when i brought home an english boy.

    and i don’t think my parents ever expected me to go in for some arranged marriage. they knew they could never pull it off. yes i was a rebel. they knew there would be trouble if some prospective mother in law started asking about whether i prayed and read the quran i would have told her sweetly no and that i had no intention of doing so.

    bengali girls are far more feisty and rebellious than you seem to think, ashik/. ah well you’ll learn one day. :-)

    and yes, i do want my critique to be understood in the light of my background. absolutely.

  70. Desi Italiana — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:27 pm  

    With all due respect (and I really mean this), ultimately, the ‘family’ can kiss my brown ass. If they are loving family members, they’d respect my decisions. Know what I am saying?

  71. sonia — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:28 pm  

    validating my lifestyle choices- erm excuse me, my whole pointwas that people should have a lifestyle choice, doh! and absolutely yes im lucky ive been able to make my lifestyle choices with relatively little hoo-ha, and not everyone else is so lucky. just because im lucky, i should just be quiet? heh funny ideas this bloke has.

  72. sonia — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:29 pm  

    70

    absolutely Desi!

  73. sonia — on 21st September, 2008 at 11:32 pm  

    desi, well i dont think i could go as far as saying i’m “an apostate” – a major shocker – without some serious familial consequences, unfortunately. after years of trying, my mother now doesnt expect me to fast or pray or go to a mosque, cover my hair or any of those things, or go to mecca. and she knows ive been critical of religion growing up. but actually turning around and telling her i dont believe in her god would make her feel like she was going to hell, (and me definitely!) and i don’t want to deal with that. emotional blackmail and all that. sigh..

  74. Desi Italiana — on 22nd September, 2008 at 1:40 am  

    Sonia #73:

    Totally understand your predicament.

    I’m a lot meaner than you; I could kind of care less what the family thinks, as long as I am not rude about whatever I do. I’ve always been of the belief– and I might be wrong in this– that respect is a two way street, even if it’s blood we’re talking about, and I can only really respect someone who respects me as well, which means accepting certain decisions, including those involving the R factor. As long as I am not sanctimonious and preachy to some family members about being really religious, they can’t do the same to me about not being religious, no? And this doesn’t mean that I can do ‘whatever’ I want– like I wouldn’t scarf down a beef hamburger in my house because having beef in the house is a no-no, or suck on bacon in front of people who do not eat pork for religious reasons (unless I’m told by them that it is totally ok). But it’s a two way street– don’t force me to read the Bhagvad Gita, go to the gurdwara, peruse Watch Tower pamphlets, or carry around a pocket-sized Gideon’s Bible, thanks.

  75. ashik — on 22nd September, 2008 at 9:15 am  

    Oh dear Sonia, it seems I’ve hit a nerve. Regardless of what members of PP think, you have done the worst possible thing a Bengali gal can do ie. marry out of culture/religion. You also admit to being an apostate. You are a social pariah and happy about it, so why continue to feign any interest in culturo-religious matters for which you admit you care very little? They no longer impact upon you. Your family is in Bangladesh, over 1000 miles away. Be the assimilated person you want to be. Don’t let the gnawing insecurities and self doubts play so on your mind. In any case what you have to say on Bengali and Muslim culture will have little weight,. Regardless of how well you put your argument.

    Whether one is a Sylheti or Dhakaiya, a rickshaw puller or the daughter of the Prime Minister, Bengalis/South Asians tend to be of one voice when it comes to voicing their opinions about inter-racial marriages. Especially those involving women marrying out. There is a reason mothers from your ‘circle’ in Bangladesh won’t leave you alone with their daughters. They think you’ll ‘influence’ them to do something similar.

    ps. If you had family ie. parents, in the UK, there is little chance you would have married out. I’ve seen ‘student visa’ Bengali (usually Dhakaiya but a few Sylheti too) guys and gals who go off the rails at the first opportunity and sleep around and get involved in drugs. Reason: they’ve not had that sort of freedom before. They are quite surprised to see 2nd-3rd gen Bangladeshis in the UK often abstaining from such behaviour. And oh, the few mixed couples you’ve seen in Dhaka, two words: immigration status. As soon as the qualifying period is over, the awkward problems come out and the Bengali guy involved (usually Bengali guy married to a ‘other’ gal), will start asserting authority over the gal. Bengali girls are feisty and fight for their rights, that’s great, but they don’t go beyond the pale as you have. Social conditioning and all (more effective than any political ideology).

  76. Ravi Naik — on 22nd September, 2008 at 11:09 am  

    is that he is a nerd and mostly discredited in the eyes of numerous people for his glib takes on many things.

    He is not a nerd, in my view. He is a superficial, arrogant, pompous arse, whose books are very badly researched, and therefore easily discredited by anyone with an internet connection and google.

  77. Ravi Naik — on 22nd September, 2008 at 11:18 am  

    Don’t let the gnawing insecurities and self doubts play so on your mind. In any case what you have to say on Bengali and Muslim culture will have little weight,. Regardless of how well you put your argument.

    Oh, you are so jealous. I guess some people have the courage to lead their own lives in their own terms, and others are left following what they are told, and be bitter about it. I guess it is easy to know which camp you belong.

  78. Sid — on 22nd September, 2008 at 11:49 am  

    Sonia,

    I’ve just read your comments and was very encouraged even though its a Monday morning. You’re a tough cookie and I’m sure you will be able to handle your situtation with grace and courage. You have the ability to get through this, I have no doubt, unchartered territory though it probably is.

    There’s not much you can do about the stupid, reactionary and cowardly views of others as illustrated in #75, but there’s really no need to. Fuck ‘em.

  79. Katy Newton — on 22nd September, 2008 at 1:26 pm  

    Sonia @39: I couldn’t agree more. That’s all.

  80. halima — on 22nd September, 2008 at 2:28 pm  

    “it seems I’ve hit a nerve. Regardless of what members of PP think, you have done the worst possible thing a Bengali gal can do ie. marry out of culture/religion.”

    Why?

    There’s a fine line between bebating lifestyle choices in abstract and passing judgment at a personal level. Even if I want to bring in my personal situation, that’s my choice, I don’t expect others to comment and pass judgement – unless they are my mother.

    You have to learn boundaries.

    Lots of people in Bangladesh marry foreign people and it’s quite normal. I don’t understand why it’s such a betrayal to marry outside – though the Islamic Ummah was global anyways, and nationalism nothing but a western construct. You mentioned in some other place that a man marrying outside is OK, and a woman marrying outside isn’t, based on the idea that the values of the male is transmitted to the child.

    Well I can tell you right now, when I have my child, I will pass MY values, regardless of who the father is. If he doesn’t like it, he can take a HIKE. I tend to think, wrongly, so, that if I give birth, I have more right to my child than the father does. That’s my brand of feminism.

    Sonia, my friend married a french guy and took him around Bangladesh in Sylhet and they were so nice to him – because I think they hadn’t met a ‘white’ person before – goes to show you, attitudes towards ‘insiders/outsiders’ is a bit meaningless when it comes to people’s humanity.

    It’s the politics that creates barriers. You be cool and strong !

  81. Raul — on 22nd September, 2008 at 2:35 pm  

    Woa, that is some serious unadulterated garbage @75. Ashik, I am irregular here but I do read some of the articles and I don’t remember reading anything this odious ever. It’s shocking in its arrogance and to compound things most of the comments I have read from you didn’t sound anything like this comment at 75. I can only guess I have misunderstood what you are trying to say, maybe you are explaining it but don’t personally subscribe to this type of thinking, it’s an off day or your id has been hijacked.

    Sonia – Balls to this identity crap, these so called communities don’t give a toss about anything but pretense and hypocrisy on a massive scale, usually surrounding women and sex. Humanity, compassion, sensitivity, respect, acceptance are mere words for public consumption. But sorry you are an individual, not some mascot cum upholder of someone else’s prejudice or perception of what one should do and not do so they can judge you. Nobody can sanctimoniously define anyone’s bounds and expect to be taken seriously. That’s not your burden.

    You are not telling anyone how to live their lives, you are not imposing your values on anyone, you are not judging them, you are just doing what makes sense to you. So what makes anyone else think they can do this apart from extraordinary arrogance and an irrational respect for one’s own worldview. This has to be some sort of disease, this level of self-importance and the proliferation of ‘self appointed’ arbiters of morality. The very fact that some one ‘seeks’ to be an ‘arbiter’ tells us this has got little to do with morality or anything else and every thing to do with posturing and tyranny.

    The big problem with community morality and ideals is suffocation of individual integrity and individualism, these don’t matter as long as one publicly subscribes to these community values and the result is always catastrophic. In south asian societies we have all these high talking narratives about culture, morality and values but on a day to basis what you see in these societies is diametrically opposite. But since these communities have the arrogance to monopolize morality and culture, tell me how do entire societies accomplish this without seeing the fundamental dichotomy or inherent xenophobia, so they can lecture other people and pretend to be somehow better than other people it becomes imperative to ignore the reality of their societies which shatters this hypocrisy on a minute to minute basis. The consequence is perpetuating failure, there is no way you can solve a problem unless you identify and recognize it. Since this is their distinction in a world solving real problems its creates a oppressive pressure to conform to these fictional exaggerated self created ‘better than others’ values and an extreme reaction to those who don’t. This glass house has to be protected.

    What we have instead is the obscene levels of hypocrisy for public consumption and the absence of individual values on a unrivaled scale everywhere else hence the pervasive corruption, wholesale bigotry, petty dictators all around, oppression of individuals, insensitivity to other people and the total absence of humane systems.

    Why should anyone humour these fools. You don’t need to drag these primitive jokers with you. Let them fester in their time warp. It’s entirely their problem. When they get their heads out of their asses they will see some improvement in their societies. Of course the elites in these societies don’t care about the 95% who are living in atrocious conditions explaining how the situation came to be in the first place, the only thing that matters is posturing to themselves and the world, but how long before the majority get smart.

    A society where one doesn’t have the liberty to impose one’s self defined values on anyone else, isn’t that liberalism, you can believe anything but you can’t impose it, through your community, government, religion, society, group, individual, nothing nada. Of course this takes the spice out of life for tinpot dictators which is unfortunately a human condition but that only makes it all the more important to have liberalism to foil these tendencies.

    The so called ‘common good’ and other avatars of this type of group thinking is only good for those at the top who get to define these values and the unthinking sheep who require the comfort of not thinking. We are all individuals, we live life as individuals, we interact as individuals, that is the only identity that matters.

  82. El Cid — on 22nd September, 2008 at 2:46 pm  

    Bien dicho Raul

  83. ashik — on 22nd September, 2008 at 2:55 pm  

    Backslapping on a fringe forum like PP is unlikely to make Sonia’s predicament more acceptable to her immediate family members, the wider Bengali community or to Muslims generally. Neither is Islamic scripture going to magically change regarding the treatment of apostates.

    PP tends to give a very distorted view of South Asians and the diaspora, given it’s ahem…select…membership. I’m being brutally honest about Sonia’s predicament. At the end of the day if Sonia faces any problems in the future with her relationship, on a balance of probabilities, she will not go running to Ravi Naik or Sid but her (much maligned) parents and family for comfort and help.

    If Sonia did not wish her personal life ie. relationship, to be discussed on PP then she should not have introduced the matter on the forum. It is perfectly valid to point out Sonia’s experiences and predicament in relation to the extremely negative views she holds about Islam and Bengali culture.

  84. Katy Newton — on 22nd September, 2008 at 3:22 pm  

    I don’t think that Sonia has said anything on this thread that opened the door to this sort of personal abuse.

  85. halima — on 22nd September, 2008 at 3:28 pm  

    Ashik

    It’s not about backslapping anyone… It’s just trying to treat the other with respect.

    Sure – mixed race relationships are difficult – and accepting difference in soceity is always hard and we know as non-white folks as we’ve often borne the brunt of racism in the UK.. So I try and have emphathy and respect for people who stand up for their values especially if it runs against mainstream norms – whether it’a the a homogenous white nation-state or a homogenous Asian family unit/society.

  86. Ravi Naik — on 22nd September, 2008 at 3:56 pm  

    At the end of the day if Sonia faces any problems in the future with her relationship, on a balance of probabilities, she will not go running to Ravi Naik or Sid but her (much maligned) parents and family for comfort and help.

    This is the most pathetic attempt of emotional blackmail I’ve read in years.

  87. Jai — on 22nd September, 2008 at 4:11 pm  

    Backslapping on a fringe forum like PP

    Ouch, that’s harsh. “Fringe”, eh. It misrepresents PP as the kind of website where the regular writers and commenters get together during the weekends and dress up as the Pussycat Dolls whilst dancing to old Madhuri Dixit songs and spanking each other with feather dusters. And that’s just the guys. What an insulting insinuation.

    Sorry, what’s that, Rumbold ?…..Eh ?…..Uh-huh…..You’re kidding, right ?…..Seriously ??!!…..Crikey…..

    Oh dear.

  88. Roger — on 22nd September, 2008 at 4:43 pm  

    So there we have Bengali morality: murder, cruelty, theft, all are mere peccadilloes, but “you have done the worst possible thing a Bengali gal can do ie. marry out of culture/religion.”- by the way, Ashik, do you mean marriage out of culture AND religion or culture OR religion? If that’s a common attitude among Bengalis it explains many of the problems Bengal and Bengalis have.
    Presumably you also disapprove of outsiders entering Bengal and polluting the sacred territory and Bengalis leaving it too- or do you think that when a Bengali leaves Bengal it raises the average intelligence and morality of both Bengal and the rest of the world?

  89. ashik — on 22nd September, 2008 at 5:28 pm  

    Halima:

    ‘Lots of people in Bangladesh marry foreign people and it’s quite normal. I don’t understand why it’s such a betrayal to marry outside’

    This is simply not true. The vast majority of Bangladeshis (insert Indians and Pakistanis as appropriate) have never even seen a Caucasian in the flesh. In Bangladesh the majority of people tend to marry others from their home district/region, despite being of the same religion and race. Therefore marriage to a Non-Bengali and a Non-Muslim is simply beyond the mental purview of most Bengalis/South Asians. That’s not to say a small minority of people don’t do it (statistically insignificant).

    Re: Your friends French bloke wouldn’t happen to have converted to Islam before he met your friend, would he? Perhaps your friend doesn’t find time to come to this forum and piss on her religion and culture all the while bemoaning the current state of the community. Maybe she and her beau are a bit more practicing than sister Sonia.

  90. Sid — on 22nd September, 2008 at 6:01 pm  

    ashik,

    Back in the 40s there was lots of instances of East End (white) women marrying young Sylheti men who had come to Britain as immigrants, because there was, due to the war, a dearth of eligible young men at the time. I find it hilarious that people of your great-grandfather’s generation were more open minded and less bigotted than you, a product of Multiculturalism in the 21st century.

    Many of their children and grandchildren have carried on living in the Sylheti community, many have not. I have even heard some of the English wives going back to Sylhet and settling there. I doubt a single one those people would agree with a word of the ignorant, cowardly and close-minded nonsense that you have passed of as Southasian norms.

    And furthermore, anymore psersonal baiting of Sonia and I will get my mate Rumbold to ban you.

  91. Katy Newton — on 22nd September, 2008 at 6:07 pm  

    Perhaps your friend doesn’t find time to come to this forum and piss on her religion and culture all the while bemoaning the current state of the community. Maybe she and her beau are a bit more practicing than sister Sonia.

    Wow. You really are a crass, pointless bigot and all the bile you’ve spilled on this thread says nothing about Sonia and everything anyone needs to know about you.

  92. Sunny — on 22nd September, 2008 at 6:32 pm  

    Rumbold – why is this fucker even being tolerated when he’s making personal attacks on other pp readers?

    bloggers, this sort of crap should be deleted, full stop.

  93. halima — on 22nd September, 2008 at 6:32 pm  

    Re: Your friends French bloke wouldn’t happen to have converted to Islam before he met your friend, would he?

    why would that be relevant? and they don’t practice at all.

  94. BenSix — on 22nd September, 2008 at 6:44 pm  

    Given your personal experiences you do not come from a neutral position.

    Unless you’d like to give examples, I’d suggest that no position is neutral. One is either influenced by personal feeling or the field of accessible information.

    It’s therefore a stupid rhetorical stick to wield.

    Wow. You really are a crass, pointless bigot and all the bile you’ve spilled on this thread says nothing about Sonia and everything anyone needs to know about you.

    Well said.

  95. Amrit — on 22nd September, 2008 at 6:53 pm  

    I would just like to add my voice to all those calling for Ashik’s removal.

    At the very least, he posted Sonia’s husband’s full name on PP – I don’t think that is permissible or fair in the public domain. Beyond that, he is a hypocritical bigot (as Katy pointed out). He tries to accuse Sonia of hypocrisy, claiming she has left behind ‘her’ religion and culture (who said you could decide, fella?) and is not in a position to comment. He then comes on like the #1 authority on that subject himself, and tries to accuse her of not behaving the way she should (wtf?):

    ‘Perhaps your friend doesn’t find time to come to this forum and piss on her religion and culture all the while bemoaning the current state of the community. Maybe she and her beau are a bit more practicing than sister Sonia.’

    Wrong on so many levels.

    Rumbold hun, if you can – BAN AWAY.

  96. Desi Italiana — on 22nd September, 2008 at 6:58 pm  

    Whoa, what the hell happened here?

  97. Desi Italiana — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:02 pm  

    PP’s a ‘fringe’ forum? If PP’s a ‘fringe’ forum, the others left of this site are way off the Richter scale

  98. Desi Italiana — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:04 pm  

    Ravi:

    “He is not a nerd, in my view. He is a superficial, arrogant, pompous arse, whose books are very badly researched, and therefore easily discredited by anyone with an internet connection and google.”

    I used the word ‘nerd’ in a vile sense– not anything meaning that he does extensive research or anything like that.

    How about ‘Hitchens is a walking pooper-scooper”?

  99. Don — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:05 pm  

    Some pompous beligerent bigot outstayed his welcome?

  100. Desi Italiana — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:08 pm  

    Hey, what’s with Sonia being personally attacked when all she said was that she married someone despite the odds?

  101. Ravi Naik — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:22 pm  

    I used the word ‘nerd’ in a vile sense– not anything meaning that he does extensive research or anything like that.

    Well, I disagree with your use of the word “nerd”, then. ;) There is nothing vile about a nerd – they have an unusual attention on obscured details. CH is nothing like a nerd. Nothing I tell you.

  102. Desi Italiana — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:31 pm  

    “Perhaps your friend doesn’t find time to come to this forum and piss on her religion and culture all the while bemoaning the current state of the community. Maybe she and her beau are a bit more practicing than sister Sonia.”

    What?!

  103. Desi Italiana — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:34 pm  

    “If Sonia did not wish her personal life ie. relationship, to be discussed on PP then she should not have introduced the matter on the forum.”

    Damn, we should all be more careful about relating our personal experiences on PP, so that it cannot be used against us in commenting. I now wish I could go back and line edit my little vignettes splattered all over PP…

  104. Desi Italiana — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:37 pm  

    “Oh dear Sonia, it seems I’ve hit a nerve. Regardless of what members of PP think, you have done the worst possible thing a Bengali gal can do ie. marry out of culture/religion. You also admit to being an apostate. You are a social pariah and happy about it, so why continue to feign any interest in culturo-religious matters for which you admit you care very little? They no longer impact upon you. Your family is in Bangladesh, over 1000 miles away. Be the assimilated person you want to be. Don’t let the gnawing insecurities and self doubts play so on your mind. In any case what you have to say on Bengali and Muslim culture will have little weight,. Regardless of how well you put your argument.”

    Wow, Ashik, I didn’t know YOU had the proper credentials– or anyone else for that matter- to be able to talk about certain things.

    Sonia, you keep being the ‘assimilated person’ you want to be. Who the hell cares what some anonymous commentator says on a (fringe) blog like PP?

    But I know you are probably smarter than allowing yourself to get wound up over some comment left on a blog…

  105. Desi Italiana — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:41 pm  

    Ravi:

    “Well, I disagree with your use of the word “nerd”, then. ;) There is nothing vile about a nerd – they have an unusual attention on obscured details. CH is nothing like a nerd. Nothing I tell you.”

    Yeah, I agree with you. Bad choice of word on my part.

    So ‘pooper scooper’ doesn’t work as an alternative? How about the “Grand Glibster”? Or charlatan? Perhaps Supreme Idiocy?

    “and therefore easily discredited by anyone with an internet connection and google.”

    Have to say– as another blogger said to me via e-mail– that lots of people with little more than an internet connection and access to google call themselves ‘experts’…

  106. Jigna Vyas Gosal — on 22nd September, 2008 at 7:49 pm  

    I have been reading PP for a a few months now, on and off, since my sister sent me a link. I have found most of the articles and comments interesting and illuminating, but I have never wanted to say something, until now. It is frustrating to read such ignorant and abusive comments, but it does serve as a reminder that unfortunately there are many out there who have not yet been “converted” (my religious metaphor!) to why it is so important in an open and free society to be tolerant and not to be prejudiced, and all prejudice should be unwelcome including race, religion or the person with whom you choose to call “my partner”.

  107. Rumbold — on 22nd September, 2008 at 8:43 pm  

    If Ashik ever posts any personal information about anyone again he is banned for life. Understand?

  108. Ashik — on 22nd September, 2008 at 9:46 pm  

    Sonia has posted personal information on this forum for months and often used her own negative personal experiences in Bangladesh to variously paint South Asians, Muslims, Bengalis and Sylhetis and our culture in a uniformally negative manner. I do not regret one little bit that I queried her intentions with the very same information she shared with us.

    As for Sunny and Rumbold, ‘tis your website and your will is done. You can ban members as you will.

  109. Don — on 22nd September, 2008 at 11:30 pm  

    Just put on the black cap, Rumbold. No leeway for stalkers.

  110. sonia — on 22nd September, 2008 at 11:47 pm  

    whoa! boy i think we really touched on ashik’s nerves there, poor dear can’t handle the fact that there are ALL these people just not following tradition like they should!

    let’s not ban ashik, and leave his comments up, its all far too amusing. :-) he’s giving us lots of fodder for the other thread on lovers burnt alive!*and anything about fascist understanding of family & culture. linking to his comments will keep me satiated with inspiration to write for months:-)

    well of course im happy to talk about my personal experience, but im not the one “naming” people. ashik can talk about my husband without bringing names into it, i dont know why he thought it was significant to do so. ah well.

    thanks to everyone (you know who you are!) for their supportive words and insight. actually, just having been to a positive psychology seminar down at the GLA, i’ve been thinking more about this well-being thing, and you know what, there’s no reason why support can’t come from non-traditional places. it’s connections and understanding that counts to me.

    i know im often a voice of cynical pessimism around PP, but ive found people’s comments here generally inspiring, which is great. Hooray!

  111. Sid — on 22nd September, 2008 at 11:58 pm  

    haha, now thats how to handle trolls. Well done Sonia.

  112. sonia — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:03 am  

    Sister Sonia, I like the sound of that…could be in a
    Monty Python sketch or something.

  113. sonia — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:04 am  

    thanks Sid, and im glad to have inspired someone’s monday morning!” ooh and ive just been on Fb and seen your message – i’m aware i need to send you that info..sorry!

  114. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:22 am  

    So being the bad, bad, Indian American/Hindu/Sikh girl that I am who’s quite happy to “sell-out” by possibly entertaining notions of getting with members of the opposite sex outside of my own ‘community’, I have to say to Rumbold that I found it incredibly sexy when he said:

    “If Ashik ever posts any personal information about anyone again he is banned for life. Understand?”

    I am shivering. Real rough and tough. I like this.

  115. sonia — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:23 am  

    what is probably of more concern is ashik’s apparent involvement in the immigration system, i’d like to think there aren’t such prejudiced discriminating types of people working in that area. Or peraps its working in immigration that makes him see people as statistics, faceless ‘conformers’ to rules, rather than inviduals with beating hearts, feelings and situations.

    perhaps i should look into getting you some HO Community Cohesion funding to go on a “learning journey” ashik, a diversity training course with a difference type thing.

  116. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:26 am  

    Can’t all of the male PP bloggers rise to the occasion like Rumbold did more often? As long as it is not me who’s bearing the brunt of stern editorial management, I’ll happily follow PP just to see some Pickled manliness.

  117. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:28 am  

    Sister Sonia (Sonia Bhenji)–

    Don’t sweat it. Seriously.

  118. sonia — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:29 am  

    Pickled manliness, i like that Desi. you do make me laugh.

  119. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:31 am  

    Marinated secularism.

  120. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:32 am  

    Better yet, pickle Hitchens.

  121. sonia — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:33 am  

    girl you are on a roll..

  122. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:35 am  

    Shall we go back to conflating secularism and atheism?

    Or do others want to play with pickling things and people?

    I’m just being considerate by asking; I know I’m slightly jacking this thread by sexually harassing Rumbold.

  123. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:37 am  

    Which reminds me: every time I said Sunny was sexy for laying down the law on various threads, he never responded.

    Some people do not deserve to be cyberistically hit on.

  124. BenSix — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:51 am  

    “I am shivering. Real rough and tough. I like this.”

    Have you seen him when he’s angry? God, you’d like him when he’s angry.

    Ben

  125. sonia — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:52 am  

    ooh i’m liking the sound of this too now. desi see what you have started.

  126. sonia — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:56 am  

    ha i guess the thread got hijacked a while back, what with all this inter-bengali strife! :-) Ashiq for some reason always likes to find a fellow bengali to have a nice friendly natter with..and what with the “sylheti-non-sylheti” divide simmering never very far from the surface. all that lovely community feeling he is displaying..

  127. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:43 am  

    Ben:

    “Have you seen him when he’s angry? God, you’d like him when he’s angry.”

    Please don’t tease like that. There’s no way I could see him, as I am sitting in the Glorious United States of America, What So Proudly We Hailed.

    It is not nice to pickle me like that.

  128. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:48 am  

    Maybe we should run a poll on who’s the sexiest male PP blogger when he’s policing threads…

    Sunny
    Leon
    Don
    Shariq
    Sid
    Kulvinder
    Rohin
    Rumbold

    You know who my vote is going to go to…

  129. BenSix — on 23rd September, 2008 at 2:11 am  

    “There’s no way I could see him, as I am sitting in the Glorious United States of America, What So Proudly We Hailed.”

    Well, that’s no clearer a view than mine. I mean, Britain might be small but I can’t see everybody from my window.

    Just most people…

    Ben

  130. Rumbold — on 23rd September, 2008 at 9:41 am  

    Desi:

    Well, this is a turn-up for the books. I am very flattered by your advances (such as they are), but I have a girlfriend, and she is great. I will keep policing the threads though (think Judge Dredd in tweed).

  131. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 10:21 am  

    Rumbold:

    “I will keep policing the threads though (think Judge Dredd in tweed).”

    You totally killed it with the Judge Dredd suggestion. Totally.

  132. Rumbold — on 23rd September, 2008 at 10:59 am  

    Probably for the best.

  133. El Cid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 11:15 am  

    Sonia, I salute your indefatigability.
    You are a pioneer.
    I don’t think the Bengali/Bangladeshi community are going to make their mark on human history with the small time insular attitudes displayed by others. Must be very tough for you though.

    Desi, you just can’t handle a real man, that’s all it is.

  134. ashik — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:01 pm  

    ‘what is probably of more concern is ashik’s apparent involvement in the immigration system, i’d like to think there aren’t such prejudiced discriminating types of people’

    You should remain unconcerned. For starters, I’m not being prejudicial at all. And I can easily accuse you of being a religion-hater, as others have alluded to here. I am merely reiterating South Asian and specifically Bengali societal norms. You yourself confirm many of these norms in your writings on this board eg. your mother and sisters reactions to your marriage.  You should be more concerned about some of the members here who would not want their daughter/sister or niece to end up doing what you did but haven’t got the guts to voice their position or those who have supported you but would act differently were your predicament to become theirs. Things are always different when affecting oneself or nearest and dearest.

    As for the judiciary, I believe that some Judges ie. ppl who make decisions, can be perceived (some of my colleagues do) to hold similar views as South Asian society on inter-racial marriages given their vast experience in immigration matters ie. abuses (Judges are usually of 7 years standing as legal representatives). But this is part of a diverse judiciary where other judges may have a less jaded view. Representatives are only paid to argue a case under the relevant laws and Human Rights legislation.

  135. ashik — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:11 pm  

    I think Raimle said it best in ‘Lovers burnt alive’:

    ‘phonies…half of the male commentators on this subject are phonies. How would any of you feel if your daughter/sister/neice was caught in a compromisng position with a Black man who is not, but look the spitting image of Winston Silcott?
    It always make me laugh whenever I hear Indians/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis whatever fulminate against racist intolerance in romantic matters. Come on gentlemen..my sides!!!’

  136. El Cid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:35 pm  

    Oooh, Ashik, PP’s token Black facist isn’t gonna take kindly to you spelling his name wrong.

  137. Sid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:39 pm  

    I think “raimee” has commented here in the past and given that s/he posts as a black person, this comment might have been posted in an ironic voice, aimed as a put down of Asian racism.

    True to form, ashik has missed the irony completely and has agreed wholly that the sentiments of an ignorant piece of race-labelling as descriptive of his own position as a race-obsessed community-authoritarian.

    What a complete idiot. :D

  138. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:41 pm  

    “specifically Bengali societal norms”

    Oi dickhead dont you dare start saying you represent all bengali cultural norms.

    I am a Bengali and I am proud of that as much as I am proud of being British. I am hindu — you know there are some hindu bengalis as well right?

    And asshole, I would have no problem with a black guy kissing my daughter or niece or sister. For that matter, I was the best man at a wedding last year where my close American friend (black and christian) married my cousin (hindu and bengali) and both families supported it. And, no one converted to anything either.

    Initially, there was the usual oh shit what would happen..but our generation across the pond and across both the families backed the couple to the hilt and now everyone in our family rates him to be the best son -in-law they could have expected.

    And I cant wait for you to say shit about that. It would be too much fun to rip your arguments and petty little mind to shreds. Just because, you do not have the guts to challenge the prejudices dont say that we are wrong when we do so.

    So dont you dare start saying that you define what Bengali cultural norms are especially since your mindset reflects ignorance and stupidity which has left you in the 18-19th century.

    You sound like a character who would support honour killings — have you watched the film Khuda ke liye — a brilliant Pakistani film. But again, it would too much to expect you to understand the film and its nuances.

  139. Sid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:44 pm  

    Desi #128 – I ain’t willing to share you with anyone sweetsugarhoneybabycutey.

  140. Sid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:46 pm  

    Well said Shamit! :-)

    So dont you dare start saying that you define what Bengali cultural norms are especially since your mindset reflects ignorance and stupidity which has left you in the 18-19th century.

    I’ve already established that the Sylheti forebears from the 1930s were more progressive than this well-educated clown.

    No doubt, now that he has established you as a Bengali, we will soon see him launch into you as being an anti-Sylheti Bengali since you are non-Sylheti. He’s very well-balanced like that.

  141. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 12:51 pm  

    Sunny/Rumbold

    Please dont ban this fucker…I would love to rip his ignorant arguments to shreds and make him eat his words.

    Aashik, my mother is a practising Muslim and she is from Bangladesh & married a hindu guy about 40 years ago and guess what in our family no one has ever forced me to choose a religion. I chose to identify myself as Hindu because Hinduism is not really a religion but a way of life which has one of the most liberal and open outlook.

    So anytime mate you wanna have a debate on Bengali culture or norms — look me up asshole.

  142. Anas — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:05 pm  

    This Aashik comes across as a mean little grade A prick fo sho. But isn’t this the same feisty Sonia who once accused me of sounding like a terrorist on this very site and then refused to either explain what she meant or to apologise?

  143. ashik — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:10 pm  

    Shamit:
    ‘I am hindu —‘

    ‘And, no one converted to anything either’.

    ‘because Hinduism is not really a religion’

    In a country which has aborted over 10 million female foetuses over the past decade and where brides are regularly burned alive for dowry, I don’t think I need to address PP’ers any further about whether you are more representative of Hindu Bengali culture on this issue.

    The couple of people here using experiences of family or friends re: mixed marriages. Is this the societal norm? Do these experienes amount to even 1% of marriages in South Asia? I’ll make it easier, what are the percentages of Intra-Indian relationships eg. Bengali marrying a Gujrati or Punjabi a Tamil?

    As for my good friend Sid, the fascist guardian of pure Bangla culture/lingo and politics in the UK, maybe he ought to answer why his organisation never has rap artistes perform at their events? Or Bengalis who are heavily into Tupac Shakur? Love for black culture? lol In those circumstances what can be said about dear Sid’s views on inter-racial relationships outside of easily submitted supportive statements over the net?

    Sid has ‘established’ many things on this forum, including negative issues with Sylhetis. So his opinions regarding that ethnic group must be very authoritative indeed. :)

  144. halima — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:23 pm  

    “I don’t think the Bengali/Bangladeshi community are going to make their mark on human history with the small time insular attitudes displayed by others. Must be very tough for you though.”

    Sorry El Cid – this is about two PPs having disgreements, both very opinionated, and on this occassion, one stepped the line with personal and offensive comments.

    What’s it all gotta do with Bangladeshi attitudes? Sure, one PP is trying to comment on Bangladeshi ways, but as Desi pointed out, where’s the credibility for it? I’d pose this question to just about any Pickler..

    Sid, what’s Ashik’s views gotta to with Bangladeshi attitudes per se – he’s one of er.. 160m in Bangladesh and whatever the number is in the UK for British Bangladeshis.

    He has a right to his opinins as much as anyone else…as long as respect etiquette.

    What’s all this stuff about Bengalis/Sylhet and all?

    I don’t know if I’ve ever had the decency to comment on Sunny, or Desi or anyone else’s entries and passed judgement on the attitudes of Hindus or other groups…

    Are Bengalis and Bangladeshis special?

    Or do the Bangladeshis in this site invite that kinda nonsense and have it replicated in every discussion

    and all being fair, I’d say Ashiq, Sid, Sonia, and the other Bengalis are a touch too sensitive on this matter but should take it ELSEWHERE. Pleeeeese.

  145. The Common Humanist — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:23 pm  

    Ashik,

    From the posts I have read of yours (upto no 100) I have concluded you are a wanker.

    Sonia, you do what you feel best and ignore the small minded and foolish.

    Regards

    TCH

  146. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:33 pm  

    Too bad I gotta do a meeting right now. But before I go, once again you highlight your ignorance. But I will attempt to repond to your lunacy once again.

    But for the record, this has got nothing to dow ith Bengali culture.

    1. Times are a changing my friend. And, the percentages of mixed marriages (in terms of intra caste, religion and regions) are increasing. And just because they do not comprise the majority — it does not mean that when it happens it is wrong.

    2. How does the foetus thing come into play I dont know? Could you explain please.

    3. Suddenly, why are you bringing India into play here. Its not my country — UK is.

    4. Just because some idiots use religion for their own purposes does not make the religion bad. Just like terrorists do not make Islam a bad religion but you still have idiots using Jihad by completely distorting its original meaning.

    5. I am yet to find out what is your point or do you have one?

    I really got to do this meeting now. But I will have this page open – so if you have a point I would be happy to respond.

  147. ashik — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:36 pm  

    The problem with org’s like Drishtipat and PP and even unelected Islamist groups like Islamic Forum Europe goes back to composition. Their outlook and priorities depend on their members, who aren’t necessarily representative of wider communities they are from.

    For example of 10 British DP members 7 will be from the Dhakaiya Bengali ethnic background, 2 who aren’t even Bangladeshis but Indian ‘ghoti’ Hindu Bengali and maybe 1 Sylheti. Even though nine out of ten Bengalis in the UK are Sylheti. They will then go to Non-Bengalis and portray a very selective profile of Bangla / Muslim culture and views on sensitive topics like inter-racial marriages. This attracts some people from outside the culture or religion who are pleasantly surprised at the accommodating nature of these ‘headmen’ compared to the ‘bally natives’ (to use Imperial terminology). When somebody like me then points out the reality, and that most people are not willing to accept these fundamental compromises, people start becoming self righteous.

    As a corollary, the Islamists get mighty touchy when ordinary Muslims like me point out that most of us don’t care about political manifestations of the faith. That a lot of it is unIslamic anyways and influenced by other ideologies eg. the Marxist influence on Hizb ut Tahrir or Qutbist influence on Moududi and Jammat.

  148. ashik — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:49 pm  

    Halima,

    I only decided to post on PP (quite fringe from the South Asian perspective) after I read some of the extremely one-sided anti-Sylheti bile on this forum in which Sid and Sonia were prominent. I didn’t notice Rumbold or Sunny clamp down on debate when Sid was going full-on about uneducated peasants from Sylhet and our so-called peasant language. Neither did I see him mention his association with Drishtipat in flogging a niche and politicised Dhakaiya Awami League inspired diaspora culture in the UK even while condemning multicultural policies in the UK which help Sylhetis maintain our language and culture.

    I will happily desist on my part, if I see Sid and his friend Sonia do so. Also no further articles written about Brit Sylhetis only by hostile Brit Dhakaiya and any articles about Bangladeshis to be from ppl who admit their party political affliations and best if from people with NO affiliations at all.

  149. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 1:58 pm  

    “Are Bengalis and Bangladeshis special?”

    “…and all being fair, I’d say Ashiq, Sid, Sonia, and the other Bengalis are a touch too sensitive on this matter but should take it ELSEWHERE. Pleeeeese.”

    With all due respect, I find that offensive Halima especially since I usually dont hijack threads and niether do I attack people and to be honest I dont think most of the names you mentioned except for Ashik do that either. So may be you got it wrong?

    No one is claiming Bengalis are special. What we are saying is that Bengalis are not the bunch that Ashik tried to present us as. Thats all.

    On my part I came into this debate only when Ashik tries to say that he was representing Bengali Societal norms and culture. Hell yeah I would protest against that. So please?????

  150. Sid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

    halima

    Sid, what’s Ashik’s views gotta to with Bangladeshi attitudes per se – he’s one of er.. 160m in Bangladesh and whatever the number is in the UK for British Bangladeshis.

    He has a right to his opinins as much as anyone else…as long as respect etiquette.

    What’s all this stuff about Bengalis/Sylhet and all?

    I’m not the only who’s picked up on his weird self-loathing and insecurity on the Bengali-Sylhet issue halima. Sonia has also been the unwilling victim of his harangues on the subject, see #126 on this thread and plenty of instances in the past.

    But I won’t be surprised if he now turns on the tragic violins and goes on another “I am a victimised Sylheti man and Sid and Sonia have insulted me and my people” routine.

  151. Sid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 2:05 pm  

    Well well, with #149, ashik obligingly proves me right.

  152. Katy Newton — on 23rd September, 2008 at 2:06 pm  

    Just out of curiosity, Ashik, how far do you think you’ve gone towards dispelling perceptions you feel Sid and Sonia have perpetuated by dismissing everything that Sonia has said on the basis that she’s an apostate who married out? Wouldn’t it perhaps have been more effective to explain why Sonia’s criticisms were wrong?

    I notice, by the way, that although you seem to think that Sid’s comments are as offensive as Sonia’s to you, you haven’t taken him on once in this thread except obliquely. Interesting. It’s almost as if you think women are in some way an easier target than men. Is that how it works on your planet?

    What I mean is, your performance on this thread has left me with a very clear impression of you, your personal prejudices and your ethics, but none the wiser when it comes to the nature of Sylheti culture. Just saying.

  153. Rumbold — on 23rd September, 2008 at 2:15 pm  

    Ashik:

    Speaking as an editor, I would like to point out that nobody is suppressing debate here. But posting personal information goes too far.

    Speaking as a commentator, it is sad that you feel the need to try and impose your own cultural norms on those you feel don’t conform to the images in your head. Those type of attitudes are part of the problem, rather than the solution, as intolerance leads to families casting aside one of their number for not following community norms.

  154. halima — on 23rd September, 2008 at 2:56 pm  

    Shamit

    “No one is claiming Bengalis are special. What we are saying is that Bengalis are not the bunch that Ashik tried to present us as.”

    Isn’t that the same point I am making – what i say shouldn’t be reflected of all Bangladeshis anymore than what Katy N says should reflect the group she might represent.

    The point is to discuss an issue, and not get bogged down with national characteristics and the person making the statement. I find it very dull that we stretch the views of one PP member and then take that as a starting point to discuss a population.

    It’s just strange. When Rumbold makes comments we don’t start assuming he represents the views of the white British population in the UK.

    Sid yes, I think the Sylhet thing is more personal to some, and doesn’t justify personal offense to another PP.

    Ashiq perhaps you make a relevant point when you say in past posts have gone up saying strange things about Bangladeshis in the UK and no one bats an eye lid. I’ve raised this many times. Perhaps it’s boring they don’t care. Perhaps PP folks are mostly blogging IT connected surfers who don’t understand sink estates and don’t notice snobbery when they do it. But Drishtipat are a membership based organisation, they don’t need to reflect the views of people who are not members.

    As for well-to-do Drishtipat members representing views on all bangladeshis, well that’s usually the case that the middle class usually stamp more influence on the representation of attitudes – but it doesn’t stick forever. You fight class prejudice in different ways. It aint about Sylhet and non-Sylhet divide.

    I suspect you conflate a person’s choice to marry outside with their negative views on values and traditions. But that’s freedom of expression, no? It is entirely possible to have the same views and not be in a mixed marriage. Mixed marriage is really emotive and often used as an scapegoat. My views on whatever will be same regardless of who I marry. By associating it with marriage to non-Bengali we’re putting a whole load of baggage on another person and unfair baggage. And also such criticism is always levelled against females marrying out – not the way round.

    Having said all this, reading between the lines I suspect this is what caused most offense to you:

    “I think the prophet is a dick”

    Fair enough. I thought that was unpleasent.

  155. ashik — on 23rd September, 2008 at 3:40 pm  

    ‘As for well-to-do Drishtipat members representing views on all bangladeshis, well that’s usually the case that the middle class’

    Except that DP is all about maintaining a ‘pure’ Bangla language and culture only followed in certain regions of BD. One can ba Sylheti Finance Minister and not speak it. And most of it’s members are newly arrived immigrants to the UK and green card failures from the States (spk with notiocable twang for those who have come through the IELTS/TOEFEL system). Middle class professionals tend to concentrate on their professions and don’t tend to hark back politically to the ‘home country’.

  156. Sid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 3:47 pm  

    But ashik, it’s you who seemed to look down on new Bangladeshi immigrants (“they deliver free newspapers”). It’s you who looks down on black people. Its you who looks down on muslim women who marry outside of their race. None of these people belong to the narrow definition of what it means to be “british-bangladeshi” on *your* narrow definitions.

  157. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 3:53 pm  

    Halima

    Very mature and eloquent.

    Yet, I disagree. I dont think we were making the same point. What I was doing was specifically arguing that a particular individual was wrong when he was trying to define his views as the dominant and only Bengali culture. And who ever pursues an inter racial or inter religious relationship is WRONG.

    I was objecting to that prejudice and also the personal nature of his attacks on fellow bloggers on the basis of this pseudo Bengali societal norms.

    I would and do object the same way when the BNP tries to portray they are the only champions of Britishness.

    And secularism is about respecting other faiths and not imposing your views on others on how they should lead their lives. And this thread was in a way about that and when Ashik made those comments — I responded using my own life experiences.

    I never argued I spoke for the entire Bengali community or even British Bengalis — that was what Ashik was doing and hence the protests. And so while we agree that no one person represents an entire community I dont think we were arguing the same point.

  158. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 4:09 pm  

    Going back to the original topic of secularism — I for one do not find it at all surprising that secularism is on the rise.

    Religion has been the cause of too much bloodshed and too much strife and it was done in the name of GOD. And, organised religion like any other group has a tendency of trying to define itself as better than others — and which sort of kills the whole purpose.

    Faith could be a very powerful positive force and it has been in many cases. Unfortunately the worst manifestations of faith are what we see in headlines today and that is turning more and more people away from religion.

  159. El Cid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 4:39 pm  

    Halima, maybe I could have expressed it better.

  160. morehouse — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:00 pm  

    I will happily desist on my part, if I see Sid and his friend Sonia do so. Also no further articles written about Brit Sylhetis only by hostile Brit Dhakaiya and any articles about Bangladeshis to be from ppl who admit their party political affliations and best if from people with NO affiliations at all.

    Wow, someone coming on a blog and threatening to continue being a racist, religious-bigot, with authoritarian and mysogynistic views if the bloggers do not stop criticising his particular interests.

    Hmm looks like he’s got you over a barrel Picklers. Don’t you love it when freedom of expression is controlled in this way?

  161. halima — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:15 pm  

    “Except that DP is all about maintaining a ‘pure’ Bangla language and culture only followed in certain regions of BD.”

    Isn’t that the same as media here, to some extent, representing a dominant culture – and then the people of the north and cornwall contest there are other ways to represent national culture?

    The answer is to have a multiplicity of platforms. If Drishtipat were state funded and had good reach and influnece, I’d lobby for more representation. But they are not. They are a private membership based organisatons, and like banks, they’re only responsible to their shareholders.

    “Middle class professionals tend to concentrate on their professions and don’t tend to hark back politically to the ‘home country’.

    Maintaining links to other countries after settling is no bad thing, though, the world being global and all that. DP folks primary political reference is probably Bangladesh but what’s wrong with this?

    Shamit – I dont have much to disagree with you in yr last post – perhaps I mis-understand – and of coarse, no one person has monopoly on Britishness or Bangladeshiness. Just that by taking one PP views and giving it so much value we nevertheless give it power to represent more than it can. That’s all. I would say the same for my views – they don’t reprsent or say much about anything other than my peculiar musings and bias – we all have them, I openly admit to them.

  162. Sid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:25 pm  

    Maintaining links to other countries after settling is no bad thing, though, the world being global and all that. DP folks primary political reference is probably Bangladesh but what’s wrong with this?

    Halima, I doubt ashik’s motives are in any way rational. I doubt you will be able to reason with him. He is not interested in debate, he is here to project some astonishingly ignorant views.

    His main gripe with DP is that it is a group who are more interested in human rights abuses in Bangladesh than with the human rights abuses of Bangladeshis in the UK.

    I mean, I ask you – what’s the point?

  163. Ala — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:27 pm  

    Oh damn it, why do I get loads of comments for every load of shite that I write.

  164. Sid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:31 pm  

    Ala, I think I’ve seen this thread on South Park before.

  165. Amrit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:32 pm  

    This thread is brilliant. I thought I might die laughing, especially when Desi ‘hit on’ Rumbold. Terrifying stuff.

    Ultimately, we could almost THANK Ashik for his bringing us all together as a PP community! :-D

  166. halima — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:36 pm  

    “I mean, I ask you – what’s the point?”

    I think my blogging has got addictive. I must stop! Esp as I am trying to do something else on my computer than just blog.

    I don’t know – sometimes PP is a bit emotive for me, so was trying to unpack stuff. But Desi does it soooooo much better….

  167. Sid — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:36 pm  

    #161 morehouse, spot on!

  168. Ala — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:40 pm  

    Amrit, it’s all very well for us to get together and so on, but why did it have to be on this shitty half-witted post? This can’t be good for my CV. I should definitely THINK before posting anything now, or at least spend a good few hours on it.

  169. Amrit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 5:50 pm  

    Hahahaha, because Ala, all everybody really wants is to veer off-topic but normally Our Lord and Master doesn’t let us! :P

  170. douglas clark — on 23rd September, 2008 at 6:26 pm  

    Ala,

    There are people who are paid, paid I tell you that would be over the moon to get this sort of response. They’d be sitting there going, what did I do right? :-)

  171. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:04 pm  

    Rumbold:

    “Probably for the best.”

    Why do you yank the one, sole joy I derive from frequenting PP? Why?

    El Cid:
    “Desi, you just can’t handle a real man, that’s all it is.”

    Are you telling me that you think Judge Dredd is fine, ESPECIALLY in tweed? Please. I don’t go for the dorky “Ooh, look at my costume, I’m trying to make myself look hardcore, and therefore I am.” Looks and costume don’t matter. A man is a man when he is a man inside out .

    Sid:

    “Desi #128 – I ain’t willing to share you with anyone sweetsugarhoneybabycutey.”

    You better whip out a big lathi to put commentators in line, then. Grand diatribes said as you lean back comfortably in your chair while doing nothing to enforce any laws do not count. You must take control and implement the use of force to regain my attention.

    I still get goosebumps when I read #107.

  172. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:08 pm  

    You people are still going on about Bengalis. Jesus.

  173. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:20 pm  

    Bengalis are the most self-absorbed subcontinentals, and this thread proves it. That’s why Amartya Sen cannot shut up about Bengal, and every Bengali that has access to any medium of publishing always finds a way to insert West and East Bengal and Bengalis into any discussion.

  174. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:24 pm  

    Ashik, why don’t you start your own blog? That way you can talk about Bengalis and related matters all the time, without you trying to find ways to talk about Bengalis on every single thread, and anyone threatening to ban you.

    Alternatively, you can try to imagine what some of us female commentators look like (if you’re into women, that is). For example, I have been mistaken for Aishwarya Rai, until I open mouth and people realize that I actually have thoughts.

  175. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:31 pm  

    Ashik:

    Quit conflating South Asia with Bengal. You keep saying “South Asia” and then referencing only Bengal. Are you just another one of those Amartya Sen types?

  176. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:34 pm  

    Desi – I think you generalise too much and a bit condascending.

    This is the first time I wrote about Bengali issue — and I think I have a few places where I could write about my views considering I run a bloody media company.

    God a yank telling us about being self-absorbed — a bit rich I would say.

    Just joking so dont get worked up.

  177. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:37 pm  

    Did you just compare Amartya Sen with Ashik?

    And, you are condascending aren’t you? how do you know that Ashwariya Rai dont have thoughts or brains? Again typical Yank

  178. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:37 pm  

    Shamit:

    What makes you think I am talking about you? A bit paranoid? ;)

    “Just joking so dont get worked up.”

    I have to say the same to you!

    Now, I have seriously been mistaken with Aishwarya Rai. Other times, people have taken me to be Elizabeth Hurley with a post-Caribbean cruise tan…

  179. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:41 pm  

    Shamit:

    “And, you are condascending aren’t you? how do you know that Ashwariya Rai dont have thoughts or brains? Again typical Yank”

    Do you seriously get so worked up over a PP thread?

    Also, I don’t appreciate insults such as “Yank”. I may take things off course and joke around (which, you failed to realize that I was joking about Bengalis being self-absorbed), but I have yet to use abusive language by calling PP commentators names like ‘dickhead’ or ‘typical yank’ no matter how much I disagree with them (at least, I don’t think I have in the past…better fact-check that).

  180. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 7:54 pm  

    I was just writing something nice to you — and you go on telling me off. And, this is the first time I called someone a dickhead here (actually should have called him far worse) – trust me I read this thread for the first time today and he did get me really riled up

    Anyway, this is what I was writing before your last post.

    Good to have someone here who’s got a sense of humour. And knows how to take it and give it back.

    But that was before — again I am kidding alright so dont take it so seriously. You really think Yank is an insult – if you do take it as such I do apologise.

  181. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:06 pm  

    Shamit, it’s really cute you think that you pulled one over me by calling me a ‘yank’. There is a difference between joking about “Bengalis” without using nicknames for Bengalis, like Bong or something similar, and using ‘yank’ for Americans.

  182. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:12 pm  

    Halima #145:

    “I don’t know if I’ve ever had the decency to comment on Sunny, or Desi or anyone else’s entries and passed judgement on the attitudes of Hindus or other groups…”

    Good call. DON’T take me as representative of anything– Hindu, Yank, whatever!

  183. Rumbold — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:12 pm  

    Try some breathing exercises Desi. Then count to ten before you post.

    (Only joking).

  184. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:15 pm  

    Ashik:

    “I only decided to post on PP (quite fringe from the South Asian perspective)”

    Since when did PP become a ‘South Asian’ site, or speak to South Asians? As far as I can tell, it is by British Asians, most of whom (correct me if I’m wrong) hail from either India or Bangladesh, or at least their families come from there.

    Also, how do you know that this forum is ‘fringe’ for South Asians? Like, do you know for sure that Nepalis or Bhutanese disagree vehemently with what is on PP?

  185. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:18 pm  

    Rumbold:

    “Try some breathing exercises Desi. Then count to ten before you post.”

    Hard to do when you go around displaying your awe-inspiring masculine strength like that. Tease.

  186. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:21 pm  

    “Backslapping on a fringe forum like PP”

    Yeah, there’s been some backslapping on PP, but for sure, there are more fist blows than anything!

  187. Rumbold — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:22 pm  

    Desi:

    Oh dear. What have I started?

  188. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:27 pm  

    You haven’t started anything, my Rummy. You can’t control the man you are, and the charm that you naturally exude.

  189. Rumbold — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:30 pm  

    I have always felt that Sunny was more your type.

  190. Shamit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:31 pm  

    I apologised. And I said I was joking..so let it go

  191. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:40 pm  

    Rumbold #190:

    You are wrong about that; Sunny is not my type. For right now, you are the only one.

    If you write a post on supporting UK intervention in other countries, or remind me that you once supported the war in Iraq, I might stop liking you.

    And tell me that you wear tweed. That’ll really undo my obsession with you. But if you so much as insinuate wearing any type of uniform, you have me hooked on you.

    For life.

  192. Amrit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 8:51 pm  

    Desi:

    I’m confused… What’s with your sudden stalking of Rumbold?

  193. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 9:06 pm  

    Sigh…

    Refer to posts #114 and #116.

    And I am not stalking him.

    [...]

    [just a little bit].

  194. Amrit — on 23rd September, 2008 at 9:25 pm  

    OK… but he said he has a girlfriend and he doesn’t seem to be too cool with it… so maybe you should ease off him a little?

  195. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 9:38 pm  

    You realize that I am joking?

  196. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 9:40 pm  

    So back to secularism now?

  197. Rumbold — on 23rd September, 2008 at 9:45 pm  

    Probably best just to forget that brief interlude altogether.

  198. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 10:03 pm  

    Ok, so back to whether secularism is on the rise.

    No way, not in my opinion. Religion is still kicking and alive as well.

  199. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 10:06 pm  

    “The annual Pew survey of global attitudes has found a rise in anti-semitism and Islamophobia in Europe.”

    and then

    “What could this sudden rise mean? ….The most likely explanation might be simpler: more people hating religion in general.”

    I totally do not get the explanation. Not at all. Am I missing a crucial logic connection that impedes my failure to understand how a rise in anti-semiticism and Islamophobia means people are hating religion more?

  200. Desi Italiana — on 23rd September, 2008 at 10:09 pm  

    ^^And since people have a hard time knowing if I’m joking or not, I’m not being snarky or cheeky above, just to be clear. I sincerely want to know if I’m missing the logic of the conclusion.

  201. Shamit — on 24th September, 2008 at 12:54 am  

    Desi – Even I was confused but I thought Ala was posing some questions. And the Biggest two were whether Secularism is rising as well as bigotry?

    I think while it may be contradictory — I think both would get resounding yes in my book. But you know what I could be very well wrong in my interpretation on the nature of the post itself.

  202. sonia — on 24th September, 2008 at 10:26 pm  

    “Ok, so back to whether secularism is on the rise.”

    depends on what people mean by secularism! as i’ve already pointed out, different people mean different things by it. there’s no one ‘mass of people’ around the world with one sort of thinking, much though the media might like us to think it. there’s all sorts of things on the ‘rise’ and all sorts of things on the ‘wane’, and all mannner of things in between! these kinds of blanket questions are inherently simplistic and just feed the clash of civ. simplistic thesis – in the end, so much of it is a self-fulfilling, self-fancying – prophecy. of course i suppose a lot of journalism does, but hey, i guess people have to write about something and pose high-school-ish sort of ‘debate’ questions. i wish we could get away from that but i guess not – look at Parliament – its such a parody of a high-school debate, it really hasn’t moved on.

  203. sonia — on 24th September, 2008 at 10:37 pm  

    heh heh desi, ‘bengalis are the most self-obsessed sub-continentals’ – :-)

    ashik should definitely start his own blog. it would be most interesting.

    166-amrit, i agree..so true. the most entertaining and revealing of PP threads has ALWAYS been when the discussion goes off-thread, and gets controversial. without it, PP would be boring. I guess the less subversive types don’t enjoy it. but they can go hang out on another thread, can’t they, like the ones with about 5 or 20 comments, and be polite and stick to the thread, whatever that is) I always feel i learn more from the feisty threads, but that’s me.

  204. douglas clark — on 25th September, 2008 at 2:32 am  

    Sonia,

    I have seen you taken to task here by a worthless piece of shit, and I am, still, angry about it.

    I have this idea of you rocking in a chair somewhere, perhaps on a porch.

    I think you are the strongest, most sane person, I have ever encountered.

    there’s all sorts of things on the ‘rise’ and all sorts of things on the ‘wane’, and all mannner of things in between! these kinds of blanket questions are inherently simplistic and just feed the clash of civ. simplistic thesis – in the end, so much of it is a self-fulfilling, self-fancying – prophecy.

    I agree. But there you go. What do you or I count against the certainty of the simplisitic.

    I have been becoming increasingly fractious, which is an entirely self destructive strategy, against the forces of lunacy we sometimes see here.

    It is me who becomes the ‘self-important’ white guy, anti Libertarian nutter. Or you that is the baby Moses in a fucking basket, cast out on the Nile.

    The allegations are flung from a pool of self certainty that, were it not for it’s chutzpah, you be recognised as toxic.

    But, apparently, they can harm, whoever they like, but they must not be attacked back?

    It does not matter whether it is fathers convincing their daughters – note daughters – of the benefits of chastity rings as the new ‘voodoo’ against sex, or idiotic fuckers like Ashik measuring you up for a chastity belt. Or folk seeing women as inferior, by their very nature ffs, to men. Now, how self fullfilling is that? (BTW, I hate the corollary equally).

    Or brain dead Palin arguing for the idea that we should ‘teach the controversy’ over evolution, when there is no arguement or debate worth entertaining.

    Nor mad clergy saying that HIV can indeed pass through condoms, though their not too sure if it exists in the first place.

    Nor the complete head bangers that believe that 2000BC was a documentary and lashed out $24m for a young earth creationist museuem.

    It makes climate change denialists – look like the only sort of lunatics left to talk to. Err, another group of nutters.

    There are thousands of other sub species of nutters, including me most probably.

    Last point. I am Scottish, and I seem to recall quite a degree of tribalism out of my own culture, we tended to describe it as clannish.

    A particular outbreak of this stupidity left the Campbells and the McDonalds at loggerheads for centuries. Google it, it was all over the Battle of Glencoe, which was pretty horrific. There is nothing new about hatred in this world. Still, time does indeed heal, and they even marry each other and have completely forgotten that bloody history. Which is better than keeping it going, forever and a day, as some here would like to do.

    But I have seen you taken to task here by a worthless piece of shit, and I am, still, angry about that.

    Respect to you and yours.

  205. sonia — on 26th September, 2008 at 3:02 am  

    dear douglas, you are much too kind to me

    I have this idea of you rocking in a chair somewhere, perhaps on a porch.

    I think you are the strongest, most sane person, I have ever encountered.

    thank you for that, but i doubt that is the case! still i think its fabulous that you think so :-)

    as for rocking on that chair, i’d love to have a porch now. as it is i have to make do with sitting by the window, looking out onto the london night and police vans hooting past ;-)

    Clannish- that’s a good term.

  206. adam — on 27th September, 2008 at 11:22 am  

    It is specifically permitted for a Muslim man to marry a Jewish or Christian wife, of course with due respect for the Islamic faith in the marriage covenant. This is because these religions are fellow monotheist Abrahamic faiths. Religious sources are silent on the matter of Muslim women marrying a non-Muslim man.

    The dominant scholarly opinion is that such a marriage is to be avoided. The reasoning follows that in all cultures the male’s greater relative power and status in society, and his authority in the home, will over time turn the Muslim wife away from the faith, if she were to marry a Christian or a Jew. In this discussion neither party wish to follow organised religion. This being so they are not constrained to follow beliefs they do not respect or hold dear. However, it is hoped that they continue to respect the religions of their believing families.

    Nevertheless, if a Muslim woman wishes to contemplate such a relationship, she must always remember that only Allah (SWT) knows best; that she should reflect on the matter as hard as she can in a dispassionate manner; then she should pray and plead for guidance from Allah (SWT); and then ultimately she must do what her conscience dictates. Blind hatred of religion and religious figures like the Prophet (PBUH) is uncalled for in this contemplation.

    A particularly careful and in-depth consideration is called for. During it the partners must consciously assume the profound cultural and religious differences they will have to face, both between themselves and in relation to their respective families and the Muslim’s original environment, to which they may possibly return after a period spent abroad.

  207. adam — on 27th September, 2008 at 11:30 am  

    Is the Prophet of Islam ‘a dick’ because the religion of Islam provides guidance and conditions for situations where romance blossoms between a Muslim woman and a Christian or Jewish man? This line of reasoning should be avoided in a reasonable and peaceable debate as it will give offence to many. Thank you.

  208. sonia — on 27th September, 2008 at 2:17 pm  

    no that wasn’t my line of reasoning at all. i didnt go into my reasons for thinking what i do about the prophet, just said that i did. nothing to do with my relationship at all.

  209. Venkat — on 6th December, 2008 at 10:26 am  

    Tolerance of one religion or other should not be interpreted as secularism.Many Indian Politicians practise secularism as a lip-service to gain votes.this cannot last long.they cheat people by distorting real secularism.Muslims are not secular they are monistic and hence fanatic. ther is only one way to straighten the muslim ideas.Remove Pakistan from Earth.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.