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  • The pork non-story


    by Rumbold
    14th February, 2009 at 2:14 pm    

    Various papers covered the story this week about how a Domino’s pizza outlet in Birmingham had stopped putting pork products on their pizzas, replacing them with a selection of halal meat. The Daily Mail, never one to miss an opportunity to attack Muslims, even had a picture of James Savage (looking glum), who was unable to order pizza with pork on, and had to drive two miles to another outlet (and then presumably proceeded to ring up the papers). As Mr Savage put it:

    “I’m all for racial and religious tolerance but if anything this is intolerant to my beliefs and discriminatory against me. I had to travel two miles out of my way to their next nearest branch - I was appalled.”

    Once again, this is one of those non-stories, which, while true, is so irrelevant that its only purpose can be a way in which to attack Muslims. As Tim Worstall pithily points out:

    “No, it’s not discrimination you fool… they’re a private business and they can serve what the f*** they like.”

    Exactly. But ‘business tailors products to customer demand’ doesn’t have quite the same ring about it as ‘Muslims stop English eating pork- must eat halal instead’, does it?


                  Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: Current affairs,Religion






    116 Comments below   |  

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    1. blah — on 14th February, 2009 at 11:31 am  

      Its funny that promoters of untramelled free market capitalism and “letting the market decide” as so against this when it involves Muslims possibly benefitting.

      Look at the furore everytime a Muslim community wants to set up a mosque on land it has bought.

    2. blah — on 14th February, 2009 at 11:37 am  

      Its is shocking that James now has to travel 2 miles to get a pizza. It certainly puts the suffering of African children starving to death or dying from drinking polluted water in perspective.

      I cant believe my grandfather fought in the war just to have Domino pizzas surrender our country to the Muslims.

    3. damon — on 14th February, 2009 at 3:21 pm  

      In West Croydon, I asked the member of staff at one of these ubiquitous chicken shops (not KFC - but one of those with names like these)
      http://badgas.co.uk/chicken/dixy.jpg
      ….whether the chicken was halal.
      ”Yes it it was” replied the somewhat surprised guy behind the counter (not born in the UK - and perhaps a Muslim)….. ”Are you a Muslim?” he asked.
      ”No” I said (I’m white and of Irish origins), but I think he thought it was a strange thing for me to have asked.

      As for John Savage (and his pizza) and free market capitalism.
      Could it be argued that immigrants to Britain (like my Irish parents) have sometimes been like colonists in the way they have settled and set up communities and businesses?

      I’ve mentioned East Ham (in East London) a couple of times already - … you will walk up and down for a while before you find a traditional cafe that serves bacon. Maybe the people are still there who would eat pork products, but on the High Street you can find a different dynamic going on.
      That perhaps, the south Asian ethnic minority community (due to various reasons) seemed to have ”cornerd” the market when it comes to High Street businesses - and so Halal becomes the norm.
      And if you are not Muslim - or a vegetarian - or couldn’t care less (like me) then it’s no problem whatsoever. I eat Halal meat without even being aware of it.
      Or should I say - that when I eat Indian food, I’m probably eating Halal. But so what?

      I think I disagree with what blah says, because I think that it’s more subtle than that.
      ”Curry Mile” in Manchester is an interesting place (and great to go out for a meal) - but it could be seen as somewhat of a colonized place - (could it not?)

    4. blah — on 14th February, 2009 at 3:44 pm  

      damon
      “Could it be argued that immigrants to Britain (like my Irish parents) have sometimes been like colonists in the way they have settled and set up communities and businesses?”

      Only by someone who has no idea what that means. Colonists are people who turn up uninvited in a country and force on the natives their laws and ways of life. Not quite sure how people who legally migrated with the permission of an eelcted government set up food shops qualifies. Or perhaps indigenous whites are being forced at gun point to visit these take aways by evil Muslim restaurant owners. Why hasnt the liberal media mentioned this? When is the Daily Mail going to do a story on this?

      “I think I disagree with what blah says, because I think that it’s more subtle than that.”

      Oh dear. I was being ironic.

      “”Curry Mile” in Manchester is an interesting place (and great to go out for a meal) - but it could be seen as somewhat of a colonized place - (could it not?)”

      Only by people who have a fixed idea of what it is to be British and thinks people of certain religions/races and dresses cant be. BTW Since youre of Irish extraction you are presumably Catholic.

      So not really a true British person then, eh?

    5. blah — on 14th February, 2009 at 3:45 pm  

      “In West Croydon, I asked the member of staff at one of these ubiquitous chicken shops (not KFC - but one of those with names like these)
      http://badgas.co.uk/chicken/dixy.jpg
      ….whether the chicken was halal.”

      Why did you ask that?

    6. cjcjc — on 14th February, 2009 at 4:28 pm  

      Is there not an issue over animal cruelty with respect to halal?

    7. blah — on 14th February, 2009 at 4:34 pm  

      cjcjc
      “Is there not an issue over animal cruelty with respect to halal?”

      Halal slaughter and Jewish ritual slaughter are exactly the same

    8. Anas — on 14th February, 2009 at 4:37 pm  

      You can’t get a pepperoni pizza at a Birmingham branch of Domino’s?!?! It’s obvious that this is just a part of Islam’s steady erosion of traditional English culture and a way of life that has so far endured for centuries.

      The ease with which you could go down the road and order up an authentic English Domino’s pepperoni pizza will soon be a distant, fading memory — something our grandchildren (who will most likely be citizens of a future European Islamic caliphate) will only be able to read about in their history books (which will be written in Punjabi or Arabic).

    9. Vasey — on 14th February, 2009 at 4:50 pm  

      Two miles? I think I’d have just went with the halal-compliant pizza, myself. It’d even be something new (for me).

    10. chairwoman — on 14th February, 2009 at 5:46 pm  

      Halal slaughter and Jewish ritual slaughter are exactly the same

      Different prayers though, Blah :)

    11. Katy Newton — on 14th February, 2009 at 5:52 pm  

      Is there not an issue over animal cruelty with respect to halal?

      It depends on whether you think it’s more cruel to sever an animal’s throat very quickly with a very very sharp knife, or send thousands of volts through it in an attempt to knock it out, which may or may not work, before shooting it.

    12. MaidMarian — on 14th February, 2009 at 6:44 pm  

      Sunny - This is a non-story, but looking at the links in the article, you have picked on rather the soft quote. The more telling comment in the Telegraph link is the person who says that, ‘It’s alienating people and that’s just not on.’

      There are no grounds for a moan about pizza, nor are there grounds to see this as some sort of cultural affront. And, indeed Domino’s is a private business and can run commercial risks if it wants to.

      But this thing about alienation is a bit harder to dismiss as a a bunch of people looking to flaunt the chips on their shoulder to the Mail. I can, I suppose see how this is a bit insensitive - and surely in these times of identity politics we all need a bit of sensitivity.

      Sure - no society is pickled in aspic nor should it be. But these people do feel as if they have been treated poorly, even if they have not expressed their frustrations in a particluarly articulate way.

      Now if you will excuse me, I have two pork chops under the grill. Woe betide Sainsbury’s if they stop selling my chops!

    13. Rumbold — on 14th February, 2009 at 7:19 pm  

      MaidMarian:

      I wrote it. And I don’t think that too many need feel that they are being isolated, as it is only one shop in the whole country that is (at present) doing this. Given the number of pizza/fast food shops around where I live, I doubt that this is a monopoly situation. People who feel that this is an assault on their way of life clearly have real issues that they need to address.

      “Woe betide Sainsbury’s if they stop selling my chops!”

      Heh.

    14. MaidMarian — on 14th February, 2009 at 7:23 pm  

      Rumbold (pace) 13 -

      I’d agree with those sentiments exactly. If this were some sort of monopoly, or something vital, the Mail would have a strong point. It isn’t and they don’t.

      But you did pick on the easy quote.

      And my chops were very nice.

    15. Italiana vera — on 14th February, 2009 at 8:35 pm  

      you brits re sooooo funny….
      u don’t even know what pizza is, and dare to have a fight about it.

      sorry to intrude in your little religion war…
      but i suggest you first check what “peperoni” really are, before getting too hot on the subject…

      bye
      p.s. noone with common sense would want to eat your fake pizza anyway, with or without pork.

    16. Italiana vera — on 14th February, 2009 at 8:36 pm  

      you brits are sooooo funny….
      u don’t even know what pizza is, and dare to have a fight about it.

      sorry to intrude in your little religion war…
      but i suggest you first check what “peperoni” really are, before getting too hot on the subject…

      bye
      p.s. noone with common sense would want to eat your fake pizza anyway, with or without pork.

    17. Sunny — on 14th February, 2009 at 8:45 pm  

      Is there not an issue over animal cruelty with respect to halal?

      If one was really worried about animal cruelty, they’d be vegetarian (like me!) :)

    18. blah — on 14th February, 2009 at 9:29 pm  

      Thanks Italiana Vera
      How is life like in Italy under the fascist Northern League?

    19. Ravi Naik — on 14th February, 2009 at 10:50 pm  

      u don’t even know what pizza is, and dare to have a fight about it.

      Vera, qui a Londra abbiamo buoni ristoranti italiani …

    20. Cyburn — on 14th February, 2009 at 10:56 pm  

      If Dominos Pizza was going to have halal meat in ALL its branches then that would be a problem.

      But the tabloids imply this will be the case in 5-10 years.

      Damn Daily Mail and their fear-mongering ways.

    21. Andy Gilmour — on 15th February, 2009 at 12:53 am  

      I wouldn’t touch Domino’s pizza, personally…

      Firstly, it’s previous CEO Thomas Monaghan (sold up in 1998) was a major Catholic fundamentalist and anti-choice activist, and its current one, David A. Brandon, has some fine right-wing credentials [albeit less religiously deluded] of his own: a reasonably large-scale Republican Party donor (originally backing Romney in the primaries, before switching to McCain),the mightily-rich - Forbes states he pulled in $14m in 2007, plus he joined the board of Burger King last year - Brandon has form as an anti-union & anti-’equal rights for same-sex partners of employees’ chap…

      Secondly, their pizza tastes bloody terrible! :-)

    22. Anas — on 15th February, 2009 at 1:08 am  

      better than pizza hut anyways - halal or not

    23. Bert Rustle — on 15th February, 2009 at 7:47 am  

      Reportedly the Royal Navy only serves Halal meat. Is this true? If so, how is this reasonable?

      Is it the case that Sikhs cannot eat Halal meat?

      Katy Newton 11 wrote … It depends on whether you think it’s more cruel to sever an animal’s throat very quickly with a very very sharp knife, or send thousands of volts through it in an attempt to knock it out, which may or may not work, before shooting it. …

      The BBC 3 program Kill It, Cook It, Eat It showed slaughter of sheep and pigs. The intention of the electric shock applied to the head is to render the animal senseless before it is bled to death after having it’s throat cut.

      According to Compassion In World Farming

      … The Saudi Arabian authorities accept electrical stunning as being consistent with Halal. New Zealand, a major exporter of Halal meat, adheres to the practice of stunning, and this is known by its customers in
      the Middle East. … Swiss and Swedish laws require all animals to be stunned …

      How is it that indigenous Muslims in the Middle East accept electrical stunning and immigrants to Switzerland and Sweden accept electrical stunning yet some immigrants to the UK do not accept electrical stunning?

      The linked article contains various details of opportunities for the animal to suffer during slaughter if it is not stunned before it’s throat is cut.

    24. asquith — on 15th February, 2009 at 9:12 am  

      Become a vegetarian if you’re that bothered about animal welfare.

      Most of the observant Muslims I know don’t eat meat at all if they think it won’t be halal. It’s funny, I always get caught out by eating wine gums & so on but they’re always wise to it.

    25. Tim Worstall — on 15th February, 2009 at 9:29 am  

      “Its funny that promoters of untramelled free market capitalism and “letting the market decide” as so against this when it involves Muslims possibly benefitting.”

      Most amusing Blah. However, I’m rather proud of my reputation of being a promoter of untramelled free market capitalism and letting the market decide. I’m certainly one of the more extreme voices on that side in the British blogosphere (as well as being a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute who are sufficiently free market to scare even me at times) and yet who is it that is quoted as defending the right of the pizza business to do as they wish? Yes, that’s me, the supporter of untramelled free markets.

      Because that’s what a free market is. Producers produce as they wish and consumers decide which products, if any, they wish to purchase.

      So you seem to have missed the point entirely. This is the free market in action and us untramelled free market types are, far from being against this, cheering them on and whooping with glee as we see exactly our own ideas being put into action. Businesses competing to sate the desires of the customers.

      Ain’t it a grand system?

    26. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 11:19 am  

      Bert Rustle

      “Reportedly the Royal Navy only serves Halal meat. Is this true? If so, how is this reasonable?”

      Reportedly some people believe everything they are told or read in tabloid newspapers

      “How is it that indigenous Muslims in the Middle East accept electrical stunning and immigrants to Switzerland and Sweden accept electrical stunning yet some immigrants to the UK do not accept electrical stunning?”

      Some who considers British Muslims “immigrants” is pretty much operating on BNP territory

      Tim Worstall I wasnt disagreeing with the free market at all. I was wondering why some people suddenly challenge it when Muslims benefit

      “Ain’t it a grand system?”

      Yes it is generally. Though in its extremes it isnt

    27. Anas — on 15th February, 2009 at 11:39 am  

      In West Croydon, I asked the member of staff at one of these ubiquitous chicken shops (not KFC - but one of those with names like these)
      http://badgas.co.uk/chicken/dixy.jpg
      ….whether the chicken was halal.
      ”Yes it it was” replied the somewhat surprised guy behind the counter (not born in the UK - and perhaps a Muslim)….. ”Are you a Muslim?” he asked.
      ”No” I said (I’m white and of Irish origins), but I think he thought it was a strange thing for me to have asked.

      Maybe he thought it was strange because it says Dixy halal chicken on the sign at the front of the shop.

    28. damon — on 15th February, 2009 at 1:22 pm  

      blah, you ask why I asked the guy in the chicken shop whether it was halal, and the answer is simply that I wanted to know. If you want your food to have the widest appeal, it would make sense to have everything halal, as non Muslims shouldn’t really care, and it means that Muslims can be customers too. In this corner of London where I am now, there are so many people of (I presume) Muslim faith, that for the fast food places not to be halal would be commercially foolish. (I’m talking about the large numbers of young men who appear to be from places like Kurdistan, Turkey, and north Africa). The guys who hang out in the internet cafes playing youtubes of Kurdish folk songs.

      I agree that the word I used (colonising) is not really right. But I had the idea of people being somewhat single minded in their desire to get on in life and business and maybe not being aware of how other parts of the community might see things.
      Rapid change can be unsettling, and a traditional pub closing down after a hundred years, and reopening as an African penticostalist church might not be commented on in public - but can lead to (racist) resentment.
      The part of the population that is of South Asian origin has more entrepreneurs than the general population it would seem, and through openning small business, have the ability to change the look of a community quite quickly.
      I remember reading over ten years ago, about some resentment within parts of a black community in the San Fransisco Bay area (it was Oakland) when South East Asian immigrants had turned a formaly failed and dilapidated commercial (and traditionaly African American) area into a thriving south east Asian business district.

      And I certainly didn’t mean to imply that there was something undesirable about Curry Mile in Manchester, or imply that the people who run those resturants are not as British as anyone else.
      I was really just pointing out how there can be backward reactions to change, and perhaps even racial jealousy. (Like perhaps when Asian guys are running a shop that caters to Afro-Caribbean women - beauty and hair products - it was some of this tension that led to the trouble in Birmingham three years ago).

      blah, is there really a furore ”every time a Muslim community wants to build a mosque”? (I’m not saying that there isn’t - I really don’t know). I know that there was opposition to a (so called) ”mega mosque” in East London, but some of that opposition was about the sect that was behind the plan.

      And Anas, it wasn’t actually that chicken shop, that’s just an image on google.

    29. pounce — on 15th February, 2009 at 1:43 pm  

      The irony here is that every take-away shop (run by Muslims)that sells food late on friday/Saturday night will be selling Halal meat.
      No complaints from the Daily Mail there.

      …………………
      Bert Rustle wrote;
      “Reportedly the Royal Navy only serves Halal meat.

      Only the chicken and the reason behind that is its cheaper.

      But hey for people willing to stuff crap food down their necks (Cheap pies/Cheap bread/cheap beer) why all the concern about the quality of the food?

    30. Bert Rustle — on 15th February, 2009 at 1:50 pm  

      Pounce 29 wrote … Only the chicken and the reason behind that is its cheaper. …

      Do you have a reference?

    31. Jai — on 15th February, 2009 at 2:27 pm  

      Is it the case that Sikhs cannot eat Halal meat?

      Correct, in relation to strictly-practicing Sikhs anyway.

    32. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 2:37 pm  

      Pounce 29 wrote … Only the chicken and the reason behind that is its cheaper. …

      Bert Rustle
      “Do you have a reference?”

      Funny you ask as you didnt supply one for your original comment -”Reportedly the Royal Navy only serves Halal meat. Is this true? If so, how is this reasonable.”

    33. Don — on 15th February, 2009 at 3:05 pm  

      Reportedly the Royal Navy only serves Halal meat.

      Did you try the RN website? It isn’t true.

    34. pounce — on 15th February, 2009 at 3:57 pm  

      Bert you asked for a reference. Well other than trawling through my old ex files tomorrow no I cannot drag anything up at the moment. But here’s something you can do.
      The Master Chef booked my order through a civy company that was called ‘Bookers’ a few years ago that company changed its name to ’3663′ you may have seen their trucks travelling on the streets of the UK. (3663 reads food on a phone pad) give them a call I’m sure they will be more than happy to furnish you with the details you require.

    35. Bert Rustle — on 15th February, 2009 at 5:51 pm  

      Jai 31 Thank you. Is it because of the particular prayers that are said, or the method of slaughter? If the former, would Kosher meat be acceptable?

      Blah 32 wrote … you didnt supply one for your original comment … Indeed, I wrote … Reportedly the Royal Navy only serves Halal meat. Is this true? … I had presumed that it was clear that I was querying the truth of the assertion.

      Don 33 wrote … Did you try the RN website? It isn’t true. … From what I could see, Halal is available as an option from which one could perhaps conclude that what is not described as Halal is not Halal. However the menu items not described as Halal may well be Halal, unless they are described as non-Halal. As this would imply that standard menu items would then be described as non-Halal, non-Kosher etc. it might be the case that standard menu items are whatever is cheapest, as Pounce 29 wrote.

      Pounce 34 wrote … The Master Chef booked my order … Do you mean placing an order for provisions for a Royal Navy vessel?

    36. Jai — on 15th February, 2009 at 6:15 pm  

      Bert,

      Is it because of the particular prayers that are said, or the method of slaughter?

      The method of slaughter.

      If the former, would Kosher meat be acceptable?

      No.

    37. Anas — on 15th February, 2009 at 6:25 pm  

      From what I could see, Halal is available as an option from which one could perhaps conclude that what is not described as Halal is not Halal. However the menu items not described as Halal may well be Halal, unless they are described as non-Halal. As this would imply that standard menu items would then be described as non-Halal, non-Kosher etc. it might be the case that standard menu items are whatever is cheapest, as Pounce 29 wrote.

      Winner of most uses of the word “halal” in one paragraph.

    38. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 6:37 pm  

      Blah 32 wrote … you didnt supply one for your original comment …

      “Bert Rustle
      Indeed, I wrote … Reportedly the Royal Navy only serves Halal meat. Is this true? … I had presumed that it was clear that I was querying the truth of the assertion.”

      But you didnt supply any evidence for your initial assertion. Reportedly by whom?

      Bert rustle

      “… From what I could see, Halal is available as an option from which one could perhaps conclude that what is not described as Halal is not Halal. However the menu items not described as Halal may well be Halal, unless they are described as non-Halal. As this would imply that standard menu items would then be described as non-Halal, non-Kosher etc. it might be the case that standard menu items are whatever is cheapest, as Pounce 29 wrote.”

      LOL Can I have some of what you just had. On second thoughts dont think itd be halal.

      “which one could perhaps conclude that what is not described as Halal is not Halal.”

      great work Sherlock

      ” However the menu items not described as Halal may well be Halal, unless they are described as non-Halal”

      On what basis do you make this absurd claim? That meat is default halal?

    39. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 6:38 pm  

      Jai
      “Bert,

      Is it because of the particular prayers that are said, or the method of slaughter?

      The method of slaughter.

      If the former, would Kosher meat be acceptable?

      No.”

      Just goes to show that secularism doesnt protect peoples religious rights

    40. Jai — on 15th February, 2009 at 6:45 pm  

      Just goes to show that secularism doesnt protect peoples religious rights

      Bert asked me about halal and kosher meat from the perspective of Sikhism. The position of ‘secularism’ on the matter is irrelevant to Bert’s query and my own response.

    41. Ravi Naik — on 15th February, 2009 at 6:47 pm  

      Just goes to show that secularism doesnt protect peoples religious rights

      Surely you meant that secularism doesn’t protect animals from being slaughtered? :)

    42. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 6:52 pm  

      “Wrong cue, pal.”

      LOL

    43. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 7:14 pm  

      Jai
      “Bert asked me about halal and kosher meat from the perspective of Sikhism. The position of ’secularism’ on the matter is irrelevant to Bert’s query and my own response.”

      Is Sikhism anti-halal stance more in keeping with its anti-Muslim stance which for example according to some sikh interpretations forbids Sikh men cutting their hair till they have killed all Muslims?

      Attitude Towards Muslims
      “Smite Turks with immense vigour. A Singh who obeys the Rahit does not bow when he meets a Turk. Never serve Turks, never greet a Turk, never trust Turks. Serve only the Khalsa. Avoid Muslim huttha meat. By fighting them face to face the Muslims will be defeated. Remain ever alert against the Turks. A Turk should be neither accepted as a master nor treated with deference. Keep Muslims away from your cooking-square when preparing for a langar. Muslims are polluted. [16, 20, 21, 30, 45, 46, 62, 94] ”

      http://allaboutsikhs.com/rehat/rehat_17.htm

      Enemies of Sikhism

      http://www.hinduweb.org/home/sikh/rverma/bsingh1.html

      “1.Kesh - the tradition of Kesh meaning the long hair which is not cut. The Sikh follows this tradition of Hindu warriors who vowed never to cut their hair until the Muslim aggressors were thrown out of India. Their hair is the symbol of the vow which is never forgotten. In Hinduism the cutting off of hair represents fruition of a duty or task. For the Sikhs this task is never finished as they are forever the protectors of the eternal Dharma of India, therefore the hair is never cut.”

    44. Bert Rustle — on 15th February, 2009 at 7:25 pm  

      Blah 38 wrote … But you didnt supply any evidence for your initial assertion. … I did not make an assertion. For clarity replace “reportedly” with “I seem to recollect seeing somewhere that”.

      … On what basis do you make this absurd claim? … I did not make a claim. On the face of it, my response to Don 33 appears logically correct, albeit verbose.

      Hopefully a passing sailor will be able to ritually slaughter my argument and dish up the meat of the matter, or at least provide the bare bones of an argument intelligible to all.

    45. Jai — on 15th February, 2009 at 7:29 pm  

      Blah,

      re:#43

      Stop quoting obscure wingnut sources. Practising Sikhs aren’t supposed to eat halal meat, kosher meat, battery-farmed meat or any other meat which is viewed as having inflicted unnecessary suffering on the animal before death, purely out of compassion for animals. That’s all there is to it. If you disagree with that perspective, that’s fine and your right, but pushing the point would be an act of gratuitous hostility and doesn’t exactly elevate the quality of discourse.

      As for ‘kesh’, that’s because in Sikhism it’s regarded as being in line with the body’s natural state and not mutilating it in any way, along with one of the 5 main visible identifiers to indicate the wearer’s religious affiliation. Again, that’s all there is to it.

      I have not made any negative comments on Islam or any of its teachings, either here or on any other threads you’ve recently been involved with. I suggest you do the same in relation to Sikhism, Hinduism or any other faiths, in the interests of constructive dialogue and, basically, not being a prick.

    46. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 8:10 pm  

      Thanks Jai

      “I have not made any negative comments on Islam or any of its teachings, either here or on any other threads you’ve recently been involved with. I suggest you do the same in relation to Sikhism, Hinduism or any other faiths, in the interests of constructive dialogue and, basically, not being a prick.”

      A fascinating comment. If I as a Muslim were to say that people should make no negative comments about Islam how do you think that would be taken? Muslims have to put up with criticism of our religion and often the most offensive attacks - why should other religions be exempt?

      “Stop quoting obscure wingnut sources. Practising Sikhs aren’t supposed to eat halal meat, kosher meat, battery-farmed meat or any other meat which is viewed as having inflicted unnecessary suffering on the animal before death, purely out of compassion for animals. That’s all there is to it. If you disagree with that perspective, that’s fine and your right, but pushing the point would be an act of gratuitous hostility and doesn’t exactly elevate the quality of discourse.”

      Wasnt aware it was a “wing nut” source - its from a site called Sikh Gateway and is from the Desa Singh Rahit Nama written by Guru Gobend Singh the 10th Sikh Guru who established the Khalsa and 2 of the 3 most holy Sikh festivals. Hardly a minor figure.

      It does raise the general question about how much Sikhism festivals and teachings incalcate hatred of Muslims into each generation by continually relating the alleged misdeeds of Muslim rulers. I think this needs to be examed perhaps by the authorities. Maybe Channel 4 could do an “Undercover Gurdwara” to see exactly what is said about Muslims at these events. Wonder why they wouldnt Jai?

      “As for ‘kesh’, that’s because in Sikhism it’s regarded as being in line with the body’s natural state and not mutilating it in any way, along with one of the 5 main visible identifiers to indicate the wearer’s religious affiliation. Again, that’s all there is to it.”

      Thanks for the explanation. Isnt that a bit unhygenic?
      And why do you cut your nails then?

    47. Rumbold — on 15th February, 2009 at 8:12 pm  

      Blah:

      Your lack of understanding about Sikhism is embarrassing. You seem to want to turn everything about Sikhs into a ‘Sikhs hate Muslims’ discussion. Why? Do Sikhs make you feel insecure? Do you have a particular hatred of them, or do you actually believe what you say?

    48. Rumbold — on 15th February, 2009 at 8:16 pm  

      Also, Sikh writings abouts Islam have to be seen in their proper historical context, namely that at the time when Sikhism’s symbols became codified, Sikhs were under threat from an anti-Sikh power (the Mughals). As a comparison, you wouldn’t use information from the Second World War to show what British people think of Germans now. You would note and explain it, and put it into context.

    49. Ravi Naik — on 15th February, 2009 at 8:20 pm  

      It doesnt raise the general question about how much Sikhism festivals and teachings incalcate hatred of Muslims into each generation but continually relating the alleged misdeeds of Muslim rulers. I think this needs to be examed perhaps by the authorities. Maybe Channel 4 could do an “Undercover Gurdwara” to see exactly what is said about Muslims at these events. Wonder why they wouldnt Jai?

      Heh. Tell me, if hypothetically (a big H) these festivals do inculcate hatred of Muslims - is that bad because ‘hate’ against an ethnic group - any group - is unacceptable, or because Muslims are the target? What did you think about the documentary “Undercover Mosque”?

    50. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 8:31 pm  

      Rumbold

      “Your lack of understanding about Sikhism is embarrassing. You seem to want to turn everything about Sikhs into a ‘Sikhs hate Muslims’ discussion.”

      No I wanted to clarify whether the quote from Sikh sources that they cant cut their hair till theyve killed all Muslims.

      I also wanted to get to the bottom of the hostility to Muslims Ive seen from many Sikhs (although Ive also seen many who arent) which I believe Jai exhibits. As I said I believe this comes from Sikh festivals and teachings.

      Religions and cultures that continual commemorate historic events/battles against a particular enemy perpetuate hatred against that enemy or more generally hostility to others generation unto generation (Jewish festivals do likewise, Christian passion plays used to do the same . This doesnt exist in Islam except in the minority Shia remeberance of Imam Husseins martydom at Karbala which in any case was intra Muslim and something all Muslims agree was wrong )

      “Why? Do Sikhs make you feel insecure? Do you have a particular hatred of them, or do you actually believe what you say?”

      I dont have hatred of them. Im trying to work out why they have such hatred of Muslims.

    51. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 8:33 pm  

      Ravi Naik

      “Heh. Tell me, if hypothetically (a big H) these festivals do inculcate hatred of Muslims - is that bad because ‘hate’ against an ethnic group - any group - is unacceptable, or because Muslims are the target?”

      because hatred against any group is unacceptable.
      If Muslims had festivals like Sikhs do … good greif imagine the press coverage

      ” What did you think about the documentary “Undercover Mosque”?”

      I think we need an “undercover Mandir” “undercover Gurdwara” and “undercover yeshuva” for balanced - dont you?

    52. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 8:35 pm  

      Rumbold
      “Also, Sikh writings abouts Islam have to be seen in their proper historical context, namely that at the time when Sikhism’s symbols became codified, Sikhs were under threat from an anti-Sikh power (the Mughals). As a comparison, you wouldn’t use information from the Second World War to show what British people think of Germans now. You would note and explain it, and put it into context.”

      Fair enough but how does continually repeating those events end hatred?

      And perhaps Mr Wilders and the other Surah 9:5etc crowd
      should bear context in mind when discussing the Quran

    53. Rumbold — on 15th February, 2009 at 8:51 pm  

      Blah:

      “I also wanted to get to the bottom of the hostility to Muslims Ive seen from many Sikhs (although Ive also seen many who arent) which I believe Jai exhibits. As I said I believe this comes from Sikh festivals and teachings.”

      I am sure I could pull out plenty of unpleasant quotes from the Qur’an and other religious texts. But I don’t see the point, as it is how people think and act in practice which is important. See my point about historical context (48#).

      “Religions and cultures that continual commemorate historic events/battles against a particular enemy perpetuate hatred against that enemy or more generally hostility to others generation unto generation (Jewish festivals do likewise, Christian passion plays used to do the same . This doesnt exist in Islam except in the minority Shia remeberance of Imam Husseins martydom at Karbala which in any case was intra Muslim and something all Muslims agree was wrong).”

      Plenty of events are commemorated that were important to the development of a people. In this country we celebrate the Battle of Britain and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Once again, this isn’t an anti-German or anti-Spanish thing, just a recognition of the situation at the time. Sikh festivals are the same. Commemorating the execution of Guru Arjun or the release of Guru Hargobind isn’t anti-Muslim. They are important events in Sikh history.

      “I dont have hatred of them. Im trying to work out why they have such hatred of Muslims.”

      You are trying to stir up trouble.

      “Fair enough but how does continually repeating those events end hatred?”

      Who is continually repeating them?

    54. Ravi Naik — on 15th February, 2009 at 8:59 pm  

      ” What did you think about the documentary “Undercover Mosque”?”

      I think we need an “undercover Mandir” “undercover Gurdwara” and “undercover yeshuva” for balanced - dont you?

      Blah - I asked you what did you think about “Undercover Mosque”. Please respond.

    55. Amrit — on 15th February, 2009 at 9:03 pm  

      If Muslims had festivals like Sikhs do … good greif imagine the press coverage

      That’s ‘grief,’ Blah dear.

      Could you clarify which festivals you are speaking of here? I’ve been to a fair few as my family are very religious and I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re on about. You seem awfully knowledgeable about them. Maybe you should volunteer for ‘Undercover Gurdwara’?

      While it is true that some Sikhs express anti-Muslim sentiments, many of them are simply imbibing the ignorant prejudice of the past and I seriously doubt they would actually act on such urges. It’s just stupidity - just as you get stupid anti-Semites, Islamophobes, etc.

      Then again, there are many people like myself and Jai who are not anti-Muslim, or anti any religion, for that matter.

      From what I remember, ‘Undercover Mosque’ targeted one mosque in particular because they were endorsing Wahabbi ideology. That’s hardly ‘hatred of Muslims’ - people are allowed to be critical of extremism.

      You want to quit with the disingenuousness - I’m sure I’m not the only one here getting tired of it.

    56. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 9:41 pm  

      Rumbold

      “Plenty of events are commemorated that were important to the development of a people. In this country we celebrate the Battle of Britain and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Once again, this isn’t an anti-German or anti-Spanish thing, just a recognition of the situation at the time. Sikh festivals are the same. Commemorating the execution of Guru Arjun or the release of Guru Hargobind isn’t anti-Muslim. They are important events in Sikh history.”

      Give us a break. The Battle of Britain and Armarda arent religious events (even then they like all historical commemorations of battles etc are stupid).
      Political dynasties etc change over time. Religions dont in anything like the same way.

      If a Spaniard said to a Brit today “the Spanish Armarda were great Im proud of them ” do you think he’d get the same reaction as a Muslim saying to a Sikh “Jahangir was a great leader Im proud of him” or if someone went up to a Shia (or many Sunnis) and said “Yazid was a great leader” ?

      The events you mention dont involve the detail telling of the torture of a beloved religious figure at the hands of another religion. The passion plays of Jesus being “cruxified” by the Jews are a much better analogy.

      “You are trying to stir up trouble.”

      No Im trying to address extremism. You seem to want to be ignored because its your community.

      “Who is continually repeating them?”

      So they arent commemorated every year even though they took place 400 years ago?

      Amrit

      “Could you clarify which festivals you are speaking of here? ”

      The festivals which commemorate the bloody deaths of various Gurus

      “Maybe you should volunteer for ‘Undercover Gurdwara’?”

      Maybe I should. There certainly should be focus, by the media or the authorities, on the anti-Muslim sentiments these events stir up. Maybe recording what the speakers and crowd say. Am sure you’d agree. Or is Sikh extremism excuseable?

    57. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 9:49 pm  

      Amrit

      “While it is true that some Sikhs express anti-Muslim sentiments, many of them are simply imbibing the ignorant prejudice of the past and I seriously doubt they would actually act on such urges. It’s just stupidity - just as you get stupid anti-Semites, Islamophobes, etc.”

      Amrit this is from your blog - it goes beyond stupidity


      Suddenly, before I could even get a handle on where it had sprung from, the subject of the Pakistan-India tensions caught the collective imagination. The mother of the family who are our family friends (the ‘children’ are my sisters’ age, i.e. late 20s, so the two sisters get on with my sisters and their elder brother is just kind of there, like a pot plant) remarked on how she would love for India to simply bomb Pakistan out of existence. Her son spoke up to support her.

      Then, the fun kicked off and we got into some good old-fashioned Muslim-bashing. My dad said, how could you associate with people like that when you knew that they were looking at you and deciding that you had to CONVERT in order to be their friends (um, a little exaggeration there, perhaps, Pater?). The son informed us all of how it was ‘their mission’ to convert the whole world to Islam. For no apparent reason, the ‘girls’ talked about how they had seen the roads in India lined with goats when they were there ‘and we asked him why and he said because it was Eid’. Cue agitated fawning all around for the poor goats that were going to be killed!

      (Just like the billions of cows that die worldwide to feed people every year, but I didn’t hear any railing against that. Funny really, as this family are Hindus, I would’ve expected to… Perchance it was because those are not just eaten by Muslims?).

      There was talk of how the Arab nations are ‘uncivilised’ and also of how they are ‘dirty.’ Bollocks! cried the ghost of GCSE history from the depths of my stomach. Absolute fucking bollocks! They were advanced in medicine long before the West got a clue, and they invented geometry! As usual, however, as one of the youngest in the room and the only person who has bothered to question any of these ‘hand-me-down’ opinions, I knew better than to open my mouth.

      Support for the complete eradication of Pakistan gathered around the room. ‘Ethnic cleansing!’ my sister proclaimed jauntily. In my already-twisting guts, I felt the amorphous horror of a face trying to force itself upwards, a scream trying to make itself heard. ‘These are absolute dogs’ the mother of the family kept repeating. All Muslims everywhere ever were blamed for the ills of the world. It was conceded by the eldest daughter that ha, now it was the whole world at their mercy. I believe the mother said something about how 50% of the population being born in India were Muslims.

      Oh-so-patriotic anxiety was expressed over poor little India being surrounded, as my pater put it, by ‘Bangladesh. Muslim. Pakistan. Muslim… and there’s the Muslims in India!’ (I managed to refrain from pointing out that Indian Muslims have themselves condemned the Mumbai attacks). Resentment was expressed about the fact that many Indian Muslims were originally, er, not Muslim (I restrained myself from mentioning that in some cases, as with the Dalits, people have voluntarily converted to Islam because they think it will improve their lives which are rigidly bound by the caste-system promoted by… errr, Hinduism and the conservative Indian culture. Also, if people are so cut up about the fact that their families ‘used to be’ whatever, why not convert back to that religion?).

      Pakistan was roundly and repeatedly blamed and the census opinion was that nobody within its borders should live, they should all be bombed out of existence and then the world’s troubles would cease! (How I itched to remark that this wouldn’t really resolve the problem of the spread of the noxious Wahabbi ideology which originates from… *gasp* SAUDI ARABIA). The ‘evil Muslims’ seam was rich with satisfaction waiting to be mined by the roomful of my ‘nearest and dearest’ (ha!), as evidenced by the fact that when my sister came back in from making tea, she went ‘Aww, has the Muslim-bashing stopped? Don’t start again without me!’ and laughed before exiting the room.

      I feel depressed and terrified when this happens to me. It also makes me very, very aware of how alone I am.”

      http://gts-kjb.blogspot.com/2008/12/bigotry-and-suffering.html

    58. platinum786 — on 15th February, 2009 at 10:17 pm  

      wow, this managed to get to Pakistan Vs India somehow.

      It’s a non issue in my opinion, Domino’s can choose to do what they like. In fact they might gain a market if all the branches of Domino’s were halal. Sure pork would be off the menu, but how many people would really care?

      Get used to it, with a rising Muslim population retailers are soon going to cater for us. I was surprised to see Eid Mubarak signs in JJB sports a few years ago, sign of the times eh.

    59. Refresh — on 16th February, 2009 at 2:31 am  

      Blah,

      Thanks for drawing my attention to Amrit’s blog. I had to read the whole piece and she asks the question we should all be asking, regardless of religious affiliation:

      ‘Does this mean that loads and loads of people out there think like this? How alone am I? Can the world really be full of people who are ignorant and tribalist and hateful?’

      The heartwarming point Amrit makes is this:

      ‘Even though, according to the BBC’s ‘Sikhism at a Glance,’ I am a better Sikh than my family, the fact that they observe ritual more means that they have authority in the eyes of everyone else. Pathetic.’

      All faiths I am aware of seek harmony within and without. Sikhism is no different. One of the main advantages of Pickled Politics is that we can all come here to debate the various ‘extravagances’ of the different religious groups and how their teachings are used to assert authority.

      I believe you have plenty of knowledge which would be useful for you to share, but its of little use when asserted in the way you do.

      Jai and Ravi are not anti-Islam nor do they express those views.

      Jai has from day one been adamant that Islamophobia has to be given short-shrift, not least because it has often been used as a cover for racism. That of course does not mean extremists get an easy ride.

      If you can just relax a little, you would be in a position to inform and be informed. Pickled Politics is an exchange of ideas, experiences and perspectives. It has its ups and downs, but it is a valuable forum which deserves knowledgeable posters, who can help form opinion.

      As an example just consider this particular thread - it takes issue with the ignorant newspapers that ran the story, to the detriment of their readers.

    60. Rumbold — on 16th February, 2009 at 9:51 am  

      Blah:

      “If a Spaniard said to a Brit today “the Spanish Armarda were great Im proud of them ” do you think he’d get the same reaction as a Muslim saying to a Sikh “Jahangir was a great leader Im proud of him” or if someone went up to a Shia (or many Sunnis) and said “Yazid was a great leader”?”

      Some historical events/processes have more resonance today than others.

      “The events you mention dont involve the detail telling of the torture of a beloved religious figure at the hands of another religion. The passion plays of Jesus being “cruxified” by the Jews are a much better analogy.”

      Not really. The execution of Jesus was consistently used by Christians throughout history as a way of collectively blaming and punishing the Jews. It is distorted deliberately. The execution of Guru Arjun clearly places it in the context of the time, namely the actions of a Mughal official in Lahore, with backing from Jahangir (though it is not clear at all whether the official was ordered to try and convert Guru Arjun, or did it of his own violation. Probably the latter). Muslims celebrate (for example) the escape of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, but no-one claims that makes them anti-Meccan now. Celebrating Lord Ram’s victories doesn’t make Hindus anti-Sri Lankan. Celebrating Passover doesn’t make Jews anti-Egyptian.

      “You seem to want to be ignored because its your community.”

      Actually, I am not a Sikh, but it is telling of your mindset that you feel that only people of a particular faith good defend that faith’s practices.

      Refresh (59#):

      Wonderful points. Thank you. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    61. chairwoman — on 16th February, 2009 at 10:25 am  

      “Practising Sikhs aren’t supposed to eat halal meat, kosher meat, battery-farmed meat or any other meat which is viewed as having inflicted unnecessary suffering on the animal before death, purely out of compassion for animals.”

      We believe that our way of slaughter inflicts the least suffering on animals. We are commanded in the Torah to be kind to animals, and that the single cut along the throat, with an extremely sharp knife does the business. I must admit that I had doubts myself until a non-Jewish friend of mine who was a butcher told me that animals were far better treated and suffered much less in the Kosher abbatoirs than in the ‘regular’ ones. Not only were they treated with more consideration, but that the stun guns don’t always work.

    62. munir — on 16th February, 2009 at 10:51 am  

      chairwoman lovely explanation. Halal slaughter operates on the same principle. The proper practice is for the animal to be taken where there are no other animals present and having its throat cut with a very sharp knife so it loses consiousness immedietaly and pain is minimized.

      This is surely infinitely more preferable than having it caged for months knowing what its fate will be.

      This of course is not a pleasant process -its the taking of life- this is recognised by the fact that when the butcher slaugheter the animal he says “Bismillah Allahu Akbar” (in the name of God, God is great) not the traditional bendiction Muslims begin things with “Bismillah irahman iraheem” (In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate) because there is recognition there isnt much mercy involved, but neither is there in non-halal/kosher ways of meat production.

      Im puzzled by the poster you responded to’s explanation- Surely if a person didnt want to eat something because it had caused suffering to animals theyd become
      vegetarian? What is it about the Sikh way of killing animals that makes it less cruel?

    63. Jai — on 16th February, 2009 at 10:54 am  

      Chairwoman,

      Thanks for your reply, that’s actually pretty interesting and very informative. The Sikh perspective is that the animal should be killed very quickly and in a single stroke to behead it — technically it’s called ‘jhatka’ meat.

      Surely if a person didnt want to eat something because it had caused suffering to animals theyd become
      vegetarian?

      Some Sikhs are vegetarian for exactly this reason.

    64. Sid — on 16th February, 2009 at 11:10 am  

      Jai

      What is the Sikh position on eating meat *by doctrine*, rather than by personal practice? I know many Sikhs who are complete meat eaters (including beef) and others who are vegetarians but am unsure of what the official “law” is. Is there an outright ban by edict or has the choice been left to the individual?

      This man’s religious observance seems to have included the giving up of meat, eggs and alcohol. Is this only mandatory after the ceremony of Amrit or universally?

    65. damon — on 16th February, 2009 at 11:28 am  

      Wow, that’s all kind of interesting. As a non religious white person, I was wondering how much the average (indegiounous or, Jewish, Huganout, Indian, Polish, Pakistani, Nigerian, Bangladeshi, West Indian, Ukranian, or Columbian) East Ender should know about all these things that pass (it would seem) right under our noses.

      For the most part, things are very positive (in my opinion), but I remember being on a train in Gujarat at the end of 2001 - everything was friendly on the packed train going south from Ahmedabad (standing room only), but just a month or two later I read of the muderous rioting that had taken place in places like the central market in Ahmedabad where I’d just been (and having read Mark Tully’s book ”No full stops in India” where he did a chapter on the history of comunal unrest in Ahmedabad).

      I remember reading on that train, an article in a paper - like The Hindu, or The Times of India, (taken from a British newaspaper) a story about Bradford, in which it claimed that Hindus were leaving Bradford, due to intimidation from (ignorant) Muslim youth, (and because they were upwardly mobile too).
      A shopkeeper claimed that after he closed his shop for the night, it was only his shop (the only non Muslim one in the parade), that got vandalised.
      I also remember a quote from that article, where Muslim youth, when asked if they were picking on Hindus, said something like: ”They suck up to the gora and think they are better than us”.

      It wasn’t either of these articles (as I cant find it), but was something along these lines:
      http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2002/08/04/stories/2002080401051400.htm

      http://www.hvk.org/articles/0601/42.html

    66. Jai — on 16th February, 2009 at 11:35 am  

      Rumbold, Refresh & Amrit,

      Thank you very much for your kind words; I do really appreciate your comments and I’m glad that you have a more accurate perspective of my stance towards Muslims compared to a certain recent arrival to PP.

      Rumbold, what happened to Guru Tegh Bahadur would also be a good example. Aurangzeb was obviously the most problematic Mughal emperor of all where the Sikhs were concerned, not least because of the course of action Guru Gobind Singh decided to take in response to his fanaticism and bigotry.

      ******************************

      Anyone wishing to find a more credible source of online information regarding Sikhism and Sikh history than those mentioned in #46 is advised to browse through Sikhnet (www.Sikhnet.com). It is packed full of information — including details on both Sikh teachings & practices and the historical events during the ‘Great Mughal’ era and the century immediately afterwards which resulted in Sikhs suffering at the hands of people claiming to act in the name of Islam; it should also put any extracts from Guru Gobind Singh’s writings into their broader and proper context, particularly in relation to whom and what he was actually specifically referring to. The website also happens to have a globally-used discussion forum full of articulate commenters who would no doubt be happy to answer any queries that interested parties may have.

      As for assumptions that Sikhism has some kind of “built-in” hostility towards Muslims…..Well, one may wish to consider the fact that Guru Nanak’s closest friend throughout his life was a Muslim musician, the foundation stone of what is now called the Golden Temple was laid by a Muslim saint (Mian Mir), the Sikh holy book includes numerous writings by Sufis, Guru Gobind Singh’s Khalsa army included Muslim soldiers (including the Sufi Bulleh Shah and large numbers of his relatives) and he received various acts of altruistic kindness and assistance from Muslims during some of the darkest periods of his life, Aurangzeb and Guru Gobind Singh arrived at an amicable mutual understanding towards the very end of the Emperor’s life after he renounced his policy of hostility towards Sikhs and Hindus, and Guru Gobind Singh provided military assistance to one of Aurangzeb’s (ultimately successful) sons during the war of succession after Aurangzeb’s death.

    67. Jai — on 16th February, 2009 at 11:41 am  

      Sid,

      Is there an outright ban by edict or has the choice been left to the individual?

      It’s up to the individual, except for those who’ve taken Amrit.

      This man’s religious observance seems to have included the giving up of meat, eggs and alcohol. Is this only mandatory after the ceremony of Amrit or universally?

      Only after the ceremony of Amrit, although there isn’t an overall consensus on whether meat & eggs shouldn’t be eaten by such individuals full-stop or whether this only applies to non-jhatka meat.

    68. Amrit — on 16th February, 2009 at 11:55 am  

      Wow, thank you Refresh, for clarifying that for me so neatly. :-D

      Blah, the days that commemorate the martyrdom of various Gurus focus on the acts of the Gurus themselves, not on stirring up hate against their persecutors. They’re about taking a lesson from their bravery, appreciating their suffering and sacrifice and having the courage to stand up against oppression, not Muslims in general. Besides, you’re targeting people who lack a thorough education in their religion - ignorant believers of ANY religion often express similarly unpleasant feelings.

      I suspected you might c&c c&v that from my blog, but again, that’s individuals expressing their opinions in the private space of the home, NOT at any ‘festivals’. I might not agree with it, but I didn’t deny it happens, and I can’t stop people from saying what they want to in their own homes. You might also have paused to notice that it was more the fact of my parents’ being Indian and tapping into Indian-Pakistani hatred that fuelled their bigotry, rather than religion itself.

      Jai #66 - no problem, you da man :-P

      To return to the topic at hand, I’ve heard that some people deliberately go to kosher (and I think halal) butchers instead because apparently the meat is often better quality! LOL. So the market really WILL decide, eh? :-D

    69. Rumbold — on 16th February, 2009 at 12:02 pm  

      Jai:

      No problem. Anyone who has ever read your comments properly knows that you are not Islamophobic. You shouldn’t even really have to defend yourself.

      “Rumbold, what happened to Guru Tegh Bahadur would also be a good example. Aurangzeb was obviously the most problematic Mughal emperor of all where the Sikhs were concerned, not least because of the course of action Guru Gobind Singh decided to take in response to his fanaticism and bigotry.”

      Yes. I suppose that the increased instability in the subcontinent at the time (with the rise of the Marathas, Rajputs attacking Sikh, etc.) also pushed the Sikhs towards militarisation. The widepsread conversion of the Jats probably had an impact as well, as they tended to be considered pretty aggressive/martial.

      “As for assumptions that Sikhism has some kind of “built-in” hostility towards Muslim.”

      Don’t forget Guru Nanak journeying to Mecca, Hargobind’s time at the Mughal court not spent in a fort, and so on.

    70. justpassingby — on 16th February, 2009 at 12:07 pm  

      We believe that our way of slaughter inflicts the least suffering on animals. We are commanded in the Torah to be kind to animals, and that the single cut along the throat, with an extremely sharp knife does the business. I must admit that I had doubts myself until a non-Jewish friend of mine who was a butcher told me that animals were far better treated and suffered much less in the Kosher abbatoirs than in the ‘regular’ ones. Not only were they treated with more consideration, but that the stun guns don’t always work

      what a stupid assumption to make that the animal suffers no pain when its throat gets slit !!!
      shall we try it on you ? I promise to use sharp knives.
      Fact is, the brain will still feel pain until its passed out. not to mention all the adrenaline pumping through the animals body. How is that clean ?

    71. Sid — on 16th February, 2009 at 12:08 pm  

      It’s up to the individual, except for those who’ve taken Amrit.

      I think that’s very civilised.

    72. Don — on 16th February, 2009 at 12:58 pm  

      If done properly the animal appears to be unaware that its throat has been cut. Adreneline should not be a problem as maintaining the animal’s calm is a key factor.

      Of course, that is not to say that any form of slaughter is invariably done properly.

      http://www.grandin.com/ritual/kosher.slaugh.html

      Jai, I’ve seen plenty of kosher and halal butchers and eating establishments, but I don’t recall seeing any jhatka ones. Are they rare?

    73. chairwoman — on 16th February, 2009 at 1:03 pm  

      “To return to the topic at hand, I’ve heard that some people deliberately go to kosher (and I think halal) butchers instead because apparently the meat is often better quality! LOL. So the market really WILL decide, eh? :-D

      I think so, but I would say that, wouldn’t I? :)

      I think one of the reasons is that our animals are fed on natural foods rather than the weird BSE stuff to avoid contact with non-kosher/halal animal feeds.

    74. chairwoman — on 16th February, 2009 at 1:10 pm  

      justpassingby - Did I say that no pain was inflicted? No? I didn’t think so. I said we believed it was a kinder option.

      I’m not such an idiot as to believe that it is without pain, just that we try to minimise it.

    75. Bert Rustle — on 16th February, 2009 at 1:11 pm  

      chairwoman 61 wrote … the stun guns don’t always work. …

      Knives don’t always work either. According to Compassion In World Farming

      … The FAWC report concludes that when a very large incision is made across the neck, a number of vital tissues are transected including: skin, muscle, trachea, oesophagus,carotid arteries, jugular veins, major nerve trunks plus numerous minor nerves. The FAWC points out that such a drastic cut will nevitably trigger a barrage of sensory information to the brain of a conscious animal.

      Crucially, the FAWC concludes that ‘such a massive injury would result in very significant pain and distress in the period before insensibility supervenes’. The time-lapse between throat-cutting and insensibility can be relatively lengthy, during which the animals may experience severe pain and distress. The FAWC concludes that adult cattle may take 22–40 seconds to become insensible. This period can be extended when the flow of blood from the severed carotid arteries becomes blocked. Such obstruction takes place in some adult cattle and particularly in calves. Research on calves has found that they can take as long as two minutes to lose sensibility after throat-cutting.

      The FAWC states that sheep become insensible within 5-7 seconds of the cut. Other authoritative research reports longer delays, finding that sheep take on average 14 seconds to lose insensibility if both carotid arteries are cut, but that this extends to 70 seconds if only one carotid is severed, and to 5 minutes if neither is severed.

      Some members of the religious communities point out that ordinary slaughter (eg: stunning) can go wrong and animals can suffer. This is indeed the case. However,slaughter with stunning has the potential – if performed correctly – to lead to a relatively humane death, whereas slaughter without stunning has no potential for acceptable welfare: each animal inevitably suffers greatly.[emphasis added] …

      How is it that indigenous Muslims in the Middle East accept electrical stunning and immigrants to Switzerland and Sweden accept electrical stunning yet some immigrants to the UK do not accept electrical stunning?

      chairwoman, do you knowe the cost of slaughter per animal in the abottoirs you describe, or a possible source of such information?

      Do all Jewish communities worldwide abhor stunning, or do some allow it? Reportedly there is a degree of pragmatism in Israel, where for example pigs are reared with their trotters not touching the soil to circumvent religious restrictions. Reportedly Russian immigrants are partial to bacon.

    76. platinum786 — on 16th February, 2009 at 1:20 pm  

      Bert, it’s a difference of interpretation.

      If arabs think stunning is okay, good on them, but remember that arabs only form like 200 million of the 1.5 billion Muslim in this world. The rest of us don’t think stunned meat is acceptable, as we cannot garuntee that the meat is not killed by the stunning.

      The arabs go along the lines of as long as it is not killed by stunning only knocked out, it’s okay. We choose not to take that risk. Also your opinion is of some arabs, not all arabs. The majority, follow the four main sunni schools, hence will reject stunning outright.

      Add on top of that, some Turks feel that pork is allowed, whereas the Quran explicitly forbids it. If someone wants to turn a blind eye, I say let them, god will deal with them.

    77. Jai — on 16th February, 2009 at 1:32 pm  

      Don,

      Jai, I’ve seen plenty of kosher and halal butchers and eating establishments, but I don’t recall seeing any jhatka ones. Are they rare?

      I guess so, but it’s probably because most meat-eating Sikhs in the UK aren’t particularly fussy about whether the animal was killed by strict jhatka methods.

      ***************************

      Rumbold,

      I was browsing in Waterstones during the weekend and came across another excellent newish book that I’ve been meaning to recommend to you: It’s called “Empires of the Indus”, and is a very readable overview of the entire history of the region (and the associated ethnic & religious groups) right from ancient/classical times and especially during the medieval period. Full of interesting facts and anecdotes. I expect Amazon has plenty of reviews on its UK & US websites too.

    78. Anas — on 16th February, 2009 at 2:14 pm  

      Reportedly there is a degree of pragmatism in Israel, where for example pigs are reared with their trotters not touching the soil to circumvent religious restrictions.

      How do they manage that? Are the pigs attached to special heavy duty helium balloon harnesses?

    79. chairwoman — on 16th February, 2009 at 2:18 pm  

      “chairwoman, do you knowe the cost of slaughter per animal in the abottoirs you describe, or a possible source of such information?”

      Bert, I haven’t a clue, but, trust me, it’s expensive!

    80. Sofia — on 16th February, 2009 at 2:20 pm  

      i was told that eating kosher was ok for muslims…

    81. munir — on 16th February, 2009 at 2:43 pm  

      Sofia
      “I was told that eating kosher was ok for muslims…”

      It generally is consider so though there is need for precautions since kosher and halal arent synonyms. For example something containing wine could be kosher -it wouldnt be halal.

      Many Jews also consider Gelatin OK but Muslims dont unless it comes from a properly slaughetered animal

      Also certain enyzmes in cheese are considered OK by some Jews irrespective of the animal that was there source, but not by Muslims

      Also the sachet in Judaism doesnt say prayers on every animal he slaughters

      Since halal food is far more widespread than kosher it would be strange to consume kosher (though the first Muslims in the UK tended to live on Kosher and fish and chips out of necessity :) . Some scholars make the point that in buying Kosher you might also be supporting the opression of the Palestinians and occupation of their land

    82. Refresh — on 16th February, 2009 at 2:47 pm  

      ‘“chairwoman, do you knowe the cost of slaughter per animal in the abottoirs you describe, or a possible source of such information?”’

      Economies of scale apply to everything, hence the idea of stunning; and now the pretty gruesome concept of using gas for chickens (I believe Asda are looking at it - probably came out of some brainstorming session).

    83. Sofia — on 16th February, 2009 at 2:49 pm  

      Munir, thanks for that..i’m gonna try and find out some more as my sister (a long time ago) used to eat school dinners in our local synagogue in North west London…

      Also, when i used to live in France I bought my chicken from a kosher butchers…

      I thought the slaughter prayer was the same…but will look into it…

    84. damon — on 16th February, 2009 at 2:56 pm  

      I’m new to this fourm, but as a secular person I find some of these posts to be somewhat baffling.
      What are we non-religious people meant to make of such auguments? I know that the ”Ray Honneyford” affair has been done (and dusted) on this forum already, but in the wider society (of the complex diversity that is modern Britain)are we all meant to understand every aspect of the various cultures?

      I thought I knew a few things about India, (having spent time backpacking about places like Maharashtra and Karnataka) - looking at some ancient Hindu temples etc … but we tourists can sometimes know so little.
      I’d never heard of the Jat people before today.

      I remember an article from the the Independent columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown one time …
      http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/yasmin-alibhai-brown/yasmin-alibhaibrown-lsquosatanic-versesrsquo-forced-me-to-declare-myself-a-muslim-1604607.html
      … in which she stated that growing up in Idi Amin’s Uganda (as an Asian Muslim) - that her family held racist attitudes towards the wider black African population.

      I listen to this guy (Dotun Adebayo) on the radio every sunday night - when he does a show that is said to be (mostly) for the London Afro-Caribbean community.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/presenters/adebayo_biog.shtml
      And topical it is (it’s a phone-in format).
      But I doubt if anyone who listens to that show has ever heard of the Jat people.
      Is that problamatic? People living beside each other who have no clue of their neighbours culture?

      One thing that slightly disturbs me are the signs above the the doors of (Turkish) snooker halls in Hackney and Haringey that proclaim: ”Members Only”.

      You get the feeling that non Turks are not welcome.

      Then you go into a pub across the road (at Dalston Junction) - like ”The Kingsland” and you find a whole different thing going on.
      An ethnic minority of white (English and Irish) and black people, and Celtic (Irish) things stuck up on the wall.

      While outside in the street, Turkish businesses and resturants seem to be most promenant.

      And what’s wrong with that? Dalston is one of my favourite neighbourhoods.

    85. munir — on 16th February, 2009 at 3:16 pm  

      damon

      “I’m new to this fourm, but as a secular person I find some of these posts to be somewhat baffling.
      What are we non-religious people meant to make of such auguments?”

      Very little presumably since it doesnt directly concern or affect you. It would presumably be as much concern as which brand of lager is better would be to a religious Muslim. Live and let live.

      ” I know that the ”Ray Honneyford” affair has been done (and dusted) on this forum already, but in the wider society (of the complex diversity that is modern Britain)are we all meant to understand every aspect of the various cultures?”

      No why would we be, for one thing its impossible?. Live and let live. People of different cultures have been doing that outside Britain for centuries

      “One thing that slightly disturbs me are the signs above the the doors of (Turkish) snooker halls in Hackney and Haringey that proclaim: ”Members Only”.

      You get the feeling that non Turks are not welcome”

      Or maybe that non-Members (including Turkish ones) arent. Seriously I dont know any sane business especially in these times who would turn down custom because they arent from tehir ethnic group.

      “Then you go into a pub across the road (at Dalston Junction) - like ”The Kingsland” and you find a whole different thing going on.
      An ethnic minority of white (English and Irish) and black people, and Celtic (Irish) things stuck up on the wall.

      While outside in the street, Turkish businesses and resturants seem to be most promenant.

      And what’s wrong with that? Dalston is one of my favourite neighbourhoods.”

      Well done for answering your own question

    86. munir — on 16th February, 2009 at 3:16 pm  

      Sofia welcome but you should check with a scholar you trust

    87. chairwoman — on 16th February, 2009 at 3:18 pm  

      Many Jews also consider Gelatin OK but Muslims dont unless it comes from a properly slaughetered animal

      Also certain enyzmes in cheese are considered OK by some Jews irrespective of the animal that was there source, but not by Muslims

      Also the sachet in Judaism doesnt say prayers on every animal he slaughters

      Gelatine - no, no, no. Not unless it’s from a Kosher animal or is vegetarian.

      The Jews who consider enzymes OK irrespective of source are not keeping Kosher. Kosher cheese has Kosher enzymes.

      The Shochet inspects and prays over each animal individually.

    88. Refresh — on 16th February, 2009 at 3:51 pm  

      ‘One thing that slightly disturbs me are the signs above the the doors of (Turkish) snooker halls in Hackney and Haringey that proclaim: ”Members Only”.’

      Funniest thing I’ve read here in days! : )

    89. Sunny — on 16th February, 2009 at 4:22 pm  

      No I wanted to clarify whether the quote from Sikh sources that they cant cut their hair till theyve killed all Muslims.

      There isn’t one. And it would be pretty stupid for the Gurus to have one given about a third of people who contributed to the Guru Granth Sahib were of Muslim heritage.

    90. Bert Rustle — on 16th February, 2009 at 4:29 pm  

      platinum786 76 wrote … the rest of us don’t think stunned meat is acceptable …

      So it is for cultural reasons, not religious reasons?

      Do the Indian/Pakistani workers in the Gulf have their meat specially imported, or do they eat what the host population eats?

      … Also your opinion is of some arabs … I have not wittingly expressed an opinion on some Arabs, all Arabs or indeed an individual Arab.

      Anas 78 wrote … Are the pigs attached to special heavy duty helium balloon harnesses? …

      It might conceivably be a modification of “pigs might fly” to “pigs might levitate”; however I vaguely recollect that it was simply that a gap was maintained between what the pig was standing on and the ground below.

      Refresh 82 wrote … Economies of scale apply to everything, hence the idea of stunning; …

      Stunning is performed for the reasons outlined in my comment 75 above.

    91. damon — on 16th February, 2009 at 4:51 pm  

      Refresh:

      ”Funniest thing I’ve read here in days! : )”
      I’m not quite sure why that should be Refresh.
      I said it in all honesty. I really was standing outside a Dalston snooker club with the ”Members Only” sign above the door on thursday evening (as the snow came down).

      I got booted off a left wing forum and was called a racist for trying to go into this issue in depth (over three years)
      http://www.billybragg.co.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=3129

      … but I still think it was the shallowness of people like ”nevski - Geoff - and Jon” on that particular forum that led to that sad turn of events.

      In the mean time - lets be realistic about Haringey (Green Lanes) snooker clubs.

      Has anyone ever spent some time in Kreuzberb in Berlin?
      I found some similar aspects between Green Lanes and Kreuzberq. A different language for sure. I feel a closer affinity to the London guys than I do to the Berlin guys, (because my German was poor).

      But still - it’s funny that it’s seen a funny. There are so many articls about what i’m saying there (about Berlin), in the New York Times or IHT or Der Spiegel.

    92. munir — on 16th February, 2009 at 4:54 pm  

      chairwoman thanks for the correction. You are right - why would Jews consider gelatine which comes from pigs ok

    93. munir — on 16th February, 2009 at 5:01 pm  

      Bert Rustle
      “… I have not wittingly expressed an opinion on some Arabs, all Arabs or indeed an individual Arab.”

      You said :
      “The Saudi Arabian authorities accept electrical stunning as being consistent with Halal. ”

      you also said
      “How is it that indigenous Muslims in the Middle East accept electrical stunning ”

      Or were you not referring to Arabs?

      Seriously platinum I think you should give this Bert guy a wide berth. Anyone who describes Muslim in this country (some of whom are 4th generation) as “immigrants” should be ignored.

    94. damon — on 16th February, 2009 at 5:23 pm  

      I misspelt Kreuzberg.
      But misspelt or not, it’s a place.
      To me it’s from Friedrichstraße to (the southern part of) Oranienstraße.

    95. Bert Rustle — on 16th February, 2009 at 6:09 pm  

      munir 93 wrote … You said :
      “The Saudi Arabian authorities accept electrical stunning as being consistent with Halal. ” …
      I did not, that was a quotation from Compassion In World Farming.

      munir 93 wrote … you also said “How is it that indigenous Muslims in the Middle East accept electrical stunning ” Or were you not referring to Arabs? … That is a question, not an opinion.

      Munir 93 wrote … Anyone who describes Muslim in this country (some of whom are 4th generation) as “immigrants” should be ignored. …

      As you have not objected to my description of “indigenous Muslims in the Middle East” would you would accept the replacement of “immigrants” with non-indigenous Muslims? If not, why not?

      To be explicit:

      How is it that indigenous Muslims in the Middle East accept electrical stunning and non-indigenous Muslims in Switzerland and Sweden accept electrical stunning yet some non-indigenous Muslims in the UK do not accept electrical stunning?

    96. Refresh — on 16th February, 2009 at 6:23 pm  

      ‘I’m not quite sure why that should be Refresh.’

      I am not a snooker fan, but have been to a few. All of them have been ‘members only’. never even entered my mind that it would be any different anywhere else.

      So the Turkish bit is irrelevant. I had also been to afro-caribbean late night dens in the 70′s, which too were ‘members only’. They were great, around the time bands like Aswad, and Steel Pulse were making themselves known. Yes was even threatened with having my throat slit. I think one of the girls had passed a favourable comment in my direction. Heady days. I don’t think being a member spared you any indignities.

    97. Don — on 16th February, 2009 at 6:47 pm  

      How is it that indigenous Muslims in the Middle East accept electrical stunning and non-indigenous Muslims in Switzerland and Sweden accept electrical stunning yet some non-indigenous Muslims in the UK do not accept electrical stunning?

      Because there is no central authority, no ‘Pope’ figure to lay down the law? Electrical stunning was not an option back in the day so I guess different people arrive at different conclusions. Is it important?

      A bit like cremation, I guess. A lot of people would prefer a full on funeral pyre (and I can see why, it’s very flamboyant) but accept that entirely reasonable public health regulations make that very problematic and so settle for modern crematoria.

      If we had in place a reliably humane and pain/fear free system of slaughter then we should adopt it and insist on its implementation. But we don’t. If you eat meat, somebody somewhere whacked an animal. Whether it was a ritual specialist or a minimum wage worker there is always a chance that it was a botched job and inflicted suffering. I eat game for the most part, partly because I think it is healthier, partly because I think its more ethical, but mainly because I get it for free from mates. Can’t guarantee that every shot was a clean kill, but I know that they pride themselves on just that.

      As you have not objected to my description of “indigenous Muslims in the Middle East” would you would accept the replacement of “immigrants” with non-indigenous Muslims? If not, why not?

      What? So an indigenous Muslim would presumably be someone of anglo-celtic-whatever stock who had converted to Islam? Why the distiction? Would you refer to Boris Johnson or Michael Howard as immigrants? If you were born here, you ain’t an immigrant. That’s basic.

    98. A Councillor Writes — on 16th February, 2009 at 6:59 pm  

      I know Kreuzberg, some of the best food in Berlin as long as you avoid the obvious Kebap places. It’s a pretty cool district, with a very mixed population and a post-war history of radical politics.

      I will admit to living within the range of the Dominos pizza place and the fact that it’s gone halal doesn’t bother me a tinkers cuss. I don’t order from there anyway on the rare occasion I have delivery pizza. There’s plenty of competition for them in the halal pizza market as I think that only leaves Pizza Hut as non-halal in delivering to this area (at least from the leaflets I get shoved through the door). It’s probably an appeal to the likes of my neighbours, who judging from their recycling box, get pizza quite often.

    99. Bert Rustle — on 16th February, 2009 at 7:38 pm  

      Don 97 wrote … If we had in place a reliably humane and pain/fear free system of slaughter then we should adopt it and insist on its implementation. But we don’t. … In my opinion the fallacy of this argument is demonstrated when applied to contraception, surgery or indeed many other activities.

      Don 97 wrote … I eat game for the most part, partly because I think it is healthier, partly because I think its more ethical, but mainly because I get it for free from mates. Can’t guarantee that every shot was a clean kill, but I know that they pride themselves on just that. …

      Many game birds are raised in battery-type conditions and most game birds are shot by amateurs who would quite possibly be less accurate than a sniper. I would speculate that there are less clean kills by shooting than ineffective stunning, at least with game birds.

      Don 97 wrote … Why the distiction? … Initially to illuminate an objection by munir 93, however I suspect that it has individual merit, for example if applied to Tibet or perhaps Sri Lanka.

      Don 97 wrote … If you were born here, you ain’t an immigrant. … Nor indigenous. For example, many immigrants from Sub Saharan Africa will have a greater resistance to malaria than the indigenous population. Are the Apache indigenous to North America?

    100. Rumbold — on 16th February, 2009 at 7:39 pm  

      If you are born here you are not an immigrant.

    101. damon — on 17th February, 2009 at 10:15 am  

      A Councillor Writes

      Yes Kreuzberg is a pretty cool place (on several levels), and has a history of being somewhat alternative with leftist radical politics. I heard that West Germans who didn’t want to do national service, could move to West Berlin where they were exempted. And Kreuzberg was a place that many settled, as well as a large ”guest worker” population.
      I mentioned Kreuzberg because as easy going as it might look to a casual visitor, I thought there was a certain amount of parallel societies existing side by side.
      http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/nov2004/germ-n27.shtml
      I think that I agree with the tone of that link above as to why that has taken place (it blames German society for pushing people into ghetoisation).

      For example, I saw with my own eyes (because I was there) how at the anual Kreuzberg ”Multi-culti fest” (I think that is what they actually call it), they close the main street (Oranienstrasse) and have stalls and food being cooked, and a stage for bands and folk acts. I walked around asking myself where were the Turkish people. It’s like there had been a boycott. Then looking up at the windows of the flats above the street, there were loads of young women in hijabs looking out their windows at the scene below.
      I imagine that they’d been told to stay indoors, while their fathers and brothers did their usual thing and hung out in the Turkish cafe/social clubs.

      I’m sure that the German state (and people) have to take some of the blame for this, but I can’t read this following article from this German magazine, and think that it’s all rubbish. It seems to be based on much reality too.
      http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,547717,00.html

      In Keruzberg one day I asked some Turkish looking women who were chatting on a park bench (while keeping an eye on some children who were playing on the swings), if they could tell me where a local landmark (an arts house cinema) was. It’s smack in the middle of Kreuzberg so they must have known it. Maybe they were confused by my dodgy German and funny accent, but they looked confused and a little suprised. Whitin seconds I heard some calling from across the street and two Turkish guys came over and demaned to know why I was talking to those women. What did I want? I excplained again to them, and then they spoke to the women, as if to confirm what I said to the men was all that I had asked of the women.
      The situation wasn’t entirely comfortable, and as the men told me what I was looking for was just in the next street, I got the feeling that I had done something I shouldn’t have (The women were wearing long coats and hijabs).

      This is kind of on topic isn’t it? About Halal, and things like community hegemony?
      I wrote on PP a couple of months ago about how the black broadcaster Dotun Adebayo had writen a column in The Voice newspaper about how Brixton now no longer ”belonged” to the black community in the way (according to him) that it once did.

      The thing about a ”Members Only” sign is that it can be pretty off putting. Lets not pretend that there might actually be some prejudice at work here.
      In Green Lanes there are several, and any time I have walked past the patrons seem to be all of Turkish appearence. (Because a lot of Turtkish people live there you could argue) - but like the Turkish cafe/social clubs in Berlin - it’s not that they wouldn’t serve you a glass of tea, or let you come in and play one evening, like the idea of discriminatory practices in employment, just because it isn’t blatently obvious and easy to describe, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And the Met police are on record as saying that they believe some of those snooker clubs are fronts for organised crime.

    102. munir — on 17th February, 2009 at 10:38 am  

      Damon is hilarious. A closet bigot who hides his fear of the other behind sociological analysis from right wing papers (which do likewise)will using terms like hegemony (another posted used colonialisation) to describe no-white groups who dont act exactly like Europeans do. As if people acting different to Europeans is a direct threat to them and their identity and cannot be tolerated.

    103. damon — on 17th February, 2009 at 12:20 pm  

      munir

      It seems that this forum might not be so different to the one that I was recently banned from.
      I hardly know who you are and you’ve called me a bigot already. From my experience of the other forum it goes like this:
      You call someone a racist or a bigot, and when asked by that person you have vilified, as to why you might say such a thing (specifically), you get either, nothing, or some rubbish statement (and some obvious mis-understanding) as to what was actually being meant in the original offending post.
      Two years ago I did a link (on that former leftist/liberal website I was on) from the columnist Deborah Orr in which she said this: ”Why the sight of veiled women offends me”
      http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/deborah-orr/deborah-orr-why-the-sight-of-veiled-women-offends-me-407100.html
      The only Muslim member of that forum wrote back and called her an Islamophobic bigot. I don’t think she is, and it could be interesting if someone like munir could open up a bit and discuss things, without first going to the automatic ”racist bigot” line that I hoped I’d left behind on that previous forum.
      (It’s called the Billy Bragg Forums btw).

      Yes I used the words colonisation and hegomony (and admit that they are not the best of words) - but Dotun Adebayo used almost the same language when he described Brixton today as no longer ”belonging” to black Britain. I presume munir, that you’d call him a racist too?

      Does anybody think that people who have opinions on the racial and religious makeup of their neighbourhood have to be called racists?

      Are there (perhaps) Muslims (or anyother people), who might find livinjg in Stamford Hill, which is home to Europe’s largest Hasidic Jewish community not really the place for them?
      Might some Muslims prefer it a little less Orthodox Jewish (and Zionist) and a bit more Islamic, or just ”general mix” like so many other inner city places are?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamford_Hill
      I mean - in a street where nearly everyone was a part of this Jewish community (with a community life that you couldn’t fail to notice going on around you - but that you were excluded from). And maybe (perhaps) you and your family were religious Muslims and wore Islamic dress, and were perhaps members of the MAB or MCB.

      Here’s a BBC radio programme about some community confrontation issues that occured in a suburb of Amsterdam. I’m glad to hear that community work was done, and that the tensions that had ocurred between (a few people) from a hegamonic muslim community, towards a much smaller (but traditional before WW2) Jewish population, and were resolved to some degree.
      If you don’t listen to it, basicly, some Jewish people walking through the neighbourhood wearing religious garb, were abused by Muslims sitting at cafe tables, and ”Gas the Jews” kind of comments were directed towards people going to the synagogue were verbally abused.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/documentary_archive/6563371.stm

    104. sofia — on 17th February, 2009 at 12:29 pm  

      you don’t like women who are ‘veiled’, i don’t like having to pay for teenage idiots having babies and not being able to pay taxes themselves…oooh what to do? Let’s all have a discussion about it..after you?

    105. munir — on 17th February, 2009 at 1:15 pm  

      damon
      “Yes I used the words colonisation and hegomony (and admit that they are not the best of words) - but Dotun Adebayo used almost the same language when he described Brixton today as no longer ”belonging” to black Britain. I presume munir, that you’d call him a racist too? ”

      damon you are an idiot. I didnt call you a racist. I called you a bigot. And so is Datun Adebayo if he said that

      “Does anybody think that people who have opinions on the racial and religious makeup of their neighbourhood have to be called racists?”

      People who notice others on the basis of their race and religion in a negative way, as you do are bigots

      “re there (perhaps) Muslims (or anyother people), who might find livinjg in Stamford Hill, which is home to Europe’s largest Hasidic Jewish community not really the place for them?
      Might some Muslims prefer it a little less Orthodox Jewish (and Zionist) and a bit more Islamic, or just ”general mix” like so many other inner city places are?”

      You are an idiot. There is a large Muslim population in Stamford Hill who are on excellent terms with the Orthodox Jews there and vice versa. This is because they are both religious and conservative communities as well as sharing many other things (e.g dietray rules/circumcison etc)

      The orthodox jews almost uniquely dont mock women walking around in face veils and the Muslims wearing thobes dont mock the orthodox jews dress in their black garments.

      Religious people tend to respect the pecularities of otehr religious people far more.

      And the Orthodox Jews there are often fiercely anti-zionist while the Muslims tend to be affiliated to tablighi jamaat similiarly a conservative but apolitical group. You are an idiot.

      Seriously do some research before you humiliate yourself so
      http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-78563498.html

      ” I’m glad to hear that community work was done, and that the tensions that had ocurred between (a few people) from a hegamonic muslim community,”

      yes you are a bigot

      “If you don’t listen to it, basicly, some Jewish people walking through the neighbourhood wearing religious garb, were abused by Muslims sitting at cafe tables, and ”Gas the Jews” kind of comments were directed towards people going to the synagogue were verbally abused.”

      and many Muslims are abused by Christians. Your mentioning the religion of the perpetrators (as if it makes it somehow worse if x group does it) is another indication of bigotry. Reminds me of BNPers who are obsessed with a crime when it was commited by an ethnic minority but less so when it isnt. Your emphasising divisions and ignoring far greater examples of harmony is also yet more evidence of your bigotry.

      The funny thing is 70 years ago youd be saying the same things about Jews as you now say about muslims.

    106. damon — on 17th February, 2009 at 2:09 pm  

      Sofia:

      ”you don’t like women who are ‘veiled’, i don’t like having to pay for teenage idiots having babies and not being able to pay taxes themselves…oooh what to do?”

      I never mentioned anything about what I might like or not. Since you mention it now, I will say that I am somewhat sympathetic to Deborah Orr’s point in that article I linked to. That I find the niqab to be something I don’t realy understand fully.
      Should a man (unrelated) even speak to a woman in a full face veil. Until I’m told otherwise, I have to believe that it means nothing other than a bit of social conservatism.

      But then I ‘ve watched the channel 4 programme ”Sharia TV” - in which often youngish Muslims sat in the TV studio before two or three Imams, and asked questions like: ”Can I go to the pub with my non Muslim university mates?”

      Or (a white woman - a convert I presumed) asked if it was OK for her to continue doing judo (or some other martial art). She made it clear she dressed modestly (with other clothing under her judo suit) and wore a hijab during the classes - but seemed crest-fallen when told by the Imam that she had to stop doing Judo in classes in mixed sexed situations.

      Or the young people who asked the Imam: ”can we have friends at university with people from the opposite sex?”

      ”Yes” was the reply, ”you can” - but not in the way that the general student body might conduct these things.
      By all means meet in public like they were doing in that TV studio, they were told (with lots of people around to make it a public interaction) - but it was advised, to be Sharia, a male and female should not be alone together unless they were related.

      This from munir

      ”People who notice others on the basis of their race and religion in a negative way, as you do are bigots”

      Is this what I’m to expect if i post more messages on Pickled Politics?

      That to notice that on the Anti-war Gaza protest that I went on about a month ago in central London, and noticing that there were far more people who appeared to be Muslims (and people with Hizbolla baseball caps and flags) than there might be from the regular wider South East England population …… that was bigotry too?

      I too have seen the handfull of Anti-Zionist Hasidic Jews, in the bearskin hats (if thats what they are called) at the Anti Irael bombardment of Gaza protests. (And that’s two now that I’ve been at and seen them).

      munir: you said this: ”and many Muslims are abused by Christians.”

      Really? Maybe so, because how on earth would one really know?
      If you looked at some British Jewish websites (and probably French ones too, but I don’t speak French), you’d come across all kinds of articles about anxiaties in the observant Jewish community. the one who are openly Jewish.
      They might be overreacting, but they don’t employ security consultants and put up bomb deflecting fortifications outside their temples and cultural places because they fear a BNP attack.

      But my opinion on the politiocal Jewish (pro Zionist) community in England, is that they are basicly right wing.
      Conservative …. and maybe rasist (or Islamophobic)

      btw does the ”Islamophobia Watch” website cry wolf way to often? I agree with some of the things they highlight are Islamophobic, but others I completly disagree with. (Like putting that Deborah Orr article about the niqab on their site ….. presumably suggesting the article was Islamophobic)

    107. munir — on 17th February, 2009 at 3:06 pm  

      damon do you ever think before you type rather than just writing whatever comes into your head. I dont mean to be rude but your contributions are so ignorant (wow Hasidic jews attend Palestinian marches) they dont really contribute anything except to be an annoyance.

      “I never mentioned anything about what I might like or not”

      Why would you post a link to the article if you didnt like it?

      “Is this what I’m to expect if i post more messages on Pickled Politics?”

      If you post bigoted ones yes. Why what are you? the effing Queen or something?

      “That to notice that on the Anti-war Gaza protest that I went on about a month ago in central London, and noticing that there were far more people who appeared to be Muslims (and people with Hizbolla baseball caps and flags) than there might be from the regular wider South East England population …… that was bigotry too?”

      mmm wonder why you distinguish Muslims from “regular .. South East Ebgland population”. I was at that march and there were very few people with Hizbollah baseball caps and flags.

      munir: you said this: ”and many Muslims are abused by Christians.”

      “Really? Maybe so, because how on earth would one really know?”

      I know because ive experienced it in real life as have many family members and friends. You will also see articles on muslim websites and occasionally non Muslim about such things. Not clear why you reject these while accepeting Jewish ones.

    108. Don — on 17th February, 2009 at 3:16 pm  

      Damon,

      Do you have a point you want to make?

    109. damon — on 17th February, 2009 at 3:28 pm  

      btw that was interesting from munir.
      Being a newcomer, I’m not really sure how a Deborah Orr opinion piece in the Independent newspaper might go straight to ”racist/bigot” mode.
      But I presume it was not her or Dotun Adebayo that was being called that, (but me).
      Having spent three years wasting my time on another leftist forum (called The Billy Bragg Forums), trying to talk about some of these issues - in an open way - is very hard.
      The ”You’re a racist - you’re a bigot” way of discussing things like this seems to be the most acctractive
      http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,547717,00.html

      From Munir:

      ”The funny thing is 70 years ago youd be saying the same things about Jews as you now say about muslims.”

      So quickly to this? I’m glad that I never wasted the last few months of my life pointlesly argeuing this rubbish back and forth.
      It was better to be banned off a crap PC/leftie website.
      Your Jewish/Islamic suggestion (as if historical anti-semitasm was just the same as the things brought up on ”Isamophobia Watch” were the same) sounds a bit iffy.
      I hated seeing smashed Jewish headstones in the Berlin graveyard in the district of Prenzlauer Berg.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenzlauer_Berg

      It’s hideous to see old Jewish headstones (from even before the war) that have been bashed in what must have been a sledghammer
      http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/

    110. munir — on 17th February, 2009 at 4:12 pm  

      damon
      “Your Jewish/Islamic suggestion (as if historical anti-semitasm was just the same as the things brought up on ”Isamophobia Watch” were the same”

      It certainly hasnt reach the stage of the holocaust but that have been genocides of Muslims withing living memory (Bosnia in the 1990s). How do you think the holocaust started? Hitler didnt suddenly wake up one day and decide to implement it. It followed decades of anti-jewish invective and stories in the nespapers (much like we read anti-Muslims stories now)- the same ideas were promoted -the jew/muslim as threat to civilzation, the jew/muslim desiring to take over, the jew/muslim as an alien force.

      Im simply stating a fact. In the 1930s anti-semitism was the chisen brew of thr right and far right. Now its Islamophobia

      “I hated seeing smashed Jewish headstones in the Berlin graveyard in the district of Prenzlauer Berg.”

      Quite. BTW Muslim headstones are regularly destroyed and graves descecrated in european countries. Heres a selection:

      http://www.leedstoday.net/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=2218060&sectionid=39

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6573669.stm

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/4406760.stm

      http://www.thisisscunthorpe.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=153005&command=displayContent&sourceNode=152831&contentPK=21283362&folderPk=86735&pNodeId=152562

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7771491.stm

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/bradford/6158853.stm

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,2763,1173208,00.html

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7641259.stm

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4070382.stm

      Indeed as if to emphasise my point anti-musim graffiti was sprayed at the site of a jewish concentartion camp

    111. sofia — on 17th February, 2009 at 4:22 pm  

      “and noticing that there were far more people who appeared to be Muslims (and people with Hizbolla baseball caps and flags) than there might be from the regular wider South East England population”
      that isn’t bigotry, it’s probably just a stupid observation…i went on some marches and saw lots of different types of flags…yes wielded by the regular south england brigade..do we mean white here..or can i add the little asian contingent from gravesend?

      As for sharia tv…what’s it to you if a woman chooses to go to a sharia court..you may not like it but there’s plenty i don’t like yet i don’t sit here and make assumptions about ppl based on one dumbass television programme…i had a marriage contract in accordance to islamic law..gosh oh mighty i’m so oppressed!

    112. damon — on 18th February, 2009 at 2:11 pm  

      munir: I couldn’t agree with you more on the disgusting crime of cemetary desecration wherever it occurs.
      And there’s a good chance that where it happened in Berlin, to a Jewish graveyard I visited, that that might have been the work of fascists. I looked at your links, and I rememember some of those attacks on Muslim cemetaries. Absolutely terrible.

      When I did a link to this BBC radio programme about a neighbourhood in Amsterdam that had suffered a bit of Jewish - Muslim disharmony, I wasn’t making any sweeping statement that Jews in Holland were being picked on by Muslims on a regular basis. As I really don’t know. I doubt it’s a serious problem. But perception can be everything.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/documentary_archive/6563371.stm
      Just making public that story about the ”Baarsjes” - or “little fish” - neighbourhood could lead some people to react in a negative way. (Isolated incidents getting national attention, leading to a hardening of attitudes amonst sections of the wider society - and maybe contributing to allowing true bigots like Geert Wilders to be elected).

      I still think that I’m entitled to say that I don’t care much for the full face covering of the niqab.
      Talking about that like Deborah Orr did,
      should be ”fair comment” I’d have thought, not called bigotry.

      The same with Dotun Adebayo talking fondly of the Brixton of the past, and lamenting somewhat, that it’s Afro-Caribbean heartbeat that he remembered as a young man, was somehow now diminished.
      You can listen to Dotun’s sunday evening show on BBC London radio just by going to their website and clicking on the ”listen again” feature. To say that is racist or bigoted of him, I find a bit incredulous.

      Does (did) Southhall not have a special place in the history of Sikh’s in England? About how local people came together to defend themselves from racist thugs in 1979, and (perhaps) just the feeling of belonging and community that can develop in particular neighbourhoods?

      I typed the words ‘Harlem Gentrification’ into google and came up with this:
      http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=harlem+gentrification&btnG=Search&meta=
      How’s that so different to what Dotun Adebayo was saying about Brixton?
      Here was the original Dotun Adebayo article that I posted on PP in september (it’s post #36 - and I now realise that I’m repeating myself a bit here).

      btw, although I like Adebayo when he’s doing his more general overnight shows on BBC radio Five Live - I also find his sunday evenig shows on BBC London which are mainly directed to ”black concerns”…. to be somewhat controversial. Often.
      That’s why I listen every week, as he seems to be voicing issues that a substantial part of London’s ”African/Caribbean community” also seem to be very much concerned with.
      Issues like black people and the mental health services in Britain, racism in the police, black children and education, concepts like ”Post traumatic slave syndrome” etc
      http://www.amazon.com/Post-Traumatic-Slave-Syndrome-Americas/dp/0963401122

      munir post #102

      ”Damon is hilarious. A closet bigot who hides his fear of the other behind sociological analysis from right wing papers (which do likewise)will using terms like hegemony (another posted used colonialisation) to describe no-white groups who dont act exactly like Europeans do. As if people acting different to Europeans is a direct threat to them and their identity and cannot be tolerated.”

      I think you were too harsh and scathing munir.
      Perhaps you just presume if you hear someone talking about Manningham in Bradford, and mention the cultural practice of first cousins marrying …..then as ”an otsider”: firstly it’s none of my business, and secondly, I’m presumably coming at the issue from a right wing Melanie Phillips point of view, (which is not the case).

      Whereas I think I have every right to look at communities outside my own, and comment. Not because I want to spread disharmony (or just air ”bigotted views”) - but that because I think it’s important (and it’s also something I enjoy) to try to get into the reality of things as they actually are now (or were in the past).

      For example, I’ve never been to Burnley, but have found it interesting to read and to listen to bbc radio programmes about the area in the relation to community relations and education. Like this below:
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6390467.stm

    113. munir — on 18th February, 2009 at 2:35 pm  

      damon
      “Perhaps you just presume if you hear someone talking about Manningham in Bradford, and mention the cultural practice of first cousins marrying …..then as ”an otsider”: firstly it’s none of my business, and secondly, I’m presumably coming at the issue from a right wing Melanie Phillips point of view, (which is not the case).”

      you have every right to comment on this.
      But do the people of Manningham have a right to criticise non-traditional couples for example or you for living in sin or having children out of wedlock.
      Id suggest not.

    114. damon — on 18th February, 2009 at 3:59 pm  

      munir - on your last post - I’m not sure if again you are presuming that I’m criticising anything, in this case … cousin marriage.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/4442010.stm
      Maybe the stuff I have read and heard is wide of the mark (exaggurated, or false - or from ”right wing” sources like you suggested).
      I don’t see why I just can’t talk about things that seem to be about reality (like some figure I read on a BBC website that said that the numbers of cousin marriage’s in the Bradford Muslin population, was above two thirds).

      That’s not to say it’s bad - it’s just part of a wider picture. How cousin marriage effects the percentage figures of Bradford’s ethnic mix as a whole, is also just legitamate research I’d have thought.
      Is it OK for me to wonder how many of these cousin marriages are to British-British spouces, and how many are to British-Pakistani spouces, is (again I’d have thought) a perfectly fair thing to be curious about.
      What percentage were overseas brides or overseas husbands should be a legitimate thing to want to know, and also how this wider population grew (or shrank, in first, overall numbers - like imformation that might be collected on a census form) and secondly, if there is constant ”replenishment” of the culture direct from villages in places like Mirpur, how that might effect the day to day reality of the city (or parts of the city) as a whole.

      Do primary schools find that kids born in Bradford are turning up at there first days of school, and having poor English, because mum comes from a village in Pakistan, and Urdu has been the language of the household?
      (But of couurse those kids go through school and a short while later are speaking English as good as anyone else - so maybe there’s no problem there).

      I visited Manningham in Bradford (just for a day) several weeks after the 1995 riot there.
      I went to the central library and got out the back issues of the local newspaper in which that troublesome event was covered.

      I read everything there was to read, and then did a walking tour of the area, (having marked locations of incidents on a street map).
      I still remember it now. I particullarly remember The ”Upper Globe” and ”Lower Globe pubs” at the top and bottom of a particular hill. One was completely gutted and it’s roof had caved in, leaving the structure a chared roofless shell.

      Again, I say this, not to be provoctive, just to say about events, and how it looked to me when I visited the area at the time.

      This thing about ”hegemony” that I mentioned (and I admit it is a clumsy word and not the best) - but many Muslim youth in Bradford that day, decided that their community weren’t going to sit back and be scapegoated and abused by the likes of the BNP in their ”own back yards”. Which was a bit like claiming hegamony over an area, wasn’t it?

      I forgot to make that link to that Dotun Adebayo article in my last post - its post 36
      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/2356

      btw, Darcus Howe has also written some dodgy things and made some iffy tv programmes hasn’t he?
      Rember this one? (I do).
      http://www.newstatesman.com/200507250013

      Quote from the article:
      ”In Walsall, I interviewed several youths. This is what I recorded from their mouths: “Birchills is a no-go area for anybody but we Pakis. There is no respect for our culture or religion. In 20 years’ time Birchills will be Pakistan not England. We will deal in fake passports.” The sentiments expressed were ill-formed but pointed to a deep dissatisfaction and a dislocation from our society. I proceeded to the Birmingham Central Mosque where I met Tahir Alam, who had some responsibility for these youths. He is a decent man, but he refused to recognise the jets of violence, or the possibility that a torrent of vitriol might burst on to the streets of London.”

      I like Darcus Howe, but think he’s melodrasmatic quite often.

    115. damon — on 19th February, 2009 at 5:25 pm  

      sofia, I’m surprised you call Shariah TV a dumbass TV programme. And I don’t make assumptions on people. I never suggested anyone was oppressed did I?

      ”As for sharia tv…what’s it to you if a woman chooses to go to a sharia court..you may not like it but there’s plenty i don’t like yet i don’t sit here and make assumptions about ppl based on one dumbass television programme…i had a marriage contract in accordance to islamic law..gosh oh mighty i’m so oppressed!”
      http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/S/shariahtv/series/index.html
      I thought it was very informative and interesting.
      I don’t care if people want to go to a Sharia court or not, though as a secular person I find the idea of it a bit strange. Particularly when I saw a programme about some of the cases the court deals with. (like the one that sits in Regent’s Park mosque once or twice a month). The wife is unhappy that husband had taken a second wife who lives in Pakistan (when he went there on his last visit), and she can’t stand sitiing in their home with their children in the evening while the husband is forever texting wife number two in Pakistan. She’s advised and asked to give the situation some time, and not to press for a divorce at this time.
      That’s always going to be viewed as a strange situation to a lot of people, but I don’t think you’d have to call them bigots (or ignorant even).

      As for marching against the Gaza war, I just really meant that Muslims seem over represented, and other minorities (and the white working class) not really having much of a presence.

      I’m sorry that munir didn’t ask me to clarify some of the things I said before coming in with the bigot line, but I’ll not take it too personally.
      I just have an interest in demography and the history of immigration to the UK, and would like to know how things panned out in real time in (for example) Bradford.
      Looking on the internet is a bit patchy and I haven’t come up with much - but I’d like to find out something like a history of the growth of the South Asian community in Bradford and timelines telling what was happening exactly when.
      In this short article it tells of men coming to work in the mills:

      ”Initially, Asian men came as short-term migrant workers, intending to work very hard and save money so that they could enjoy a better standard of living when they went back to Asia. Wages offered in Britain seemed a fortune compared to earnings at home. Among Pakistani migrants in the early 1960s, men outnumbered women by forty to one”.
      http://www.bradlibs.com/localstudies/vtc/destinationbradford/people/asian_africancaribbean.htm

      And I’d really like to know how the patern of settlement actually worked in pratice. In the Manningham ward, the old back to back terraced houses will all have been once lived in by white people, so it would be interesting to know how and what changed for it to become quite heavily Asian. Was it something to do with the housing stock being poor, and white workers moving out to the newly built estates? I’ve seen in some northen cities how you can get areas of small teraced houses being virtually abandoned by their previous occupiers and have loads of them with sealed up doors and windows.

      I’d also like to know how many people from the Sub-continent actually worked in the mills before they closed, and how people got on generally (back in the 60′s and 70′s).
      I see cousin marriage was discussed on Pickled Politics some years previously, but I do wonder if Ann Cryer ”has the right” to critcise it? and also, cousin marriage or not, she says she’d prefer British people (of Asian origin) to marry other British people). Again, I wondered if she is sticking her nose into affairs that are nothing to do with her? Like Deborah Orr did when she criticised the niqab face covering?

      I’d also be interested to get to the bottom of why postal voter shinnagins seemed to be concentrated in South Asian communities (in Birmingham for example).
      Is it the Politics of the Sub-continent showing up in the UK? Where the most important thing for movers and shakers in a community, is to get ”your man” elected.
      Where a candidate being Tory, Labour, or Liberal was less import important than making sure he was your guy.
      I don’t mean to be ”bigoted” by saying that, I just thought that was probably the explaination behind it.

      Not that prominent local people wanted ”to colonise” or to have ”hegomany” in a particular area, but it does help get things done when you have a family member on the council perhaps.

    116. blah — on 19th February, 2009 at 7:05 pm  

      damon re: cousin marriages I totally agree with you
      These are cultural not religious practices and the religion doesnt encourage them generation unto generation

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