Event: Is Europe failing its Muslims? 23rd Feb


by Sunny
3rd February, 2010 at 10:16 am    

We hear endlessly in the media that European Muslims are failing to integrate; that they should stop wearing the burqa and building mosques with minarets; that like the rest of us, they must learn to tolerate insults to their religion however painful that may be. But isn’t the boot really on the other foot?

By constantly criticising their traditions and beliefs and insisting they be more like the rest of us, aren’t we breaching our own hallowed principle of live and let live? Far from Muslims failing to be good Europeans, isn’t it Europe that is acting illiberally and giving a raw deal to its Muslim citizens?

You can sign up for the free event here.

Speakers for the motion:
Tariq Ramadan: Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University whose work concerns the position of Islam in the modern Western world
Petra Stienen: Dutch former diplomat with long experience in the Arab world

Speakers against the motion:
Douglas Murray: Author and Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion

Final speaker to be confirmed
Chair:
Zeinab Badawi: BBC World News presenter


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  1. pickles

    Blog post:: Event: Is Europe failing it's Muslims? 23rd Feb http://bit.ly/aXVnZa


  2. Dpoc41

    Event: Is Europe failing its Muslims? 23rd Feb http://bit.ly/c7ZnJr




  1. Cauldron — on 3rd February, 2010 at 10:33 am  

    And when in Rome should we not do as the Romans do?

  2. platinum786 — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:06 am  

    Why?

    Why should you do as the romans do?

    If the romans walked off the end of cliffs in Rome, should you follow them?

  3. Cauldron — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:25 am  

    Platinum786, you should never follow anyone off a cliff.

    But having been invited into Rome by its citizens you shouldn’t then climb to the top of the Palatine hill and demand that the Romans cherish your traditions and beliefs over their own.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it is – in this particular context – wrong for Sunny to draw equivalence between European traditions and beliefs and Islamic ones.

    If we were all sitting in a neutral space like Antarctica or Japan then maybe the two traditions could in some way be considered equivalent. But we’re not. We’re talking about whether European traditions ought to have primacy over alien traditions within Europe.

  4. platinum786 — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:29 am  

    Look, how many times has goverment forced you to pray 5 times a day? when was the last time you were sent a fine for not fasting during Ramadan? When was the last time Eastenders was disturbed to show an emergency broadcast about the latest Fatwa on wether Nandos is indeed halal or not?

    I just don’t understand why people think they’re having Islam imposed on them? If I think we could communicate that point across, it would be a major breakthrough in trying to fix this. Evidently people think they’re havng it imposed on them, I and many Muslims like me, just can’t understand how.

    Please tell me.

  5. Cauldron — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:38 am  

    The government does not have to impose fasting during Ramadan for me to object to the concept of an imported tradition and culture being considered equivalent to the traditions and culture of the host nation.

    The onus should be on the peoples coming from the outside to adapt to the host culture, not vice versa. This principle should hold true across all nations in the world.

  6. platinum786 — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:41 am  

    So your problem is that we practise our own culture rather than yours?

  7. cjcjc — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:46 am  

    Cadogan Hall is quite a big venue…should be lively…if you can actually understand what Ramadan is trying to say that is.

  8. Hermes — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:57 am  

    Couldron,
    ‘The onus should be on the peoples coming from the outside to adapt to the host culture, not vice versa. This principle should hold true across all nations in the world.’

    Do you mean, like the whites did for centuries in the former colonies of the west? How many of them, do you think, mixed with the local culture rather than trying to convert the natives to Christinity?

  9. Cauldron — on 3rd February, 2010 at 12:00 pm  

    Hermes, two wrongs never make a right

  10. platinum786 — on 3rd February, 2010 at 12:09 pm  

    We’re hardly colonising Britain?

    I want to know what the exact problem is, ie day to day.

    Do you not like the fact we build mosques?

    Or that we’re very rarely in the pub?

    Or that we eat halal meat and have a whole industry based around it?

    The fact we eat curry and chappatis as a staple rather than potatoes?

    Does it annoy you when we fly Pakistan flags and support them at the Cricket?

    Does it really rile you when people like me, born and bred in Britain consider a country like Pakistan a home also?

    Or is it that we fly to Makkah but rarely bother with stone Henge?

    I mean what exactly is the big deal?

  11. Deep Singh — on 3rd February, 2010 at 12:41 pm  

    Hermes:

    “Do you mean, like the whites did for centuries in the former colonies of the west? How many of them, do you think, mixed with the local culture rather than trying to convert the natives to Christinity?”

    Whilst not necessarily agreeing with Cauldron’s line of approach, there is a difference here.

    The former colonies of the West went hand in hand with the spread of ‘christianity’ and ‘civilisation’ to the poor souls of the non-European world who had not ‘heard of Jesus’.

    Immigrants to the West from ‘former colonies’ or elsewhere are socio-economic migrants seeking to settle in the West, not aggresive colonists.

  12. Cauldron — on 3rd February, 2010 at 1:04 pm  

    platinum786 – in certain limited circumstances, it may be legitimate for a host culture to object to other traditions, if those other traditions are fundamentally at variance with those of the host culture. I have no objection if the French deny citizenship to a Mutaween wannabe (see today’s beeb story): that is their fundamental right.

    Whether one culture is in any sense ‘superior’ to the other is irrelevant. The argument is merely that the host culture gets the final say on what is acceptable and what isn’t.

    With respect to the seven activities you mention, none to my mind is intrinsically offensive. However, I would note that there are certain aspects of traditional rural Mirpuri culture – such as subjugation of women and disinterest in literacy – that cross the lines of acceptability and I do not consider such people suitable for international migration. But equally, I have no objection to the culture of upper class Karachi residents: I have rarely been to better parties than those thrown at the Sind Club.

    For the record, I fully accept that not all aspects of a host culture are desirable either and that some aspects of any host culture may be preferred to another.

    In Britain for example, the alcoholism and fecklessness of the white working class is to be deplored. By dint of their ancestry they cannot be thrown out of the country, but hard working middle class people (of all colours) are perfectly within their rights to denigrate working class culture and demand the abolition of welfare payments to the indolent.

  13. The Common Humanist — on 3rd February, 2010 at 2:01 pm  

    Cauldron

    Yes, all working class people are feckless….

    BY definition you are talking about the chav underclass, not working class people, and the idea that somehow all middle class people are parragons of virtue is laughable in the extreme.

  14. Cauldron — on 3rd February, 2010 at 2:27 pm  

    TCH,

    Agree that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ within any population of indivduals.

    But as long as the middle classes are net payers of taxes and the working classes are net recipients of benefits then the former shall be entitled to harangue the latter, irrespective of any notion of virtue.

  15. Boyo — on 3rd February, 2010 at 3:10 pm  

    1. Europe has a culture, it is not simply “live and let live” (far from it, sadly)
    2. TR’s view is very much “like European culture because it allows you to practice your own culture, but loath it nonetheless” so it would be interesting to see his perspective
    3. I don’t think Muslims come in for constant criticism, only nutters mainly. On the contrary what other society has gone further to accomodate difference?
    4. Define liberalism. European liberalism is essentially embodied by Tom Paine and the French Constitution. What’s your’s based upon Sunny?

  16. MiriamBinder — on 3rd February, 2010 at 3:17 pm  

    Well, I for one have long been intrigued by the question and would love to go to the debate. Thank you Sunny for providing the link.

    I do think that we have been somewhat overly sensitive when it comes to what is after all a small minority of individuals, Europe wide, because of an even smaller minority world wide.

  17. platinum786 — on 3rd February, 2010 at 3:51 pm  

    So you want to hand pick which ones you get, too late for that buddy. We didn’t hand pick which white men came to our country, you just came, reap what you sowed.

  18. cjcjc — on 3rd February, 2010 at 3:58 pm  

    We didn’t hand pick which white men came to our country

    Is the UK not your country?

  19. MiriamBinder — on 3rd February, 2010 at 4:06 pm  

    @ Boyo # 15 – I would love to hear how you define European culture. I dare say you have a very clear notion as per point 1 in your post.

    Re your point 3. Do you view European society as a whole as having gone further to accommodate difference? If so, please clarify how and where it has gone and to what extent to accommodate what difference. If you mean instead a specific European country … same questions; where, how and to what extent.

    Re your point 4. Define European liberalism and how that refers to the way varying European states apply it.

  20. MiriamBinder — on 3rd February, 2010 at 4:07 pm  

    @ cjcjc # 18 – Does this have a bearing on anything?

  21. Sofia — on 3rd February, 2010 at 4:12 pm  

    Host country? Gawd oh mighty…seriously Cauldron you need to get with the 21st century and inclusivity.
    So I was born and brought up in this country. I’m british and muslim and asian..how the hell is this my ‘host’ country?

  22. Mam Tor — on 3rd February, 2010 at 4:19 pm  

    “Or that we eat halal meat and have a whole industry based around it?”

    A very good example, as it requires that muslims have been excepted from animal welfare and employment laws.

    The animal welfare exception has been largely superceded by acceptance of widespread stunning, but halal and shechita rules for slaughter are essentially economic protectionism, the ‘industry’ you mention requiring special exemption from employment law.

    I’m not sure if I have seen an expression of thanks from religions for the thoroughly unusual and unprecedented exemptions they are granted, nor the ability to put this into perspective. An opportunity perhaps phantom?

  23. Jai — on 3rd February, 2010 at 4:48 pm  

    And when in Rome should we not do as the Romans do?

    But having been invited into Rome by its citizens you shouldn’t then climb to the top of the Palatine hill and demand that the Romans cherish your traditions and beliefs over their own.

    The Romans are probably the most inappropriate examples to mention if you’re looking to use them to support your arguments, considering that they were one of the most eclectic, syncretistic civilisations in history and freely absorbed cultural, theological, political, philosophical and technological influences from pretty much everyone they came into contact with, both externally and internally. Their criteria for citizenship weren’t based on concepts such as “host nations” and “alien cultures”; and they didn’t give a damn what people within their territories did, or what their religious beliefs were, as long as they stayed within Roman law and as long as they were loyal to the Emperor.

    There are definitely some positive lessons to learn from the attitudes of the Romans – but they’re actually the opposite of what is being suggested.

  24. bananabrain — on 3rd February, 2010 at 4:55 pm  

    jai,

    but they were still bastards you wouldn’t want to cross, as we know to our cost. watch the first scene in “gladiator” and imagine that aimed at the whole of amritsar and the punjab for years, followed by the wholesale slaughter and ethnic cleansing of the inhabitants, combatants and non-combatants alike and you’ll get some idea of how we feel about the romans. it’s all in josephus, despite the author himself soft-soaping his roman audience.

    halal and shechita rules for slaughter are essentially economic protectionism

    hah! that is only the case if the rules serve to keep the price artificially high. i can’t speak for halal, but there simply isn’t the market for kosher meat and it requires a scarce and sophisticated set of artisanal processes – compare it to, say, grand cru bordeaux, or organic, free-range venison and you’ll get some idea of the type of market. you don’t get cheap kosher meat without a larger market.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  25. A.C. — on 3rd February, 2010 at 4:59 pm  

    MB @20, of course it has a bearing. The fact that you don’t get that encapsulates in a nutshell why the left is losing the argument on immigration. All UK citizens need to feel a sense of nationhood.

  26. MiriamBinder — on 3rd February, 2010 at 5:01 pm  

    @ Mam Tor # 22 – Kashrut requires different slaughter methods as well. You are aware of this as your post indicates. Why is it that Muslims should be singled out for being afforded the processing of meat when Jews have had this opportunity throughout?

    Further how is it that the Hallal meat industry is perceived as exempting Muslims from ‘employment laws’. How can you state that this is economic protectionism when in fact Hallal and Kosher meats/products are more labour intensive and consequently cost more both to produce and purchase?

    What expression of thanks are you looking for?

  27. Jai — on 3rd February, 2010 at 5:09 pm  

    but they were still bastards you wouldn’t want to cross

    Obviously — especially if they wanted your territory or (as mentioned in my earlier post) you were living within the Roman Empire and they viewed you as some kind of political threat.

    India – like China – was a different matter because of distance, numbers, and military strength. Interestingly, relations between the Roman Empire and the Indian subcontinent (and their respective inhabitants) were so positive that Roman citizens were automatically allowed unrestricted travel through most of the Indian kingdoms of the period. The extent of Roman trading settlements based in India’s coastal areas (from modern-day Pakistan down to South India) along with the sheer scale of trade and diplomatic links between Rome and India is of course already well-documented.

    Anyway, my previous comment was specifically about some erroneous analogies which have been made on this thread, so my original points on the matter still stand.

  28. MiriamBinder — on 3rd February, 2010 at 5:11 pm  

    @ A.C # 25 – Evidently there is no ‘of course’ about it.
    1. Are you assuming that only UK nationals comment on this blogs?
    2. Are you assuming that all those who comment on these blogs have no familial past?
    3. Are you assuming that being aware of a familial past is necessarily inconsistent with the concept of oneself as a UK national?

  29. Jai — on 3rd February, 2010 at 5:38 pm  

    Bananabrain,

    A quick addendum to my previous reply #27: I’m fully aware of the various atrocities committed by the Romans during their territorial expansion and also the abhorrent treatment of Christians (until Emperor Constantine) and Jews that sometimes occurred during that period, including the well-known outright massacre of one of the Jewish populations involved.

    I think it’s important for me to clarify this, as I don’t wish my previous remarks to be inadvertently be misinterpreted by you as the kind of “Yes, but…” apologism that is frequently used by some modern-day defenders and/or admirers of the British Raj who wish to downplay or whitewash the numerous negative aspects of the latter in order to excuse, rationalise or justify colonial rule in India.

  30. LibertyPhile — on 3rd February, 2010 at 7:20 pm  

    @platinum786 No.4

    I think your questions are very good. For some answers please see:

    One Law for All – Yes and No
    http://libertyphile2.blogspot.com/2010/01/one-law-for-all-yes-and-no.html

    Gallup Coexist Study 2009 – The Headlines You Didn’t See!
    http://libertyphile2.blogspot.com/2010/01/gallup-coexist-study-2009-headlines-you.html

  31. Niels Christensen — on 3rd February, 2010 at 8:11 pm  

    Wrong question : there is no such thing as a muslim.
    Only people like Ramadan, hopeless Imans talk of muslims.
    It’s wrong to look at immigrants from muslim societies as muslims. They
    are citizens with very different background. Often the country isn’t enough to characterize a person. Their internal background is often more important, do they come from rural background or not. Have they gone to school or not.
    Are we criticising their traditions and beliefs?
    If you look at the most normal discussions in north europa, then the basic problems is that a young girl isn’t allowed to join educational arrangements away from home, isn’t allowed to swim or do sports; and so on. Or the lack of responsibility regarding their young sons behavior.
    How can you expect to move to a new country ( and often get paid a lot of money, for doing nothing) and not trying to adjust to the country’s traditions.
    The question should be : how come some immigrants from muslim societies don’t adjust behavior.

  32. Boyo — on 3rd February, 2010 at 8:51 pm  

    @19 I’m not going to bother Miriam because only a moron thinks there isn’t but it’ll be “ooooh but some of us aren’t XXX” which is the common multi-culti argument. Is their Indian culture? West Indian? French? American? No, please don’t answer that.

    If you don’t know who Tom Paine is or have never heard of the Enlightenment, then that’s your problem.

  33. MiriamBinder — on 3rd February, 2010 at 8:56 pm  

    @ Boyo # 32 – your failure does not surprise … it is difficult to explain a foot in the mouth especially when it first needs to be surgically removed ;)

    Oh, I know Thomas Paine and his philosophy … just wondered what you mean by putting him in the context of European liberalism bearing in mind that you also claimed a European culture yet failed to explain what that is …

    It takes a lot more then mere empty phrases boyo … evidently that is something you have yet to come to terms with.

  34. The Common Humanist — on 3rd February, 2010 at 9:57 pm  

    Jai

    “”The Romans are probably the most inappropriate examples to mention if you’re looking to use them to support your arguments, considering that they were one of the most eclectic, syncretistic civilisations in history and freely absorbed cultural, theological, political, philosophical and technological influences from pretty much everyone they came into contact with, both externally and internally. Their criteria for citizenship weren’t based on concepts such as “host nations” and “alien cultures”; and they didn’t give a damn what people within their territories did, or what their religious beliefs were, as long as they stayed within Roman law and as long as they were loyal to the Emperor”"

    Brilliant. I could kiss you.

  35. Boyo — on 3rd February, 2010 at 10:20 pm  

    no miriam, it’s just that i have a life

  36. Joergen Munk — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:00 pm  

    I will respect islam when islam repects me as a gay man. simple. And my dislike for the catholic church is the same as my dislike for the Muslim religious establishment.

  37. MiriamBinder — on 3rd February, 2010 at 11:13 pm  

    Glad to hear it boyo … it would otherwise be a total loss ;)

  38. Cauldron — on 4th February, 2010 at 4:21 am  

    Sofia @21. National belonging is not a function of either ethnicity or place of birth. It is a function of whether one subscribes to a small core set of basic values and whether one’s cultural norms are evolving in roughly the same direction as everyone else. There’s plenty of room for plurality, but you must sign up to the core beliefs.

    So without knowing your core values it is hard to judge whether you belong to a nation or remain outside the host. I agree it’s hard to define these core values but your idea to “get with the 21st century” is quite a good starting point. If your cultural values are shaped by modern society, then great. If your core beliefs derive from backward-looking traditions then not so great.

    Ethnicity doesn’t really come into consideration. A first generation migrant from Bangalore might easily be absorbed into a modern host society. A fourth generation Bradfordian who selects a spouse from among the ranks of semi-literate cousins living in ‘azad’ Kashmir may never belong in a host nation.

  39. Cauldron — on 4th February, 2010 at 7:17 am  

    Jai and TCH:

    “as long as they stayed within Roman law and as long as they were loyal to the Emperor”

    I agree with this bit. Since various recent laws in France and Switzerland explicitly frown upon some of the dress codes and other barbaric (good Roman word, that) customs of the Arabian peninsula then I presume you agree that people who break those laws have no place in those countries?

  40. MiriamBinder — on 4th February, 2010 at 9:22 am  

    @ Cauldron # 38 – What precise core values are we talking about?
    The ‘live and live’ value?
    The ‘my home is my castle’ value?
    The ‘bring up my children to respect others’ value?
    The ‘feed my children by the sweat of my brow’ value?
    The ‘to each his/her own’ value?

    I can think of any number of individuals who do not for instance hold with values 1, 3, 4 and are a tad hazy about 5; I could point to quite a number of my neighbours who would be accepted by the BNP quite readily (and this is before the vote on the 14th of Feb 2010) who do not hold with any, some or most of those values.

    It is very nice to talk about core values, throw in a phrase such as ‘forward looking’ and ‘backward looking’ and think that is it … However unless you are specific about what those precise core values are, unless you explain what is forward looking in precise terms and what would be backward looking in the same terms … they are all just empty phrases sounding grand but meaning absolutely sweet Fanny Adams ;)

  41. Trofim — on 4th February, 2010 at 9:25 am  

    Cauldron: “National belonging is not a function of either ethnicity or place of birth. It is a function of whether one subscribes to a small core set of basic values and whether one’s cultural norms are evolving in roughly the same direction as everyone else. There’s plenty of room for plurality, but you must sign up to the core beliefs”. Succinctly said.
    Millions of words are wasted on the “indigenous” red-herring issue. It is much more important to acknowledge that it is a natural human assumption that the longer back ones roots go in a place (be it country, state, county, city or smaller entity) the more one has a right to consider oneself a “native”, that one has a closer bond, affinity with that place than those more recently arrived. I was born in the village where my forebears lie in the churchyard. I regard myself as more native than than those who came a few decades ago, and they in their turn are more native than the just-arrived newcomer from London. Being “indigenous” is not a dichotomous, all-or-nothing characteristic. It is a continuum.

    And doesn’t the title of this event speak volumes: “Is Europe failing its Muslims?” It presupposes that Europe has some obligation to Muslims, that Muslims are somehow entitled to something which Europe owes them. Europe owes Muslims no more than it owes anyone else anything. They have no special status. It’s a level playing field. If you flunk an entrance exam, it isn’t because the exam “failed” you, it’s because you failed to reach the criteria embodied within that exam. And when you join a club, is is with an implicit agreement that you agree to adhere to its rules. If you wish to be accepted and remain in that club, it is not a good idea to say “Ah, I don’t agree with your rules. I’m going to ignore yours and stick to mine”. If you do so, it is only reasonable to expect that you will make yourself unpopular with the other club members because you are tacitly seen as ignoring that contract on which you joined. This seems like an attempt to reframe reality so that the failer becomes the failed. I’m afraid Muslims are often perceived as prone to paint themselves as victims. It is not an endearing characterstic.

  42. cjcjc — on 4th February, 2010 at 9:34 am  

    It is certainly pointless attempting to come up with a tight definition of “European” values.
    But that does not mean they do not exist.
    It is (as Wittgenstein pointed out) like the tailor (or indeed the customer) who knows when a suit or dress looks just right, without in any way being able to write down any “rules” for arriving at that judgement.
    S/he knows it when s/he sees it.

    It is also perhaps easier to give examples of where the “rules” have clearly been broken, e.g. :

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article5626683.ece

  43. MiriamBinder — on 4th February, 2010 at 10:46 am  

    @ cjcjc # 42 – Whilst I would agree that it is pointless coming up with a (and I quote): “tight definition of “European” values” …. I do think that when you hold that a given individual or group/s of individuals have to subscribe to them to be considered as legitimate parties, that you have at least a definition of sorts apart from grandiose but essentially empty and therefore meaningless phrases such as ‘core values’, ‘backward looking’ and ‘forward looking’.

    It is of course always easier to know when ‘rules’ have been broken, however it becomes very difficult to avoid breaking any rules when you have no idea of what they are to start with. A large number of individuals happen to feel that having a tattoo is an offence with a Wittgensteinian certainty. Does this mean that you break the ‘rules’ if you have a tattoo?

    Wittgensteins’ certainty is more an explanation of how things are then an ideal to work towards.

    Within contemporary society, whether that is European, Scandinavian, British, Eastern European, Dutch, etcetera and so forth, we rely on the rule of Law as written rather then as perceived precisely because of the indeterminism of issues such as Wittgensteins’ certainty principle.

  44. Jai — on 4th February, 2010 at 11:06 am  

    TCH,

    Brilliant. I could kiss you.

    A polite and sufficiently manly handshake will suffice.

    Since various recent laws in France and Switzerland explicitly frown upon some of the dress codes and other barbaric (good Roman word, that) customs of the Arabian peninsula then I presume you agree that people who break those laws have no place in those countries?

    I see that the misappropriation of the Romans is ongoing. For the record, let’s not forget that as far as Roman opinions were concerned, the “barbaric” people were the inhabitants of northern Europe (including Britain at the time), not the various other people they had contact with and certainly not anyone from Indian subcontinent.

  45. MiriamBinder — on 4th February, 2010 at 11:09 am  

    @ Trofim # 41 – Your entire post hinges on – and I quote “If you wish to be accepted and remain in that club, it is not a good idea to say “Ah, I don’t agree with your rules. I’m going to ignore yours and stick to mine”. If you do so, it is only reasonable to expect that you will make yourself unpopular with the other club members because you are tacitly seen as ignoring that contract on which you joined.”

    No problem with the basic concept at all except when you join a club you are given a list of rules which you either accept and join the club or do not accept and then … you don’t sign up.

    So the question remains … what are these rules?

  46. Arif — on 4th February, 2010 at 11:13 am  

    This sense of “core values” being threatened would go away if we adopted a liberal perspective of no-one imposing their rules on anyone else, except for physical protection. Liberal laws would make such threats illegal.

    The rest would be a matter of manners and etiquette – which as Cauldron suggested, could be more an issue of social classes and sub-cultures in any community having different standards and expectations.

    In terms of “Europe failing its Muslims” I think it has some sense in being asked in the context of whether European Governments are protecting the human rights of Muslims, say as equal citizens. It would be similar to asking if Europe is failing the Roma people, or homosexuals or any other group.

    Right now the civil liberties of Muslims are under threat because of fears of terrorism, and in some far-right quarters this is being stoked by creation of a narrative fearing a cultural take-over. If this ends up with people being locked up without charge, rendered to third countries for torture or laws being passed aimed specifically at reduce the liberties of for one social group, then I think it is fair to discuss failures to protect Muslims – as fellow human beings and part of Europe’s community.

  47. MiriamBinder — on 4th February, 2010 at 11:35 am  

    Well said Arif

  48. Cauldron — on 4th February, 2010 at 1:22 pm  

    Miriam, I agree that defining core values is hard (and I said as much in an earlier post). And point taken that activities should only be proscribed because the existing law proscribes them, not just because me or someone else doesn’t like them.

    However, that does not mean that it is illegitimate to pass laws based upon a nation’s perceptions of its own core values, as opposed to just passing laws prohibiting violence. A democratic society should be entitled to pass illiberal laws without losing its legitimacy. One might think it nasty and idiotic to ban the niqab, fatty foods, euthanasia, tannoys on minarets, homosexuality, dangerous dogs, racist chanting at football matches, cigars or whatever but if society as a whole chooses to define itself in a certain way then so be it.

    Arif – the only rider I’d add to your eloquent post is that any dialogue about “x failing y” has to be a two way dialogue. If we are to talk about any institution “failing” any citizen (or group of citizens) then we must also talk about whether the aggrieved individual or group bears any personal responsibility for their predicament.

  49. Trofim — on 4th February, 2010 at 2:03 pm  

    Miriam Binder @ 45:
    I’m using “rules” in the most general sense here, not necessarily written rules. Let’s say “societal norms” which are not necessarily articulated in words, or even susceptible of articulation, which are intuitive, visceral or historically developed. Animals have rules, particularly ones that live in social groups. Individuals discover the rules by trial and error – by infringing the rules and subsequently receiving negative or positive feedback. In human societies, societal norms are (that is, used to be) reinforced in a similar way, by the expression of approval and disapproval. Thus, if you behave inappropriately, you will receive feedback. Here’s the rub, of course. The essential feedback system barely operates in British Society for various debatable reasons. I well remember my father some decades ago addressing yobs in the street and reprimanding them for bad language, and they slunk away. Were he alive now, he wouldn’t dare do that. I vividly remember being on a bus in the USSR when some teenagers were playing silly buggers in the back of the bus. A little babushka stood up and said “Young people, stop this disgraceful behaviour. There is a foreigner here. What sort of impression is he going to take back to his country?” The kids immediately quietened down. Negative feedback traditionally entails non-vocal expressions of disapproval, by dirty looks, shaking ones head etc. Kids could be reprimanded. There are all sorts of reasons why that essential process of maintaining norms no longer happens, but “cultural relativity” has played an important part in the process. After all, being told that “it’s part of their culture” is a way of saying “one must not express disapproval of it”. Thus, although covering the face is regarded with varying degrees of distaste and repugnance by the overwhelming majority of people, no-one feels free to approach the violator and say “Excuse me, that behaviour is inappropriate in our society” or “that makes me feel very uncomfortable”. People don’t even feel free to express their disapproval non-verbally. Instead people just feel anger and resentment, and simmer.
    As for being given a list of rules, in retrospect, of course, all immigrants to a country should have been given clear indications of what and what is not tolerated or approved of when they entered the country, and what consequences could be expected when violations took place. But three or four decades ago there was a general assumption that there were relatively so few of them, and that they would readily adapt to our values, that it was just a matter of time before they were absorbed into our society. We know different now.

  50. MiriamBinder — on 4th February, 2010 at 2:32 pm  

    @ Cauldron # 48 – Provided those core values can be defined. Now so far, all I’ve read on this thread is a load of waffle about ‘core values’, ‘backward looking’ and ‘forward looking’ but nary a single poster, who has been very free with the above mentioned terms, has even attempted to come up with a definition of what they might be.

    There is and should be a very clear demarcation between public and private spheres in a democratic society; though I’ll grant you that this is not always the case. However even where we are talking about what is rather then what should be, there is by and large a consensus regarding what constitutes public and private spheres.

    In a way, I think that is exactly what Arif is getting at with his adopting “a liberal perspective of no-one imposing their rules on anyone else, except for physical protection.”

    As far as your rider to Arif regarding ‘personal responsibility’ this runs contrary to the concept of a liberal perspective if you are putting this forward, as you appear to be doing (though I stand to be corrected) that given individuals who have been categorized as belonging to a given group, should be personally accountable for all actions taken by any given member of that group.

    In law:
    1. Do we hold family members responsible for the criminal activities of an individual family member?
    2. Do we hold the failure of some parents to discipline their children to be the failure of all parents to discipline their children?
    3. Do we hold the anti-social behaviour of some drunken louts the responsibility of all social drinkers?

    No we do not and there would, quite rightly, be an uproar if we even considered doing that.

    Yet somehow we are supposed to accept it as perfectly reasonable that we hold all Muslims accountable for the actions of a number of Muslims? We suddenly are supposed to consider it acceptable that we restrict the movement, the freedom of expression, the freedom to dress, worship or construct places of worship to Muslims purely because they are Muslims?

    BTW, the idea that it is society as a whole that elects is a misleader. The concept of a democratic deficit is very evident in many instances, especially but not exclusively, with regard to the issues you bring up in your post; that is not to mention that there will be in each instance a considerable number who will be, for reasons of their own, opposed to the proposal. Further when we regard society as a whole do you seriously think for one moment that say Muslim members of society would elect to restrict their personal freedom of movement, the freedom of expression, the freedom to dress, worship or construct places of worship?

  51. Cauldron — on 4th February, 2010 at 2:59 pm  

    @50 – please stand corrected. I do not believe and have nowhere stated that “given individuals who have been categorized as belonging to a given group, should be personally accountable for all actions taken by any given member of that group.”.

    I do however, believe that individuals in a democratic society (dictatorships are obviously different) who claim special entitlements on account of belonging to a particular group must also be prepared to debate critics of their self-identified group without shutting down the debate. This is true for Muslim radicals, self-pitying BNP supporters in the indigenous underclass and anyone else who claims they are victims because of their group identity.

    BTW – the democratic deficit cuts both ways. Note the divergence between the judiciary, who see themselves as fonts of liberal wisdom and mercy, and we proles who think that retribution ought to be a legitimate consideration in sentencing policy.

  52. MiriamBinder — on 4th February, 2010 at 3:30 pm  

    @ Cauldron # 51 – Than what exactly do you mean with “If we are to talk about any institution “failing” any citizen (or group of citizens) then we must also talk about whether the aggrieved individual or group bears any personal responsibility for their predicament” … and what ‘special entitlements are you referring to, other that is then the right to freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom to dress, worship etcetera? Or perhaps you regard those freedoms as special entitlements when an individual in exercising those rights does not conform to your notion of how those rights should be exercised?

    Is it a special entitlement to be allowed to dress in a manner of your choosing; please note I state dress not un-dress. Is it a special entitlement to worship in a manner that does not conform with your own? Is it a special entitlement to elect to eat differently? Is it maybe a special entitlement to send you children to a school of your choosing? Being desirous of, and given that there are sufficient members to justify, constructing a communal place of worship is may-haps seeking a special entitlement?

    As for the democratic deficit cutting both ways I doubt it not; however your example of the judiciary and ‘proles’ as you put it, is not an instance thereof.

  53. MiriamBinder — on 4th February, 2010 at 3:37 pm  

    @ Trofim # 49. – There are many instances where I feel uncomfortable … walking down the road past a rowdy pub at closing time being but one of them. I am not the only individual who feels uncomfortable … should we perhaps ban all pubs from serving drinkers because a couple of them may end up urinating in a doorway on the way home? Many individuals feel uncomfortable getting on a bus laden with rowdy youngsters; stop all youngsters from using the bus perhaps?

    If, as you claim, the feedback system in society is not working, maybe that is because society does not care enough about feeding back on those specific issues? I remember well an instance where I asked a young lad to pick up some litter he had dropped. His father looked at me, picked it up and then threw it down right in front of me … (They were, just in case you are going to ask, a white family who had lived in this neighbourhood for at least 4 generations ;) )

    I will ask again Trofim … What values? Reiterating empty phrases as a clarification of empty phrases is as constructive as employing a chocolate fireguard to safeguard a carpet from damage.

  54. bananabrain — on 4th February, 2010 at 3:42 pm  

    jai,

    oh, don’t worry. i think i know you well enough to give you the benefit of the doubt as a Long-Established Sensible Person.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  55. Trofim — on 4th February, 2010 at 7:32 pm  

    Miriam Binder @ 53:
    The mechanism which regulates adherence to societal norms (a more accurate term, I think, than feedback loop) no longer works for a number of reasons. (And incidentally, I believe that this failure of the mechanism is responsible for a colossal number of society’s ills). Look at the factors/actors involved: the perpetrator has to recognise the (informal) authority of the agent of society. The agent of society has to be reasonably sure that the perpetrator will obey/respond, has to feel safe enough to confront the perpetrator, has to be sure of the grounds on which he is acting and so on.
    Secondly, values. But a great many human values are not or cannot be articulated, they are visceral, intuitive, subliminal. For example, I can’t remember exactly when I first saw a man walking a few yards ahead of a woman, but I remember how peculiar and unnatural it seemed. There is no formulated rule that a man and a woman couple walk alongside each other, no-one had ever voiced any kind of stipulation about behaviour in this area, but it immediately felt to me as some sort of violation, which made me uneasy.

    No offence Miriam, but I’ve noticed how often you ask for definitions, and I’ve noticed this in a lot of other leftish writers. It occurs most often in discussions about Englishness, Britain, Britishness etc., and is usually used as a tool by which its user can dismiss the notions. In other words, the underlying assumption is that everything can be defined. If it can’t be defined it doesn’t exist.
    As for definitions, I note one obvious discrepancy. Though you are keen to get Boyo to define “European values” above, you seem to have accepted Sunny’s use of “Europe” without demur. I presume he doesn’t mean “the world’s second-smallest continent by surface area, covering about 10,180,000 square kilometres, bounded by the Ural mountains on the east, the Atlantic ocean on the west” etc. etc. Will you be asking for clarification from him?

  56. Boyo — on 4th February, 2010 at 10:27 pm  

    “Death by definition” – i referred to it lazily in 32. It’s a post-Polytechnic tic and though it provides a certain smug satisfaction it’s actual logic is absurd.

  57. MiriamBinder — on 4th February, 2010 at 11:38 pm  

    @ Trofim # 55 – Oh well, that must be it then … I must be a lefty because I ask for definitions. Actually Trofim what I am asking is whether people who say that ‘X’ must adhere to ‘Y’ is if they have any idea of what that ‘Y’ that ‘X’ is supposed to adhere to is.

    Now I could sit here and try and justify/defend myself from your insinuation that I must be a lefty. But I am not going to bother as essentially it would only give credence to something that is nothing more then a red herring.

    Actually human values can be articulated and in fact human values are articulated. But we weren’t talking about human values as such were we … we were trying to get to the bottom of these ‘social values’ that you think people should ascribe to.

    I’ll just take it that you haven’t really got a clue; suffice that you don’t want people who do not think the way you do, see the world the way you do and have the same desires/aspiration you do.

    Oh and for your information, walking a few steps behind a man is not a human value merely a social construct. Nor is there any duty on the world, even the small part you inhabit, or the small part I inhabit for that matter, to ensure that we always feel comfortable. Personal comfort is an individuals’ concern and responsibility … no one else and certainly not society as a whole has a duty of care towards you or anyone else in that regard.

  58. Mam Tor — on 5th February, 2010 at 12:14 am  

    MiriamBinder @26

    how is it that the Hallal meat industry is perceived as exempting Muslims from ‘employment laws’. How can you state that this is economic protectionism

    I don’t think you or bananabrain have the same understanding of the phrase economic protectionism as the rest of the world, lmgtfy?

    It’s protectionism because it keeps economic activity within the confines of ethnoreligious groups. Specifying that a slaughterer must be from a particular religious group is counter to EU law, unless you have an exemption.

    In the context of this story it shows how the EU has been willing to contradict it’s own laws and democratic foundations to accomodate these groups, but there doesn’t seem to be any value placed on this concession by groups who expect it as a right, not a concession.

  59. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 1:00 am  

    This is a fascinating example of mutual incomprehension.

    Could I try to take a neutral position?

    It seems to me that almost all minorities wish to be seen as ‘special’. It seems to me that, if you can attach a religion to it, you are on a winner.

    I do not think your average white British subject can be as worrying as every ethnic minority makes out. Else we would be in a state of perpetual war.

    Earlier I took a train, I saw a white girl holding the hand of an Asian guy, and the society around them couldn’t have cared jack shit. There was certainly no mob violence, no interest, frankly. Boredom, really.

    What’s to be made of that?

    It is generally the case, at least I think it is, that you’ll find racists in almost any community, people that stir it, as it were.

    But most folk reject that. Most folk in their own community reject it. Most folk don’t get their knickers in a twist.

    A question for each and every one of you. Are your knickers twisted?

    I have had amusing times here with Stephen Gash, idiot of this parish, and Lee John Barnes, idiot of this entire universe…

    I have asked for Anjem Choudary to be allowed the same freedom of speech here. Because, whilst taking down the folk that claim to speak for me – I am Scottish but not ginger – is easy, I’d quite like us all to group somewhere around the middle and argue against all extremists, no matter which angle they attack us from.

    You are all very bright people, you should not be scared of demagogues.

  60. MiriamBinder — on 5th February, 2010 at 1:37 am  

    @ Mam Tor # 58 – You still haven’t shown how that can be construed as either economic protectionism or an exemption from employment laws. I accept that you see it as such. I’d just like you to explain how you got to that position …

    Don’t worry if you can’t …

  61. MiriamBinder — on 5th February, 2010 at 2:02 am  

    @ Douglas Clark # 59 – I don’t think that it is a case of all minority groups wanting to be seen as ‘special’ but rather that there is a tendency to expect a specific minority group to assimilate in some undefined manner to some undefined values.

  62. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 7:24 am  

    MiriamBinder,

    Sure you don’t.

    I don’t think that it is a case of all minority groups wanting to be seen as ’special’ but rather that there is a tendency to expect a specific minority group to assimilate in some undefined manner to some undefined values.

    I am Scottish. I have been expected to tend towards the norm of your society, but I haven’t.

    I’d vote, absent a good reason to see the particular candidate as bad, for anyone that shared my views.

    The brain dead morons that constitute the ‘Spittoon’ have had a go at Osama Saeed, who is an Asian that happens to see life much as I do.

    I find people like that, the Spittoon folk, for instance, as divisive little morons.

    Sid used to write some sensible posts here, now he doesn’t.

    He and bananabrain have left discussion here in favour of polemic elsewhere.

    Good on them!

    But it is not debate, it is not reason, it is idiots talking amongst themselves.

    In my opinion, bananabrain and Sid have lost any sort of reason.

    What do you think?

  63. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 7:53 am  

    Miriam Binder,

    Oh!

    Did I mention I was Scottish?

    Frankly, and I’ll stand corrected, if you say you are, you are.

    As far as I know, most people up here seem to see it that way.

    Not to say that we haven’t got racist bastards of our own, just to say that they are a tiny minority.

  64. Trofim — on 5th February, 2010 at 9:36 am  

    Blimey Miriam Binder @ 57. I spend all that time getting together what I think is a reasonable account of what I think, and trying to answer your query to no avail. I had no idea being called a lefty (actually, I used the term “leftish”) was so hurtful. I’m not calling you a bloodsucker or a toad!
    Let me try again. I believe, from experience, that huge tracts of human behaviour, responses and motivations come from within, from places we don’t really understand or have access to. We can’t even put them into words, let alone define them. I used the words subliminal, visceral, instinctive, intuitive. We all have an assumptive world – that is, certain beliefs about the world which me may not even be aware of, because they have never been challenged, never needed to be articulated in words.
    These assumptions about the world (that is, values) only become obvious when they are manifested in behaviour. Thus, when I have guests, my wife eats at the same table with us, not in the kitchen. When we go out, we walk together, alongside each other. These are manifestations of one of my values.
    Now I have seen, and still see, men who walk ahead of a woman, who they, nevertheless, appear to be associated with. Likewise, I’ve come across people who have been invited to someone’s home, and the man’s wife stays and eats in the kitchen rather than sitting with the guests. These behaviours are manifestations of an assumptive world which is different to mine. In general – in a monocultural society – we by and large share the same assumptive world, and it is not until we encounter counterexamples, that we become aware of what we hold to be axiomatic. Another example in reverse: I remember being in an asian shop in Nottingham which I frequently visited, and the shopkeeper asked me where I and my family lived. I lived alone, I said. Why? “Well, I like being alone, being free to do what I want”. He was visibly astonished at the idea of a man choosing to live on his own. In his assumptive world, men get married, have children etc.
    So, as for values, I say that they are simply there, often not susceptible to verbal expression, but perceptible only because they are manifested in behaviour. A bit like cosmic objects, which astronomers never actually see as such, but know are there due to fluctuations in the behaviours of other celestial objects. Likewise, I understand that no-one has ever seen an atom or a subatomic particle, but scientists assert that such things exist because they observe their behaviour in relation to other entities. Is that any use?

  65. bananabrain — on 5th February, 2010 at 9:41 am  

    idiots talking amongst themselves, eh, douglas? i don’t think you know who we talk to, in fact. i’ll take some principled challenging of injustice over doctrinaire assertions that everyone ought to agree with your rather blinkered leftie la-la-land ideas about What’s Good For Everyone. are you harriet harman in a kilt?

    It’s protectionism because it keeps economic activity within the confines of ethnoreligious groups. Specifying that a slaughterer must be from a particular religious group is counter to EU law, unless you have an exemption.

    so you’re saying that someone who isn’t jewish can be trusted to care enough about the rules of kosher slaughter to undergo seven years of training in it, then? if that’s your argument, there is actually nothing whatsoever to prevent anyone of any religious group learning the rules and setting themselves up as a kosher slaughterer, except that nobody will actually consider their meat kosher or buy any meat from them. strictly speaking, of course, that means no exemption is required under the law.

    of course, this whole argument is total bollocks. religious slaughter is a religious requirement, not anyone else’s. it is asinine to suggest that it is a discriminatory employment practice, as if there were large numbers of non-jewish people demanding to become shohetim.

    dear oh dear oh dear, is this really the purpose of eu law?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  66. cjcjc — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:15 am  

    Well if Miriam is a lefty she is probably a philosophical materialist.

    But do only those things exist which are susceptible to precise definition of the kind she appears to be demanding?

    Of course in lefty-land it is only British culture, or more specifically English culture, which is supposed not to exist. (The Scots and Welsh seem to be more indulged.)
    Would she say the same of, e.g., Japanese culture?
    It would be simply bizarre to suggest that such a thing did not exist.
    Yet I suspect it would be equally difficult to write down the “rules”.

  67. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:32 am  

    bananabrain,

    Well, I’d have though so.

    idiots talking amongst themselves, eh, douglas?

    I didn’t really think that that was what we did on Pickled Politics. Perhaps I am right about the Spittoon? Correct me if I am wrong? That seems to be your modus operandi.

    Your new home couldn’t argue it’s way out of a wet paper bag.

    You are singing to the choir over there, bananabrain, you probably find that quite comfortable.

    Your complete love of Alkexander Meligrou Hitchins, or however he spells his stupid name, spells out your idiocy.

  68. bananabrain — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:39 am  

    douglas,

    what. ever.

    far be it from me to burst your bubble. you go on thinking what suits you about me and the spittoon and i’ll go on getting on with actually achieving something rather than bitching about stuff you’re not very well informed about.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  69. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:44 am  

    bananabrain,

    It is your bubble that is burst.

    Come on, tell me that Alkexander Meligrou Hitchins has the slightest credibility? If I have mis-spelled his name, I am doing him a favour, ’cause a complete utter tit ought to have some anonymity.

    Try not to smile….

  70. cjcjc — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:48 am  

    @62 – so Douglas, do you have the same positive view of Anwar Al-Awlaki as Mr Saeed ?

  71. bananabrain — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:55 am  

    oh, here you go again with this guy. i really don’t see your problem here, the stuff of his that i’ve seen seems rather better researched and sourced than most of your opinions and, frankly, i am not obliged to answer to you if i give him and his views blanket endorsement (or not), or even if happen to find some of his pieces interesting and worthy of consideration. obviously he and you don’t see eye to eye in the matter of osama saeed. i personally don’t have an opinion on the matter and i cannot understand what your problem is.

    i think your energy might be rather better spent asking sunny why he is apparently so keen to buddy up with the “progressive london” crowd of clerical fascists, communist dictators, stalinist dinosaurs and the rest of the utterly lunatic livingstone/galloway groupies club, because it beats the hell out of me.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  72. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:55 am  

    bananabrain,

    Come to that, why is the brain dead fucker not arguing his case here? Scared he’ll get his arse in a sling, or summat?

  73. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 11:05 am  

    bananabrain @ 71,

    No.

    It is not well researched, unless you are a complete utter fool. And I would not like to think that of you.

    It is propoganda and, frankly evil. Your wee hero, does not argue his case here. He let’s proxy idiots like your good self, argue for him.

  74. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 11:10 am  

    So, where is he bananabrain?

    You are willing to stand up for him, where is he?

    I’d like a discussion.

  75. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 11:22 am  

    bananabrain,

    Why are you @ 71 complaining about this:

    think your energy might be rather better spent asking sunny why he is apparently so keen to buddy up with the “progressive london” crowd of clerical fascists, communist dictators, stalinist dinosaurs and the rest of the utterly lunatic livingstone/galloway groupies club, because it beats the hell out of me.

    I’d disagree with Sunny if he took any of these positions. He hasn’t, so fuck off.

    You used to be a reasonable guy. What happened?

  76. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 11:41 am  

    Anyway, bananabrain, I’d quite like your hero, Mr AMH to dare to come here. Perhaps you could ask him?

    He’ll, probably, only get asked questions. Which he will fail to answer in any coherent way.

    Unless I get angry, bananabrain, then the gloves might be off….

    If AGH is not up for it, as I suspect he isn’t, much like the scaredy cat Anjem Choudary, then we both know precisely where they position themselves, don’t we?

    A couple of tits in a barrel, or summat?

  77. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 12:03 pm  

    Fourth paragraph, AMH is the tit. Not AGH, whoever that is.

  78. Faisal — on 5th February, 2010 at 12:10 pm  

    I’d disagree with Sunny if he took any of these positions. He hasn’t, so fuck off.

    You sure about that?

  79. bananabrain — on 5th February, 2010 at 2:27 pm  

    i don’t know why you seem to think it is my job to get alex wossname over here to debate with you. i argue on my own account and nobody else’s – and i stick to the issue concerned, where the arse are you getting any other idea? i mean, i’d quite like the opportunity to be rude to ken livingstone in person, but i’m not coming round here telling sunny it’s his job to get ken to post on the spittoon. if you want to debate with alex, go over to standpoint and start commenting, but leave me out of this obsessive little vendetta of yours:

    http://standpointmag.co.uk/node/2665

    as for the spittoon, if you don’t like something we say, please come over and say it.

    Unless I get angry, bananabrain, then the gloves might be off….

    what are you going to do, dougie, type in capitals at me?

    sheesh.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  80. Cjcjc — on 5th February, 2010 at 2:45 pm  
  81. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 3:00 pm  

    bananabrain,

    He is, apparently, someone who shares blogspace with you. You do not, exclusively, argue for yourself anymore. You used to, right enough. I liked you better back then.

    Here is something you would never have said in the past:

    i don’t think you know who we talk to, in fact. i’ll take some principled challenging of injustice over doctrinaire assertions that everyone ought to agree with your rather blinkered leftie la-la-land ideas about What’s Good For Everyone. are you harriet harman in a kilt?

    You are the one apologising, appropriating, etc, etc. Not me. Just for the record, I consider myself liberal, not someone in leftie la-la-land.

    Anyway you know who AMH is. I don’t. Get the idiot to join this thread and we’ll see who is right and who is wrong. He brings half baked facts to your party and y’all think he is a respectable commentator. I really, really don’t think he is worthy of you.

    Checks post – no insults directed at bananabrain – post.

  82. douglas clark — on 5th February, 2010 at 3:02 pm  

    Faisal @ 78,

    Pretty sure. How about you?

    OK, given that you give AMH space to write aggressively wrong stuff on your web site, given that neither you nor him choose to reply to criticism of his bullshit, given that your other wee chum tried to discuss stuff here and ended up with his tail between his legs, given that your twinning is with Harrys Place…

    need I go on?

  83. Boyo — on 5th February, 2010 at 4:25 pm  

    cjcjc @66 it’s like i was saying @32… and you can see why i didn’t bother!

  84. MiriamBinder — on 5th February, 2010 at 5:34 pm  

    @ douglas clark # 62 – I myself am an English Jew by birth but was brought up in about 12 different countries for the first 17 years of my life. I am a fluent native speaker of 13 languages and have acquired another 12 or so since my teens; including a couple of long dead languages.

    I am a pragmatic humanist by conviction and if my politics can be categorised it is probably tending to the liberal (more Smith then Bentham)

  85. MiriamBinder — on 5th February, 2010 at 5:49 pm  

    @ cjcjc # 66 – Culture exists and exists in many different forms. Even when you take something as broad as Dutch or British or French or German or any other national culture, there are micro and macro … it is not something you can define without specific reference to the specific context. The sociology of communal life differs even within single nations depending on whether it is urban, rural, agricultural, manufacturing, large scale, small scale, age groups, aspirational …

    When you go around demanding that a group of people need to assimilate to ‘X’ it is not unreasonable to expect you to have at least a notion as to what that ‘X’ is.

    Look at it this way … when you want directions to get from a to b it is no good being told to: go up, turn, go down, turn, go down a bit more and then turn again; you’d need a tad more like how far up, turn left or turn right and how far down …

    Saying people need to assimilate core values without being able to clarify what those core values are is like giving directions without left, right or how far up or down …

  86. Trofim — on 5th February, 2010 at 9:07 pm  

    I haven’t seen any similar events along the lines of “Has Europe failed its Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Chinese etc. etc”. Did all of these, unlike Muslims, receive a formal notification of what our values are and what was expected of them when they arrived? Did they take the trouble to do some homework before they arrived? How did they manage to adapt with less difficulty than Muslims seem to do?

  87. MiriamBinder — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:10 pm  

    Have they adapted with less difficulty? Or has their visible difference from the rest of society been less of an issue?

  88. Boyo — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:17 pm  

    Trofilm, according to Miriam at 86 it’s because they don’t really exist – well, on a macro level there are broad categories, but when you get down to the micro level it is not something you can define without specific reference to the specific context. The sociology of communal life differs even within single nations depending on whether it is urban, rural, agricultural, manufacturing, large scale, small scale, age groups, aspirational … so how can Europe have “failed” them (and what does “failed” mean exactly, down to a micro level?) when we’re talking about individuals, and what is “Europe” exactly? Indeed, why are we having this conversation at all? What is a “conversation”? In French (one of my 13 dead and alive languages) it is has a totally different nuance, which is actually derived from French and just goes to prove how the “English” aren’t “English” at all…

  89. MiriamBinder — on 5th February, 2010 at 11:45 pm  

    That is why the talk would be interesting to listen to … Because from all that I have seen on this thread, most of the posts contain very little facts and a lot of misinformed hysteria ….

  90. Trofim — on 6th February, 2010 at 12:22 am  

    MiriamBinder @ 87:

    “Have they adapted with less difficulty?”

    No, it’s all done with smoke and mirrors, Miriam.

  91. cjcjc — on 6th February, 2010 at 10:11 am  

    Have they adapted with less difficulty?
    I suppose there is none so blind as one who will not see.

    Though of course we shouldn’t forget Behzti, for example.

  92. Martin Sullivan — on 6th February, 2010 at 2:44 pm  

    Europe must NOT fail its Muslims!

    Every Muslim in Europe deserves a new suitcase and limousine transport to the nearest international airport!

  93. Martin Sullivan — on 6th February, 2010 at 3:05 pm  

    An Oriental looks up from his rice bowl and gives the issue some thought:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201001/what-s-wrong-muslims

  94. Mam Tor — on 7th February, 2010 at 12:53 pm  

    religious slaughter is a religious requirement, not anyone else’s. it is asinine to suggest that it is a discriminatory employment practice

    I would argue that religious slaughter is about group identity and culture, not pleasing god, it’s just couched in primitive religious language. Part of this is enforcing economic protection. Either way a christian employer of a slaughterer cannot specify their religion, a muslim or jewish employer can.

    As I said, this concession is frequently not recognised, you seem to have demonstrated this beyond expectation.

    If you don’t recognise these concessions (despite demanding them!), you will have no objection to their removal?

  95. cjcjc — on 24th February, 2010 at 8:42 am  

    Needless to say the event (last night) generated far more heat than light.
    Very high security level as Flemming Rose (editor who commissioned the Motoons) was taking part, the security also accounting for why his presence was not announced until the evening itself I assume.

    FWIW vote before the debate was more or less evenly split something like 230 for, 220 against, 210 don’t know.
    After the debate was something like
    240 for, 340 against, 80 don’t know

    So Murray and Rose won, though the standard on both sides was not high. Rather raggedly chaired by Zeinab Badawi who was “performing” a little too much for the cameras. (It’ll be on BBC World sometime.)
    Some justified criticism of the motion essentiallising both Muslims and Europe.
    Though turns out the event is part of a British Council series with the theme of (I paraphrase) “Muslims are great”.
    Ramadan was not helped by his partner who combined being a mistress of the platitude with a touch of “what’s so great about European values anyway” thrown in.

  96. douglas clark — on 24th February, 2010 at 10:23 am  

    MiriamBinder @ 84,

    Apologies, I was not trying to get you to make a statement about who you were or something. I was merely asking you where you stood. I quite honestly find apologists for identity politics annoying in the extreme. And that is what The Spittoon and Harrys Place do. There is no compromise, no point in commenting, simply because they have a mind set that I simply do not share. I can see both Sid and bananabrain as more radical than they used to be, they cannot. I find that quite worrying as I considered them both to be internet chums, once upon a time.

  97. douglas clark — on 24th February, 2010 at 10:24 am  

    Martin Sullivan,

    So, I take it you are against the grouse moor too?

  98. MiriamBinder — on 24th February, 2010 at 11:43 am  

    @ douglas clark # 96 – No apologies necessary. I could have answered differently had I so chosen.

    It is only too easy to fall into a radical seeming stance when you are continually confronted with the same regurgitated misinformation, closed minds and a boom or bust mentality. It’s the nature of the beast I suppose … it brings dichotomy in its wake ;)

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