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Author Topic: The French hostages and the headscarf ban
Omega M.
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Here's an interesting quotation from French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin in defiance of the Iraqis who took some French hostages in an effort to get France's headscarf ban revoked (full story here):

"We want everyone to know that secularism in our country does not divide the French but unites them."

So the French are united in their desire to stamp out every trace of religion in public schools? That's something to be proud of? Why not say "religious freedom" instead of "secularism"? Could it be that "secularism" is opposed to "religious freedom"?

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Omega M.
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The French foreign minister on negotiating with the hostage takers (story here):

"We will continue, come what may, to follow all contacts ... with civil and religious personalities to explain what is the reality of the French republic ... and obtain the release of these people."

The kidnappers know all too well what the reality of France (and the rest of Europe, and the U.S.) is, and since it's not fundamentalist Islam, I don't see why they'll be interested in what the foreign minister has to say.

Another quotation from the minister:

"Their kidnapping is incomprehensible to all those who know that France ... is a land of tolerance and of respect for others."

Just so long as the government can have the kids to itself during school time...

From a newspaper editorial:

"France, due to its position on the war in Iraq, could have hoped it was safe. This was not the case."

You know, I'm starting to understand those Europeans who were saddened at 9/11 but at the same time thought the U.S. had it coming.

And finally, from the Reuters writer:

"The French government said there was no question of the [headscarf] law being revoked. 'It will be applied,' government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope told Canal Plus television."

Well, at least they're not going to pull a Philippines and reward the hostage takers. Or, at least they won't reward the hostage takers publicly. (Hey, this speculation is no more rampant than that made about Bush and Cheney.)

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pseudoCode
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See, even in the totalitarian dictatorship that we live in here in the US (according to some), we don't infringe on rights like that.
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Omega M.
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Actually, I can see why they'd want to ban the scarves. Maybe they're severely disrupting the classes---though a society in which an ordinary piece of religious clothing can cause enough disruption in schools to warrant it being banned from them seems to have a big problem. I'm mainly astonished by how shocked---SHOCKED!---some of the French seem to be over the fact that some militant Muslims in other countries are opposed to the ban.
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Storm Saxon
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The situation surrounding the headscarf ban is not as simple as many people here have made it out to be:

http://www.parapundit.com/archives/001902.html

(Some of the links within the site are interesting, too.)

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0105/p09s01-coop.html

Some interesting European viewpoints:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3459963.stm

Muslim women's group, I think, who supports the headscarf ban.

http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=59&story_id=5876

Overall view of a certain strain of Islamic fundamentalism:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9545

quote:

Giving breathing room to a religious ideology that is shaped by the norms of 18th century Arabia rather than 21st century America[or any other nation] can only eviscerate a liberal democratic society.

I agree.
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Hannibal
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dont forget that that law also forbade other religious symbols, the star of david, holly cross etc.


as bad as it sounds, maybe now the french know who the world is dealing with.
look how stupid the story sounds.... iraqi terrorists kidnaped french journalists who had nothing to do with the war on iraq, and probably reported an anti american stories, and still the iraqi terrorists threaten to part their heads.

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TomDavidson
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"as bad as it sounds, maybe now the french know who the world is dealing with."

You do realize, of course, that the French have suffered considerably more terrorist attacks than Americans have, right? It's not like they've been surprised by Islamic fundamentalism.

[ August 30, 2004, 05:18 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Storm Saxon
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I can't find the story, but NPR just reported that the kidnappings have united France. NPR reported that major Muslim organizations now back the ban and have denounced the kidnappers.
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DonaldD
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CNN article quotes French Muslim leaders
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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Why not say "religious freedom" instead of "secularism"? Could it be that "secularism" is opposed to "religious freedom"?
Could it be that the translation of what he really said is only approximate? Maybe secularism was the approximate equivalent of a word that means something like "clinging to no religion over another". I don't know really. I'm just know that sometimes mincing over words in another language can cause a lot of misunderstandings.
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Mr Xin Ku
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quote:
maybe now the french know who the world is dealing with
My personal opinion is that banning headscarves and the like is a bad idea for a country to do, but the amazing thing is that religious zealots want to behead somebody for it. But hey, if a strategy works, why change it? It doen's have to work everytime, in fact, intermittent reinforement (Spain, Phillipines) is actually more effective.

Reminds me of Stewie on The Family Guy, "Alright, I'll have icecream. But this time NO SPRINKLES! For every sprinkle I find I shall kill you."

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Delirium Tremens
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quote:
but the amazing thing is that religious zealots want to behead somebody for it
Yup. Personally, I'm not fond of the French law either, but on the other hand: there are schools forbidding make-up or jewels for girls and earrings or shorts for boys. In the "good ol' days" long hair or t-shirts from "Judas Priest" were forbidden in a lot of schools. Some schools still have a uniform or other strict clothing requirements. All those regulations are more or less accepted, but now that we're talking about religious symbols, it is suddenly a headline in the world press and some people are ready to murder innocent people for it.

It's a mad world these days....

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jasonr
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This is remarkable. It seems Muslims have become Europe's yellow peril. There are two possibilities:

1. Multiculturalism and religious freedom are NOT infallible, and in order to survive, free democratic societies will have no choice but to seriously curtail these concepts.

2. This is nothing more than xenophobia, and in fourty or fifty years, French schoolchildren are going to be learning about the oppression of Moslem people the same way that Canadian children learn about the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II, or Americans learn about the destruction of certain native peoples during the expansion west.

I have to admit, the first explanation has alot of appeal to me. Muslims are a scary minority to me. I imagine nightmare scenarios about sharia law coming to western Europe. (The Canadians here will no doubt laugh at that, as it seems we might be ahead of the times in that regard) But then again, maybe I'm just a xenophobe. Or maybe both explanations are correct...

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Delirium Tremens
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Of course there is a lot of debate in Europe around your point, jason. My answer tends to go towards one as well, and I want to add that tolerance and respect need to come from both sides in order to work.

The typical tolerance question is the following: Suppose a Jewish/Muslim/Aetheist organisation rents a room for their yearly celebration. The owner of the room is Catholic, so there's a wooden cross against the wall. The leader of the organizations says to the owner: "Well, let's be tolerant and remove the cross". The owner says: "No, let's be tolerant and leave the cross were it is".

In the ideal society, a decision is taken without much fuss. But if there's one group who systematically complains about "their freedom", you have a problem.

Luckily not all Muslims are the same though.

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Omega M.
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Certainly, if the headscarves represent oppression and violence to the degree that some of the above commentators think, then there's cause for banning the scarves. For the same reason, there's cause for banning Nazi symbols. But then the ban should be lifted if it becomes clear that most women wearing the scarves are doing so freely, since I don't see how they intrinsically symbolize evil ideas on the level of Nazism. At most the ban can be a stopgap measure, much like affirmative action.

Still, it shouldn't come as a shock to France that some Muslim fundamentalists want to get back at the country for the ban.

The problems France is having with Muslims on a relatively minor issue like this may explain a lot about why France doesn't support the Iraq war. This is a good reason not to take France's simple disapproval of a Middle East policy as a warning sign of its immorality.

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Storm Saxon
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jasonr,

As Hannibal pointed out, this effects all ostentatious displays of religion in public schools. It has something to do, as well, with how France approaches seperation of church and state and how this has become part of the culture of France. Let's not forget that their experience with religion is different from ours and has shaped how they approach it.

Rather than use loaded hate terms like xenophobia and oppression, maybe we should step back a second and remember that it's just clothing during the school day we're talking about here. As Delerium says, dress codes are a fact of life in many schools.

This is not to say that I support the ban per se, but I think the headscarf ban represents the beginning of a dialogue on what to do with Muslims and immigrants within the European community and, more importantly, I think it gives Muslims a chance to look at how they can better integrate into secular communities, too. I am hopeful that over time, there will be an exchange of ideas and everyone will benefit.

By the way, as quoted in the CNN article, I am proud of the response of most of the Muslims of France to this issue. They want to work things out in a peaceful fashion and they see it as a French issue rather than a Muslim versus everybody else. Good for them.

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Pete at Home
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"We want everyone to know that secularism in our country does not divide the French but unites them."

This is basically identical to what Kerry's been saying about ssm and other issues where (according to Kerry) Bush takes a "divisive" position. Kerry says that he stands for "common" whereas Bush divides America. Forced secularism is "uniting" where as religion is "dividing."

That's straight from the ministry of unity.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Let's not forget that their experience with religion is different from ours and has shaped how they approach it.
How can we "forget" what we've never heard in the first place? What specific different French experience with religion are you referring to, Storm Saxon?
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Storm Saxon
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I'm answering your question out of politeness, Pete. I honestly don't care much for getting into a conversation with you. I kind of regard you as something of a crap slinger and would just as soon ignore you as anything else.

http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/lecture11a.html

quote:

The causes of the French Revolution are complicated, so complicated that a debate still rages among historians regarding origins, causes and results. In general, the real causes of the Revolution must be located in the rigid social structure of French society during the ancien regime. As it had been for centuries, French society was divided into three Estates or Orders. The First Estate consisted of the clergy and the Second Estate the nobility. Together, these two Estates accounted for approximately 500,000 individuals. At the bottom of this hierarchy was the vast Third Estate which basically meant everybody else, or about 25 million people. This social structure was based on custom and tradition, but more important, it was also based on inequalities which were sanctioned by the force of law. So, we must look at these three Estates more carefully.

The First Estate
The Clergy From the outset, the clergy was established as a privileged Estate. The French Catholic Church maintained a wide scope of powers - it literally constituted a state within a state and it had sustained this position for more than 800 years. The clergy was divided into the lower and upper clergy. Members of the lower clergy were usually humble, poorly-paid and overworked village priests. As a group, they resented the wealth and arrogance of the upper clergy. The bishops and abbots filled the ranks of the upper clergy, men who regarded their office as a way of securing a larger income and the landed property that went with it. Most of the upper clergy sold their offices to subordinates, kept the revenue, and lived in Paris or at the seat of royal government at Versailles. Well, what did the clergy do? Or, I suppose, a better way of framing the question is this: what were they supposed to be doing? Their responsibilities included: the registration of births, marriages and deaths; they collected the tithe (usually 10%); they censored books; served as moral police; operated schools and hospitals; and distributed relief to the poor. They also owned 10-15% of all the land in France. This land, of course, was all held tax-free.

http://www.wsu.edu:8000/~dee/REV/FIRST.HTM

quote:

The Civil Constitution of the Clergy
In July of 1790, the Assembly passed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. The effect of this legislation was to bring the constitution of ecclesiastical authority under the same principles governing the restructuring of government: authority is given by the people to protect their rights and property. The Civil Constitution legislated that all ecclesiastical offices would be elected offices and all people within those offices would be directly under the control of the civil government. The Church would only barely be subject to Rome; instead, it would become a French institution whose policy and direction would be subject to French, not Roman, interests.

In many ways, the Catholic Church was the source of pent-up hatred throughout France. There's no question that the upper officials of the church were hopelessly corrupt; they were all nobility, most held several offices at once, few cared about the regions under their charge, and they bled the peasantry dry in order to support their extravagant lifestyles. However, the secularization of the church in the Civil Constitution was perhaps one of the most powerful weapons that the Assembly could hand to the counter-revolutionary forces in France. Breaking off from Rome and demanding that clergy be subject to the people went against centuries of culture and world view in France; while the radical revolutionaries of 1792 believed that such habits of thought could be disposed of overnight, the respect for the church and its authorities was deeply ingrained in the character of the country and proved impossible to overcome.

http://www.fact-index.com/f/fi/first_estate.html

quote:

The French inheritance system of primogeniture meant that nearly all French fortunes would pass largely in a single line, through the eldest son. Hence, it became very common for second sons to join the clergy. Although some great churchmen came out of this system, much of the higher clergy continued to live the lives of aristocrats, enjoying the wealth derived from church lands and tithes and, in some cases, paying little or no attention to their churchly duties. The ostentatious wealth of the higher clergy was, no doubt, partly responsible for the widespread anticlericalism in France, dating back as far as the Middle Ages, and was certainly responsible for the element of class resentment within the anticlericalism of many peasants and wage-earners.

etc.

So, whether or not we feel it is warranted, France has a history of oppression by the church, with resulting anti-clericalism that translates into the 70% of support that the ban recieves today in France.

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Ivan
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Wasn't there also a period during the Reign of Terror when the church was responsible for Inquisition-like behavior? I know the church was involved in the Revolution some how, but my memory fails me as to whether it was doing the slaugtering or being slaughtered (or some combination thereof). Either way, the experience with the Church in general in Europe is far different from the one we have. Over there, it was always a source of authority and power. Over here... well, the people who first came (and still do come) to America did so because they wanted to practice their religion. They came here to because them embraced their religion, not because they feared it.

As for this ban, it certainly wouldn't fly in America, but it's not like its really impinging on people's right to pray or practice their religion. It would be nice if France could work out some sort of compromise for those students whose religion dictated that they wear something that was forbayed by the dress code, but I guess they just see the slope as a heckuva lot more slippery than we do in America.

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jasonr
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"As for this ban, it certainly wouldn't fly in America, but it's not like its really impinging on people's right to pray or practice their religion."

But it is impinging on their right to practice their religion. Wearing the headscarves is a part of their religion. This is no different than forcing Jewish kids to eat pork, or forcing Christians to work on Sundays...

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Delirium Tremens
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Jason,

I am not religious, so my answer might be a bit biased here...

I think you have to make a difference between following certain traditions of a religion, and the abstract ideas or values behind it. I don't find that people have an absolute right to follow religious traditions in any way on any place and in any time. If that was true, I would immediately create a religion where it is forbidden to pay taxes to the state, have speed limits, and where every Sunday, true believers dutifully throw their garbage in their neighbour's garden. :-)

Even in your example, I know Christian doctors who are forced to work on Sundays in order to provide a minimal healthcare service in a region. Nevertheless, they remain both a Christian and a doctor, because they know that their belief is more that following a set of traditions.

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Pete at Home
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Delerium: you making an incorrect equivocation based on different meanings of the word "forced." Do you know Christian doctors who are forced BY LAW to work on Sundays? Because I believe that is what Jasonr is talking about

quote:
Nevertheless, they remain both a Christian and a doctor, because they know that their belief is more that following a set of traditions.
That suggests that the Christian doctors that you speak of are making a *choice*. (It's also a choice that is borne out in Christian scripture, since Jesus teaches specifically that it is lawful to HEAL on the sabbath.) In other words, they are not "forced."

Another flaw that I see in your argument here is that even if you actually forced Christians or Jews to do things that violated their religion, they would still remail Christians or Jews, but that does not change the fact that you have violated their religions freedoms, and hence, their human rights. (Also their rights under the US constitution).

Now sometimes there is a time and a place for the law to force someone to violate their religion by INACTION. For example, some religions might require human sacrifice, or mutilation of children, etc., and the law can in some limited circumstances be justified by requiring people to REFRAIN from these behaviors, i.e. when these religions behaviors infringe on the rights of others.

However, I can think of NO circumstances where the law might be justified in requiring someone to act contrary to their religion. For example, we allow conscientious objectors to refuse to fight. I'm not saying categorically that such examples might never exist -- I just can't think of any circumstances where they do exist, and I suspect that they do not.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
I'm answering your question out of politeness, Pete. I honestly don't care much for getting into a conversation with you. I kind of regard you as something of a crap slinger and would just as soon ignore you as anything else.
LoL! I think you're being a little dishonest with yourself if you consider that a polite response. My question was reasonable -- you made an empty assertion, and I asked for examples. It's rather hypocritical of you to say that you are just responding to be "polite" and then fling insults at me.
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Serotonin'sGone
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it wasn't polite pete, it was honest.

[ September 01, 2004, 04:37 PM: Message edited by: Serotonin'sGone ]

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Pete at Home
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Nope. It would have been honest if he hadn't said that he was being polite. Since he said that he was being polite, his post was neither polite nor honest. It also wasn't relevant, but since he didn't claim that he was being relevant, I didn't call him on it.

I challenge SS to show me any link of Jews (male or female) standing up and agreeing with the French Government's decision to ban them from wearing their small harmless skullcaps. Hope no one tells them about Mormons, or the government may regulate what sort of underwear we can put on.

(And SS, if you can't respond to a simple question without making a personal attack on me, and yet feel compelled out of "politeness" to respond, why don't you just send the relevant response to the forum, and send the bitchy personal attack to my personal email. Note that unlike you, I have my email available on the little email icon above every one of my posts.)

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GlobalDemocrat
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oMEGA:
quote:
So the French are united in their desire to stamp out every trace of religion in public schools? That's something to be proud of? Why not say "religious freedom" instead of "secularism"? Could it be that "secularism" is opposed to "religious freedom"?
Dude, you must not be aware with the concept of a public school. In France it means a school funded by the state and NON-religious. France surely does have Catholic schools, maybe even Protestant and surely some Jewish schools.

quote:
Just so long as the government can have the kids to itself during school time...
You're not forced to go to a public school, if you want, go to a reli-school. But if you think that THEY (either protestant or catholic) are open to girls with headscarfs, you got another think coming. The rule seems to be: You can practice religion, but not on tax-payers money. This surely must appeal to Republicans?

Okay, and in Norway they have a state church? Is that too, a bad thing? It's a lutheran church so i guess that makes it okay.


quote:
You know, I'm starting to understand those Europeans who were saddened at 9/11 but at the same time thought the U.S. had it coming.
Well, not the US perse but the Bush-govt , surely yes.

quote:
See, even in the totalitarian dictatorship that we live in here in the US (according to some), we don't infringe on rights like that.
No, you just take away the right of not to be spied on. The FBI/CIA can read your mail, medical records bank statements under the guise of national security, without proper motivation. And how much rights have all those american muslims, who have been detained without a normal indictment, INSIDE the usa (a la the Japanese Americans post-Pearl Harbor), let alone the ones in the Abu Grhaib/Guantanamo archipelago?

quote:
there are schools forbidding make-up or jewels for girls and earrings or shorts for boys. In the "good ol' days" long hair or t-shirts from "Judas Priest" were forbidden in a lot of schools.
Hey, Bob Jones forbids racially mixed couples on their campus! Nobody in the US is particularly worried about that!

And what's this I heard about a girl being kicked of school for wearing a t-shirt with kissing girls?


quote:
Nor is the hijab a good symbol for freedom. Throughout the Islamic world the hijab is often something girls and women wear because they're forced to - a symbol of restriction and intimidation, not freedom. Millions of women worldwide are daily threatened - and substantial numbers even assaulted, maimed, or killed - for refusing to wear whatever the local male authorities decide they should be wearing.

In countries such as Saudi Arabia, special religious patrols beat, insult, and arrest women who aren't covered according to their stringent specifications. In Pakistan, Kashmir, and Afghanistan, hundreds of women have been blinded or maimed when acid was thrown on their unveiled faces by male fanatics who considered them improperly dressed. In post-Taliban Afghanistan, women have been raped for daring to think they could now go without theburqa.

In March 2002, 15 Saudi girls ran for their lives when their school caught fire, without wasting precious time to first wrap themselves in their abayas (black robes that are mandatory female attire). Better dead than bare-headed, the religious police decided, and forced the girls back into the burning building and fiery deaths.

Okay this should stop Americans gleeing about the French problems.

quote:
Multiculturalism and religious freedom are NOT infallible, and in order to survive, free democratic societies will have no choice but to seriously curtail these concepts.
This curtailing seems crap to me. Multiculturalism inherently means that one culture has to respect another, so if freedom for muslims means that they want ALL women to wear headscarfs, then this means No-respect, so it's not multiculturalism. Democratic countries can kill Nazis/Stalinists since their goal is to use democracy in order to kill it.


Headscarfs, whichever way you look at it, ARE symbols and instruments of keeping the muslim women down. In most European countries, and perhaps the usa/uk, muslim women aren't physically forced or threatened to wear it, but their parents and family and friends talk into them so much, that in the end they start wearing it. Some girls have told me that they were so tired of the hassle, they just gave in. (this must sound familiar to US high-schoolers with their strict segregration between Populars, Geeks, Jocks and the Trench Coat Mafia? ;P )


quote:
"Neither the Quaran, nor the hadith [the sayings of the prophet Muhammad] require women to wear a head scarf," says Gammal Banna, the Egyptian author
So, what other than a instrument of repression and control is this headscarf?

I dunno, women who want to wear it, for other reasons than to avoid endless ostracizing from the males, are as weird as Americans who vote to be spied on and taxed to benefit the rich.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Hey, Bob Jones forbids racially mixed couples on their campus! Nobody in the US is particularly worried about that!
No one is? Your ignorance about America never ceases to amaze me. You mean you are totally unaware that the US congress has specifically passed laws to punish Bob Jones U for its racist policies, and that these punishments have been upheld all the way to the US Supreme Court?

What bozos do you get your news from?

I new about the law and the case, even before I studied about it in law school. To say that no Americans were concerned about it is complete idiocy.


quote:
Dude, you must not be aware with the concept of a public school. In France it means a school funded by the state and NON-religious.
Nope. That's what it means in the USA. Apparently in France, it means a school funded by the state, and ANTI-Religious. Non-religious would mean that the state doesn't recognize the religious symbols as religious, and hence cannot penalize them.

If the schools had policies saying that children weren't allowed to wear jewelwry or hats or anything over their heads, that could be seen as non-religious rule that affected religions. But the French rule specifically targets religious apparel. That's an ANTI-religious rule.

Incidentally, when my family lived in france in the late 70s and early 80s, the law there made it illegal to give your kids names OTHER than those of Catholic saints. (There was a protest over my sister Lara's name, but they finally agreed that it was a legitimate spelling of some Saint Laura, and said that was OK.) So even to say that France has a tradition of secularism is not entirely true. Why do you think that France opposes the admission of Turkey to the EU? Religion. They want the EU to be a Christians only club.

[ September 02, 2004, 12:23 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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GlobalDemocrat
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So, I missed that thing about Bob Jones. Well, DUH!!! I suppose it was even too weird for the extremist republicans. In any case, it was too odd for European media too, to report on its demise.

About your sister, I find that hard to believe, since they had in France even then a sizable portion of Islamic and African immigrants. And I don't think those muslims accepted that their children had to have names of Catholic saints!!! Out of approx. 23 French muslims I've met, 11 were called Mohammed, 9 Ali, 5 Achmed and the others i forgot their names, but it certainly was not catholic.
If your family was as obnoxious then as you are now ("crap slinging", i like that) then I for sure can imagine a French bureaucratic vendetta against them. And of course, Harrass-the-American has been a French sport now for a very long time.

quote:
Why do you think that France opposes the admission of Turkey to the EU? Religion. They want the EU to be a Christians only club.
Your ignorance about the world never ceases to amaze me. This surely has nothing to do with fact that Turkey has a record of horribly oppressing the Kurds (oh i forgot, sorry, you did that too, with blacks and indians) and still hasn't fully abolished the death penalty (oops, that's too still the craze in the States) and the role of the military in their society? Oh, that last one, you CANNOT have problems with, in view of your being in bed with some of the bloodiest dictators Post WWII, (Pinochet and Videla)

Come to think of it, if you want the Turks so bad to part of some economic bloc, they are more like you than us anyway, so why don't you take them in NAFTA?

PAH:
quote:
against (...) *sincere* Christians
No, they're only against extremist lunatic fringe Christians.
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Pete at Home
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First of all, some EU leaders have outright come out and SAID that they think that the EU should be comprised of "Christian" nations, and that Turkey should be declined on that basis.

The whole idea of keeping the area where the city of Constantinople once sat out of "Europe" is more than amusing. But then, the only reason that area belongs to the Turks rather than to the Greeks, is that Europe, mainly France, betrayed Constantinople in the 2nd crusade, and raped and sacked the city, weakening it irreparably before the Turks invaded. Their excuse for waging a crusade against a Christian country was that Constantinople allowed Muslims to live and worship freely in their city; there were multiple mosques in Constantinople. But of course the Western Europeans (being insincere Christians) did not discriminate: they raped women with hijab and without, and they robbed both mosques and churches.

Then there's the French murder of the Alberginsians -- you know, where the famous phrase "Kill them all and let God sort them out" was coined by a French General? See, the city of Rheims, at the time the largest in France, was 1/2 catholic and 1/2 "heretic." The French wanted to kill the heretics, but were squeamish about killing their fellow Catholics. That's when the General said that God "connaitra les siens" -- let God sort them out.

And gee, isn't it kind of funny that a European would lecture an American about Genocide? Hello -- just how many Jews did you guys kill in a single decade, IN LIVING MEMORY? You have to go back a century to tar us with a brush that you last used and still stains your living hands.

You guys are still letting synagogues burn, and you personally were just making excuses for it based on what other Jews supposedly do on the other side of the world.

We've learned from the mistakes of our grandparents. You haven't changed a bit.

quote:
In any case, it was too odd for European media too, to report on its demise.
Nothing odd about it. Fact is that Euros are brainwashed about America. You get half the facts, and the other facts are conveniently left out. That is reflected in most of your posts about America.


quote:
Come to think of it, if you want the Turks so bad to part of some economic bloc, they are more like you than us anyway, so why don't you take them in NAFTA?
Because the Turks have not asked to be admitted into NAFTA. We welcomed them into NATO when they asked.

But if you really think that the EU is merely an "economic block," analogous to NAFTA, then you are nearly as ignorant about your own continent as you are about America. [Roll Eyes]

I said that the French law existed in the late 70s and early 80s. I didn't say that the law existed today. And it only affected the name that you put on your birth certificate -- not what you call yourself to friends and family.

Insulting Ornery members' families is a new low, even for you, GD.

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Pete at Home
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Turkey dropped its support of its oppressive Cyprian stooges out of desire to please the EU. If you actually gave a damn about Kurdish suffering, or about getting them to admit that what they did to the Armenians WAS genocide, you could hang that over their heads as a CONDITION of admittance. Your pathetic death penalty condition too, though that's amazingly hypocritical since your police still practice torture without repercussions, and you don't punish your "peacekeepers" who commit rape. (Americans commit those atrocities too, as do people from all cultures when power goes to their heads, but we, unlike you, put our monsters on trial and punish them, while you just cover it up).

But you haven't told Turkey that they could get admitted if they changed certain things. You've made it more than clear that Islam makes them unworthy to sit at your little national country club.

Oh yes, Muslim immigrants in France. Pray tell, can you name one that has been elected to high office? No? Then let's not pretend that you let them emigrate as anything other than subhuman slave labor. You imagine you can let them do your dirty work, and yet keep your own country. Meanwhile your own pathetic birth rates guarantee that you will see Kosovo erupt in your own lands within 3 generations, and your grandsons will be Dhimis and your grandaughters will be houris.

I will not gloat for your loss when it happens. I mourn for you already. Unlike you (remember your comments earlier that Bush supporters deserved 911), I don't wish atrocities on people that merely annoy me.

quote:
The FBI/CIA can read your mail, medical records bank statements under the guise of national security, without proper motivation.
LoL! Quit already? You can't pull this nonsense off with someone who has lived in Europe. I know well that in France, your TAX inspectors are allowed to walk into your homes without a judge's warrant to check to see if you have untaxed art on your walls. So let's not have goofy crocodile tears for American Civil liberties.

quote:
No, they're only against extremist lunatic fringe Christians.
Which in France is apparently defined as Catholics who wear crucifixes as jewelwry, or Jews who wear the Yar ... I can never spell those things. Harmless little hats.

So you admit that Europeans are prejudiced against Orthodox Jews, and that this law against "religious fanaticism" is created in order to embody that prejudice?

Hey, I'm not crazy about images of the suffering Christ being worn casually around people's necks, but it doesn't hurt anyone, so what sort of possible moral justification can you have for banning it?

Any kid in France is going to walk to school past news stands openly showing pornography. How's it going to damage that schoolchild to see someone wearing a crucifix, or a Jewish person wearing a skullcap? I defy you to explain that, reasonably. The fact that it's a secular school does not justify punishing children who are religious.

[ September 02, 2004, 02:17 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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GlobalDemocrat
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Oh, I'm not French. But I'll try to defend my fellow Europeans.
I just want to say, put up or shut up. Show me links of all you said. And if you really think that all American soldiers in Viet Nam were convicted you're even more naive or criminally neglicent than I thougth, although that can hardly be possible. Just because you saw a movie of the week about some American war crime, it doesn't mean that all of them or even the majority is prosecuted.

About genocide: conservative estimates say that about 30 million Indians died during colonization.
Even with less deadly means you managed to kill more, granted over a longer period of time, but whole cultures and peoples aren't even memories anymore.
But to go with you in a pissing contest about genocide is sick and depraved, so I won't go into this. You don't seriously expect me to defend Hitler, now do you? Oh sorry, I forgot, your view of Europe is so warped, you think that Jews are still being rounded up and deported. What's more you think the majority of Europeans want this, so yes, you probably expect me to put up a defense of Hitler. In Europe nobody does that NOW. You still do it. Now to Muslims, or people who look like muslims.
As Americans you did a lot of bad things and if Europeans did it more it was because you're a younger country.

Besides, I said oppressing, not genocide. Just shows what you're full of. If you have personal issues about the WWII holocaust, here's not the place to act out. Get help then.

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tshaw
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GlobalDemocrat,

30 million Indians? I'm afraid I must disagree with your figures. I live in the American West. My great grandfather was a kid during the last of the Indian wars, such as they were. He told me stories about them.

I've seen their ruins. There were never 30 million of them to kill. Not even close. The battles fought between the U. S. Army and the Indians involved hundreds on each side in most battles.

The battle of the Little Big Horn, in which the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes wiped out Custer and the 7th Cavalry only involved a few thousand Indians, and it was the largest gathering of Indian warriors in the latter half of the 19th century.

I've read accounts of Kit Carsen, Jim Bridger and other trappers who explored the West in the early 19th Century, and there was never a native population anywhere near 30 million.

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jasonr
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"I've read accounts of Kit Carsen, Jim Bridger and other trappers who explored the West in the early 19th Century, and there was never a native population anywhere near 30 million."

He's probably blaming you for the Aztecs and the Incas too...

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Pete at Home
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quote:
And if you really think that all American soldiers in Viet Nam were convicted you're even more naive or criminally neglicent than I thougth
And if you really think that I said they were, then your reading comprehension is even worse than your spelling.

I said that we do prosecute American soldiers who commit war crimes during peacekeeping operations, and that Europe does not. Obviously, we only prosecute when there is evidence. But we have prosecuted and punished US soldiers for crimes committed during peacekeeping. Europe has NEVER done so. I can't link you, because there's nothing to link to. That's what NEVER means. NO European prosecutions, EVER, for "peacekeeper" acts of rape and torture.

quote:
You don't seriously expect me to defend Hitler, now do you?
That's exactly what you are doing by distorting American history.

quote:
About genocide: conservative estimates say that about 30 million Indians died during colonization.
It's completely dishonest to compare number of DEATHS "during" colonization, to Murders that were carried out deliberately BY Europeans. Most Indians who died during colonization died from DISEASES that were accidentally introduced by EUROPEANS to the Americas just by virtue of first contact. That's like me saying that Chinese swine farmers are responsible for murdering the millions of Americans who have died of the flu (which comes from southeast China), in the decades since China and America have had contact.

There were later incidents where Europeans and white Americans deliberately passed on pathogen-infected blankets to kill natives, but the vast majority of the deaths were simply due to "first contact" exposure. Even a murderous European bastard like Cortez (whose name ironically means "courtesy") was unable to murder near as many Aztecs as the numbers that died from simple first exposure to EUROPEAN diseases.

(Part of the problem was that you guys didn't bathe a whole lot -- indeed, as late as the 1960s, most French didn't even have showers or bathtubs in their apartments. They distrusted Americans who bathed regularly, since Bathing was what Muslims did.)


quote:
you think that Jews are still being rounded up and deported. What's more you think the majority of Europeans want this
Certainly not. The biggest failing of Europeans is that they fail to stand up to people like you.

I greatly enjoyed my time in Europe. There's a great deal we could learn from Europe -- for example, I think that America will never be truly civilized, until we get rid of our obsession with individual cars and highways, and instead emulate the wonderful European system of public transportation. I think that the British education system is centuries ahead of the pathetic US system, although Bush has taken the country a great leap forward towards the European system. (The system's been a failure so far, not because teaching to the test is a bad idea, but because the American tests are poorly designed. When we finally clue in and start using tests more like the British O levels and A levels, the Bush education program will work wonders).

There are plenty of terrible things going on in America that would be fixed if we looked to Europe. Unfortunately, Europeans are too brainwashed by their anti-American media to realize what our strengths are, and what our real weaknesses are. As a result, you end up saying ridiculous things like that no Americans care about racism on Bob Jones University, etc. It's generally a bad idea to criticize people and countries that you don't have a clue about. Have you ever lived in the USA? No? Then don't pretend you're an expert.

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Serotonin'sGone
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quote:
Nope. It would have been honest if he hadn't said that he was being polite. Since he said that he was being polite, his post was neither polite nor honest. It also wasn't relevant, but since he didn't claim that he was being relevant, I didn't call him on it.
He never claimed his post was polite--only you have made that claim (there is a marked difference between motive and content). Your conclusions are therefore also wrong.
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tshaw
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I believe this whole head scarf thing is the result of the French government finally waking up to the fact that if birth rates and immigration trends continue, by mid century France will have become a Muslim nation. They know they have to do something, and soon, if they are to retain anything of what France has been and has stood for during the last millennium.

This isn’t just a French problem. It is a problem that effects the entire world. As Paul Revere once, supposedly, rode through the New England countryside yelling “The redcoats are coming, the redcoats are coming” someone needs to warn the world. The Muslims are coming!!! , The Muslims are coming!!! And they are only going to be accommodating to other religions and other beliefs until they are in charge.

Now I expect that people will be falling all over themselves to come on here and call me bigoted, and paranoid, and all kinds of other unpleasant things. My only answer is to tell them to open their eyes. Of the twenty or so violent conflicts going on in the world right now, all but two or three of them involve Muslims. The Muslims are being repressed here. The Muslims are being denied their rights there. The Muslims are a majority in this small part of a country, so they want self rule by Muslim law.

Islam is a dark, ugly, repressive, static religion that is locked into the middle ages. The only real difference in the various sects of Islam as it relates to the rest of the world is how it will go about taking over the world. That is the goal. Deny it at your peril.

Christianity was much like Islam until it went through the renaissance. The only hope for some kind of peace in the world during this century is for Islam to go through its own renaissance. I don’t see this happening any time soon, mostly because we are too politically correct to dare to demand it.

A couple of years ago a group of around a hundred western “Intellectuals” started a dialog with their Muslim counterparts in an attempt to find common ground to end Islamic terrorism and other conflicts between Islam and the rest of the world. The messages back and forth were posted on line somewhere.

I read the first two exchanges. The Islamic scholars were perfectly happy to find common ground as long as the Western intellectuals agreed that the basis for agreement was that Islam was destined to become the only religion, and that sharia law would rule.

There was a lengthy dissertation on one of the Islamic web sites a while back by one of the Saudi princes, who had a Sociology degree from a British university. This was a very liberal and enlightened paper that made the argument that nearly any type of government was compatible with Islam. He stated that Muslims could live comfortably under democracy, dictatorship, monarchy, etc. The only necessity was that they all had to be subject to sharia law.

I watched an interview with the leader of one of the more progressive Islamic groups in America the other day. The interviewer was curious as to why American Muslims had been so silent about terrorism. The Islamic leader basically stated that although the Muslims in America mostly disagreed with the methods being used by terrorists, they ultimately agreed with the goals.

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Pete at Home
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@SG "He never claimed his post was polite"--

Wrong. SS said "I'm answering your question out of politeness, Pete." [and then launches into personal attacks that make that first statement a lie.

"there is a marked difference between motive and content"

That's right. Motive = cause, and content = effect. So unless you're proposing that SS suffers from Touret's syndrome, and that insults spill spontaneously from SS, then your claim that SS's post was "honest" simply does not hold water.

I've wasted enough time on this tangent. I'll let you have the last word. But like I told SS, if you can't keep these personal dislikes to yourself, then use personal email. Like SS, you ignore the basic forum rule of having your email available so that people can deal with personal disagreements like this one. Unlike both of you, I have my email available. Use it, or stop making personal attacks. If you'd honored forum rules and left your email available, then I'd have used that rather than replying to your bile on this forum.


On a more interesting and relevant note:

quote:
I watched an interview with the leader of one of the more progressive Islamic groups in America the other day. The interviewer was curious as to why American Muslims had been so silent about terrorism. The Islamic leader basically stated that although the Muslims in America mostly disagreed with the methods being used by terrorists, they ultimately agreed with the goals.
If that's true, then we really need to start screening those we allow to immigrate and naturalize. I have no interest in living under Sharia.

Edited to add:
But the headscarf ban is no solution to this problem. As Kosovo shows, repressing a burgeoning population of immigrants is bad policy. Better policy would be suppression of immigration. The analogy to "yellow peril" is fallacious, because here, there is documented evidence and clear statements of belief on the part of the immigrants (desire to impose Sharia) that present a real and clear threat.)

GD:
quote:
So, what other than a instrument of repression and control is this headscarf?

I dunno, women who want to wear it, for other reasons than to avoid endless ostracizing from the males, are as weird as Americans who vote to be spied on and taxed to benefit the rich.

In Muslim neighborhoods, it's a matter of self-defense. Girls that don't wear the headscarf in Muslim ghettoes in France tend to get gang-raped. And the French Police don't like to go into the Muslim neighborhoods, let alone actually enforce the law there. [hyperbole]It's part of the Lefto-Euro-PC "get sensitive on crime and terrorism" program.[/hyperbole]

[ September 02, 2004, 06:30 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Delirium Tremens
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quote:
Pete: Do you know Christian doctors who are forced BY LAW to work on Sundays?
Yup. Here in Belgium, the law states that there should be always at least 1 doctor for every 50000 (or so) people available on each day of the week. This comes down to the fact that every doctor is obliged to work on Sunday once every 10 weeks or so. Exceptionnaly, a doctor can swap with a colleague, but he cannot escape the system. I don't know the exact punishments, but I suppose his license can be revoked if he systematically refuses. So there is "force" and the "choice" is: participating, find another job, or protest heavily cleaming your rights are being harmed. I don't recall any doctor chosing for option 2 or 3.

quote:
Pete: However, I can think of NO circumstances where the law might be justified in requiring someone to act contrary to their religion.
Ok, we have a different opinion here. Just an example to try to convince you though: the Roma gypsie marriage ritual. According to their tradition/religion: Roma girls are forced (by physical punishment if they fail to do so) to marry at age 12-14 with a guy they often don't know. Moreover their virginity is tested in a quite disgusting way and after marriage, she is forced (again, physically) to do whatever her husband asks. (See here
and here for more details). Roma people call this tradition, I would call it sexual abuse of children and I would be happy if there would be a law putting an end to this.

I know this example is a lot more extreme that the headscarves, where I do feel the French government went a bit too far, though.

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Delirium Tremens
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quote:
tshow: Christianity was much like Islam until it went through the renaissance. The only hope for some kind of peace in the world during this century is for Islam to go through its own renaissance.
Sure. And that's why it is so important to make it clear to the average Joe (or Muhammed) Muslim that we are the good guys.

quote:
tshaw: I don’t see this happening any time soon, mostly because we are too politically correct to dare to demand it.
But I am a lot more optimistic than you are and I do believe it is happening. More and more Muslims living in Europe accept Western values that are in contraction with their religion (e.g. equality between men and women, the importance of good education, separation between state and religion,...). In my opinion, the extremists we see are more like the equivalent of the inquisition (also very active during renaissance), who think they can fight progress with terror. I do believe we will see more violence in the future, but in the long run, their battle is lost.
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