Archive for the ‘PREJUDICE’ Tag




“Freedom of speech does not include freedom to oppress others.”

That is so obvious a truth it need not be stated. It is the ethical equivalent of announcing that the earth revolves around the sun.

Its author here only uses it as a lead-in, a way to gain the first favorable nod of the reader’s head, to the bits of prejudice he wants to plant.

That is the well-established method of propagandists and prejudiced people everywhere.

Our laws, as are those of France, are sufficient to deal with all instances where true oppression might be involved. A woman claiming oppression would be supported by all agencies of the state.

Like so many other religious groups, conservative Muslims in Third World countries sustain ancient practices which we view as foolish.

Almost any aspect of the practices of African Animists is repulsive by our lights. Not just silly stuff like witch doctors, but common practices like female genital mutilation – an African, not a Muslim, practice – or the common practice of older men in villages raping young girls. How about the hunting down and killing and magical use of dismembered body parts of people unfortunate enough to be born albinos?

In backwater India, a poor family will sell a good-looking daughter, at 12 years old, to a rich old man who pays them a “dowry.” When the old man dies in not many years, the poor girl will likely inherit nothing, and she will be consigned to terrible abusive practices towards widows. She must never marry again, she must wear only certain clothes, she must eat only certain foods, and she must not socialize in any normal way. She is consigned to living death at perhaps 18 or 20.

Or how about the young girls sold to certain temples to “serve” there? They become institutionalized prostitutes at very young ages, and they are subject to the ravages of venereal diseases from all the old men who use them.

I could go on and on.

The practices of Ultra-orthodox Jews are as ugly as anything at the extremes of Islam – yet note that we tolerate them in our society. We actually allow Ultra-orthodox rabbis to give a woman’s children to her husband upon divorce, and she has no recourse unless she wants to leave her faith entirely. Such people in fact live under a Jewish form of Sharia Law right here in our society, something we would not tolerate for Muslims. And they wear clothes as impossible and ridiculous as any fundamentalist Muslim in the Third World.

And just so our conservative Mennonites – many of their practices are not quaint and charming, they are brutal and outdated, yet we tolerate them.

Going on and on about the small number – and it is a very small number – of traditional Muslim women who wear the niqab is absurd. They hurt no one. They are free at any future date to give it up.

But telling them through force of law that they cannot wear the niqab is simply the tactics of a police state.

Sarkozy has a shameful record concerning minorities, including his nasty deportation of gypsies, something reminding one of the early days of the Third Reich when Hitler focused on deportation and abuse, murder coming later.

No one who loves a free society will embrace Sarkozy.


You assume this is “enforced.”

You have no factual basis for saying so, but I suspect prejudice.

Lots of religious or culturally conservative people do things I think are silly or even offensive, but if they mind their own business, they have every right to carry on.

Should Ultra-orthodox Jews be required to shave and remove their big hats? In effect, the men’s faces are virtually hidden.

Should Ultra-orthodox Jewish women have equal rights in marriage and with their children, something they do not have unless they leave their religion?

The world is full of foolishness, and worse.

A few women wearing the niqab is hardly an issue worth writing about. But forbidding their right is very much worth writing about.

There is a lot of confusion about the various female Muslim garments.

In general, for readers:

The niqab is a sheer veil worn over the lower face. It was not that long ago regarded in the West as attractive and mysterious, but not now in the insanity of the war-on-terror world, we read nonsense accusations. The niqab is not typical in the Muslim world and few migrants wear it.

The hijab is a headscarf, not much different to a babushka. Anyone criticizing this is being ridiculous, considering how many others cover their heads, including Mennonite women, many Jewish men, and senior Catholic Priests. It wasn’t many decades ago that Western women routinely wore hats and very often veils.

The burqa is a head-to-toe sack with a meshed face slot. The burqa is almost exclusively used in truly backwater places like rural Afghanistan. Only a tiny percent of Muslim women use this.

The chador is a robe worn over the head which goes to the feet. It may be worn with or without the niqab. The chador is associated with Iran.

If you look at films from Egypt or Syria or other places, you will see an immense variety of women’s dress, from purely Western to chadors.

The naiveté of people writing about why some Muslim women use these various modes of dress would be funny were the consequences not so deadly serious.

I recall nuns decades back, dressed in their immense, flowing head-to-foot habits, many of them with huge uncomfortable starchy head gear, who were such strong individuals they might take your breath away.

I am sure, there are Muslim women, wearing the chador and or the niqab who are exactly the same way.

How very foolish it is to assume they are all just beaten beasts, but that kind of cheap assumption comes with the blindness of prejudice.

We are in the midst of a great conflagration of anti-Muslim prejudice. It is a fire constantly stoked by those with an interest in demeaning and demonizing Muslims.




“Even a tolerant country such as Sweden must not tolerate those who preach intolerance.”

Yes, indeed, but the author certainly is being extremely hypocritical in this matter, for the government of Sweden’s responsibility can no greater than that of the state of Israel: it surely is beyond question that anti-Semitic events like those in this story are stoked up by Israel’s never-ending series of brutal behaviors.

The example of intolerance and violence against victims best known on the planet is the state of Israel: invasions, murder, illegal arrest, torture, apartheid practices, and ethnic-cleansing.

Right now, Israel, for the second time, is destroying the dwellings of hundreds of harmless Bedouin on the Negev Desert, and it arrests those who oppose its police-state activities to protect their homes.

Previously the government of Israel followed the ghastly practice of poisoning the crops of these people in order to drive them away.

At the same time, not a week goes by in which Israel does not commit a new injustice in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, throwing people off their property with the flimsiest excuse and stealing title to it.

The poor people of Gaza are into their fourth year of a brutal and unjustified blockade, denying them many of life’s ordinary requirements. Israel Post has recently announced that mail will not be delivered to Gaza, in violation of international conventions.

Israel killed with impunity nine human-rights workers on the high seas, and to this day neither the ships seized nor the personal effects Israeli soldiers grabbed from hundreds of innocent people – phones, computers, cameras, wallets – have been returned to their owners. God knows what happened to the cargo which included everything from donated wheelchairs and medicines to food.

Israel weekly makes provocative moves in Southern Lebanon, from cutting down trees on the Lebanese side of the border – yes, other people’s trees – to flying its jets threateningly overhead. It never assisted in locating the countless cluster bombs it dropped to kill and maim innocent people going about their business. It shouts, day after day, for war on Iran, a country which is attacking no one.

And millions go into their fifth decade of living under humiliating and illegal occupation.

Israel freely assassinates anyone it chooses to regard as an enemy, and that likely includes prominent figures like former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri or Palestine’s Yasser Arafat.

I just wonder whether there is even one Palestinian who would not gladly trade places with a Jewish person in Sweden, despite the unpleasantness of some minor vandalism?

“I stopped reading this article when it attempted to label attitudes about Israel as attitudes about Jews. Israel is a state, not a race or religion.

“Certainly Jews should feel free and comfortable to live in Sweden, and any other democracy. But that has nothing to do with Israel.”


Israel’s defenders never seem to grasp this essential truth.

When spokesmen like Ronald Lauder say otherwise, I always feel I’m being told I must drop all clear thinking and sense of fairness under threat of being labeled as anti-Semitic. How is such labeling different to people who use epithets and paint ugly graffiti?

In that sense, I am sorry to say, but I regard apologists for Israel like Ronald Lauder who call critics of Israel anti-Semitic as representing the same anti-democratic and anti-enlightenment values as the unthinking thugs who break windows in a synagogue.

You cannot demand special pleading here: either you are fair and consistent in your treatment of others or you are not.

The thugs in Sweden are unacceptable, but then so are Ronald Lauder’s prejudiced words.

As for Israel’s barbarism and injustice, the day everyone is browbeaten into accepting it is the day we will know Hitler’s ugly legacy to the world lives on.

“JOHN_CHUCKMAN_ if Sweden hates Israel for whatever reason, that does not give citizens of Sweden or Swedish government the right to abuse Swedish Jewish population that supports Israel because of their history.”

I never said that it did.

The author of this comment has commented without reading the material on which he/she is commenting.



Safer for whom, Oliver Kamm?

For the more than 600,000 murdered by Bush in Iraq?

For the tens of thousands murdered in Afghanistan, including the 3,000 prisoners who were driven out to the desert in vans to be suffocated?

For the thousands of prisoners of the CIA’s International Torture Gulag?

For the abused and tortured of Abu Ghraib?

For the abused and tortured of Guantanamo?

For the millions of lives shattered in Iraq, a place that once was on the cusp of modernity and prosperity?

This has to be the most breathtakingly dumb piece of writing I’ve seen in years

Apart from my question of safer for whom, citing the piles of Bush victims, the world is not a safer place for many other reasons, Oliver Kamm.

First, suppression of human rights all over the Western world is no light thing. There is nothing ‘safe’ about living in a police state or a quasi-police state the U.S. has become under Bush. The Bill of Rights has virtually been suspended.

Second, people of Arabic origin or of Muslim beliefs are now routinely abused and insulted in many Western countries, especially in the United States.

Third, a wave of hatred and injustice is rippling through the Muslim world. That isn’t just going to go away. Bush’s approach has been the approach of Israel, which today remains a garrison state with no peace and defended by walls and brutality, a long-term untenable position, besides being a shining example of ethically-hollow behavior.

Fourth, Bush’s oppression and killing abroad have been closely paralleled by an almost unprecedented grant of license to Israel to behave as brutally and ruthlessly as it wishes towards Palestinians and other neighbors.

A genuinely horrible situation has grown up, and no open-minded person can possibly look at Israel’s wretched behavior in Gaza and in Lebanon and towards Syria without some revulsion. Nothing, absolutely nothing, Apartheid South Africa did has not been repeated by Israel towards its neighbors, and, of course, that includes infamous mass killings of poor blacks by South African troops and mass imprisonments with no rights or justice.

Fifth, Bush has also set aside the Geneva Conventions and other important international treaties, including that safeguarding the rights of child soldiers. No meaningful sense of safety comes from this arrogance.

He has practiced new bizarre doctrines, giving the example to other states to do the same in future, as, for example, pre-emptive strikes on suspects and high-tech assassinations. These provide another measure of the ‘Israelization’ of American policy. Imagine a world in which every state claims this philosophy?

What has happened overall in the world under Bush is a series of steps away from democratic principles. Even if America had the most vigorous and fair democracy, something that is demonstrably not the case, when its leaders decide the fates of so many others, its tiny group of electors (maybe 1% or less of the world’s people, taking into account many Americans do not even vote) effectively acts like an aristocracy vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

You cannot claim democratic values and behave this way. After all, the Communist Party of China rules more than a billion people with almost the same percentage of representation.

The United States and Israel have given democracy a bad name in much of the emerging world. After all, in the special limited sense they claim to be democratic, so was Apartheid South Africa or the American Confederacy or the Britain of George III.