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Posts Tagged ‘islamophobia’

As I understand it, the rationale for the much discussed burqa ban (recently instituted in France, but also considered elsewhere, as the linked posts and many, many others discuss) is to prevent people hiding their faces because hiding one’s face while talking in person inhibits communication.

That’s as may be. I accept that it is slightly off-putting to speak to someone when you can’t see hir face and in a situation where you would normally be able to see hir face. But I have two points to make. First we do speak to people all the time without being able to see their faces – on the telephone. This has not exactly caused a breakdown in society.*

Secondly, if you are concerned that the wearing of the burqa reduces your ability to communicate, why is the rational reaction to say “well you can’t come and see me at all?” That is the reaction of one Conservative MP in the UK.

Then again, I suppose that party is not known for logical or rational reactions when it comes to prejudice.

* Although having said that, research published in 2004 by researchers at Cornell (I couldn’t find any link to the actual paper, but the names of the researchers are Hancock, Ritchie and Thom-Santelli) did show that people were more likely to lie over the telephone than face-to-face or in an email. Still, my point holds (ie: no breakdown in society), especially since it’s not necessarily clear why people are more likely to lie over the telephone – it could be due to the difference in the psychological effect of someone’s actual presence as well as simply eye contact.

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The Land and Environment Court has dismissed the appeal by the Quranic Society against a decision by Camden Municipal Council not to allow a Muslim school in the area.

I haven’t read the decision yet – if I get the chance to do so next week, I may post about it – but the ABC article linked above gives the court’s reason for dismissing the appeal as being that the school “was not suitable for the rural nature of the land.”

I’ve written about this school before, and again, I’m skeptical about the Court’s reasoning – but I’ll wait until I get the chance to read the judgment before I say too much about that.

What I want to draw attention to, though, is comments like this (from the ABC article):
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I was cheered to see the report of the decision of a judge of the Land and Environment Court, upholding the decision of a commissioner of that court, granting approval to an Islamic school in Bankstown.

I don’t particularly agree with the idea of religious schools at all, but the real issue here is the discrimination that’s taking place – which relates to ideas of equality rather than freedom of religion, as far as I’m concerned.

Of particular note is this (taken from the SMH article linked above):

The judgement [of the commissioner] also referred to “the elephant in the courtroom” or “whether the council would have raised quite as many contentions as it did if the application had been for an Anglican school”.

Hear, hear!

One of the arguments in the appeal from the commissioner to the judge was whether the commissioner had taken into account “whether the development was compatible with the character of the area.”

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Maybe I’m just being a little too sensitive to this at the moment. But anyway. BBC Radio 4 on in the background, and they’re talking about listeners’ concerns that they (the listeners) might be eating halal meat without being aware that they are doing so. This based on the statistic that something like 25% of meat in the UK market is halal, but only 3% of the population is muslim.

There’s an elephant in the room! (And I think it might be halal.)

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I grew up near Camden, NSW, so when I noticed this story the other day, my ears pricked up (figuratively speaking).

Essentially, the Qu’uranic Society Dar Tahfez El-Quran had lodged a planning application with Camden Municipal Council for an Islamic school that would cater for around 1200 students. The main reasons appeared to be: (1) it would occupy grazing land; (2) it would increase traffic; (3) it could potentially alter the cultural make-up of the area.

Note that there are quite a number of Christian schools in the Camden municipality, at least one of which was recently built (it wasn’t actually a new school, but new buildings for an existing school) which did take up prime agricultural land and definitely increased traffic in the area, but I don’t recall there being any controversy about that at the time. In addition, the local high school was moved a couple of years ago, and apparently the proposed school was quite close to the high school. Again, I don’t recall any problems being raised about prime grazing land or traffic when the new high school site was approved.

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So, in the UK, a young woman has today been sentenced following her conviction a month ago for owning terrorist manuals.

After the jury delivered its verdict in November, the judge said:

You have been, in many respects, a complete enigma to me.

Well. Quite.

A middle-aged man finds a young woman an enigma? What a surprise!

Well, apparently it was a surprise to the media, who felt the need to report that quote again and again and again, not just when she was convicted, but now, at the time of sentencing.

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