Entries from June 2009 ↓

Burka Ban: Not Just Black and White

Jill Singer offers a defence of Sarkozy’s proposed “burka ban” in the Herald Sun today, arguing that it should be illegal to wear it because she thinks it is ugly and may be uncomfortable on hot days.  She writes:

No matter what your personal views about the burka — a symbol of oppression or expression of religious identity — it is an undeniably ugly item of clothing.

Burkas also make life hard for the women who wear them, being stiflingly hot in summer, and extremely restricting vision.

Only a masochist would opt to wear one, designed as they are by sadists.

It is no coincidence that Muslim men in Saudi Arabia, for example, drape themselves in cooling white while insisting their women bake in black.

It’s doubtful that Singer has spent much time in a niqab or “burka”, much less worn it in the desert climes of Saudi Arabia; rather, she is simply fantasising about what it must be like to wear it.   The fact that many bedouin and desert-dwelling tribes, such as the Tuareg, also wear black robes  is seemingly lost on the former Today Tonight presenter.  Unless these men are genetically or culturally inclined towards acts of sadism, it is reasonable to assume that things are not quite as black and white as Singer is arguing.

As this article in Nature magazine explained:

Survival in hot deserts has always posed a problem for man; Moses had to solve it in order to lead the children of Israel through the wilderness of the Sinai—a formidable hot desert. It seems likely that the present inhabitants of the Sinai, the Bedouins, would have optimised their solutions for desert survival during their long tenure in this desert Yet, one may have doubts on first encountering Bedouins wearing black robes and herding black goats. We have therefore investigated whether black robes help the Bedouins to minimise solar heat loads in a hot desert. This seemed possible because experiments have shown that white hair on cattle1,2 and white feathers on pigeons3 permit greater penetration of short-wave radiation to the skin than black. In fact, more heat flowed inward through white pigeon plumage than through black when both were exposed to simulated solar radiation at wind speeds greater than 3 m s-1 (ref. 3). We report here that the amount of heat gained by a Bedouin exposed to the hot desert is the same whether he wears a black or a white robe. The additional heat absorbed by the black robe was lost before it reached the skin.

Richard Peppiatt, a journalist for the Daily Star, decided to take a different approach to test whether the niqab was “stifingly hot”.  He writes:

My first impression as I stepped out in the blistering sun was how cool these veils are in the heat.

I wasn’t sweltering in the enclosed warmth, stifled by the closeness and lack of mobility.

The burka was flexible, breathable and relatively comfy.

However, regardless of that, he stills wants it banned because people were unable to see his face when he wore it.

Sarkozy wants “Burqa” ban

French President Sarkozy says that the “burqa” is not welcome in France and has given his support to a law that will make it illegal for a woman to wear the garment:

Mr Sarkozy said that while freedom of religion was paramount in France, the burqa represented a symbol of the debasement and servitude of women: “The burqa is not welcome on the French Republic’s territory. It is not what the French Republic wants for the dignity of women … we cannot accept in our country that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from society and all identity.”

The problem is, of course, that banning women from wearing an article of clothing doesn’t increase their freedom but limits it.  And a number of feminist bloggers appear to agree.   Regardless of what  Sarkozy may imagine, the vast majority of women who wear a niqab in the West are not “prisoners” and continue to have an identity — albeit one that the French state and their social engineers might not approve of.

Bastiat Prize 2009

From the website:

IPN’s Bastiat Prize for Journalism was inspired by the 19th-century French philosopher and journalist Frédéric Bastiat.

The prize was developed to encourage and reward writers whose published works promote the institutions of a free society: limited government, rule of law brokered by an independent judiciary, protection of private property, free markets, free speech, and sound science.

It’s good to see they have a special category for online journalism which includes blogs (the winner will receive $3,000).

(via Let a Thousand Nations Bloom)

NAB to offer “Muslim-friendly” loans

The Sunday Telegraph reports today that the National Australia Bank (NAB) is to offer “Muslim-friendly” loans that do not charge interest.

For the trial’s purposes NAB will pump $15 million from its not-for-profit finance division into the program, which will distribute the funds through various community finance schemes around the country. The bank will monitor the take-up and assess potential demand.

Interest-free loans of up to $1000 will be available to help finance household items, such as washing machines and fridges.

The loans would also be available to non-Muslims.

This seems to be NAB’s No Interest Loan Scheme which does not appear to be specifically targeted at Muslims although the fact that it is interest-free would obviously appeal to the Muslim community.  These loans are only available to low-income earners who cannot borrow money from elsewhere on account of their low income.  It’s unclear whether the NAB would also extend these loans to Muslims who cannot borrow money from elsewhere on account of their religious beliefs.

“The far left BNP is an anti-British party.”

Daniel Hannan, European MP, on the left-wing British National Party (BNP):

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Although they are frequently referred to as a “far right” party, their policies, like those of their Australian counter-parts, are essentially left wing.  Hannan writes in a piece on the same subject:

As Hayek wrote in 1944 in his brilliant chapter on “the socialist roots of Nazism”, the dispute between fascists and socialists is a dispute between brothers. Labour and the BNP are, in a sense, competing for the same sort of voter: one who believes in the power of the state. The one kind of voter whom both fascists and socialists regard as beyond persuasion is the small-government Tory.

Daniel blogs here and has some great youtube videos.  For example, here is he explaining the essence of these so-called “bailouts” and “stimulus” packages:

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Return of Ameer Ali

Ameer Ali returns to the pages of the The Australian with the same argument he and others made famous during the Howard Era:  the government must use taxpayer’s money to fund some project or else Muslims might do something really, really, really bad.

The Rudd government should urgently boost funding for high-quality Islamic studies courses, moderate Muslim community groups, and police liaison teams to counter home-grown extremism, a leading Australian Islamic expert says.

Such measures offered the best hope of blunting the potential radicalisation of hundreds of Muslim students who come to Australia to study each year. They would have a hugely positive impact on Australian Muslims, said Ameer Ali, vice-president of the Regional Islamic Council of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Ameer Ali has been talking up the threat of international students for several years.  Here he was two years ago on the pages of the same newspaper:

Moderate Muslims warned yesterday that international students should be forced to undergo training about the Australian way of life to counter their radical interpretations of Islam.

The former chairman of John Howard’s Islamic reference board, Ameer Ali, said some international students needed to be stopped from poisoning the minds of local Muslims.

Leaving aside his obvious totalitarian yearnings for a government that attempts to reprogram foreign nationals entering our country and tries to intervene to stop citizen’s minds being “poisoned”, one must also ask whether the threat that is being promoted here is even remotely real.  How many international students have been involved in planning or carrying out terrorist attacks in Australia?

Barack Obama addresses the Muslim world

The warmup act
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Obama’s speech to Muslims cut the legs from underneath the grievance merchants in our community. It is a wedge between mainstream Muslims and extreme elements who feed of the sentiments of victimization.

I expect it will be very well received by most except those Muslims who are pathologically incapable of appreciating anything beyond their own failure and who can twist any praise into a perceived slight.

Thought Crimes

Following a spate of violent attacks on Indian students, the Victorian government is proposing that tougher sentences should be handed out to criminals who perpetrate crimes motivated out of a hatred of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation:

HATE crime could soon be an offence in Victoria as the State Government moves to crack down on violent attacks against Indian students, homosexuals and other targeted groups.

Under a plan being pushed by Attorney-General Rob Hulls, judges would have to take into account “hatred for or a prejudice against a particular group of people” as an aggravating factor when sentencing offenders.

Tougher sentences would apply to crimes deemed to be based on victims’ race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

The idea of imposing tougher sentences for so-called “hate crimes” raises some interesting questions.

Continue reading →

Mosque Finder

Kashif, over at Peace Bruv, has put together a useful mosque finder site and would like some help in developing it further:

At the time of writing i have over 1800 mosques listed on the site. What i really need now is for people to visit the site, find their local mosque and fill in the “update mosque info” page with details of their local masjid’s facilities, and preferably a photo too.

Mosque-finder.com currently includes ~150 Australian mosques and prayer rooms.

How ideas trump economic crises

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