Friday, 22 July 2016

Ridiculous camel-driver costume

Comment on: “Kelvin MacKenzie's hijab remarks in Sun spark 1,400 complaints”, BBC 19 July 2016
Refuting Mohammedan horse-shit is like strangling a giraffe
You don't know where to start
Britain´s Channel 4 News assigned a journalist wearing Mohammedan costume to report on the Islamic terrorist atrocity in Nice, France.
Writing in the Sun on Monday, MacKenzie said: “With all the major terrorist outrages in the world currently being carried out by Muslims, I think the rest of us are reasonably entitled to have concerns about what is beating in their religious hearts. Who is in the studio representing our fears? Nobody.”
Manji accused MacKenzie of trying to “intimidate Muslims out of public life” and Channel 4 News described his comments as “offensive, completely unacceptable, and arguably tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred”.
Talking head Fatima Manji wearing her camel-driver costume

The “racial hatred” charge unmasks this whole performance as surrealist nonsense reminiscent of the late Salvador Dalí. Racism against Mohammedans is like sexism against penguins.
MacKenzie said nothing about Manji’s race or lack of same, he wrote about her ridiculous camel-driver costume. Why do Mohammedans insist on stuffing their primitive superstitions down our throats on nation-wide TV broadcasts?  
To assign a woman wearing Mohammedan headdress to report news on Mohammedan atrocities is at the very least grossly insensitive, if not actually a deliberate provocation on the part of Channel 4.
MacKenzie blamed Channel 4, not Manji.
He principally blamed Channel 4 for being insensitive to the public’s feelings.
Is associating headscarves with Islamic terrorism bigotry?
Two (2) of the most prominent traits of fundamentalist Islam as it presently exists all over the entire planet are:
1. Islamic terrorism, and
2. wearing headscarves

Both behavior patterns became fashionable

1.      at the same time (1980s),
2.     among the same kind of people (conservative Muslims)
3.     who were influenced by the same authors (Maududi and Syed Qutb).

It is an undisputed historical fact that these two behaviour patterns are at least loosely linked.  Consequently associating these two behaviour patterns with each other is a sign of pragmatism, not of bigotry. Therefore there should be nothing wrong in saying so, even if the remark was published by the gutter press.
Perhaps instead of constantly looking for pretexts to be offended, Muslims should look critically at their own religion and distinguish those Islamic traditions that are ripe for the rubbish heap.
Islamophobia is the mirror image of Muslim reluctance to face uncomfortable facts.
Consider a different trope that is assiduously cultivated by islamophiliacs and has become an unquestionable article of faith for many people, yet has much less historical justification than associating Islamic terrorism with headscarves:
The islam lobby never tires of associating hostility to islam on the one hand with neoconservative military adventures in the Middle East on the other.
For years a steady drumbeat of islamophiliac propaganda has sought to weld opposition to islam indissolubly to support for Western imperialism.
However this association is only about 10 years old.
The initial manifesto of Stop the War Campaign in the UK in September 2001 rightly denounced US imperialist designs on Iraq. But there was no mention at all of any hostility toward islam. That idea came later.  
I grant that there is some overlap between those who criticize islam and those who encourage imperialist war. Prominent examples are Sam Harris and Bill Maher [see 20 of the Dumbest, Most Bigoted Things Bill Maher Has Ever Said, by Adam Johnson, Michael Arria, AlterNet, March 7, 2016]
But such overlap is neither universal nor logically compelling. For my part I do not think that on the whole US wars in or against Mohammedan countries are a suitable means of opposing islam, although perhaps in certain cases such wars can be justified on those grounds.  
Western aggression against Iraq was not in the least characterized by hostility to islam, at least overtly. No mosques were shut down, no hate preachers were imprisoned, performing Mohammedan rituals was not discouraged.
By contrast those who associate Islamic terrorism with headscarves can refer to a long historical tradition that links both behavior patterns, although perhaps somewhat loosely.
What justification did Kelvin MacKenzie have for calling hijab “a sign of the slavery of Muslim women by a male-dominated and clearly violent religion?"
Well, consider this recent news report from the BBC:
Pakistan burned teacher's death was 'not suicide', investigation says, 
BBC 21 July 20016
“Maria Sadaqat's family say she was attacked and set on fire at her home in Murree after turning down a suitor” and that “the attackers had wanted revenge because she had rejected a marriage proposal from the school owner's son, because he was already married with a child.”
“Ms Sadaqat gave statements to the police in hospital, naming several men as her attackers, before she died on 1 June. Police initially arrested four men, including the owner of a school where Ms Sadaqat taught not far from the capital Islamabad.”
But the police then released the suspects and claimed that Ms. Sadaqat had committed suicide. This is a typical example of the impunity of honor killers in Pakistan.
So what is the attitude of Pakistani islamists to violence against women?
The same BBC article clears up any doubts on this issue:
In February 2016 Punjab province passed a law criminalising violence against women, but all the mainstream Islamic political parties threatened to launch protests if the law was not repealed.
In other words, Kelvin MacKenzie writes bluntly, but his statement seems a reasonably accurate portrayal of the facts. 
Skinheads & Sikhs
Suppose Nazi skinhead terrorists had committed the massacre in Nice. And then suppose that instead of assigning Fatima Manji to report on the atrocity, Channel 4 News had assigned an employee with a shaven head.
Or suppose it had been a Sikh terrorist attack [Sikhs have been known to commit terrorist attacks against India], and a Sikh journalist had appeared on Channel 4 News wearing the traditional Sikh turban.
Would that not have been at the very least in questionable taste?
Suppose someone had objected to a skinhead reporting on a neo-Nazi atrocity, or that someone had objected to a Sikh reporting on an atrocity committed by Sikhs.  
Suppose the skinhead or Sikh journalist had replied thusly:
"[He] has attempted to smear 1.6 million skinheads [or 27 million Sikhs] in suggesting they are inherently violent. ... And he has attempted to smear me by suggesting I would sympathise with a terrorist.”
Such indignation would be patently phony and hypocritical.
Which is a fair description of islam as a whole. 

Digging deeper into hijabbery
Manji accused MacKenzie of wanting to “intimidate Muslims out of public life”. She seems to be implying that she cannot appear in public without wearing Mohammedan headdress. How come?  Why is she compelled to wear it every time she leaves her home? Is it glued on? This behavior seems somewhat obsessive-compulsive. Surely she can make an exception one single time, for example when she's reporting on an Islamic atrocity?
But there's another thing: why do they wear it at all? According to a random page I found on the internet, Qur’an 33:59 says,
“This [i.e. hijab] is more appropriate so that they may be known [as Muslim women] and thus not be harassed [or molested].”
Men, whether they confess it or not, are slaves of lust and desire.
• Hijab protects women from such men; it symbolizes that she has been sanctified to one man only and is off-limit to all others.
• Hijab contributes to the stability and preservation of marriage and family by eliminating the chances of extramarital affairs.
These grounds may be valid in Mohammedan countries, but not in West European ones. So by wearing hijab in England they are implying that the social relations in the Middle East are reproduced everywhere Muslims go. Cultural imperialism?
Moreover, Manji wears a large and shapeless headscarf of a depressingly drab shade. Why not something a little more fashionable, less ominous, less Dickensian, less Biblical?
Why not wear Western-style headgear, which covers hair just as well? Check out these nifty models, most of which can be arranged to cover all of a woman's hair:

Since I have never seen Muslim women wearing Western-style headgear to cover their hair, I rapidly get the impression that they’re not really trying to cover their hair at all. Instead they’re making a fashion statement. A Middle Eastern fashion statement. They are wearing traditional clothes because they want to be clearly recognizable as Muslims.  
Identity politics.
So behind those noble claims, it seems that the camel-driver costume actually IS what MacKenzie said: a poke in the eye for Westerners.    

Note: Although in this instance I happen to agree with the Sun, I read that shady periodical with the same scepticism that I devote to reading the Holy Qur’an, for example. In particular I utterly condemn the Sun’s front-page story on 23rd November 2015, which allaeges  “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”
and I fully agree with the Guardian’s devastating criticism of that shameless libel that appeared on the following day, entitled “The Guardian view on the media after Paris: from fear to loathing, by way of made-up facts”.

Specifically, the term “sympathy for” someone covers a broad range of meanings and need not entail political support. I defend criticism of Muslims and Islam (and of everyone else, of course) when it is warranted by a careful study of verified facts. Criticism based on lies, rumors or conjecture is unacceptable and must be condemned out of hand. I recognize that not all criticism of Muslims is warranted, and that this subject matter lends itself to misunderstandings. 

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