Shame on US

19 responses to “Shame on US

  1. The question is whether people should have taken action. Wearing such clothing openly says “I support a way of life in which women are subordinate to men”. That is the whole purpose of such clothing: put your woman in a bag.

    The question is who is saying it, the man or the woman. If it is the man, or if it is the woman but she has no choice, then any enlightened society would forbid such clothing in public. This needs the full support of the state, not some passerby getting involved. If it is the woman’s choice, as many claim it is, then interrupting would be like trying to stop the consensual violence between a BDSM couple.

    Suppose it was the woman who was violent, and the man was a skinhead dressed in neonazi gear. Should passersby protect him?

    • First, how people present themselves has no bearing on their rights. She was entitled to not be struck regardless; and therefore entitled also to the protection of strangers observing the incident (even if that protection only extends to calling the police).

      Second, the hijab or equivalent is technically supposed to represent, or be an act of modesty in women. In that respect it is very similar to a nun’s habits. It does not automatically, or even frequently represent the subordination of women. In some cases it even indicates only that a secular (or even christian) woman is expressing solidarity with moslem women.

      Third, banning religious expression that is not in itself a criminal act is not the act of an enlightened government. It is an act of religious intolerance. Suggesting it may only represent ignorance, but it is the sort of culpable ignorance that comes from operating from prejudices and not thinking through the significance of what is said.

    • “Suppose it was the woman who was violent, and the man was a skinhead dressed in neonazi gear. Should passersby protect him?”

      Yes, of course. Assaults are not legal, permissible, or good for society. The victims clothing has zero, nada, zilch to do with it.

  2. Sickening. When we define ‘others’ this is what happens–especially when those of us with social power demean or dehumanize, this is what happens.

    Yes, I’m looking at you, Mr. Trump, but sadly you are not the only culprit.

  3. michael sweet

    The man who defended the woman in a Hajib sounded to me like he had an accent. Possibly Australian, although I am not very good with accents.

    [Response: I noticed that, and it sounded Australian to me too.]

    • He’s a New Zealander … the accent is a little weak, so perhaps he’s spent a lot of time in Australia or has migrated here, as lots have.

      (I love the NZ accent. Especially traveling far from home, just the tiniest grab of it conveys something inexplicable … sensible, friendly, caring.)

      • Gerg, I didn’t detect any vowel shift, so I’m going to have to go with aussie myself. (Of course, as and kiwi knows, any praiseworthy kiwi is instantly adopted as a de facto aussie by the aussies).

    • Definitely NZ. And yes, there’s something sweet about that accent. (I’m Aussie)

      • Definitely a Kiwi, and good on him. Its easier to make a judgement in a situation that is familiar to you. Throw in a foreign language and a different cultural background, and its hard to know what to do. Sometimes you’ll see someone try to intervene in a “domestic” dispute and be told to “eff off” by both parties.
        But good on the Kiwi. He’ll be my role model.

  4. I have reposted this to my facebook page, but also commented:

    “Slight word of caution – some of these youtube ‘social experiments’ have been shown (and been admitted) to have been staged, and that first response looks very rapid and full on. On the other hand, I have seen no such suggestion for these producers, and other ‘social experiments’ show obviously non-staged and fairly rapid public reactions to men hitting women.”

  5. Throughout Europe, Muslim men have been running ongoing experiments involving inflicting religiously inspired violence on girls and women for some time now.

    Take, for example, the various Muslim rape gangs that have been caught in Britain (by the way, “Asian” here is PC doublespeak for “Muslim”):

    Click to access Easy-Meat-Multiculturalism-Islam-and-Child-Sex-Slavery-05-03-2014.pdf

    Or consider 3rd World migrant friendly Sweden, which which has been transformed in a few decades from one of the safest countries on the planet into the rape capital of Europe, with the second highest incidence of rape in the world.

    Here, you can read about steps Norwegian officials are taking to encourage Muslims to refrain from raping the locals in Norway:

    And of course we just heard about the mass rape-and-grope assaults by muslim asylum seekers against German women in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Day:

    Do a little google searching yourself and you’ll find many, many more cases just like these that are being reported in increasing numbers from all over Europe.

    This sort of behavior is a distinctly Muslim phenomenon, and it’s a Muslim phenomenon because Islam’s foundational texts actively encourage it. Of course not all, or even a majority of Muslims behave this way, but a significant minority do, and it doesn’t take a large number of them to have a seriously disruptive effect on the fabric of society. It must also be noted that while the majority of Muslims may disapprove of extremist views and behaviors, they also exhibit a disturbing degree of tolerance for extremists in their midst. As a case in point, the identities and activities of the rape gang in Rotherham were apparently something of an open secret in the Muslim community there, and it would seem none among them felt the urge to report anything to the police. This willingness to harbor criminals seems to be the rule in Muslim communities in the West, rather than the exception. And that is a big problem.

    Another problem for nations that are considering allowing mass immigration of Muslims is that it is nearly impossible to tell who is or might become an extremist Muslim from a moderate or secular Muslim. It seems that nations considering allowing them in en masse simply have to accept that a certain percentage of them (polls regularly put the figure at 10-25%) will hold extremist views, and a subset of that proportion will at some point carry out extremist acts such as those documented above, or like those we just saw in Paris. While you might find Mr. Trump’s suggestion that Muslim immigration be banned objectionable, Europe’s experience makes it clear that mass Muslim immigration comes at a high financial and social cost. It is entirely worth debating whether the perceived benefits it also bring are large enough to justify bearing them.

    [Response: Apparently you missed the point. It’s not about violence or abuse by Muslims. It’s about Americans failing to defend victims because they appear to be Muslim. In this context, your complaints about the behavior of immigrants is nothing but a deflection. Changing the subject doesn’t make our failings go away.]

  6. No, I didn’t miss the point. The message of the video is that people in America show less concern for Muslim women in hijabs than women who dress like Westerners. The subtext is that Muslims are oppressed (maybe just micro-oppressed), and Americans need to be more sensitive about how they behave around them. Being more sensitive includes feeling obliged to intervene in intramuslim domestic violence.

    Of course, the video proves absolutely nothing, even if we assume it wasn’t staged. Their sample size is, what, six or eight people? Not enough to establish a baseline or run an experiment. Do the reactions of a handful of people permit sweeping conclusions about the moral character of 300+ million people, or the average willingness of those 300+ million to come to the aid of Muslim women in hijabs? No. Of course not. (And we don’t know enough to rule out the possibility that one or more of those 6-8 passers by called the police).

    Still, I’d be willing to entertain the possibility that Americans feel less sympathetic towards Muslims, particularly those who impose strict dress codes on their women, than they do towards non-Muslims or towards those who appear to them to be part of their own “tribe”. My point is that this sympathy gap, should it exist, is probably a reaction to prominent, undesireable behaviors exhibited all too regularly by adherents of the teachings of Islam, both in the West and elsewhere in the world.

    Islam is an ideology, not a race. You can select into it, and you can select out of it (at least in the West you can; in Islamic nations trying to select out can get you killed for apostasy). What you choose to do sends signals, if imprecise ones, about what kind of person you are and what values you hold. Others will interpret these signals, and the sympathetic feelings they feel towards you will reflect the judgment they make.

    Since we’re touching on identity politics here, as a group, Muslims in the west would be regarded much more warmly if they would drop the misogyny, homophobia, violence and biggoted intolerance towards kafirs from their belief system; turned in the violent-minded extremists among them to the authorities far more frequently, and made more of an effort to assimilate into secular western society than they currently do.

    • “Since we’re touching on identity politics here, as a group, Muslims in the west would be regarded much more warmly if…”

      No doubt that’s true. But the more they are stereotyped as rapists and murderers, the less likely they are to feel motivated to cozy up to the mainstream. And stereotype it is: as you say, the description fits only a very small number of even *immigrant* Muslims, let alone the native-born, of whom there are a considerable number in North America.

      I’d add that in our area there is a considerable population of Bosniaks (Muslim Bosnians) who fled the wars around the breakup of Yugoslavia. When I consider their history here (or what I know of it, at least), the words that come to mind are ones like “civil” and “hard-working.” The only public issue I’m aware of is around their attempts to build a mosque: this was not a popular idea with some, who were adamantly opposed to it, allegedly because of concerns around traffic, parking, and noise. Could have been their true concern–but I doubt it, as nobody ever seems to have parallel concerns when a Christian church is built or expands–not so adamantly, at least, as to be reported outside the zoning hearing.

    • No, I didn’t miss the point.

      You twisted it into something it isn’t.

      The subtext is that Muslims are oppressed (maybe just micro-oppressed), and Americans need to be more sensitive about how they behave around them. Being more sensitive includes feeling obliged to intervene in intramuslim domestic violence.

      The point was about how we treat Muslims differently. It appears ‘we’ have less trouble intervening in domestic violence with non-Muslims. That’s our bad, not Muslims’.

      The rest of your post is the bad-Islam can-can. You said, “Islam is an ideology, not a race,” which is apropos of absolutely nothing here. It’s a rhetorical habit from your particular focus on Islam posting on the web, I’d guess. A stock talking point. One amongst many you littered here on automatic pilot.

      We all know of retrograde values in the Muslim world. That’s never an excuse for lowering our own. Or for failing to intervene in domestic violence because fear and loathing trumps decency.

      There’s nothing wrong with cultural sensitivity, either. It’s a choice, not an ideology. Nothing critical needs to be forsaken,

  7. To my ears, it sounds like the guy threatening to call the cops is from Nu Zilland.

  8. It’s not our failing that Islam teaches men to beat women. It’s a failing of the barbaric religion. If you stop the man beating the woman on the street, he’d only beat her twice as hard once they are back inside their house.

    If you truly want to help this woman, stop the spread of Islam.

    • We decide how to respond. That’s the point. Doing nothing is a crappy answer.

    • Oh, please. First, it’s a strawman: there is nothing in the world preventing anyone from doing both, if that is what they think right.

      Second, since ‘stopping the spread of Islam’ is clearly a generation-scale project at least, making that the only mode of ‘helping *this* woman’ would clearly be a way to ensure that she would receive no help whatever during her lifetime.

      Third, while there is indeed support in Quran for husbands beating their wives, it is clearly not supposed to be the norm:

      The third right [of wives] is living with [wives] honourably. The Almighty said: “And live with them honourably”. [Surah 4:19] It is a collective right which is comprised of all around good treatment in all aspects of the husband/wife relationship such as good manners, a flexible attitude, sweet words, a smiling face, a pleasing playfulness and an amusing mien, etc. The Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) said, “The most faithful believers are the best in manners and the most gentle of their own people”. [Transmitted by Al-Termithy on the authority of Abu Huraira (1162).]

      Ibn Hibban transmitted on the authority of ` isha that the Prophet said, “The best of you is he who is the best to his family, and I am the best to my family”. [Transmitted by Ibn Hibban Charity (El-Ehsan) Vol. 9 (4177).]

      The actual biography of the Prophet (greetings and peace be upon him) has proved his gentleness towards his people, his excellent conduct with his wives, to the extent that he used to help them with their housekeeping. The extent of his playfulness is shown when he raced ` isha twice; she won the race once and he won the second time. He then said, “Tit for tat”. [Transmitted by Ibn Majah (1976) on the authority of isha.]

      That’s from this:

      Quranic endorsement of violence against wives:

      Fourth, Islam is not unique in containing elements of misogyny and fostering the repression of women; you can find those in all religious traditions, for the simple reason that all of them arose from a period of human history characterized by pervasive patriarchy. One example:

      There’s more if you search, much of it quite unpalatable, and possibly less than reliable, too.

      For my part, I would suggest that rather than demonizing Islam for its failings, it would be more productive to promote human rights as a universal ethical norm; to insist on the enforcement and, where necessary, strengthening of laws protecting individuals from assaults of all sorts (after all, most jurisdictions do have them); and to advocate for rational world views and a secular legal system.

  9. Andrew Haines

    This post has certainly raised some vigorous debate about a number of issues. If I may contribute some comments.

    First, I would suggest that “shame on US” may be a bit strong based on the evidence.
    – the sample size as presented is certainly small. Both for the first case where intervention seems swift and vigorous, and for the second case where it is definitely not. Did they just get lucky for the first case and unlucky for the second? More repeats needed before firm conclusions can be drawn
    – more importantly to my mind, there are actually TWO variables different between the two cases. Not just the clothing changes, but the language being spoken. Specifically, the second language will not be understandable by most/all of the people passing by. Try the first case again with the people in non-muslim attire speaking Hungarian or Estonian and I strongly suspect that intervention will not be as swift. People will not be as quick to act with less understanding of the situation

    Second, with regard to the issues relating to Islam, and speaking as a Christian of the Baptist variety.
    – all people have good and bad aspects to their character, I know I certainly do. We should all try to help each other be better by commending the good and encouraging reform of the bad
    – all groups of people have good and bad members. I have referred previously to being less than pleased with the behaviour of people from a particular US locality who claim to share my own religious variety
    – on both these points, please avoid Cherry Picking. In either direction! Yes, there are certainly some “muslims” whose behaviour is despicable. But don’t forget the ones who are the opposite. A recent case in Kenya comes to mind, where Somali Islamist militia stopped a bus and wanted to kill all non-muslims on board. Knowing what was coming, true muslims on board the bus shared relevant head coverings with non-muslims to keep them safe
    – and I’m afraid it is not uncommon for people to think they are protecting their group by remaining silent, when they should actually speak out. One of marmocet’s comments referenced a known group of criminals which the muslim community failed to notify to police. Probably they thought they were protecting the reputation of their community by staying silent. Whereas in reality, as marmocet’s comment indicates, once the truth finally comes out the reputation damage is even worse. But it not just muslims who do that, it is human nature. In Australia an official inquiry into institutional child abuse in the past is underway. It is depressing, but unsurprising, the number and variety of church and non-church institutions where people thought it was better to stay quiet about what was going on for the sake of their institution.

    Finally, as an Aussie, “Good On Yer Mate” to the Kiwi (New Zealand) sounding bloke who finally intervenes