Objection, Your Honor: European Courts Placate Islamists
by David J. Rusin • Mar 5, 2010 at 10:39 am
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Even as Shari'a courts sprout up like mushrooms on UK soil, secular ones across Europe increasingly bend to an Islamist worldview.
Consider the phenomenon of exempting Muslims from the standard practice of rising before judges. In January, seven radicals on trial for shouting insults at British soldiers during a 2009 homecoming parade refused to stand when the judge entered — because, in the words of one of their lawyers, "it is a grave and cardinal sin to show respect in this way to anyone other than God himself." The response from Judge Carolyn Mellanby? Appeasement and more appeasement:
Eventually, a compromise was reached where they would enter the court after her during the trial, which is expected to last six days. The maximum penalty each of the men can receive is a £1,000 fine.
The defendants were given an extra 20 minutes on top of their lunch break to go to pray at a mosque a few minutes' walk away.
A separate "quiet" room has been set aside for their regular prayer intervals for the rest of the week.
Mellanby "said she did not wish to 'set a precedent' by charging them with contempt of court." Instead, it was the defendants themselves who apparently "set a precedent" here. Also of note: Five were convicted in the harassment case but went unpunished. Ordered to reimburse court costs only, the men gleefully declared that, as they are on welfare, taxpayers will foot the bill.
In the Netherlands, the bar association is leading the way to mollify Islamists. An appeals chamber of that organization recently overturned a reprimand of attorney Mohammed Enait, who had been censured because he does not rise for judges and dons an Islamic hat in court sessions. It ruled that he can remain seated and wear his head covering; as the article explains, the panel found that "his refusal to rise and his headgear are not meant to show contempt of court." (Be sure to read the humorous passage about Enait and his "secretaries" at the above link.)
Other events demonstrate the growing deference to Islam in Europe's courtrooms: A woman made history last summer by becoming the first in Denmark to testify while wearing a niqab. Earlier this year, Judge Cherie Blair, wife of Tony, drew fire for her leniency toward a British Muslim convicted of assault, to whom she said, "You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behavior." Finally, foot-washing basins have been installed in a German courthouse so Muslims can clean themselves before prayer; a spokesman justified the facility by "saying that in the past toilets have been stopped up with toilet paper and used for feet washing."
How drenching one's feet with toilet water advances cleanliness is unclear. Equally difficult to grasp is how Europe's legal establishment could think that this spate of accommodations will inspire anything but more and more outrageous demands from Islamists.
Hijab Bullies Unveil Their Aggression
by David J. Rusin • Mar 15, 2010 at 11:04 am
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For some Islamists, freedom to wear Muslim attire is not enough; they also demand that others conform to their definition of modesty. IW refers to them as "hijab bullies," though their focus is not necessarily limited to headscarves. Examples highlighted previously on this blog include a British dentist requiring patients to cover their hair and a teacher in Norway manipulating first graders into donning hijabs. However, these tactics are tame compared to recent revelations.
Consider the experiences of Shiria Khatun, a secular Muslim who serves as a Labour Party councilor in Tower Hamlets, a borough of London and an Islamist stronghold. Police are investigating claims of harassment by locals objecting to her style of dress. She explains:
They're really disgusting. They would talk about my Western clothes, my tight jeans, and my body parts.
One man said — and it sounds much nastier in [the Bangladeshi dialect] Sylheti — "I know where you live and I'm going to come and show you and your kids." I just hung up.
I really thought it was a pervert, but then it started to get more intense. My parents died when I was young and the callers must know that because they said they would dig up their graves and bury me inside. I think they're sick.
Moroccan-born Fatima Ghailan, who works for the government of Cunit, Spain, has had her own run-ins with hijab bullies. Local imam Mohamed Benbrahim and Islamic Association head Abderraman el-Osri now face criminal charges of harassing, slandering, and threatening Ghailan, whose duties as a "cultural mediator" include encouraging "cloistered" Muslim females to participate in the life of the town. As the Washington Post reports, her influence over the community "was something the traditionalists could not accept — particularly because it involved a woman who refused to cover her hair." The Telegraph elaborates:
In a statement to the court in the nearby town of Vendrells, Mrs. Ghailan, 31, said Benbrahim had harassed her and campaigned to have her removed from her job in the town hall's cultural department purely because she had a job, dressed in a Western style, drove a car, and associated with non-Muslims.
Finally, self-appointed "morality police" have been patrolling the Muslim-heavy Grønland district of Oslo. According to Aftenposten, women passing through in Western attire can consider themselves lucky if they suffer only "aggressive looks of rebuke, scorn, and contempt." The unlucky ones are abused by men who "touch their breasts and pinch their bottom, claiming that it's the girls' own fault for not covering themselves." The vigilantes also have taken to tormenting gays and anybody caught snacking on the streets during Ramadan.
Grønland illuminates a vital truth: Islamists may start out as hijab bullies, seeking to enforce dress codes among Muslims. But they do not stop with dress codes — or with Muslims.Related Topics: Gender Relations, Head Coverings / Dress, Legal, Moderates | David J. Rusin This text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.