Sharia through the back door

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
It seems to me our Flare, Terrye, is wise when it comes to American character. So, when in the course of a couple of days I both read Terrye say she has doubts this is going to be a very long war because
Americans like their way of life, whatever their politics when push comes to shove they will not give up the booze, the gambling, and the Constitution.
and also read that Muslim taxi drivers in Minnesota are now refusing fares carrying (presumably duty-free) alcohol, I figure something in this nation of Whiskey Rebellions is about to break.

Via Dhimmi Watch:
Minneapolis-St. Paul is concerned that its taxi service is deteriorating. Citing their religious beliefs, some Muslim taxi drivers from Somalia are refusing to transport customers carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol. It started with one driver a few years ago, but the average number of fare refusals has grown to about three a day, says airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. "Travelers often feel surprised and insulted," he says. "Sometimes, several drivers in a row refuse carriage."
[...]
The airport is expected to propose today that drivers who wish to avoid alcohol-toting passengers change the light on their car roofs, possibly to a different color. Hogan says the move will help let airport employees and customers know which taxis serve alcohol-carrying passengers. Drivers refusing a fare won't have to go to the end of the line. "Airport authorities are not in the business of interpreting sacred texts or dictating anyone's religious choices. ... Our goal is simply to ensure travelers at (the airport) are well served."
Well, aside from the fact that liberal airport authorities are interpreting sacred texts whether they know it or not (where do they think their ideas about freedom, equality, service and reciprocity ultimately come from?) didn't you always think that when Sharia made its first steps into America there would be some nice official to make it all sound completely reasonable? "Sure it's an important service you're being refused, Mr. Bottle, but it will only be a minute before a non-Sharia cab comes along..."

What, however, if most taxis go Sharia, or there is only one cab available when you are out and about warming up on a Minnesota January night? What if you're a single mom dressed for July and trying to get a cab when ladened with non-Halal meat? Would the liberal compromise seem workable then?

Might you then ask yourself, is postmodern liberal relativism anything more than a refusal to make a clear choice between one system for relating to the sacred and another? And what is the price we pay for refused choices and half measures imposed by a liberal authority no longer aware of the sacred sources of its authority? After all, Islam cannot be fully lived without Sharia, just as Western civilization could not be what it has always been if put under the rule of Sharia.

I say this by way of introducing a quote from the redoubtable Fjordman:
Centre Democrat Ben Haddou, a member of Copenhagen’s City Council, has stated: “It’s impossible to condemn sharia. And any secular Muslim who claims he can is lying. Sharia also encompasses lifestyle, inheritance law, fasting and bathing. Demanding that Muslims swear off sharia is a form of warfare against them.”

Read that statement again, and read it carefully. Muslims in the West consider it “a form of warfare against them” if they have to live by our secular laws, not their religious laws. Will they then also react in violent ways to this “warfare” if they don’t get their will? Moreover, since sharia laws ultimately require the subjugation of non-Muslims, doesn’t “freedom of religion” for Muslims essentially entail the freedom to make non-Muslims second-rate citizens in their own countries?
We are entering a brave new world where many such questions are just now in the air. Yet is it already time such musings depart the blogosphere and enter the wider public debate? People are scared of such questions for they portend the unveiling or apocalypse of the long-reigning ideology of liberalism. And many fear what might come next. However, it is only when we are honest with our questions that we can hope to discern the first signs of the new and greater order of reciprocity that will replace the present impasse. It is only when we are honest and courageous in insisting our politics focus directly on the fundamental questions posed by our conflicts that we can hope to engage parties in a serious exchange that will allow us to substitute this ongoing exchange for final answers. As Scenic Politics puts it in response to the recent abuse of the Pope:
The emerging question among those serious about our enemy (i.e., not liberals and leftists) is whether the view that we are fighting “extremists” who have “distorted” an otherwise “peaceful” or at least “reformable” religion remains sustainable, even as a polite fiction–or, are we simply at war with Islam? My view has been, and remains, that we should defer this question for as long as possible, and meanwhile craft policies which will be effective regardless of what the answer turns out to be; and policies that, furthermore, will supply us with data that will ultimately enable us to answer, when we have no choice. For this very reason we need to take actions that let us see whether your average Imam who screams “Death to America” every Friday does so because he knows there is no price to be paid and a cheaply won popularity to be gained, or whether he indeed wishes to “engage” us. We must begin to force the question, in other words, even as we continue to defer any definitive answer.

55 comments:

terrye said...

truepeers:

Last night on Brit Hume the point was made that following the recent dustup over the Pope's remarks a large number of Muslim leaders were not interested in joining in the mayhem. I think that perhaps we over estimate the number of epople in the Muslim world willing to die to see to it that I can not buy a bottle of beer. By the same token I have to say I live in a prt of the US that post modern thought passed by. Moral relativism is not the prevailing philosophy here. To think these people would ever accept something like sharia is abssurd.

BTW, I have known non Muslim taxi drivers who would not let a drunk in their cab.

terrye said...

I am not saying we do not need to stand up for ousevles, but then again let's not make this worse than it is by assuming that Americans will become Muslim or give up their way of life just because they do not want to make an issue of who does and does not get in a cab or whatever. The constant vigil against anything that might be construed as dhimmitude could be as exhausting and pervasive as sharia itself, most people just want to be left alone.

Rick Ballard said...

Terrye,

You're absolutely correct about most Americans but the reasoning is faulty concerning denial of carriage and drunks. No cabbie would suffer a penalty for refusal to carry a drunk but any cabbie refusing carriage on the basis of his personal beliefs should have his hack license torn up and be barred from reapplication.

Hack licenses are a privilege, not a right, and in order to acquire that privilege a cabby (or cab company) agrees explicitly to be bound by the rules of carriage established by the granting body. If muslim cabbies don't like the rules, let them find another occupation. Nobody chains them in their cabs.

The appropriate immediate remedy is denial of custom to any cab company employing muslims (or hard shell Baptists) who try to impose their beliefs through abuse of privilege. That, and filing complaints to the licensing board.

Cabbies have lost their hack licenses by refusing to take blacks to Harlem (for refusing to go into Harlem for that matter). There is no qualitative difference between a refusal of service based upon color and a refusal of service based upon carrying a legal substance and the muslims cabbies need to find that out.

Luther McLeod said...

Truepeers

Interesting issue. It brings to mind a somewhat similar debate re pharmacists being able to refuse prescription requests due to their personal religious beliefs.

On the multi-cult face of it, your illustration and mine, can be seen as perfectly reasonable responses to respecting an individual's religious dictum's and beliefs. Or, is there a difference between the two that I am missing?

OTOH, for me, this accommodation results in considerable angst. Because, I have to ask, just where will the line be drawn. Do we each become a nation/religion unto ourselves. The individual more sacred that the society in which he lives.

Barry Dauphin said...

So much for bartenders calling taxis for intoxicated patrons, depending upon which cabs are available.

I'm starting a new religion, called me-firstism. I expect the authorities to be leniant when I explain that my sacred text prohibits me from stopping at red lights.

Morgan said...

I agree with Rick.

"...[suggested that] drivers who wish to avoid alcohol-toting passengers change the light on their car roofs, possibly to a different color."

Will they have the right to check my baggage? Do I have the right to take the first "alcohol-okay" cab in line, not because I'm carrying alcohol, but because I don't particularly want to ride with a Muslim extremist?

Skookumchuk said...

truepeers:

Regarding Scenic Politics:

My view has been, and remains, that we should defer this question for as long as possible, and meanwhile craft policies which will be effective regardless of what the answer turns out to be...

In certain homogeneous and dirigiste societies, at certain times, you can do this "think of it always, speak of it never" type of thing, but not in ours. Our society will probably force us to make a public choice.

terrye said...

Rick:

You are missing my point. In the state of Indiana I can not buy a beer on a Sunday, why is that? I am not saying it is ok to deny service, I am saying that I doubt this particular example means we are all doomed.

If I am not mistaken not so long ago truepeers said that conversion to Islam should be illegal in this country. I may not be remembering this correctly, so correct me if I am wrong... but I do recall I said something to the effect that our Constitution guarantees the right to religious freedom. To be truthful I find the idea that we would ignore or overlook one of the most basic tenets of our Cionstitution to be at least as disturbing as the behavior of some cabbies in Minnesota or some where. This does not mean they are justified in denying service, they are not, but then again if we can debate whether or not they have the right to practice their religion at all and it seems some reasonable people think they do not...then perhaps people are just getting carried away on both sides of this issue.

BTW, during the Republican convention I can remember cabbies on Fox news saying they would not give service to any Republican, if of course they knew for sure he was one. I suppose they think they glow in the dark or something.

But I fail to understand how an isolated incident like the one truepeers mentions is evidence of the inevitable dhimmification of the U.S.

If people don't like this, they should complain and make an issue of it. That is how things are done here.

Rick Ballard said...

Terrye,

I took TP's point to be that the responsible governing agency was making an inappropriate concession regarding those having hack licenses. Using your example, it would be as if the Indiana ABC declared that liquor store owners who believed that it was OK to sell on Sundays would be allowed to do so as long as they put up a sign saying they were acting from personal belief.

Luther raises a good point about pharmicists - they're also governed by licensing boards and they can either fight to change mandatory dispensation, comply or move to a location which does not require them to do something against their beliefs. (There are a couple of other possibilities involving stocking and pricing but those are dodges.) The cabbies are in the same boat, if they want a hack license then they can damn well follow the regulations that go with it.

terrye said...

Rick:


I am no arguing with that, I am just saying that I do not think this constitutes sharia.

terrye said...

BTW, in the state of Indiana not only can a Jew or an atheist or for that matter anyone else, not buy a beer on a Sunday, an Amishman does not have to send his children to the same schools the rest of the kids in this state go to, and he can put them to work at an earlier age. Does that mean everyone in Indiana is on the way to becoming a Menonite? And people have complained about the Amish as well, but since they don't hurt anyone and they are productive everyone just kind of looks the other way, while they live in their own world by their own rules.

I guess I just kind of resent the fact that because I said I did not think the United States would become a Muslim nation any time soon that somehow that means I am supposed to be supportive of or ignorant of the inevitable dhimmification of my country.

In other words, why did I get the mention?

truepeers said...

Terrye, I know your remark had nothing to do with cabbies - I just liked the idea and the way you expressed it.

You're right that keeping a constant vigil against dhimmitude will be exhausting. I am already tired to death of reading about every little concession made in Europe to the angry demonstrators of a certain religion. Do I have to do this the rest of my life, or do I just say live and let live and go out of my way to avoid angry believers? In part, it depends on how much I think we need to renew ourselves through acknowledging conflict with others. If I think my culture is strong and healthy, I can afford to ignore them more than otherwise.

My point about banning conversion to Islam depends on a view of the situation that is not at odds with the US Constitution. My point was that *if* it can be shown that becoming and apostate and leaving Islam poses any considerable risk to one's safety or well-being, then becoming a Moslem is somewhat akin to buying into slavery or drug addiction, both of which are clearly illegal in the US. I further made the point that Islam was much more than a religion, that it is also a political and legal system that, if implemented, would clearly be at odds with the US Constitution. My point is that at some point freedom of "religion" inevitably comes into conflict with the Constitution that permits it.

But all these claims are in large part theoretical, just as is the original question you raise here of whether we really need to get up in arms about any little thing that might hint at dhimmification of America. And the larger point of this post is that we can never really know how much the theoretical worries are presently justified until we actively engage the questions in a way that forces people to clarify their real beliefs and allegiances.

truepeers said...

that means I am supposed to be supportive of or ignorant of the inevitable dhimmification of my country.

-just to be clear, that was not my intent at all. I simply remembered your comment when I read the report on the Minnesota cabbies and liked the idea of putting the two together, with the suggestion, Terrye, that it is your sense of American values that is at odds with the idea of banning liquor from cabs. I in no way think you are going along with the dhimmification of your country, whatever our previous discussion about what the Consitution can and cannot bear.

terrye said...

truepeers:

I see your meaning.

This made me think of a conversation i had the other day with an older lady, a Catholic of Italian descent. She lived most of her life in Brooklyn and she hated Jews, especially Hassidic Jews. She said they came into Brooklyn and bought their theatres and businesses and closed everything on Saturday. That made me think, a theatre is a private business, but it is open to the public. To this lady those theatres belonged to the neighborhood. Of course that is not true, but then again to the people who had lived there for many years it was.

When the Mormons were having lots of wives they could be arrested by the authorities, and hunted down without using freedom of religion as an excuse because polygamy is a crime. So Muslims can not commit a crime in this country in the name of their religion and get away with it, but the law has to make a point of going after the crime, not the religion itself.

truepeers said...

Luther,

I think the comparison to pharmacists is somewhat apt. Here in British Columbia we have had the debate over the "morning after" pill, and it is illegal for pharmacists not to provide it. That, I think, is how it must be, though I'm not unsympathetic to the rebelling pharmacists. Keep in mind that taking a particular stand on abortion is not entirely comparable to taking a stand in support of Sharia which is, when allowed, a system for regulating all or many aspects of life. Are the cabbies really thinking just about the issue of alcohol, or are they making a first little stand for Sharia?

Do we each become a nation/religion unto ourselves. The individual more sacred that the society in which he lives.

- well, I'd say western culture has come to the point where we have made every individual life sacred and given it the freedom of the marketplace. But, at the end of the day, that should not be to forget the reality that the marketplace and its freedoms cannot be protected without a sense of nationhood and a national politics that acts as a necessary gurantor of freedom and market rules. Politics and ethics will always be primary to economics. Organization and productive discipline must come before the economic distribution of their fruits.

truepeers said...

Skook.

Our society will probably force us to make a public choice.

-yes, probably one day it will. However, that hasn't happened yet, and your President seems in no hurry to get there. So, there does seem to be some consensus that it is wise to defer the question as long as possible, to first allow people to well define and take sides through some process of free exchange, instead of forcing the issue on them from above. Today we have "leaders" to make the necessaary and final decisions, but a lot of the time they must follow rather than make opinion in order to get to the point of decision.

terrye said...

truepeers:

ia m not sure the presdient has the authority to make that kind of determination for the rest of us, even if he was so inclined.

He got his butt chewed just for using the term Islamofascist.

terrye said...

I really should use preview.

Skookumchuk said...

truepeers:

So, there does seem to be some consensus that it is wise to defer the question as long as possible, to first allow people to well define and take sides through some process of free exchange, instead of forcing the issue on them from above.

That is very true. And I think that a sort of national consensus on Islam is emerging - that it is intrinsically violent, that its institutions are secretive and undemocratic, that it is strongly misogynistic, and that Islamic values are not compatible with those of modern mainstream Judaism or Christianity.

Once the consensus emerges, the politicians will follow. Should follow. If they are not in thrall to transnational progressivism or anti-American sentiment.

I think that following this building consensus is exactly what Bush has been doing, however tentatively, from his early "religion of peace" days to the somewhat stronger language of today. And notice that despite catching all kinds of flak from the MSM, he hasn't backed down.

terrye said...

skook:

It is a balancing act however. We want to be able to encourage reform in Islam because after all we are attempting to build a democracy in Iraq, if we conclude its 26 million people are hopeless because of their religion then we all lose.

The difficulty is in finding a way that makes Islam... if not friendly with, at least not completely incompatable with the modern world. There are a billion of those people.

I have wondered if one of the reasons that we are fighting terrorism in Iraq is to bring it home to the Muslim world. As long as the people who suffer are all Jews Or Christians or Buddhists or Hindu it makes it a lot easier to tolerate. But when the death and destruction is in their own world, hopefully it will help them see the evil in it.

I don't know the answers but when I read Iraq the Model I can not bring myself to believe that those men are terrible people incapable of civil discourse.

Skookumchuk said...

terrye:

I don't know the answers but when I read Iraq the Model I can not bring myself to believe that those men are terrible people incapable of civil discourse.

Not all. But in my dealings with Moslems in jobs overseas, I saw flashes of the intolerant side quite often. More so than the tolerant side. This was pre 9/11. I agree that we can not simply abandon them to the forces of theocratic barbarism. But ultimately they will have to reform themselves. Can we help create enough Iraq the Models to make a difference - that is the question.

Syl said...

Rick's first comment is the only course we should follow. Complain to the cab companies. Sue if necessary.

Truepeers is trying to make it about religion. That's the wrong approach. It's only a question of following our own laws and constitution.

We do not have to complain about sharia. We don't even have to acknowledge sharia. Let me quote Rick here:

Hack licenses are a privilege, not a right, and in order to acquire that privilege a cabby (or cab company) agrees explicitly to be bound by the rules of carriage established by the granting body.

I would change the word in the next quote: If muslim cabbies don't like the rules, let them find another occupation.

to:

If any cabbies don't like the rules, let them find another occupation.

terrye said...

Syl:

Yes.

terrye said...

Skook:

I have to say that I have met all kinds of intolerant people. And it is not just about being cut off or isolated. That lady I was talking about from Brooklyn was more intolerant than my old Grandma from Oklahoma and yet she had to deal with so many more different kinds of people. It seems to me the more autocratic the ubbringing, the less tolerant.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Syl,

It is about religion. Or, if you don't like the word "religion", it's about belief. What do we believe in? What are our shared beliefs that we all agree on and what are private beliefs? These are the questions that continually come up in American society and need to be answered. These are fundamentally questions about belief systems, not stated beliefs, but beliefs nonetheless. And when you tread in the realm of unstated but passionately held beliefs, you are indeed talking about religion, whether you know it or now. That is exactly why they are so contentious.

truepeers said...

Syl,

You may be right in the sense that the taxi licensing authorities should brook no discussion of particular religious values when it comes to setting their regulations. But my point was that here we have a spokesman for the airport authority saying they will allow the cabbies to refuse their passengers on religious grounds because the authority is unwilling to judge such grounds. So it becomes about religion, even if, like the airport guy, we pretend we are avoiding that question. When someone claims a right that will clash with another's sense of right, it is either openly or silently granted, or it is refused. There often isn't a third way, though we so often like to think there is to escape the hard choice.

Skookumchuk said...

truepeers:

So it becomes about religion, even if, like the airport guy, we pretend we are avoiding that question.

Yes, it does. As I say, at some point we have to make a public choice. In eliding things, like the bureaucrat, because it is easy, we have already made the choice. Or some of us have. It is made easier by a therapeutic culture that believes that all confrontation is bad. And that is the problem.

truepeers said...

Terrye,

re Iraq the Model: we must remember that there are always good people in any group and war, if sometimes necessary, is always an evil that victimizes people. But war is a struggle between different forms of organization and ultimately it matters most what the competing institutions stand for, especially when ordinary people don't have democratic control of their institutions. If I ever say I am at war with Islam across the board - and I haven't taken that step yet - it doesn't mean I am at war with every Muslim, though I might acknowledge that there will be some innocent victims of our war. It means I am at war with the institutions of Islam because I just don't see any significant component of Islamic institutions fighting to join with those of us organized in defense of modernity and its freedoms. Right now, I'm hoping we can push the conflict to the point where a significant pro-modernity reform movement emerges within Islam, but I just don't see much evidence of it yet. I think there are many moderate, secular-minded individuals out there, but they don't dare speak out too much since more ritually strict, as well as anti-American and anti-Jew, voices dominate the intra-Muslim conversation: even those who profess their opposition to terrorism are so often full of the "we're a victim of the colonizers" rhetoric, so they make excuses for terrorism and don't actively combat it - and often they couldn't do much without getting hurt, even if they wanted to.

Skookumchuk said...

truepeers:

Well, it is the classic old deomcratic problem in confronting totalitarian societies - made up of the powerless and the cowed and the indoctrinated having to obey their rulers. They become our enemies too.

There was a time, and not too long ago, when the Moslems of Southeast Asia - like Indonesia - practiced a more open, tolerant, synchretic Islam. One that seems to be dying, if I can trust what I see and read. But it can be done. It has been done. That's what sustains me a bit right now.

truepeers said...

Skook,

Yes, there have been many forms of Islamic practise historically, though as best I can tell violent forms of Jihad and oppressive forms of Sharia have been common enough to keep us sober. Another basis for hope is that even if it comes to war, we may not have to fight it primarily by military means, if we can get enough of the world to keep the peace or quarantine. We may be able to fight it primarily with missionaries and school teachers, but that will mean encouraging the strength within our culture that will allow for enough people with the courage, sense of sacrifice, and the practical means to take up that vocation.

Skookumchuk said...

truepeers:

I hasten to add that this kind of "tolerance" is more akin to some kinds of animism, or a "let's see how many gods we can get working for us" kind of thing, as opposed to, say, an Enlightenment. And it evades, instead of confronts, the Islamic problem with modernity. At least they aren't chopping people's heads off.

But yes, as you say, we may be able to fight it with missionaries and school teachers, but that would take if not different missionaries, at least different school teachers than those we have now. That is the cultural revolution of which I've spoken about in previous posts.

One fundamental problem is that we can't yet quite visualize such people in our own culture. The Wahhabists on the other hand can quite easily envision such people of their own proselytizing in ours.

Luther McLeod said...

Well, I have had many starts to this comment.

This is such a sensitive, complex, complicated and, at times, divisive subject. I mean, Religion, and the rights attached thereto. And my writing is not equal to the task.

But...

What is being very well discussed here really goes to the heart of uncomfortable questions that must not only be asked, but for which we must try to conjure answers that are reasonable and just. I say this with no multi-cult undertones. I hope.

Forgive me for being pedantic. But I have and would again fight for the lynch-pin of this country's constitution. Religious Freedom. And, I just have to add this bit, regardless of the fact that I am a non-believer myself. I say this in the sense of knowing that it is religion that was/has been the force in the world that allows me to write these words today. Dare I say it is the Jews to whom I owe my freedom?

This is a concept that the Founder's alone, with none before them, put pen to parchment and made the law of the land. I can see no amendments, no backing away from that fundamental right.

So I suffer conundrum. I, in no manner whatsoever, want to see "sharia" or any other form of muslim law become a part of this country and its laws. It just adds no value.

Hell, I think it is ludicrous that scientology is now accepted as a religion by the IRS. How insane.

How do we work this out? Or am I just nuts?

truepeers said...

Luther, your not nuts - that's the easy part.

Your founders protected religious freedom but I think you'll agree they also had some idea about the proper relationship (or boundaries) of religion to politics and law and commerce. Just as politics was not supposed to impinge on religion, no particular religion was meant to dominate politics, law, commerce, or public services. So, there can be religious freedom for all who agree to maintain the original balance but if anyone's sense of religion - and here I would include (at least) any strict understanding of Sharia - is disruptive to that balance, then the Constitutional balance should win out over the religious claim, even if that claim has a majority of votes.

Some will complain that the original balance is not "neutral" that it was the construct of a Judeo-Christian culture with its ideas of what belongs to God and what to Caesar. And it was. And that reality needs to be defended if the Constitution is also to be defended. At the end of the day, you just can't be all things to all people. The system that allows for the greatest freedom in a way that is not self-destructive is the one that I would support. And ultimately I would defend western Judeo-Christian traditions on this ground, though I expect we will expand (we are already doing it) freedom and consciousness in future by integrating certain non-western elements with the western tradition. But not everything that is out there is going to be constructive to the expansion of human freedom and consciousness. Some things deserve to be tossed in the dustbin of history, as much in the western tradition has been so tossed over the years.

terrye said...

MHA:

Well maybe so, but if that is we will have to call communism a religion. I suppose some might. but the truth is these kinds odf decisions are made all over the country every day to accomadate one group or another. Whether they be Indians or Mormons or Jehova Witnesses or Hassidic Jews or Amish. The individual incidents by and large are in and of themselves innocuous enough that they simply go by the wayside, otherwise the whole country would be complaining about something somewhere all the time.

Kind of like the guy who wants all the religious language and symbols off of money, and buildings and out of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Skookumchuk said...

truepeers:

So, there can be religious freedom for all who agree to maintain the original balance but if anyone's sense of religion - and here I would include (at least) any strict understanding of Sharia - is disruptive to that balance, then the Constitutional balance should win out over the religious claim, even if that claim has a majority of votes.

Intuitively, I would say that most Americans would agree with that sentiment. The problem is that the nomenklatura does not - as least not openly - in part because they are encouraged to view all belief systems as equally valid, and in part because it is simply easier to kick the can down the road and try to wish the problem away. And it is human nature to want to wish it away. But like I say, at some point a public choice will have to be made.

truepeers said...

the truth is these kinds odf decisions are made all over the country every day to accomadate one group or another. Whether they be Indians or Mormons or Jehova Witnesses or Hassidic Jews or Amish.

-Terrye, can you really give an example of a similar situation to these cabbies? - a situation where an important service is denied to some people because the service provider doesn't like something about them and the regulatory authority says it's ok to do that. I thought all such discrimination is now illegal, though I'm sure it still goes on in some places despite the laws. This kind of situation is not the same as accomodating some group's special preferences when providing them services, or passing a law that applies to everyone, a law that may have some religious basis - like banning liquor sales on Sunday.

truepeers said...

Just to follow up that last point: it's true that as long as there is always another cab quickly available to take the liquor carriers, it seems like no big deal to accomodate the cabbies- maybe it's the same as an employer allowing someone to avoid some work or work day according to his beliefs. However, if you had to wait any long period of time for a cab just because of who you were or what you carried, you wouldn't say the situation was reasonable. Similarly, if driving people with liquor is a common occurrence in the taxi trade, then the right thing would be to tell the cabbie to get another job - employeres can relieve people of certain duties if they are a minor part of the whole, but they can't excuse them from much work in general.

But, the point is, this is not an employer-employee work relationship. It is a question of a licensed service provider refusing to provide the service to certain kinds of people at the same time he is willing to serve other kinds of people.

Skookumchuk said...

truepeers:

...refusing to provide the service to certain kinds of people at the same time he is willing to serve other kinds of people.

And a bureaucracy that acquiesces in his doing so.

Syl said...

It seems to me that there is a slippery slope argument going on here and the beginnings of a demand that Islam is a lesser religion and shouldn't be afforded the same accomidations that we give other ones.

Quite frankly I don't care what anyone believes as long as those beliefs don't turn to violence.

We already have a legal system that outlaws many tenets of sharia. Cutting off hands in punishment for theft, for example. Or keeping someone as a slave. We have laws governing marriage and divorce.

The muslim woman who wears a burka and didn't want her face exposed on a driver's license lost her case.

If a muslim breaks our laws he/she will not be excused because of their beliefs any more than a Baptist would.

Our laws can handle most of the perceived conflict on details.

The basic incompatibility lies not in specific beliefs but in their intolerance of our varied beliefs. And this struggle is playing out right now in the area of free speech. As long as our speech is met only with more speech, all is fine. But where it's met with violence, it is not.

That is the problem, not whether a cab driver refuses a fare because he may be carrying alcohol.

truepeers said...

the beginnings of a demand that Islam is a lesser religion and shouldn't be afforded the same accomidations that we give other ones...

That is the problem[violence], not whether a cab driver refuses a fare because he may be carrying alcohol.


-so if the Cabbie is perfectly peaceful but he refuses you a ride because, say, you wear a crucifix, then that is ok? There are cabbies who refuse rides to people because they think a certain race or class of people is dangerous or dirty. That happens all the time, I'm sure. But no one in authority says it's ok. No cab regulators says it's none of our business. So, I fail to see why people think I am refusing Muslims accomodations we make for other people. No one gets such accomodations, except now, when some Muslims get angry and no one in authority has the courage to say or do what is right. This is the issue - dhimmitude. Alcohol is a legal substance; taxis are licensed to provide the service of carrying people and their legal goods. You can ask someone not to drink in your cab, you can't ask people not to do things that have no bearing on your peace and security just because you want to assert the superiority of your religion. Scoring points for your religion is what the blogsphere is for, not the taxi cab.

Skookumchuk said...

Syl:

Quite frankly I don't care what anyone believes as long as those beliefs don't turn to violence.

You don't need violence for this to be a problem. And it is a slippery slope - only sloping the other way.

Let's put it like this. I, a Christian, decide to staret up a phone comapny. Like our cabbie, I one day tell subscribers - In celebration of Christmas, our service will be unavailable to the general public on December 25 but service will continue for Christians only.

Your kid is sick and you have to call 911 and you are Jewish? Well, that's just too bad.

Same thing with our Moslem cabbie. Not only that, but a bureaucrat has told him it is OK when in fact his license almost certainly requires him to accept all riders who are not a danger to him. I'm sorry, I won't let you get in my cab because you look gay. I'm sorry, but you are a young black male wearing a hooded jacket. I'm sorry, but you look like a Republican and I hate Republicans. Same with a bottle - presumably an unopened bottle - of booze. It's against my religion. No ride for you! So then presumably a Seventh Day Adventist cabbie, who doesn't drink, is now entitled to discriminate against riders in the same way? I'm sorry, your Honor, and I knew they were far too drunk to drive, but the fact that they were drinking at all is so offensive to me personally that I had to kick them out of the cab, despite what my cab license requires me to do. Will the nice sensitive multi-culti bureaucrat back up our Seventh Day Adventist, ya think?

It isn't about making Islam a lesser religion - though I clearly think it can be a dangerous religion - as much as where do you stop this kind of discriminatory behavior and what happens to our society when you don't. We don't have to wait for violence to have our society crumble down around us.

Luther McLeod said...

Well Syl, I guess you can put me down on the less enlightened side of the equation. I do happen to think that some religions are better (or more useful to the human condition) than others. Just like I think some people are better than others. Just like I think some cats are better than other cats. Just like I think some brands of ice cream are better than others.

My response in the above situations is called personal judgment. It does not mean I am correct. It does not mean I will be unnecessarily judgmental. It does mean I have a particular personal preference. IOW, my opinion.

I do not see a 'demand', of any sort, from anyone in this thread. Though I did express my personal preference, I do not believe I demanded anything. All that I see here is an attempt at rational discourse on the implications of muslim religions beliefs on the constitutional structure of this country. I happen to prefer that there not be any such influence. As to your mentioning violence...come on.

I started out this comment with insufficient time to complete it. I am going out to celebrate my Mother in Law's 89th Birthday.

Skookumchuk said...

luther:

I am going out to celebrate my Mother in Law's 89th Birthday.

You do that. And have fun.

Mine - who is just a few years younger - baked the most wonderful pear pie. I had a slice night before last. I told her on the phone today that she is now the Official Family Pie Maker - along with my wife of course. Nothing like a little competition to keep them on their toes...

Luther McLeod said...

Thanks Skookumchuk, we had a good time, the MIL is not much for pies, but she makes a mean tortilla.

Skookumchuk said...

Y a mi me gustan las tortillas, también.

Syl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Syl said...

TP

And the larger point of this post is that we can never really know how much the theoretical worries are presently justified until we actively engage the questions in a way that forces people to clarify their real beliefs and allegiances.

In other words, let's discover if this is a muslim belief or not? If it is, we worry, if it's just some other religious belief, well then okay?

You can't really mean that. I hope I'm misinterpreting but that's what it sounds like to me.

I mean if it's a muslim whose belief we are catering to, then we are becoming dhimmified. If it's a hindu sikh behind it, no problemo.

Syl said...

Luther

How do we work this out? Or am I just nuts?

Our legal system and societal and market pressures.

I'm not worried about sharia law.

Except for the violence and intimidation through threats of violence that threaten our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion.

BTW, I read an article today from the Hindu Times (I think) about two muslim clerics who were kicked out of the Umma (the specific religious college and associated mosque) for taking bribes to issue fatwas.

I'm not sure what to make of it, but I found it interesting.

TP

It is a question of a licensed service provider refusing to provide the service to certain kinds of people at the same time he is willing to serve other kinds of people.

Kinda like smoking and non-smoking cabs, right?

Syl said...

Skook

but a bureaucrat has told him it is OK when in fact his license almost certainly requires him to accept all riders who are not a danger to him.

Well, we do not know how much authority this bureaucrat has. Perhaps under statute he has the authority to make a decision like this.

If not, then somebody can sue.

truepeers said...

Syl,

What I mean by engaging people to find out where there real allegiances lie is that, in the context of a global war, we need to know who our friends and enemies are. We have Muslim allies and we have Muslim enemies.

Who will fight with us? Who will stand with us in promoting ideas of freedom and democratic self-rule for the Mulsim world? We can argue about this in the abstract all we want. But we don't really know where people stand until they are engaged and faced with a specific choice. Everyone can talk out of both sides of the mouth, some with a great deal of skill and nuance. But when pressured to make a choice on a specific issue, people have to reveal themselves for what they really believe. (Check out the link in the post to Scenic Politics, where a discussion of this point has since developed in the comments.)

For example, yesterday a British Minister, John Reid, went into a Muslim neighborhood in London and asked a represenative group of parents to help keep their kids away from extremist preachers who might be trying to turn them into terrorists. The reaction he got no doubt told him something new about the problems his government faces. By engaging he got feedback on who, when push comes to shove, will side with the British nation and its values, and who will side with the forces of Muslim resentment. Not all Muslims are against him. Some will take his side but he can only begin to develop a serious stragegy once he starts to force questions on people and see where the lines will get drawn.

Hindus and Sikhs have lived in my country for over a century. While there have been some violent conflicts within the Sikh community over independence for the Punjab and related issues, I can think of no instance in which any of their leaders have engaged in public representations directed towards Canadian leaders along the lines of: "if you don't accomodate our community in such and such way, we can't be responsible for the consequences... (said in a not entirely friendly way)". But this kind of representation is now not uncommon among certain Muslim "leaders". How representative are such "leaders"? We won't know until we engage specific issues, force choices, and get feedback. Thus a sensible strategy for dealing with real or merely perceived threats can only emerge through such engagement.

In any case, make no mistake that this kind of threatening tone is now common throughout the western world. It is almost always coming from Muslims - not Hindus, Sikhs, or anyone else - and the cowering response to it is known as Dhimmitude; whether this is a technically precise term I leave for others to debate. But that there is some such phenomenon that should worry us I have no doubt. Take an informal survey of people you know: I'm sure you will find more fear of Muslims than of Hindus. What are the consequences of that?

truepeers said...

Kinda like smoking and non-smoking cabs, right?

-no, I don't think so. A rational case can be made for smoking disturbing or harming other people. An unopened bottle of liquor, however, can only be disturbing to someone on the level of its symbolism. That's why I offered the example of someone wearing a crucifix and being refused service simply because of the religious symbol. Would you find that acceptable? a reasonable accomodation to Muslim sensibilities?

What is reasonably (as defined by a licensing authority) a threat to a cabbie's peace and security, we can make a good case for excluding. But it is indeed a slippery slope towards societal chaos if we start allowing people to refuse service to others on account of one's symbolic preferences and fears, religious or otherwise.

Skookumchuk said...

Lighthouses.

That's the solution to our cabbie problem.

It came to me last night as my wife and I were listening to music (Boccherini and somebody else, possibly Haydn) and as I was looking through my Dad's old Chapman's Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling. Right there on page 296.

Minots Ledge Light where 1 1/2 second flashes occur at 1 1/2 second intervals in groups of one, four, and three separated by 5-second intervals and followed by a 15 1/2 second interval to indicate the proper starting point of the 45-second period...

So say you're at an airport. Halal Hacks could have a light that flashes 1 1/2 seconds green, while the Kosher Kab Kompany flashes 1 second of blue, an interval of one second, followed by 1 second of white. The Mennonites-Only Cab, which only comes every four hours, is distinguished by its alternating red and green lights.

You would carry around a little book, see, with all the cities listed in alphabetical order along with the cabbie light codes for each. You could wear a peacoat and carry a spyglass, and pretend you were guiding a clipper back to harbor. Aye, tis the Lutherans, two points off the larboard bow.

truepeers said...

Matey, how do we know if they be Danish or Swedish Dhimmi Lutherans?

Ultimately, there must be a common social consensus about symbolic deportment which all in the nation can be assumed to acknowledge:

"No shoes, no shirt, no service" - fine (unless you are in business in New Guinea - I am remembering a photo of tribesmen in only loin cloth, carrying spears, in front of a bank of tv's for sale)

"No religious headgear, service/no service" - not fine in this country

"Bottles, no service" - I don't think so, unless the arbiter of public acceptability is an Imam, Dhimmi or a WCTU lady, but then they are hopefully an arbiter at odds with the national consensus. In any case, if we don't have some sense of that consensus (whether bottles or no bottles) then we have no landmarks, no lighthouses, and we are lost. Multi-culti is really empty no-culti, where landmarks are nothing but the prevailing whims of a guilt-mongering "authority" left standing before a slain victim-cum-god. Do we really want to continue an irrational game where people must keep raising the stakes of slain victim-gods to invoke enough "white" guilt to support their claims on authority?

Skookumchuk said...

truepeers:

...if we don't have some sense of that consensus (whether bottles or no bottles) then we have no landmarks, no lighthouses, and we are lost.

Arrgh, I'll drink to that!

Luther McLeod said...

And a double for me!!