Windsor Humanist Society

April 30, 2007

How Multiculturalism is Betraying Women: Congratulating ourselves on our tolerance of the fanatically intolerant

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Do you believe in the rights of women, or do you believe in multiculturalism? A series of verdicts in the German courts in the past month, have shown with hot, hard logic that you can’t back both. You have to choose.

The crux case centres on a woman called Nishal, a 26-year-old Moroccan immigrant to Germany with two kids and a psychotic husband. Since their wedding night, this husband beat the hell out of her. She crawled to the police covered in wounds, and they ordered the husband to stay away from her. He refused. He terrorised her with death threats.

So Nishal went to the courts to request an early divorce, hoping that once they were no longer married he would leave her alone. A judge who believed in the rights of women would find it very easy to make a judgement: you’re free from this man, case dismissed.

But Judge Christa Datz-Winter followed the logic of multiculturalism instead. She said she would not grant an early divorce because – despite the police documentation of extreme violence and continued threats – there was no “unreasonable hardship” here.

Why? Because the woman, as a Muslim, should have “expected” it, the judge explained. She read out passages from the Koran to show that Muslim husbands have the “right to use corporal punishment”. Look at Sura 4, verse 34, she said to Nishal, where the Koran says he can hammer you. That’s your culture. Goodbye, and enjoy your beatings.

This is not a freakish exception. Germany’s only state-level Minister for Integration, Armin Laschet, says this is only “the last link, for the time being, in a chain of horrific rulings handed down by the German courts“.

The German magazine “Der Spiegel” has documented a long list of these multicultural verdicts. Here are just a few:

A Lebanese-German who strangled his daughter (Ibthahale) and then beat her unconscious with a bludgeon because she didn’t want to marry the man he had picked out for her was sentenced to mere probation. His “cultural background” was cited by the judge as a mitigating factor.

A Turkish-German who stabbed his wife Zeynep to death in Frankfurt was given the lowest possible sentence, because, the judge said, the murdered woman had violated his “male honour, derived from his Anatolian moral concepts”. The cheek of that bitch!

A Lebanese-German who raped his wife Fatima while whipping her with a belt was sentenced to probation, with the judge citing his … you get the idea.

Their victims are forced to ask – like Soujourner Truth, the female slave who famously challenged early women’s rights activists to consider black women as their sisters – “Ain’t I a woman?”

In Germany today, Muslim women have been reduced to third-class citizens stripped of core legal protections – because of the doctrine of multiculturalism, which says a society should be divided into separate cultures with different norms according to ethnic origin.

Too often this issue is mixed up with other debates and gets waved through for the sake of politeness. The right loves mashing “mass immigration and multiculturalism” into one sound-bite. Well, I think Britain should take more immigrants and refugees, not fewer – but multiculturalism is a disastrous way to greet them.

These German cases highlight the flaw at the core of multiculturalism. It assumes that immigrants have one homogenous culture which they should all follow – and it allows the most reactionary and revolting men in their midst to define what that culture is. Across Europe, many imams are offering advice to Muslim men on how to beat Muslim women. For example, in Spain, the popular Imam Mohammed Kamal Mustafa warns that you shouldn’t use “whips that are too thick” because they leave scars that can be detected by the “infidels”. That might be Kamal Mustafa’s culture – but it isn’t Nishal’s. It isn’t the culture of the women who scream and weep as they are beaten.

And yes, we should admit that this is disproportionately a problem among Muslim, Sikh and Hindu immigrants who arrive from countries which have not had women’s rights movements. Listen to Jasvinder Sanghera, who founded the best British charity helping Asian women after her sister was beaten and beaten and then burned herself to death. She says: “It’s a betrayal of these women to be PC about this. Look at the figures. Asian women in Britain are three times more likely to commit suicide than their white friends. That’s because of all this.”

Yet the brave campaigners who have tried to help these women – like the Labour MP Ann Cryer – have been smeared as racist. In fact, the real racists are the people who vehemently condemn misogyny and homophobia when it comes from white people but mysteriously fall silent when it comes from black and Asian men.

Indeed, in the name of this warm, welcoming multiculturalism, the German courts have explicitly compared Muslim women to the brain-damaged. The highest administrative court in North Rhine-Westphalia has agreed that Muslim parents have the “right” to forbid their daughter from going on a school trip unless she was accompanied by a male family member at all times. The judges said the girl was like “a partially mentally impaired person who, because of her disability, can only travel with a companion”.

As the Iranian author Azar Nafisi puts it: “I very much resent it when people – maybe with good intentions or from a progressive point of view – keep telling me, ‘It’s their culture’ … It’s like saying the culture of Massachusetts is burning witches.” She is horrified by the moves in Canada to introduce shariah courts to enforce family law for Muslims.

Multiculturalists believe that they are defending immigrants. But in reality, they are betraying at least 55 per cent of them – the women and the gays. It is multiculturalists, for example, who are the biggest champions of the Government’s massive expansion of “faith” schools, where children will be segregated according to parental superstition and often taught the most literalist and cruel strain of a “faith”.

What will girls and gay pupils be taught there? Will they have Sura 4, verse 34 drilled into them, along with the passages from the hadith where Mohammed calls for gay people to be executed? We know Catholic schools often push the most vile aspects of their faith at children; why should Muslim schools be different?

We desperately need to empower Muslim women to reinterpret the Koran in less literalist and vicious ways, or to leave their religion all together, as they wish. But multiculturalism hobbles them before they even begin, by saying they should stick to the “authentic” culture represented by the imams.

Yes, it would be easy to keep our heads down, go with this multicultural drift, and congratulate ourselves on our tolerance of the fanatically intolerant. But I can give you a few good reasons not to. Their names are Nishal and Ibthahale and Zeynep and Fatima, and, yes, they were women.

…this post forwarded by a Windsor Humanist (N.Hod) after an April 30, 2007 article by Johann Hari in The Independent

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Muslims Establish Own Court Systems in Britain

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Controversial Sharia courts have been set up in major towns and cities to impose Islamic law and enable Muslims to shun the legitimate British legal system.

Last night religious leaders and politicians expressed outrage that Sharia law is gaining an increasing foothold in our society.

Critics insisted that the Govern­ment is allowing a two-tier legal system to flourish in the name of political correctness and that the authority of UK justice is being undermined.

The Daily Express can reveal that one of the controversial courts has been set up in the home town of the 7/7 London bombings ringleader.

Mohammed Siddique Khan was responsible for the Edgware Road Circle Line explosion which killed six people and injured 120. Our investigation has found that the Sharia court system has been set up in the heart of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and that it is a model for others across the country which are operating outside the British legal process.

The Dewsbury court is called the Sharee Council – another term for Sharia – and operates as a Muslim judiciary making decisions by which attendees must abide.

In many countries, hard-line interpretations of the Islamic law allow people to be stoned to death, beheaded or have their limbs amputated.

Non-Muslims are excluded from the secretive court which is registered as a charity to receive British tax benefits.

Although the court has no official legal standing, scales of justice adorn a sign outside a former pub building which has been converted by the Islamic Institute of Great Britain.

Last night the Sharia courts were blasted by both Christian and Muslim groups for their non-democratic attempts to establish their legal system.

Mark Wallace, campaign man­ager of the Freedom Asso­ciation said: “British society must be one of free speech, free personal choice, democratic freedom and fairness.

“If individual Muslims wish to inform their decisions by the teachings of Sharia, that is fine, but they must do it within the structures of British law and they must understand that sharia will never be acceptable as the legal system of the UK.”

His views were echoed by the Muslim Council of Britain, whose spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said: “We believe one legal code should apply for all citizens of the UK. There is no place for multiple legal systems for people of different religious or ethnic backgrounds.”

Dewsbury councillor Imtiaz Ameen, a Muslim, said: “Some people advocate total Sharia law but you cannot have it being the case in any country that there is one law for one and one law for another.

Critics say the Government has not done enough to stop radical Muslim groups establishing their brand of law.

Liberal thinkers in the Gov­ernment claim that the law enables full-face veil-wearing Muslim women who are afraid of British courts to gain justice the “traditional way”.

But one insider told the Daily Express that the Sharia court, which is run from the backroom of a Madrasa – an Islamic education centre – in Dewsbury is just one of “dozens” operating in Asian communities. And a leading Muslim commentator claimed similar courts exist in every major city across Britain.

The Madrasa – which is a former pub situated less than a mile from the one-time home of London bombing mastermind Khan – sits as a court every other weekend and hears up to 10 cases a day.

Four Muslim scholars, who have spent their life studying and preaching the Koran, sit in judgment on an array of cases alongside a Muslim solicitor whose role is to advise on the implications of their rulings in British law.

The operation is headed by prominent scholar Sheikh Yaqub Munshi. Accounts for the Dewsbury court’s parent company the Islamic Research Institute of Great Britain, show that it was registered in Dewsbury as a charity in 1996 with the ethos of promoting the advancement of Islamic religion and education in the United Kingdom.

Charitable status allows the organisation to claim tax relief and apply for government grants and trustee funding.

Between April 1999 and April 2004 its gross annual turnover rocketed from £2,500 to above £177,000. At the end of the last financial year it recorded total funds of £255,000 but it is not known if or how it charges for use of the service.

At the moment, the leaders insist they only deal with civil matters such as Muslim divorces, wedding dowries and asset sharing.

But the secretive Muslim-only nature of the dealings will provoke fears that radical Sharia law could be allowed to spread across the Muslim population. The source said: “These courts take the law into their own hands and dish out punishment for bad behaviour.

“I have not heard of physical punishments being used but those in the wrong are often ordered to pay compensation. Many who have no respect for British law are the most stringent observers of Sharia law.”

Sheikh Yaqub admitted that in­troducing Sharia law into the UK has been his goal since moving to Britain from Paki­stan in the 1960s.

But he insisted its main aim is to help repressed women who are trapped in bad or violent marriages and who dare not use British law.

He said: “Ever since I arrived here in the 1960s there has been a case of women being forced to get married, others forced to get married, but unhappy afterwards. Until now there was no organisation which could Islamically solve their problems.”

Sharia is derived from the Arabic translation Sariah and outlines Islamic law according to the Koran. The term means “way” or “path” and gives the Islamic framework within which people must regulate their lives according to the Muslim faith.

After the Sharia court has ruled in judgment, solicitors process matters officially through UK courts on their clients’ behalf.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, said: “Sharia courts now operate in most larger cities, with different sectarian and ethnic groups operating their own courts that cater to their specific needs according to their tradition.”

Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley, said: “I am ab­solutely appalled and find the prospect of such courts totally terrifying. Places like this should be closed down or else everybody will want to establish their own courts.

“How many more places like this are there in the UK? Who knows where it could all end? It simply cannot be tolerated.”

…this post forwarded by a Windsor Humanist (N.Hod) after an April 30, 2007 article in The Daily Express

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April 27, 2007

Ontario has absolute power

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In the photograph which accompanied this article, letter-writer Charles Cahill is holding a copy of the Supreme Court of Canada reference regarding Bill 30. From his letter, however, he either has not read the court’s decision or he has chosen to concentrate on supporting clauses.

In a nutshell, what the Supreme Court said about the constitutional provisions for education is that the province has plenary ( absolute) power. The court ruled that “what the province gives pursuant to its plenary power, the province can take away … the province is master of its own house when it legislates under its plenary power in relation to denominational, separate or dissentient schools.”

I believe that the court was ruling that the province may abolish public funding for Roman Catholic separate schools and, instead, publicly fund a Presbyterian separate school system, or a Muslim separate school system, or fund the schools of all faith groups, as it wishes.

When, in 1890, the Manitoba legislature used its plenary power to eliminate the full public funding of Manitoba’s Roman Catholic separate schools, Roman Catholic Bishop Taché observed that: “… all things mundane are transient, even human laws embedded in constitutions.”

I believe the Ontario government has the legal right to fund a single school system.

…this post forwarded by Windsor Humanist J.Mac after an April 27, 2007 letter to The Ottawa Citizen by Renton Patterson (of Pembroke), President, Civil Rights in Public Education, Inc.

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Amnesty International Appalled by Stoning-to-Death of Yezidi Girl

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Amnesty International is appalled by the killing of Du’a Khalil Aswad, aged about 17, who was stoned to death on or around 7 April 2007 for a so-called honour crime. A member of Iraq’s Yezidi religious minority from the village of Bahzan in northern Iraq, she was killed by a group of eight or nine men and in the presence of a large crowd in the town of Bashika, near the city of Mosul. Some of her relatives are said to have participated in the killing.

Du’a Khalil Aswad’s murder is said to have been committed by relatives and other Yezidi men because she had engaged in a relationship with a Sunni Muslim boy and had been absent from her home for one night. Some reports suggested that she had converted to Islam, but others deny this. Initially, she was reportedly given shelter in the house of a Yezidi tribal leader in Bashika, but her killers stormed the house, took her outside and stoned her to death. Her death by stoning, which lasted for some 30 minutes, was recorded on video film which was then widely distributed and is available on the internet. The film reportedly shows that members of local security forces were present but failed to intervene to prevent the stoning or arrest those responsible.

In an apparent act of retaliation, some 23 Yezidi workers were attacked and killed on 22 April, apparently by members of a Sunni armed group. The Yezidis, reportedly all men, were travelling on a bus between Mosul and Bashika when the vehicle was stopped by gunmen, who made the Yezidis disembark and then summarily killed them.

Amnesty International condemns in the strongest terms both the murder of Du’a Khalil Aswad and the subsequent murders of the Yezidi men, and is calling on the Iraqi authorities to take immediate steps to identify and bring to justice, through fair trials and without recourse to the death penalty, the perpetrators of these killings. As well, the organization is calling on the Iraqi authorities to investigate whether law enforcement officials were present but failed to intervene to prevent Du’a Khalil Aswad’s death by stoning, and to take urgent, concrete measures, including through legislative reforms, to protect those at risk of becoming victims of so-called “honour crimes.”

There are frequent reports of “honour crimes” in Iraq – in particular in the predominantly Kurdish north of the country. Most victims of “honour crimes” are women and girls who are considered by their male relatives and others to have shamed the women’s families by immoral behaviour. Often grounds for such accusations are flimsy and no more than rumour. “Honour crimes” are most often perpetrated by male members of the woman’s family in the belief that such crimes restore their and their family’s honour. While the Kurdish authorities introduced legal reforms to address “honour killings” they have, however, failed to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such crimes.

…this post forwarded by N.Hod after an April 27, 2007 press release from Amnesty International

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April 25, 2007

Public money is being wasted on two education systems

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It is tragic that a legal right granted to Catholic schools to protect Irish Catholics from prejudice in Protestant British Ontario in 1867 is today being wielded as an instrument of discrimination.

A Protestant majority is no longer being served by the publicly funded school system.

It’s odd that Roman Catholics, the largest religious group in the world and the least in need of protection, have been elevated to a position of privilege above all others, by having their own publicly funded education system.

The Catholic school system has the absolute legal right to discriminate against non- Catholics in admissions to elementary schools and in employment at all levels.

If we were starting from scratch, would we create this publicly funded system today – one group of schools for a specific denomination of one religion, and one group of schools for everybody else? I think not.

When a Catholic family chooses to send their children to a Catholic school, it may appear to be a religious choice. According to Father James T. Mulligan in “Catholic Education: Ensuring a Future”. Ottawa: Novalis, 2005, 70 to 75 per cent of the families using publicly funded Catholic schools are considered “unchurched.” Most families using separate schools are making a secular choice based on such factors as test scores, programs and location.

Religion is rarely a factor.

The unnecessary and wasteful duplication in bureaucracy, services and facilities worsens the perpetual funding crises facing our schools.

Ontario can no longer afford to fund a religious school system where three-quarters of the families using the system don’t even attend church.

The Catholic schools are probably as “wonderful” as they say. Why can’t my children access them? The UN has twice ruled Canada to be violation of various Human Rights instruments by virtue of the discriminatory nature of Ontario’s separate school system. This is shameful and unjustifiable religious discrimination.

I’m not saying that Catholic schools should be eliminated. I’m saying that the publicly funded aspect of them should be eliminated. If their faith-based schools are indeed as central and important to the Catholic community as we are led to believe, there should be no hesitation on the part of the parents to pay thousands of dollars a year to send their children to private Catholic schools, while still paying their taxes to support the public system, as many Jewish, Muslim and Baptist parents are doing under the current system.

“. . . with respect to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, colour, social condition, language or religion, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent.”

– Pope Paul VI, (pastoral constitution on the Church in the Modern World, December, 1965).


…this post forwarded by J.Mac after an April 25, 2007 letter to The Owen Sound Sun Times by Peter Jones (of Brantford)

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April 12, 2007

No Monopoly on Faith

Filed under: Uncategorized — moderator @ 10:38 pm

I am extremely offended by the comments of Kathy Ablett, chairwoman of the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board, that public schools don’t “educate the whole child, body and soul.” My son attends Castlefrank Public Elementary School. Aside from his academic subjects, he learns physical fitness, ethics, and an understanding of diverse cultures because he is surrounded by children of different races and religions.

How dare she be so high and mighty, proclaiming that only in a Catholic system can children be spiritually nurtured. My son is learning how to coexist peacefully and get along with his peers, skills that will benefit him when he’s living in the real world. As far as his religious upbringing, we take him to church.

…this post forwarded by J.Mac after an April 12, 2007 letter to The Ottawa Citizen by Ainslie S. Wiggs (of Kanata, Ontario)

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