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Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:37 pm
by WeiWenDi
James wrote:I agree completely with Tigger here... and I think you're seriously underestimating this problem, Ranbir. The Muslim community has been muscling in with its laws through Europe for quite some time now and they are steadily gaining ground. Ignoring the problem and depending on it to right itself will be just as effective as ignoring Germany's advances during World War II. The problem won't go away, the threat is devoted and dedicated.

What bothers me most about the courts is the involvement of the women inside them. Sure, they can say all involved parties gave consent, but those women didn't have much choice. To decline would have surely been affront to their culture and their families, and that would have been a big mess in many cases. Laugh if you will, but sometimes a strong arm and a good smack is what you need to deal with an awful problem.


I still think it's rather naive to think that even moderate Muslims, with their strong sense of civil society, will not want to be actively involved as Muslims in their own community affairs, and even more naive to think that Christian churches haven't already been doing this for centuries (and to a certain extent, still are). The more alienated a religious group feels from civil society, the more attractive more radical options look to them. Unless you are suggesting - as Ranbir rather satirically pointed out - that we should also consider as 'threats' rabbinical law and the influence of Christian churches on law (in both the United States and in Britain), this view seems more than a bit alarmist. Also, there's something about the 'strong arm' and the 'good smack' that disturbs me a little bit - I think the Russian Tsarist justifications for pogroms against Jewish communities (which were considered 'an awful problem') used similar language, and I don't think that's a route you really want to seriously consider, lest Britain take the Yugoslav road to hell.

It's better for those representing the law of the land in Britain to be engaged in discussion with those in the Muslim community who are willing to sit down and discuss, so as to better equip the Muslim community and the society at large against the extremists who don't want to sit down and discuss what it means to be a Muslim and Britain, but would rather blow up subways. That's the essence of what Dr Williams was trying to convey at the Royal Courts of Justice, and I think his view was quite prescient.

EDIT:

James wrote:Having mosques around is religious freedom.

Altering society's laws or legal structure based on a religious perspective is quite another thing, especially when it is such a lop-sided religious view. Preaching the standard 'love thy neighbor' stuff is fine, but demonstrating an interest in relegating women to the rank of second-class citizen, among other things, is quite another matter.


I'd agree, but again, you want to have a forum of open communication in which to discuss this. The Cromwellian option in this case would be more than a little ridiculous in a society which over the past 300 years has made religious tolerance one of its defining marks.

Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:55 pm
by James
WeiWenDi wrote:I'd agree, but again, you want to have a forum of open communication in which to discuss this. The Cromwellian option in this case would be more than a little ridiculous in a society which over the past 300 years has made religious tolerance one of its defining marks.

Do you believe that this development is a good one?
Human rights trump religious tolerance, in my view.

Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:59 pm
by Ranbir
Altering society's laws or legal structure based on a religious perspective is quite another thing, especially when it is such a lop-sided religious view.


The structure hasn't changed. If that couple wanted a divorce recognised by the state, they'd have to use the State courts. State law is what will matter. That will not change unless Parliament and the Head of State becomes Muslim.

Human rights trump religious tolerance, in my view.


And stomping people's views and institutions are contradictory to Human Rights. They'll get dismantled themselves with free and open education. It's like the evolution creationism thing. Let students freely debate it and the truth shall prevail.

Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:14 pm
by James
Ranbir wrote:The structure hasn't changed. If that couple wanted a divorce recognised by the state, they'd have to use the State courts. State law is what will matter. That will not change unless Parliament and the Head of State becomes Muslim.

You're not going to be able to convince me that I should be supporting a legal entity that is so well-known for trampling human rights, even in cases of divorce. Frankly, if a Muslim court entity is going to do things like distribute extra wealth to the males simply because they are male, I don't believe it has any right to exist.

I will not tolerate it any more than I would some social element that wants to kick the black man off buses.

Ranbir wrote:
Human rights trump religious tolerance, in my view.

And stomping people's views and institutions are contradictory to Human Rights. They'll get dismantled themselves with free and open education. It's like the evolution creationism thing. Let students freely debate it and the truth shall prevail.

Except the problem is growing bigger, not smaller. I've been following this for quite some time now and I've long been wondering why so many places in Europe aren't doing anything to protect their cultures and legal system. Would you have said the same thing a year ago? This isn't going to go away. It is a deliberate planned movement.

Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:24 pm
by Ranbir
Yes I'd say the same. The problem isn't growing, society is turning against them. This is the British way.

Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:25 pm
by James
I would define this legal development as a growing problem. :)

Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:36 pm
by Ranbir
It hasn't changed the legal system.* Nothing has been compromised. The small community hubs that grew out of the 70s are dispersing. Only an unfortunate few will use it and they will soon realise they have freedom.

I have optimism in democracy, Sharia law is not a dangerous foe, it will fade away.

Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:57 pm
by James
Hopefully you can say, "I told you so!" two years from now. :)

Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:12 pm
by Ranbir
Oh it'll take longer than that, but yes I will, just you wait!

Anyway, on to the first Prime Minister's Questions since the summer break! I'll put some thoughts on it after I catch up on it all, expect my fellow subjects to do so as well! It is your duty!

Will be interesting given during this crisis there is an aura of unity that is needed.

Re: UK Politics

Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:10 pm
by WeiWenDi
James wrote:Do you believe that this development is a good one?
Human rights trump religious tolerance, in my view.


To the first question, it would depend on which development you mean. If what you mean by 'this development' is the protection of abusive men and the neglect of their wives, then I would say, 'no, this development is not a good one'. But if what you mean by 'this development' is the recognition of above-ground Muslim judges who have real responsibilities to the community and to the state, then I would say that 'this development is better than it could have been otherwise'. An above-ground Muslim community which is answerable to the larger society is far better than an underground Muslim community which feels alienated from the larger society and thusly that it doesn't have to answer to it, making radicalism and violence all that much more possible.

And this isn't a question of human rights versus religious tolerance. The Muslim community in Britain is not going to be evicted, Edward Longshanks-style, and there is not going to be another Torquemada-style Inquisition to get them to become Christian or secular. Muslims will participate in British civil society whether you want them to or not. The question is: do you want their public behaviour to be accountable and accessible, or do you want to drive them underground, into alienation and possibly into violent action?

James wrote:I've been following this for quite some time now and I've long been wondering why so many places in Europe aren't doing anything to protect their cultures and legal system.


If this is the case, I hope for your sake that you haven't been paying that much attention to Bruce Bawer or Claire Berlinski on the subject - the same alarmists who thought that the growing cultural influence of Rammstein was going to undermine the EU and cause a drastic resurgence in Germany of Euroscepticism, homophobia, militarism and anti-Semitism. (Erm... don't hold your breath, Claire.)

Is Muslim extremism a problem? Yes. What is being proposed? There is the Switzerland approach (hunker down and deny outsider access to the society as much as possible), there is the tolerance approach and there are the various völkisch-far right approaches (being touted by American neo-conservatives as much as by the European far right). None of these are useful because they deny that there is a difference between Muslims who are peace- and security-loving members of European societies and wish to participate constructively, and the Muslim extremists who wish to re-establish the caliphate and expand it to include parts of Europe, by violence if necessary.

To be fair to Bawer, he does propose legal solutions that do not involve violent crackdowns (mostly involving closing taxing and budget loopholes which benefit extremist mosques). But Bawer also buys into the notion that Islam is culturally incompatible with peace, democracy and social justice, and this is both factually wrong and wrong-headed, given that the vast majority of Muslims worldwide (and all the Muslims of my acquaintance) highly value peace, security and social justice and are leery of democracy only in contexts where it comes part-in-parcel with full-scale Westernisation. As liberal-democratic Westerners we do ourselves no service by offering the Muslim world an 'either/or'. (Or ourselves, for that matter. It's not 'surrender' to accommodate moderates in the hopes of making extremists easier to target.)

A better response would be the more centrist one articulated by Amitai Etzioni in Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy. This is a broad manifesto on policy and will probably need to be tweaked with specific regard to Europe, but the primary ideas actually take account of the sociological data and focus on the real problem of extremism rather than perpetuating a political culture war.

Also, speaking as an (American, half-Jewish) Euro-enthusiastic pacifist: LONG LIVE RAMMS+EIN! + :huohu: +