Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Uncontroversial subjects - religion, sexism, racism

I am going to admit to being prejudiced.

I have a prejudice against religion.

Now I can certainly think of reasons why I would refuse to shake the hand of the head of the Metropolitan Police, but as a police officer not wanting to touch a man other than my husband seems a bit precious.

I am sorry but I can not be relaxed about stuff like this. This is the bloody twenty first century. Here is my dilemma.

Muslim women joining police force = Good Thing.

One at least of these Muslim women seemingly unable due to her faith to touch men = Bad Thing.

Women are still fighting for equality. We often have to prove we are not second class citizens/brainless idiots (delete as applicable). Top jobs are still overwhelmingly the preserve of men, and we still have a very long way to go to achieve true equality -For god's sake, men still look on patronisingly if I start talking about football "Bless! What does she know about 'The Man's Game'?" And then with one little news item we give the sexists ammunition to last them a decade. "They want to do our jobs?? They want to join the police force??? But they don't want to have to touch a man????"

My advice to this woman? Speaking as a feminist myself - "Get back in the kitchen." No, strike that last comment. Let's rethink. She could always become a nun I suppose? No nasty men there so that could be ideal. Although do I remember some kind of silly discriminatory rule there about having to be a Catholic or some other such nonsense? "I have the right to be a nun, but I reserve the right not to go to Mass as it against my faith."

I don't even want to go into what a field day it will give the BNP.

But it seems all is well on the policing front which is a great relief-

Sheikh Ibraham Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said people should not be alarmed by the officer's beliefs and that Muslim law "was not set in concrete".

He added: "If the officer is called to a male victim who has been shot, the laws go out of the window.

"If she has to resuscitate that dying person, Muslim law will then change and allow her all sorts of physical contact because a life is at risk and life is so precious.

So apparently religious laws are flexible.

You can make them up and adapt them to suit your personal circumstances....which presumably explains why so many of our most vicious politicians can tell us they are guided by their Christian beliefs.


Arthur Clewley said...

surely the proffessional world of law, accountancy, business and so on must be full of women from a similar background. I can't believe that whenever they meet a customer or client they say 'sorry, can't shake your hand, it's against my religion'. this woman is just grandstanding, like that teacher in the veil affair and if she thinks the entire male half of the population is untouchable then she shouldn't be in that job because half of her salary comes from untouchable male's taxes and half of the villains she'll have to manhandle into the back of a van will be male too. she doesn't do any service to her reigion of gender.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

I think J.J.'s point was that beliefs appear to be flexible, except when they ain't... which is both contradictory as well as socially unhelpful.

Yes, the woman's remarks about what she felt she could/could not do according to her beliefs were pretty stupid and do nothing to help women (indeed anyone) in the professions. But it seems that actually the woman was just mistaken in what she thought her beliefs were...

On an unrelated point, anyone else reminded of Life of Brian reading the remark: "I have the right to be a nun, but I reserve the right not to go to Mass as it against my faith."


cookie monster said...

i wonder if a jewish or Christian copper would be allowed to refuse to shake hands with a muslim?

and as for her Imam to say Muslim law was not set in concrete? well i know it might seem a shock but the ONLY law that matters when you wear the uniform is British Law. you check any religious and social beliefs in at the door.

The Moy said...

I dislike religion in general, in spite of the fact that I've seen cases where it has inspired courageous and compassionate acts. In Southern Louisiana during the '60s, for instance, the Catholic grammar schools were the first to integrate because the local bishop felt that they should stand as a moral example (and, I suspect, he feared that otherwise they would become "white flight" schools once the publics were forced to desegregate.)

But religion has more frequently been a rationale for behavior that ranges from stupid to outrageously vicious -- and that goes for pretty EVERY religion I've had contact with, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc. The counterpart here in the US to Moslem women like the one you've described, is the born-again Christian physician/pharmacist who won't dispense or prescribe the morning after pill to a woman who was raped the night before.

Reidski said...

The woman is an idiot, no doubt. Much like that fucking idiot cause celebre of the christian nutters who worked at BA and who demanded to wear some symbol on her uniform because "she would like to be able to tell people about her Christian beliefs if they asked." That she was employed to serve tea and fucking coffee and not to provide fictional other-worldly information to them was ignored.

People should be sacked for being stupid and incompetent - like the woman in question, on the former description anyway, but I couldn't comment on the latter - but not for refusing to touch the hand of Ian Blair, who is a fascist pig!

And that's my rant over!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Never mind all that religious ranting, let's get down to what's important - Cobblers 3 Lions 0! I think Reidski owes you a free meal out!
P.S. I discovered long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow... I mean I discovered that there is no God apart from Dean Windass - the prodigal son - returned to the home of East Yorkshire football.

Steve said...

You know it's strange, I've just downloaded Tears For Fears' exquisite "Woman In Chains".

How can I get any more "apt" than that?

As for football - please come and take over at Eastlands. Please. No, really.....PLEASE!!

J.J said...

And what about nurses and doctors Arthur? It is ridiculous.

Lisa,you might have thought someone would have told her not to be so stupid - and as for her thought that photos would be taken of her shaking his hand and used for 'propaganda purposes'. How bloody self important is she???

Cookie, I suspect the answer to your question is no.

The Moy, they really do seem to think they can do what they like so long as they declare it is so written by their faith. Where is the compassion in refusing to help a rape victim?

Reidski - yep, that BA woman got on my nerves too - but I was pleased to hear she wasn't paid whilst she took her self off to moan all over the national media.

YP - you and I know what the only true religion is! Never mind what Marx said (apologies Reidski) Football, is the opium of the people.

Steve, that is spooky! And I would be delighted to consider the job at Man City on condition of course that I don't have to shake hands with any opposing footballer or manager I don't like the look of.