Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Little Jihadi That Could

Living up to their unofficial motto of 'all the news that's fit to', the Beeb's coverage of the Shabina Begum story has had more holes than the Open Golf Championship. In a glowing testimony to the benefits of the licence fee, you need to go to Biased BBC to get the full story on Little Miss Taliban.

When the Beeb takes time out from producing dramas about paedophile priests and serial killers who recite the 23rd Psalm while dismembering women, to broadcast glowing tributes to a religious zealot, it's usually a sign that they're up to no good.

Not that the Liberals have actual arguments, aside from reminding us approximately 6000 times that the Rosa Parks of Luton is really, really, religious - oh yeah, and accusing everyone in the world of being 'Islamophobic'.

The truth is you don't even need to mention the I-word to see how asinine the Liberal position is. Take the absurdity of citing 'equality' as a reason to specially privilege some worldviews but not others. Consider what the Liberal's sudden outbreak of respect for religion means in the context of abortion. If you think our current abortion laws are wrong because the foetus becomes human far earlier than the original Act allows, then the Left hates you, you pig. But if you think the law needs changing because His Holiness says so, then the Left will argue that your religious belief needs to be respected.

Won't they ?

But what's with this religion anyway ? Will all religious beliefs have to be respected, or will there be some kind of licensing authority, to distinguish between religions which deserve respect and stupid, little cults. I only ask because I'm thinking that if the Satanists get turned down and bring a lawsuit, their opponents could struggle to find a lawyer. Besides, what of the Jedi ? The last census proves they have thousands of adherents - so how many people do they have to decapitate to get a little respect round here ?

Then again, if defining 'religion' is hard, how about distinguishing between religious beliefs and the ordinary, everyday ones that you don't have to respect ? Liberals might want to pretend that this case is a matter of religious freedom, but there's nothing metaphysical about dress sense. No one's talking about making windows into men's souls, just regulating actual behaviour. Or to put it another way, what rules do the Left think Muslims should have to obey ?

Despite the best efforts of the BBC and its fellow travellers to cast this as some sort of victory for a plucky lass fighting for freedom of religion, the reality is anything but. Even fifty years ago the headscarf was virtually unknown amongst Muslim women. The rise of the headscarf reflects its role as a symbol of militant Islam - it is emphatically not a politically-neutral sign of religious faith, which may be why those well-known hotbeds of Islamophobia, Egypt, Turkey and Iran all banned it when it first appeared.

The point is that from the start, allegedly Islamic clothing was used as a way of distinguishing between Islamists and everyone else. Since that time, the ratchet has only gone one way, with the Jibab being merely the latest iteration of hardline Islamism - as perfectly exemplified by Shabina Begum herself and her lawyer's shamelessly undereported statement that she opposed wearing the shalwar khameez (the 'uniform' recognised by Dhimmi High) because Sikhs and Hindus also wear it. And that's the good side of it. Comparisons to the idea of allowing native Britons to attend school in KKK robes fall short on one particular point - even BNP members have never stooped to this sort of thing:

After all, in some giant housing projects surrounding Paris and other French cities, young Muslim women who dress in western clothing are deemed to be fair game, inviting—indeed, asking for—rape by gangs of Muslim youths. In such circumstances, it is impossible to know whether the adoption of Islamic dress by women in western society is ever truly voluntary, and so long as such behavior persists, the presumption must be against it being so.
Indeed. The Jibab is an ideological symbol, and a pretty foul ideology at that. To cite religious freedom as grounds for allowing these people to parade around even the most inappropriate of places - schools certainly count - in full Islamist regalia is to miss the central point that the overt wearing of such paraphernalia is designed to crush freedom, both in the specific sense of intimidating people by their physical presence, and in the more general sense that it is designed to create a legal environment where Muslims are specially privileged, for example by being able to opt out of rules they don't like, while at the same time, their critics are subjected to ever more overt legal harassment. In short, the Court's ruling marks another step on the road to dhimmitude.

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