Posts Tagged ‘ban’

banning halal and kosher

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

The Netherlands is seriously discussing the ban of ritual/religious slaughtering of animals. This ban will also cover the importation of ritually slaughtered meat from other countries. Tough, ha?

The ban is now being debated in the parliament. The proposal of the ban first came from the Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren). They argue that when animals are slaughtered without being stunned, they feel more stress and severe pain, and this is against the animal rights. Okay, there is freedom of religion in the country, but that should not violate the rights of animals, they say. Many parties are in favor of the ban. Only Christian parties are against it. The Labour (PvdA), the liberals (VVD and D66), the Greens (GL) all support it.. There is large muslim electorate in the country, I wonder why none of them take that fact into account.

Surprisingly, the PVV is divided. I am pretty sure that if this ban was only about Muslims, they would be the first to support. But, fortunately (!) Jews would also be affected from the ban. And the PVV is divided now. Some PVVers are in favor of the ban, some are against.

An MP from the PVV says that he cannot support this ban because, the first anti-Jewish measures taken in the Netherlands during World War II was a ban on ritual slaughter. What a weird political position is that? He remembers the atrocities of WWII and is clearly aware of how they began. He knows that symbolic bans and cases of discrimination led to mass killings during the war. However, he (at least his party) does not show the same sensitivity towards foreigners (or more specifically Muslims or allochtonen) in the country. His party is openly against Muslims in the country and has proposed many anti-Muslim measures. He can respond to my criticism saying that Jews are a part of Europe than Muslims, Europe has a Judeo-Christian cultural tradition etc. I don’t but that. Jews had always been excluded, they were always discriminated against, and the Holocaust was the peak of this hatred. Judaism has only become a part of European tradition only after Holocaust.

While there is a double standard in the eyes of some PVVers, Muslim and Jewish organizations came together and a signed a declaration against the ban. In the statement they claim that there are also other scientific studies showing that ritual slaughtering without stunning is less painful for the animals. So, before the ban is discussed in the parliament, they should have taken those counter evidence into account, they say. They are indeed right. But I find this position a bit problematic, especially for religiously motivated organizations. They base their arguments on scientific research, as the PvD does. Let’s assume that it is scientifically proven that ritual slaughtering is more painful for animals. What would those religious organizations say then? Would they say, ‘okay, if it is scientifically painful for animals, then we give up kosher or halal’? Muslims (and also Jews in this case) should also know how to defend their position from a non-scientific perspective.


Volendamse klederdracht vs hoofddoek

March 31, 2011 4 comments

A fifteen year old girl is banned from the school because of her headscarf, in Volendam. The reason is that her headscarf is not acceptable in Catholicism, so in a Catholic school she cannot wear it. She made a complaint to the Dutch Equal Treatment Commission, and the Commission decided against the school. However, the decisions of the Commission are not binding. So, the school did not lift the ban. Now, she sued the school and is going to the court.

I do not know what is gonna happen in the end, but a friend of me has a funny suggestion for her. (By the way, the name of this girl is Imane.) He is wondering what happens if she wears a traditional Volendam costumes, which also includes a funny headscarf. Volendam is a historical Dutch village, famous with tulips, mills and farmers. Traditional costumes of the farmers are often referred to as “national costume” of the Dutch. It is specially called “Volemdamse klederdracht”. You can see many versions of those clothes on many souvenirs sold in tourist shops etc.

Anyway, I found my friend’s suggestion important because that can make people to question their logic behind the ban. I hope Imane can also think of that idea. Then, we may witness an interesting trial and distance ourselves from the dullness of the politics here..

is this the same hema?

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week, in Belgium, a woman was fired by hema, a dutch company, because she rejected taking off her headscarf. She is not non-western or of immigrant origin, but she is a native belgian, just converted to islam.. And hema kicked her off due to some complaints by their customers, who are disturbed by her headscarf..

Wow! See, how customer-friendly hema is!

Interestingly, a couple of years ago, same company had initiated a campaign “el-hema”. During the campaign, they presented and advertised some products in arabic, sold some typically arabic items etc. and published an image of a young women with headscarf on their ads. I think it was to promote multiculturalism and to praise differences in the society. (Of course, the main idea behind was to take the advantage of two muslim holidays and make money out of it.)

So, what has changed since then? What’s wrong with hema now? I do not think it’s changed.. They just distunguish between headscarved customers and headscarved hema staff.. The first group is always welcome as customers, the second group is not, because of complaining customers.. It’s all about their customer-friendly nature of the company..

This distinction between staff and customers, or buyers and sellers, if you like, is very much parallel to the Turkish distinction between those receiving public service and those serving for the public. Some of our freedom defender liberal intellectuals argue that, the former group should be free to wear headscarf, but the latter one should not, because they are expected to be neutral. (I could write for pages, on this stupid idea of human neutrality.)

And to conclude, I should say, that’s not the first case of hema about headscarf.. I know that a friend of my friend is also asked to remove her headscarf to work in hema (in the netherlands).. If she had publicized that event, or at least gone to the court and accused them of discrimination, she would have won the case, for sure..

Long live customer-oriented world!

Categories: islamophobia Tags: , , , ,

PVV’s creativeness never ends, especially on headscarves..

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Sometimes the debates on headscarves and the way PVV proposes to deal with reminds me of Turkey..
Look at those sentences from a news article:
“PVV senate campaign leader Machiel de Graaf came under fire for the party’s proposal to ban headscarves in provincial council buildings and the suggestion this could be extended to public transport.
One member of the audience asked De Graaf how this would apply to his 88-year-old grandmother who always wore a headscarf.”

Exactly the same debates, with the same questions have been on the agenda of Turkey for 20-30 years.. The Dutch seems to follow the Turkish example.

Now, I want to enhance their discussion with some questions already asked in Turkey..

Okay, you wanna ban the headscarf.. But how? How are you gonna distinguish between the headscarf of a religious muslim or an ordinary grandmother? What if a headscarved woman prefers to cover her head with a bandanna, or a hat, instead of headscarf, are you gonna allow her, or ban the bandanna? If a non-muslim covers her, or even his, head for any reason are you gonna ban them from entering the provincial buildings and public transport? What about the nuns? Are you gonna make a survey on those “headscarved” and categorize them according to their clothing motivations? Is the scarf of the “girl with a pearl earring” acceptable?

And what about men? Are you gonna ban something for them? Maybe long dresses of some Moroccan men? You know what, banning beards could be a wise idea.. It was tried and worked well in Turkey. It still works.. You can make a legislation on clothing. Then, define and describe all the acceptable forms of clothing and appearance in detail, and force people to fit in..

After public transportation, you may want to ban them from the public sphere, the “space”, which is at the center of debates in Turkey. What is the public sphere? Can you tell me where exactly is this sphere? Can you show me its boundaries? If I get into an elevator, should I take off my scarf? What about the streets? Or the balcony of my house? Can I wear it there?

Have you already asked the women wearing scarves about their opinions? Or do you think they are far too repressed by their men and cannot answer your questions?

Just try!