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BigJon@Work wrote:I would say that the smoke break was once a US cultural icon for many and should be given equal weight to the hooka addicts.
Parents expect that the announcement is going to add to the tension that has been building since officials agreed earlier this month to change the lunch menu to exclude items containing pork to accommodate Muslim students. News that Jell-O was struck from the menu caused such a stir that officials have agreed to bring it back. Gelatin is often made with tissue or bones of pigs or other animals.
That controversy now appears to have been been dwarfed by the holiday debate, which became so acrimonious Wednesday that police were called to Columbus Manor School to intervene in a shouting match among parents.
October 3, 2007 — New York University wants to make its sinks foot-free.
As more than a dozen universities and colleges across the country have done, the school is looking to install foot baths for ritualistic cleansing in a new Islamic center proposed for its more-than-1,500 Muslim students.
“It’s something that’s being looked at as part of the new interfaith center,” said university spokeswoman Kelly Franklin. While a home for the center has yet to be secured, NYU is in talks with the Archdiocese of New York about buying its building at 238 Thompson St., where the student Catholic and Islamic centers are currently housed. In a bathroom there by the Muslim prayer room - as well as in more-visible university bathrooms - Muslim students wash before each of five daily prayers, a task they precariously conclude by rinsing their feet in hip-high sinks.
Although students haven’t been clamoring for foot baths, according to leaders and members of NYU’s Muslim community, they would prefer them to standard sinks where washing leads to wet floors, dirty conditions and, at times, uncomfortable moments. ...
Non-Muslim students interviewed at the campus suggested yesterday that even if foot baths were installed in a public place like the student library, they would not likely create a stir on the liberal campus.
“I think most people would really approve of that,” said senior Pia Clive, 20. “It’s NYU. If we were at Alabama State, it would be a different story.”
Resident Bryan Schapiro argued that long-standing traditions are under attack.
“For a number of years now I’ve seen something change every year because it goes against Muslim beliefs,” Schapiro said. “Traditions that have been beloved by children in America for centuries are now being taken away little by little because the Muslims want the school day, menu and social traditions tailored to their needs.”
Harvard University has moved to make Muslim women more comfortable in the gym by instituting women-only access times six hours a week to accommodate religious customs that make it difficult for some students to work out in the presence of men.
Men have not been allowed to enter the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center during certain times since Jan. 28, after members of the Harvard Islamic Society and the Harvard Women’s Center petitioned the university for a more comfortable environment for women.
Harvard Islamic Society’s Islamic Knowledge Committee officer Ola Aljawhary, a junior, said the women-only hours are being tested on a trial basis. The special gym hours will be analyzed over Spring Break to determine if they will continue, she said.
Aljawhary said that she does not believe that the women-only gym hours discriminate against men.
"In the old days, Harvard would have laughed if some Catholic or evangelical mother urged 'girls-only' campus workouts in the name of modesty. Today, Harvard happily implements Sharia swim times in the name of Mohammed."
In 1998 a female weight lifter in Boston was awarded $5000 when she was denied admission to a male-only section of a gym which had a separate gym area for women. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination made the ruling despite arguments that separate weight-lifting areas were necessary to prevent "sexual harassment," and a finding that it did in fact tend to reduce sexual harassment. [Hassan and DiCenso v. City of Boston, et al., 20 MDLR 83]
Just a year earlier Superior Court Judge Burnes ruled that a "women only" health club violates Massachusetts' public accommodation statute by refusing to admit men, and could not justify its policy on privacy grounds. [Foster v. Back Bay Spas, d/b/a/ Healthworks Fitness Center, Suffolk Superior Court No. 96-7060 (1997).]
Although the legislature responded by exempting some health clubs which are established solely for use by one gender, that exemption does not appear to apply here because the gym is used by both genders together during most times of the day, and because Harvard receives public funds.
My piece here tells the story of Moussa Magassa, an illegal immigrant from Mali of various occupations, who came to the attention of the New York media, city government and readers nationally last year when he lost several children in a tragic fire exactly one year ago. It turned out that he had been living quite nicely, with both of his wives and all of their children in the house that burned. Mr. Magassa's family has grown quite a bit in the intervening year — and not just the usual ways.
It also turns out that there is a large community of West Africans here in New York who have brought with them their Islamic practice and tribal culture of polygamous marriage to the U.S. They bring in additional wives on false visas, they hide the practice, and the mediating institutions of the state, which should be inculcating our cultural practices and laws— welfare bureaucracies, schools, fire departments — turn a blind eye because they do not wish to deal with this practice, despite the harms and loss of freedoms to at least some of the women involved. Why not? Because acknowledging the practice would require legal action: polygamy is grounds for deportation, (and a jail sentence.) This willing disregard of the law by everyone from the Mayor on down is a step by step enactment of "Sharia creep," as Mark Steyn calls it. It is also a direct result of the government's complicity in illegal immigration.
The 1856 GOP platform spoke directly of the "twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery." We fought a bloody war to end slavery, and the federal government undertook a decade's long legal enforcement effort to eradicate polygamy among Mormons a few years later, capped by the 1879 Supreme Court case Reynolds vs. the U.S.. To this day, when the government uncovers cases of slavery, it takes vigorous action, including jail time and deportations. Unless we wish to become like Western Europe — colonized, and forced to support, with our tax dollars, laws and practices we find abhorrent — it's time to take similar action when we uncover cases of polygamy.
Geert Wilders, conservative Dutch politician and provocateur, has become the latest projectile in the world's most important culture war: the zero-sum conflict between civil society and traditional Islam. Wilders, who lives under perpetual armed guard due to death threats, recently released a 15 minute film entitled Fitna ("strife" in Arabic) over the internet. The film has been deemed offensive because it juxtaposes images of Muslim violence with passages from the Qur'an.
Given that the perpetrators of such violence regularly cite these same passages as justification for their actions, merely depicting this connection in a film would seem uncontroversial. Controversial or not, one surely would expect politicians and journalists in every free society to strenuously defend Wilders' right to make such a film. But then one would be living on another planet, a planet where people do not happily repudiate their most basic freedoms in the name of "religious sensitivity."
Witness the free world's response to Fitna: The Dutch government sought to ban the film outright, and European Union foreign ministers publicly condemned it, as did UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Dutch television refused to air Fitna unedited.
When Wilders declared his intention to release the film over the internet, his U.S. web-host, Network Solutions, took his website offline.
Into the breach stepped Liveleak, a British video-sharing website, which finally aired the film on March 27th. It received over 3 million views in the first 24 hours.
The next day, however, Liveleak removed Fitna from its servers, having been terrorized into self-censorship by threats to its staff. But the film had spread too far on the internet to be suppressed (and Liveleak, after taking further security measures, has since reinstated it on its site as well).
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