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February 24, 2004

Dissident Frogman and Al-Qaeda Agree • Dissident Frogman et Al-Qaeda En Accord

Fired from France by the dissident frogman

You have to give it to the French Mediocratura: if anybody on this Earth and beyond could successfully round up your devoted dissident and the Al-Qaeda sub-scum behind the same opposing line, it has to be them:
« Al-Qaeda 'joins headscarf row'

Al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has reportedly criticised a French law that includes the banning of Islamic headscarves in state schools. The decision shows "the grudge the western crusaders have against Islam," Mr Zawahiri said in a tape broadcast on Arabic satellite station al-Arabiya.

The tape said the decision by French President Jacques Chirac was part of an ongoing campaign against Islam. »
The origin of the tape is apparently unconfirmed yet, but it's no reason not to slap Mister Possibly al-Zawahiri behind the turban, in retaliation for this ludicrous attack in demagogy.

Indeed, Komissar President Jacques Chirac's ongoing campaign is certainly not limited to Islam, and Jacques the Western Komissar Crusader's crusade is actually aiming at crushing every single religion - down to the slightest mystical conviction - that is not the Great Church of the French Socialist Secular State.

After all, for Jacques and his apostles, there is only one God and the State is His prophet: these people are not tolerant seculars but rabid anticlericals.

al-Zawahiri the Eastern Barbarian is obviously opposing Chirac the Western Crusader on strictly political grounds, each of them struggling for the domination of his own church. And so, the reason why I tend to criticise the Crusader's Law against ostentatious religious signs displayed by school kids and civil servants, within the limits of the his public domains and tenures is rather different than that of the Barbarian.

I am not ready to accept the idea that Jacques Chirac (or any other priest or mullah from any other church - Are we listening back there? Mr al-Zawahiri would do well to stop playing with Osama's slough and take some notes) is entitled to interfere with who (or what), how and when, you and I should pray to. Or not.

But since they does not exactly care to ask for my opinion, let's admit for the sake of the argument that the French Crusader can legitimately legislate on that issue. If so, the ban on Christian and Jewish symbols - among other notoriously harmless cults in this country - will appear as a simple egalitarian pretext (or a little bonus for Jacques and the Rabid Anticlerical Crusaders) to have a go on the Muslim headscarf without irritating the aforementionned Muslims (predictably, it's not working Jacques) and will certainly have little effects on the believers of these two cults. Indeed, the last time I witnessed a Christian bearing a "large crucifix" was in a movie relating the life of Jesus, who wasn't exactly a school boy or a civil servant, while the French Jews are already advised to wear baseball caps instead of the yarmulke, to avoid beatings.

That leaves us with the Muslims' headscarf.

While "militant" Muslims of all sex can argue without succumbing under the weight of sheer idiocy that this is a compulsory attire worn by women freely, it is also said that this distinctive sign was invented in the early 70s by an Iranian mullah in Lebanon, inspired by Catholic nuns headgear on the basis that:
« (...) by wearing the headgear, Shiite women would be clearly marked out, and thus spared sexual harassment, and rape, by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian gunmen who at the time controlled southern Lebanon. »
Interestingly enough, this very headgear is now fulfilling the same purpose in the Parisian suburbs of Sarcelles and Trappes.

"Better veiled than raped" has to be an Islamist motto I imagine.

This brings me back to the Crusader's Ban. The law is wrong, not simply because it is an attack against freedom of religion (no matter the unacceptable characteristics of the said religion) but particularly because it will not resolve any serious issue of which the headscarf has become the symbol (precisely because of the unacceptable characteristics of the said religion).

And in my book, any law that is not only coercive but also useless is irremediably wrong.

This law will not protect young girls from forced marriage (numbers in France apparently vary between 30,000 to 700,000 over the last 10 years - not really a surprise considering the seal of secrecy and the social and familial pressure that enclose them) or against any kind of physical or emotional violence. It will certainly not protect them against the aforementioned social and familial pressure neither will it protect the society against the conquering advance of the veiling - and potentially raping - beards.

However, it will give the women's oppressors another axe to grind, while they should have been clearly designated and ostracized as such - and sentenced, if need be. It will also temporarily clear the State from its self-allocated responsibility in this matter, while we have no other choice but its wrong and useless decision.

As usual with the legislator - particularly the French one - the only answer to a very concerning and sensible issue is a ban when we actually need the strong and renewed affirmation of a right: the right of any woman, Muslim or not, to refuse the veil, with the unconditional and uncompromising protection of the law.

And beyond any religious consideration, the affirmation and the defense of the right of any woman to live her life, express herself, and wear whatever she wants without risking the ghastly fate of their Christian, Jewish and more generally non Shiite counterparts in Lebanon 30 years ago or right here, right now.
Vous devez bien accorder ça à la Mediocratura française : si quelqu'un sur cette Terre, ou au-delà, peut arriver à rassembler votre dévoué dissident et la sous-crasse d'Al-Qaeda derrière la même ligne d'opposition, cela ne peut être qu'eux :
« Al-Qaeda 'se joint aux protestations en faveur du voile'

Le principal lieutenant d'Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri a censément critiqué une loi française incluant l'interdiction du foulard islamique dans les écoles publiques. La décision démontre "la rancune que les croisés occidentaux ont contre l'Islam," a déclaré M Zawahiri dans une cassette diffusée sur la chaîne satellite saoudienne al-Arabiya.

Il affirme également que la décision du président français Jacques Chirac procède de la campagne actuelle lancée contre l'Islam. »
L'origine de la bande n'est apparemment pas confirmée pour l'instant, mais cela ne doit pas nous empêcher de baffer Messire Probablement al-Zawahiri sur l'arrière du turban, en représailles pour cette risible attaque de démagogie.

En effet, la campagne actuelle du Komissaire Président Jacques Chirac ne se limite assurément pas à l'Islam, et la croisade de Jacques le Komissaire Croisé Occidental vise en fait à écraser toute forme de religion - jusqu'à la plus ténue conviction mystique - qui ne soit pas la Grande Eglise de l'Etat Socialiste Séculier français.

Après tout, pour Jacques et ses apôtres, il n'est qu'un seul Dieu et l'Etat est son prophète : ces gens ne sont point de tolérants laïques mais des anticléricaux haineux.

al-Zawahiri le Barbare Oriental s'oppose manifestement à Chirac le Croisé Occidental sur un terrain strictement politique, luttant l'un et l'autre pour la domination de leurs propres églises. C'est pourquoi la raison pour laquelle je suis amené à critiquer la Loi du Croisé contre les signes religieux ostentatoirement affichés par les écoliers et les fonctionnaires dans les limites de ses domaines et tenures publiques, diffère quelque peu de celles du Barbare.

Je ne suis pas prêt d'accepter l'idée que Jacques Chirac (ou n'importe quel autre prêtre ou mollah de n'importe quelle église - On écoute dans le fond ? M al-Zawahiri, ferait bien de cesser de jouer avec la dépouille d'Osama et de prendre des notes) soit autorisé à interférer dans la décision concernant qui (ou quoi), quand et comment, vous et moi devrions prier. Ou pas.

Mais étant donné qu'ils ne se soucient pas exactement de me demander mon avis, admettons un instant, pour le bénéfice de mon argumentation, que le Croisé français puisse légitimement légiférer sur cette question. Si c'est bien le cas, l'interdiction des symboles chrétiens et juifs - parmi d'autres cultes notoirement inoffensifs dans ce pays - apparaît bien comme un simple prétexte égalitariste (ou un petit bonus pour Jacques et les Haineux Croisés Anticléricaux) de tenter le coup sur le voile islamique, sans irriter les musulmans en question (comme il fallait s'y attendre, ça ne marche pas Jacques) et n'aura certainement que peu d'impact sur les fidèles de ces deux cultes. En effet, la dernière occasion qu'il m'ait été donné de voir un chrétien portant une "grande croix" était un film consacré à la vie de Jésus, qui n'était pas exactement un écolier ou un fonctionnaire, tandis que les juifs français se sont déjà vu conseiller de porter des casquettes de base-ball au lieu de la kippa, afin d'éviter d'être tabassés.

Cela nous laisse donc le voile islamique.

Alors que les musulmans "militants" de tous sexes peuvent affirmer sans succomber sous le poids de la bêtise pure qu'il s'agit là d'un accoutrement obligatoire porté librement par les femmes, il est également dit que ce signe distinctif fut inventé au début des années 70 par un mollah iranien au Liban s'inspirant de la coiffe des nonnes catholiques, sur la base que :
« (...) en portant cette coiffe, les femmes Shiites seraient clairement distinguées et en conséquence se verraient exemptées du harcèlement sexuel et des viols perpétrés par les soudards palestiniens de Yasser Arafat qui contrôlaient le sud Liban à l'époque. »
D'une manière intéressante, la coiffe en question rempli maintenant les mêmes fonctions dans les banlieues parisiennes de Sarcelles et de Trappes.

"Plutôt voilées que violées" doit être un slogan islamiste, j'imagine.

Et ceci me ramène à l'Interdiction du Croisé. Cette loi est mauvaise, pas simplement parce qu'elle est une atteinte à la liberté de culte (quelles que soient les caractéristiques inacceptables de ladite religion) mais particulièrement parce qu'elle ne résoudra aucun problème sérieux dont le voile n'est que le symbole (précisément en raison des caractéristiques inacceptables de ladite religion).

Et de mon point de vue, toute loi qui réussi à être coercitive et inutile est irrémédiablement mauvaise.

Cette loi ne protègera pas les jeunes filles contre les mariages forcés (les chiffres en France semblent varier entre 30,000 et 700,000 sur les 10 dernières années - pas franchement une surprise, considérant le sceau de secret et la pression sociale et familiale qui les entourent) ou contre n'importe quel type de violence physique ou psychologique. Elle ne les protégera certainement pas des pressions sociales et familiales susmentionnées et ne protègera pas plus la société des avancées conquérantes des barbus voileurs - et potentiellement violeurs.

Elle va cependant donner aux oppresseurs de ces femmes d'autres motifs d'affrontement, alors même qu'ils devraient être clairement désignés comme tels et ostracisés - condamnés, si besoin. Elle va aussi dégager temporairement l'Etat de la responsabilité qu'il s'est lui-même attribué en la matière, alors que nous n'aurons d'autre choix que cette mauvaise et inutile décision.

Comme toujours avec le législateur - particulièrement lorsqu'il est français - la seule réponse à une question hautement sensible et préoccupante est une interdiction là où nous avons en fait besoin du fort renouvellement de l'affirmation d'un droit : le droit de toute femme, musulmane ou pas, de refuser le voile, sous la protection inconditionnelle et intransigeante de la loi.

Et au-delà de toute considération religieuse, l'affirmation et la défense du droit de toute femme à vivre sa vie, s'exprimer et porter ce qu'elle souhaite sans risquer le destin épouvantable de ses homologues chrétiennes, juives et plus généralement non shiites au Liban il y a 30 ans ou ici et maintenant.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Dissident Frogman and Al-Qaeda Agree • Dissident Frogman et Al-Qaeda En Accord:

» Point-Counterpoint: French Headscarf Ban from Winds of Change.NET
Sir Banagor argues in favour. The Dissident Frogman argues against. Read and decide. [Read More]

Tracked on February 27, 2004 07:00 AM

» Lectures from Le blog de Polyscopique
Here are some interesting reads: Victor Davis Hanson puts back preemption, unilateralism and multilateralism in historical context.Radley Balko explains how a crusade against obesity in the United States is turning into a crusade against personal respo... [Read More]

Tracked on February 28, 2004 02:30 AM

» Brainwashed from Empty Days
Actually, this points to another subject I've long been wondering about: how come it's such an "obvious" fact in our heads that we are somehow supposed to "liberate" all those poor women from wearing the goddam burka; [Read More]

Tracked on March 4, 2004 11:48 AM


Un bravo et plein de bises ;)

Posted by: LaFée | February 24, 2004 11:27 PM

I strongly disagree with both Al Qaeda and this view:

"these people are not tolerant seculars but rabid anticlericals"

Try tell that to the Turkish secularists who also banned Islamic headscarves in state schools and offices.

Also, try imagine where Turkey would be without Ataturk's legacy and the secularists.

I don't like the French government's policy in many many areas, especially foreign, but on this, they're right on, and with good motives, as explained so well in the laicity commission report. Schools cannot be areas for religious fundamentalists proselytising.

Seeing a basic, simple principle like that as "intolerant secularism" is indeed in the same mentality as Al Qaeda.

Why, on the other hand, are so many French Muslim, especially women, supporting the ban?

Makes you wonder, doesn't it.

Posted by: pepe | March 2, 2004 07:53 AM

And, you're wrong to claim it is an attack on freedom of religion. Freedom of religion means freedom to practice, worship, express one's religion, and that's still granted. That freedom doesn't mean freedom of religion to turn neutral, secular environments like state schools into environments where religion becomes a factor of separation and conflict.

It's a basic matter of relations between state and church, where both have their own separate environments, and have to keep out of each other's business. The state won't tell religious leaders what to preach in their churches, synagogues or mosques - the church, synagogues and mosques won't demand their views and practiced be endorsed in the state's own premises, where it is the state, not religion, which sets the rules.

Freedom of religion cannot mean making demands to change principles of education like equality between genders and equality between all religions. Everybody has to accept those principles, if they send their kids to a state school. They can't demand their young girls be exempted from a class because their religion prevents them from taking that class. They are free to have their kids pursue education elsewhere where those special exemptions are granted, if it is allowed, but they can't demand they be tolerated and endorsed in schools that must remain a neutral ground for all.

At least, that's how I see it. The Islamic fundamentalists are typcally using this issue as an ideological battle tool, and in complete disregard of the actual wishes of the more secular-minded Muslims in France.

It is puzzling that some libertarians end up siding with the fundamentalists rather than the Muslims who accept and respect secular principles.

Posted by: pepe | March 2, 2004 08:04 AM

"Try tell that to the Turkish secularists who also banned Islamic headscarves in state schools and offices. (...)"

Oh. So I'm writing that the French political class has a long tradition of rabid anticlericalism (starting with the French Revolution's Jacobins) and you're challenging me on the grounds that you believe the Turks are not. What's your point exactly?

"they're right on, and with good motives"

Nope. they're off target and they know it - after all, part of them is completely helpless in dealing with the real threat, the other is staging a show to keep their seat warm with their own bottoms after the upcoming elections.
But they do have "good motives" indeed. That's probably the only thing on which I would agree with them.

"Schools cannot be areas for religious fundamentalists proselytising."

Indeed. And I could add as well that it's not the place for any kind of proselytism, including political. But then, we would have to fire a good 90% of the teachers... Do you have any suggestion that might help?

Anyway, the ban is not aiming at the proselytes, but at the believers. For your information, the same state and local powers (region, town, etc.) that are now banning veiled schoolgirls in public schools will actually keep financing mosques where the bearded fundamentalists will preach their hate.

But thank to the Almighty State (praise be upon It), we’re safe from veiled little girls (even though little girls are not)

"Seeing a basic, simple principle like that as "intolerant secularism" is indeed in the same mentality as Al Qaeda."

Well, in my book a "basic and simple principle" that targets each and every religions without distinction is what I call intolerant secularism. Don’t know how you call that.

"Why, on the other hand, are so many French Muslim, especially women, supporting the ban"

Maybe because, just like you, they don't look beyond the appearances and see the real implications of this weak answer to a real problem?

Posted by: the dissident frogman | March 2, 2004 08:30 AM

Sheesh. A second comment in no time. Prolific are you?

I'm afraid I have less time than you today to carry on with the conversation (maybe somebody else - who actually understood my post - will take on the burden), but in the meantime, I'll just address the “emergency” points in your defense of the State Secularism.

There are several little details that you may want to consider first, as they may tamper a bit with your well-laid rant. For instance, when you say: "The state won't tell religious leaders what to preach in their churches, synagogues or mosques - the church, synagogues and mosques won't demand their views and practiced be endorsed in the state's own premises, where it is the state, not religion, which sets the rules."

Now that’s funny. I was under the impression that “the state's own premises” supposedly belong to “the people” and that, therefore, it should be “the people” who set the rules - meaning the total sum of the individuals (including little girls) constituting the nation.
If so, “the state's own premises” (let's call them "public space" or “places” shall we?) would certainly not be some dull, bland, artificial monotonous space but the living and colorful pachwork of opinions, thoughts and beliefs (and clothing I imagine) of individuals respecting each other - as far as they're not infringing each other's rights to exist - and living their life accordingly under the willful acceptance of common moral values.
To be honest, I don't really know what "the state" should be apart from that. But maybe I’m just an idealist.

So if it's not, well... you can keep it (That's rhetorical. I know it's not. Yes, you can keep it.)

Because reading you, it seems that "the state" is some kind of immanent and omnipotent entity, separated from the society and somehow superior to it (Since it is setting its rules). Sounds like a God of some sort, if you ask me.

Well then, you can keep it too.

“They are free to have their kids pursue education elsewhere where those special exemptions are granted, if it is allowed, (…)”

Or to put it shorter: “They are free (…) if it is allowed” (by, again, the state I imagine?). That’s some kind of freedom all right.
Anyway, you are closer to the situation on the French field than you think. Since the French state keeps its monopoly on education (the few private Catholic or Jewish schools have to be registered with the French Ministry of National Education anyway), you’re actually quite right: they’ll be free when it’ll be allowed.

Hurray for allowed freedom.

Also, reading your litany on the much needed separation of the church and the state, my first reaction would be (and was) "Sure, sure. Nobody – besides the bearded barbarians – is challenging that, certainly not me. So what?"

For what's really bothering indeed, is that you seem to take for granted the fact that the ban on religious symbols (particularly the headscarf) is the magic bullet that will solve all the problems at hand (particularly militant Islam’s advance).
If you can cut the Secular Slogan Spreading for one second and ask yourself that one, crucial question, then maybe you’ll see through the appearances and understand that the French state is following the Al-Qaeda way with this law. Although one is yearning to impose and the other to oppose, they both attempt to coerce the whole mass of the individuals for the benefit of some of them (mainly, oh-surprise, those who are enforcing the measure).

Overall, it actually has little to do with the separation of the church and the state. The state, as far as I’m informed is not financing the Muslims’ headscarf with public money. (although one could argue that as social benefits goes… But that’s another question.)

Seeing how you jump to conclusions in your last paragraph (“It is puzzling that some libertarians end up siding with the fundamentalists rather than the Muslims who accept and respect secular principles.”) I would conclude that you’re either having a cheap shot at me (And so I won’t even bother to refer you to the archive section of this blog, in case you want to check my records as far as fundamentalists are concerned) or you simply didn’t read past the post’s title (where it says “dissident frogman and al-Qaeda agree”.)

I should therefore suggest you go back to the top of the page, and read the whole thing. You may notice that what really is bothering me, is that this restriction on people’s freedom, while being a consistent conquest for the rabid anticlerical lurking in the French Statist since the Jacobins, will have no effect on the bearded barbarians. So much for “siding with the fundamentalists”.

And, by the way, who the hell are you calling a “libertarian” ?

Posted by: the dissident frogman | March 2, 2004 09:51 AM

Dear Dissident Frogman, there's no need to react like I blew a nuke in your comment section, I'm only strongly disagreeing with your position. I apologise if you're offended by me referring to your position as "libertarian", if it's not correct, then I take it back. It was just to highlight the difference between religious fundamentalists and libertarians. You're against the ban, just like Muslim fundamentalists are against the ban (not only, but it's them who turned this into an ideological battle), but it seems clear you oppose it with a different motivation and a different mindset, right? That's all I meant, and I do find it puzzling, because there couldn't be two more different mindset than those.

I agree with you the state is not some supernatural entity but a representative of all citizens, exactly, now where did I give the impression I consider it differently? Didn't the majority of French representatives approve this law, didn't the majority of citizens suppor it, including - funnily enough, or maybe not! - the majority of French Muslim women? That doesn't seem to me to be a case of authoritiarian imposition by some "state" that represents an elite.

But anyway. I do think that the ideal situation would be one where problems of religious identity, separation and conflict do not even arise at all. IF they arise, solutions have to be compromises. I read the report of the commission and it seems to me there are many specific, practical problems raised not by the Islamic veil itself but the demands of separation (exemption from classes, for instance) it often entails. I don't think it's fair to allow those demands to be accepted. It's not fair to the class, and to the principles state education is based on.

Private religious schools are allowed. That's what I meant with "if it's allowed" - as long as religious schools comply with certain basic standards, they can set whatever rules they like in their own environment. So can the "state" - ie. public schools funded by all taxpayers.

I do not see this ban as a magic solution, I didn't write or imply that, so I don't know what makes you assume that. It is targeted at schools, and that's where it will act. France can't prevent parents to force marriage on their girls or bring them up in a restrictive environment. It can prevent these parents, when they choose state education, force their girls to wear an Islamic veil, be separated in certain activities, be exempted from certain classes, etc.

This measure seems to be welcome by a good size in the Islamic community, as not everyone is so strict on the Islamic veil. I also think the motivations of groups like Ni Putes Ni Soumises or SOS Racisme are very sensible.

That's my idea. Separation of church and state is not my invention, and it may work differently elsewhere, but each country chooses its founding principles. Secularism does not equal fanatical secularism, not in my view. Fanatical secularism would be a ban on religion per se or heavy interference in religious matters, in religious environments. Secularism means the state preserves its neutral grounds.

I did say, "at least, that's how I see it", so, agree to disagree, and many apologies for offending your sensibilities with a strong disagreement. I am genuinely puzzled by your position, that's all. And I do feel strongly about this. I thought if comments were welcome, then disagreements were welcome too. Maybe I was wrong on that one as well.

Thanks anyway for the reply.

Posted by: pepe | March 2, 2004 12:29 PM

This is a great debate to have on a topic that should never have even come up. The French government just told the French citizens that they are not allowed to wear "religious symbols" in public schools. And while some people may not see a problem with that, I do. Because no "religion" is a religion as well. One person believes in a God (or more, or Allah, or whatever) and one does not (atheist). Both are religious beliefs.
The government is supposed to represent the people. If the people believe in a higher power(s) then the government should not step in and constrict their freedoms on expression. This is called freedom of religion. This, of course, is assuming that said expressions do not impinge on another's physical lifespan. I think we can all agree that there are some absolute wrongs (even if you aren't "religious") like murder etc. In the context of this new law, I would say that Chirac is pushing his religion (secularism) on Jews and Muslims and somehow is trying to take a "neutral" stance. Not only is that preposterous, but it is wrong. Religion is belief, plain and simple. Chirac believes one thing (whatever that is) and Jews and Muslims and Christians all have their own beliefs. But for the French government to mandate that religious heritages must be left behind for any reason is ridiculous.
Head scarfs. You are telling me that wearing a piece of cloth around my head (for reasons you don't yet know) is dangerous to society? Or how about wearing a small knitted piece of material on the crown of my skull so that my head is not uncovered? How exactly does that impinge on "society?" The Jews, Muslims, and Christians ARE part of French society. Why is Chirac insistent on suppressing their religious beliefs? It is simply outrageous.
And what about the ever-celebrated idea of DIVERSITY. Apparently French school children will just have to all look the same. No head scarfs, no yarmulkes. The next step is to make them all wear the same color uniform. Where do you draw the line? Why aren't Jews, Christians, Muslims, and atheist all allowed to express themselves? On top of that, the head scarfs and yarmulkes are traditions in those cultures... so by telling little boys and girls that they are not allowed to wear them is the same as saying that they are second class citizens... I mean, what were the atheists forced to give up by the state... oh wait, nothing! If you are atheist and have no heritage and no culture except modern culture then you are fine. If you hold no strong beliefs... beliefs that you want to express (especially in such harmless ways)... then you have no problems. The only strong beliefs that you are allowed to express are those that agree with the State. Socialism at its finest.
What a bunch of crap.

I am waiting with baited breath to see what this law accomplishes.

Posted by: Bigot Hunter | March 4, 2004 05:44 PM

This is about much more relevant things than the veil. And one can argue about the theory of state, church, freedom of religion, etc. til you're blue in the face, but it would be more interesting to hear a rebuttal of the practical arguments and points raised in the Commission report:

There are instances mentioned in the report, and brought up by teachers, about girls asking to be exempted from being interrogated by male teachers, from going to the gym, or from taking certain classes.

If they (or better, the parents, since we're talking minors), say that is according to their religious beliefs, well, what do you do? file it under "religious freedom" and just accept you have to make special allowances for daughters of strict Islamic parents? in state schools?

Is that really freedom, or yielding to pressures of fundamentalists?

Posted by: pepe | March 5, 2004 03:54 PM