Most of us believe in religious freedom but few of us would support a religious legal system of government. In Iran the government has removed people’s freedom to practice or not practice the religion or non-religion of their choice and instead forces them to adhere to one religion’s rules in a totalitarian manner.
When any religion uses force or coercion to keep and control its members it has more in common with a cult than it does a religion.Personal choice is something that we take for granted here in the West and we women must never forget how hard other generations of women fought for us here in New Zealand to enjoy the freedoms we have today. Women in Iran used to have freedom but it was taken away from them. They now are fighting a very difficult fight to regain even the most basic of rights, such as the right to feel the wind through their hair.
When Pete and I visited New Zealand’s largest mosque we were made very welcome. We enjoyed talking to the Ahmadiyya Muslims there and could see that they were tolerant of other religions and that everyone including Jews were welcome. Like us they were concerned about extremism and their community overseas has suffered attacks from other sects who do not consider them true Muslims.
As a feminist one thing that really stood out to me during our visit was the gender segregation. Separate entrances and separate prayer halls. It was explained to me that they were separate but equal. I was told that the purpose of the segregation was to ensure that people focussed on prayer instead of being distracted by the opposite sex. I could see that they genuinely believed that what they were doing was not discrimination and that there was no intention to treat women as second class citizens.
Of course as a woman who has grown up in New Zealand used to equal rights I saw it very differently. While it is one thing to enforce gender segregation in a religious setting it is quite another thing to try to enforce it in a secular setting or on Non-Muslims. I have written before about Alison Bevege who decided to challenge Hizb ut-Tahrir for forcing women including herself to sit at the back of a secular meeting hall. Her long and difficult battle to stand up for equality and the rule of secular law took two years but she was determined and did not give up.
My daughter works part time in a deli. She has to handle salads and different kinds of meats. When she applied for the job they were interested in her customer service skills. At no time was she asked her religion. The job description only mentioned what experience and skills were required to apply for the job.
Imagine that there is a job that you have the skills and experience for. Now imagine that you are not eligible for the job unless you are a certain religion. If the religion required was Christian you know Susan Devoy would be all over it.
Let’s pretend that a bakery requires someone capable of making hot cross buns as well as a wide range of bread. However they want the hot cross buns to only be made by Christians. Do you think that the bakery would get away with that? Do you think Susan Devoy would be silent about the blatant discrimination on the basis of religion?
Imagine hating a country and its people so much that your business would choose to take a financial loss and lose all your other paying customers, just so that you could discriminate against the few customers who come from that country.
Imagine that these customers do not pose any threat to your business or other customers. They do not include terrorists or follow a religion that is hostile towards your own. Imagine that these customers whom you want to discriminate against do not discriminate against other races and religions in their own country as it is a democratic country where everyone has equal rights.
Now imagine that even though you are a private business, the law of your own country forbids you from treating all of your customers equally.
Kuwait Air is ending its New York to London service over the carrier’s refusal to carry Israeli passengers.
“The US Department of Transportation will not tolerate unlawful discrimination, and has mandated that the airline immediately cease that practice and allow Israeli passengers to travel between the US and London,” Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary, said in a statement on Friday.
“In light of our demands, Kuwait Airways has chosen to cease passenger service from New York JFK airport to London Heathrow by January 18.”
Politicians and mainstream media have come up with a new meme to cover sexual assault and rape on a grand scale. The problem for them is that the 1000 male perpetrators on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, who committed the mass sexual assault, were all, “people apparently with a migrant background.” The usual method when trying to say that this has nothing to do with Islam is to say that the Muslim attacker was mentally ill and acting as a lone wolf.
In this new situation the lone wolf, mentally ill distraction is not possible so another ‘ it has nothing to do with Islam’ explanation has been found. Are you ready for it? The reason why all those women were attacked en masse by 1000 men with a migrant background was because of…’ organised crime’.
How hard hearted does a person have to be to refuse transport to a blind person with a guide dog? Blind people have a hard enough life without having to deal with discrimination on top of their disability.
Victorian guide dogs and their handlers are facing the highest rates of discrimination in the nation, with taxis refusing or questioning right of access 46 per cent of the time.
A new Guide Dogs Victoria survey found two-thirds of guide dog handlers faced discrimination in the past year, including at shopping centres and cafes.
Legally, the only place guide dogs are not allowed is in operating theatres and at zoos.
Guide dog handler and disability access advocate David Foran said he had faced discrimination on several occasions when trying to catch taxis or a ride share with Uber.
You might book and a car comes to your home, then they see a dog and they just drive off.
David Foran, guide dog handler
Guide Dogs Victoria has been working with taxi drivers to provide dog mats and promote awareness of disability access rights.
“It’s not often about hostility, it’s just a lack of education,” Mr Foran said.
“I spoke to my Muslim taxi driver, and he said sometimes it’s a cultural barrier, and whenever there’s a cultural barrier there needs to be education.”
This is not a problem confined to Australia as it has been happening in Britain for years.
MUSLIM drivers are forcing blind people and their guide dogs off buses because they consider the animals to be ‘unclean’, it has been revealed.
Transport minister Norman Baker has stepped in after complaints from blind people that their dogs were being ejected from public transport on religious grounds.
Mr Baker told bus companies that religious objections were not a sufficient reason to eject any passenger with a well-behaved dog.
He said: “If dogs are causing a nuisance then the driver has every right to ask the owner to leave. But it is much more questionable to be asked to remove a dog for religious reasons. One person’s freedom is another person’s restriction.”
It is illegal under disability discrimination laws to refuse a blind person and guide dog on board a bus or in a taxi. But Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said it regularly receives complaints from members about the practice. The National Federation of the Blind said the problem was “common and getting worse”.
Its spokesman Jill Allen-King said she had often been left on the kerb by Muslim taxi drivers who had refused to take her dog. She has had similar problems with Muslim bus drivers. She said: “Last year a Muslim taxi driver went mad when I tried to get in with my dog. He said, ‘I have to go home now and wash myself’.”
George Herridge, 73, said he was asked to get off two buses in Reading, Berkshire, last year when passengers objected to his labrador guide dog, Andy. “I was coming home on the bus and there were some Muslim children screaming,” he said.
“The driver pulled over and asked me to get off. It is a lengthy walk into town from where I live and there is no other means of transport.”
A fuss has been made about an ad for a flatmate because the person who advertised made it clear those he/she didn’t want to apply. The gnashing of teeth and wailing was epic because apparently it is discriminatory to do that.
I decided to go flat hunting in Auckland to see what Aucklanders look for in a flatmate these days.
Trademe seemed the obvious place to look and I found a HOT BED of shocking discrimination in every single listing I looked at.
I do not support discrimination. As an employee I expect to be selected because I have the best skill set for the job. My sex and race should have nothing to do with my selection. There are of course some exceptions to that as if I am pregnant and the job involves working with chemicals a sensible employer would not select me for my protection and would explain that to me. Also if the job was for a male clothes model obviously as a female I am not suited to the position. The same applies to my race. If I am an actor and the role is for an African American I am not suitable for the job obviously.
When it comes to religion the same common sense should apply but unfortunately groups with deep pockets like CAIR have been giving employers a very hard time. Employers should not be punished for expecting their employees to do their job.
If I am hired to lift heavy packages all day I cannot refuse because I am a woman and they are too heavy.If I cannot lift them then I am unsuitable for the job. If I am a Christian and think prostitution is morally wrong then I am obviously not suitable to be a receptionist in a massage parlour. This is clearly common sense yet Muslim employees are taking their employers to court on a regular basis because they don’t want to do aspects of their job or to adhere to work safety standards that are a requirement of the position.