Ḥalāl to the Left, Haraam To The Right: British Store Allows Muslim Employees To Refuse To Help Customers Buying Products With Alcohol Or Pork

200px-MARKS_&_Spencer_logo.svg170px-Burgundy_bottlesThere is an interesting controversy in England over a policy of U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer, which has allowed Muslim employees to refuse to help customers buying dishes with pork or alcohol. The result was long lines of shoppers who were told to wait for a non-Muslim employee to check them out. With huge numbers of people buying champagne for the holiday, customers are irate as they stood around for another cashier without religious objections to appear. There is now a Facebook page to boycott the store over the policy. However, the Obama Administration is supporting a similar claim in a U.S. case.

On Monday, the company apologized for the incident. However, the company did not say it would change its policy but rather said “[r]equests are considered on a case by case basis and may lead to an individual working in a department where conflicts wouldn’t arise, such as in clothing or bakery in foods.” In the meantime, Muslim groups have supported the policy and encouraged more stores to adopt it. Salman Farsi, media officer of the East London Mosque Trust “[w]e respect Marks & Spencer as a retailer that allows its employees to observe their religious values.” Farsi said.

We have faced the same conflicts in the United States, including a few that have gone to court. One repeated conflict is the demand by Muslim taxi drivers that they have a right to refuse to carry passengers carrying alcohol like wine from a store or dogs (which some Muslim view as “unclean” animals).

There is a recent case brought by the Obama Administration that could result in greater attention to this issue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued a trucking company, Star Transport, Inc., in Morton, Ill., for not accommodating the refusal of Muslim truck drivers to deliver any product containing alcohol. EEOC District Director John P. Rowe announced that “Our investigation revealed that Star could have readily avoided assigning these employees to alcohol delivery without any undue hardship, but chose to force the issue despite the employees’ Islamic religion.” John Hendrickson, the EEOC Regional Attorney for the Chicago District Office added “Everyone has a right to observe his or her religious beliefs, and employers don’t get to pick and choose which religions and which religious practices they will accommodate. If an employer can reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practice without an undue hardship, then it must do so.”

While I am highly supportive of free exercise rights, I fail to see why this is not a bona fide occupational qualification for employees. If you are a cashier or a taxi driver, those positions require the interaction of people of different cultures and values. It depends how you define hardship. It seems to be that trying to track and accommodate the various religious views and preferences of employees is a hardship. It would also require companies to inquire as to the religion of drivers to be sure that it has enough non-Muslim drivers to make deliveries. That itself could be viewed as discrimination. Moreover, the company may have short notice of deliveries or the content of shipping. Moreover, drivers may want to confirm the contents of shipments, causing delay. It seems reasonable to expect people with such religious views to find employment that will not cause such conflicts.

What do you think?

64 thoughts on “Ḥalāl to the Left, Haraam To The Right: British Store Allows Muslim Employees To Refuse To Help Customers Buying Products With Alcohol Or Pork

  1. This is a very interesting company. Carbon neutral, fair trade, nothing to land fills and other progressive social positions are store policies/goals. (Pretty disgusting, huh?) I think it is apparent they were trying to do the right thing. They have since apologized and will revamp the policy to move people to other departments where there should be no conflicts.

    I’m encouraged that some here suggested there may be more to the story. Too bad that no one took the time to try to find out the cause. Ironic, since it makes for a much more interesting story.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marks_%26_Spencer

  2. It illustrates how unsuitable they are for the western world. They will never fit in. They should keep thier imaginary friends and riduculous ideas to themselves and M and S should offer them the door if they refuse to serve British customers in Britain, which is not a muslim country, than f–k!

  3. Lib in Texas……. Give them an inch, and they want a mike! Stop their crap now….. Or there won’t be room for protest!

  4. This is a form of jihad. Get employed at places that sell items you are forbidden to touch or get a job without the headbag, then show up one day wearing the headbag and complain that it’s a religious requirement. Many many things mush*ts try to pass off as religious is cultural. Read the blog, BareNakedIslam for more cr*p the mush*ts try and usually get away with in the USA, UK, Austrailia, etc.

  5. The only reason I like like these types of stories is that it gives more Islamophobes reasons to blow up a gasket.
    While the wise on this blog realize that there is:
    1)always more to it than it seems,
    2) whatever these Muslims are demanding right now (rightly or wrongly), has always been allowed to others (Christians) without nary a complaint, and
    3) as usual, these individuals in question are the few making demands that some of our friends here love to use to frame the many as backward/ evil/western averse…etc,
    the unwise on those blog indulge their more animalistic instincts, villagers with pitchforks and torches, taking a run at these promulgators of the dreaded Shariah law.

    Ah, lack of perspective, dreaded by the wise, beloved by the unwise!

    My experience with this same issue is thus: moved to these United States, first job moving cases of alcohol into a restaurant, conflicted with my beliefs, found assurance from my religious leaders that it is forgivable when a necessity (having a job was one), still uncomfortable with it so I asked for a transfer to another part of the restaurant, was refused one, then quit and looked for another job. Simple as that.
    I could wage that over 98 percent of Muslims in the West either work, have worked or have avoided working in any establishment selling alcohol or pork without making one demand that the establishment bends backward to accommodate them, though I am sure that some could have legitimately made such demand.
    But, as usual when it comes to Muslims, it is just so much more righteous to go full Paul Revere and yell” they are coming, the Muslims are coming (armed with their nuclear bomb, Shariah law.”

    ArthurRE, I did not think it possible but you might have outdone yourself: So since I know why the Sikhs carry the knives, which is to kill Muslims, I had no real problem with them on board.
    And Omari Khaled, please have the decency to not hide your indecency behind a fake Muslim name.
    And as for Elaine Savage, not suitable for the Western world? Really? Had you known your history, you might have realized that Islam influenced this Western world you talk about, and that there is no they and us. There are American Muslims whose stock goes back way longer than yours; and as you demonize them for their faith, your life is in their hands in many, many aspects of yours: your doctor, your firefighter, your police officer, your car mechanic…

    • PO, I have no problem with Muslims as long as they do not demand that the rest of us cater to their dictates of their religion. You will notice that this blog is replete with numerous instances of Muslims demanding that non-Muslims conform to Muslim behavioral norms. We live in a pluralistic society, unlike most Muslim countries and it is common decency to conform to the social norms of ones adopted society. I do not expect Westerners to demand that women drive in Saudi Arabia or let women run around in bikinis on the beaches. It is too bad you do not like common sense and decency in this matter. We have the instance where Muslims make demands on the job to conform with their norms. Then we have a British authorities letting Muslims dictate segregated seating at public meetings. I do not demand that Muslim countries follow our concepts in their countries, except on the matter of slavery and other gross violations of international law. Islam as many if not most practice it, demands that the whole society be run on Islamic principles, unlike modern day Christianity. That is against any pluralistic concept of society, and is inherently anti-Western and anti-democratic. This raises the old question as to how intolerance can be accommodated in a free society.

      I am curious as to your allegation that Christians get similar privileges for their religious behaviors and norms. It has been a long time since blue laws were enacted and enforced here. I need some more current examples than our past history. I know of no hospital that would let a JW refuse to give a blood transfusion to a patient, even though that is against their religious principles. I also see lots of Baptists serving alcohol, and in fact lots of them drink it too. Just as a Muslim friend of mine likes a beer now and then. He is not a threat to me or any other person for being Muslim.

      Your knowledge of history is a bit flawed since the US was NOT settled by any Muslims, and in fact, we had more Jews here than any Muslims. So it is pretty hard to claim Muslims being part and parcel of the US, until recently. The history of Europe is one of warfare against Muslim invaders by the way, along with the Crusades on Christians part. So the only part of Muslims being part of us is on the battlefield. and shedding each others blood over centuries. The problem I do have with you is that you dictate to the rest of us as to how WE must act and conform to YOUR beliefs. I agree that you were right to quit your job since you found it violating your religious principles. It is quite another to demand that WE conform or make accommodations for you. I do not demand that the mosque have intersex seating, nor should you demand that we follow your ideas in our public areas.

      I agree that Sikhs carry knives to protect themselves from others who would oppress them. The fact is that the place where that religion is primarily located is engaged in constant warfare even today against Muslims. Muslims have been the traditional enemy of Sikhs because of their location next to mass Muslim populations. So I am sure that if Christians were acting as badly as Muslims do towards them, Sikhs would be more than glad to use those knives on Christians too.

      • Thank you for expressing my thoughts in your well written response. Muslimes are the most INTOLERANT people on the face of the earth. They believe (incorrectly) that they are superior to everyone else.

        • I have to note that historically Islam at its beginning was far more tolerant than Christianity was at the time. In fact, one of the more attractive facts about Islam was that it allowed people of different faiths to live among them. A good example is what happened when KIng Ferdinand expelled all Jews from Spain. A large number of Jews emigrated to Istanbul to live there since Muslims were more tolerant than Spain. If you know anything about Spanish, a dialect of it is still spoken there called Ladino.

          I do not mean to say that ALL Muslims are of the same kind as the fundamentalist ones. Though a strict reading of the Koran and the Hadith does not allow for such tolerance as we practice in our societies now. The majority of Muslims are not strict fundamentalists, though they are gaining adherents and they may well become the majority in that religion. The largest Muslim country is Indonesia, and they are not as intolerant as say Saudi Arabia or many of the Mideastern Muslim countries. Unfortunately, Turkey is becoming less of a secular state, and more a Muslim one which is one reason why Turkey will not be joining the EU anytime soon.

  6. Arthur, honesty would dictate that you acknowledge that you do indeed have a problem with Muslims. There have been a great number of foul, vitriolic comments on this blog directed to Muslims, but among the regulars here, yours have been the most angry and rude.
    You and I have gone this route before due to some comments you have made, and here we are again.
    Your comments are fundamentally wrong, and to address all the fallacies would take more time than I have. I am also fascinated with your tendency to use an argument that contradicts your whole premise in support of your argument.
    Every religious extremist, every extremist demands that others bend backwards to accommodate his beliefs, that is the nature of extremism, it values more its own beliefs than the beliefs of others. As the folks on Fox news are yelling that the liberals are after Christmas, that Santa Claus is white, that Shariah law is invading America, as their supported Congresspeople are passing laws banning Shariah law, and using the Bible cojointly with the Constitution, and making arguments about their responsibility to the people of this country quoting the Bible, making the claim on tv, on the pulpit, in church that this nation is a Christian one, dare you really challenge my point of a double standard? One salient example is this one: though Jews have holidays, and Muslims have holidays, the only national religious holiday celebrated is Christmas. Have the 2 million Muslims here made a fuss about making Eid a national holiday? No! What about Hanukah? No!
    Thankfully, there are more moderates in every religion than there are extremists. Even in the religion of atheism, there are more moderates than there are extremists. It just so happens that in my religion, I am a moderate, and in yours, friend, you are an extremist.
    As there are Baptists who serve alcohol, some don’t, some Christians don’t eat pork, most do, some Jews only eat kosher, most don’t; and some Muslims, like your friend, drink alcohol and eat pork, while most don’t. And your argument seems to be that he is not a threat to you and others BECAUSE he drinks alcohol, though I doubt that is really what you are saying.
    Regarding American history, I never claimed that the US were settled by Muslims. And here I must ask this question: when you mention Muslims, do you have Arabs in mind? It is a very common mistake, and some often don’t even realize that not all Muslims are Arabs, and not all Arabs are Muslim.
    Let’s start with Christopher Columbus, who brought the Muslim names Omar and Aida, which are still commonly found in Central America. Let’s follow it up with the African slaves, many of whom were Muslim. Let’s then add this fact that Jefferson and John Adams owned and read the Quran. Let’s then close it with these reports of Qurans in American libraries dating back to 1683, and of the first Quran having been printed in Springfield in 1803.
    Finally, I am not dictating anything to you. I would never take away your right to be offended, for it is obviously one you cherish. I believe too much in the concept of personal freedom, and the communal respect of it to demand anything of you, other than you, perhaps, not lump a whole group together, especially one that is as culturally, ethnically and philosophically diverse as Muslims. That is all.

    • Po once again you stretch and conflate what a few Christian nuts say to characterize the whole country. Unfortunately, what we are dealing with are GOVERNMENTAL powers in Muslim countries doing intolerant things which is a FAR cry from some preachers and TV nuts spouting nonsense. You will have a point when Muslims are being rounded up and put in prison for disrespecting the Bible or waving the Koran around and denouncing Christians. You seem to have a real problem understanding that essential difference. We also have on this blog, the report that the Muslim political party in India is trying to make being gay a capital crime. While there are plenty of Christian bigots in the US, I have never once heard ANY of them advocate such a thing. I think that says a lot about the difference in the two religions at this point in time. Even the Tea Party nuts do not go that far This is from a party that advertises and draws most of its support from the entire Muslim community, NOT just a few nuts. Yes I am fully aware that Arabs are not the only Muslims in the world as I have indicated in most of my posts.

      As for your rewrite of history of Muslims being among the founders of the US as you chastised one person saying that Muslims have a longer history in the US than that persons ancestors, that is an outright fantasy. To say that having the name Omar denotes a Muslim is laughable. I guess that you will also claim Gen. Omar Bradley as being Muslim or having that background as well. Most of the slaves were taken from West Africa in an area where there was zero Muslim influence. Then to state that having a Koran in ones library means that Muslims had an influence is also absurd. All that denotes is that these men were very literate and knowledgeable about philosophy and ideas and religions. In fact, most colleges at the time would have to have a Koran in their libraries since most of them were religious institutions. I doubt that many colleges in Muslim countries have any copies of the Bible for study by their students.

      The reason I do not consider my Muslim friend to be any threat is NOT because he drinks beer, but because he is a moderate Muslim who does not think it is his duty to force others to conform to Muslim dictates. This is the main stream of most Muslims I have run into, so I have no problem with them. Unfortunately, there are those like yourself who cannot understand simple things like governmental actions of intolerance vs. private citizens doing the same and exercising their rights of free speech. I see that you have missed most of the dialogue on blasphemy laws which most Americans and nearly all on this site are strongly against. Just what is YOUR position on outlawing anti-Muslim speech or blasphemy? I would be interested to know. Then we do not have the sight of Christians rioting in the streets of our cities demanding the death of writers, cartoonists, and others who have been condemned to death by religious courts. When I see such things happening here, THEN I will agree that your have a valid point.

      Unfortunately again, in modern day Islam, the moderates are on the run and are becoming marginalized. I read of one group of devout Muslim who are trying to organize against the nuts, but that they are under the threat of death from other Muslims for fighting against the fundamentalists. I regard those folks as being Muslims of real courage and respect, and I wonder how many Christians would standup against such a group of crazy so called Christians. I have to also say that many Muslim organizations try and portray themselves as “victims” of some sort. While there are isolated instances of acts of bigotry against Muslims, it is not bigotry when one group blocks and disrupts an airport boarding gate, and then try and make it a case of anti-Muslim action.

      You say that you do not wish to force others to follow your religious doctrines and practices, yet you think it is OK to demand that a store give you special breaks and considerations for your religion. Sorry, but if it is that so important to you, there is a simple solution, you can leave this infidel hell, and go and live where Muslims are the majority and be content.

      • Arthur
        You keep making my points while claiming the opposite.

        1-Po once again you stretch and conflate what a few Christian nuts say to characterize the whole country.
        Show me where I did that. You, friend, characterized a whole group, Muslims, due the actions of a few, the workers who refused to sell alcohol.

        2-…GOVERNMENTAL powers in Muslim countries…report that the Muslim political party in India is trying to make being gay a capital crime. While there are plenty of Christian bigots in the US, I have never once heard ANY of them advocate such a thing. I think that says a lot about the difference in the two religions at this point in time. Even the Tea Party nuts do not go that far This is from a party that advertises and draws most of its support from the entire Muslim community, NOT just a few nuts. ”
        We were discussing a small group of people working in a store, who decided they no longer wanted to sell alcohol. How it ended up about Muslims and governmental powers is full traceable to your posts. Reread yourself. Secondly, here you are distorting, or at best misreading facts to support your fallacious arguments. It is the Indian courts that are criminalizing homosexuality, not any Muslim party. Muslims are a minority in India, and the same rightwing hindu parties standing against homosexuality, are the same parties that are calling out on attacks against Muslims. Which entire Muslim community are your referring to? The universal one or the Indian one. Either way, you are doing exactly what I am speaking out against, your tendency to lump Muslims into one group.

        3-“As for your rewrite of history of Muslims being among the founders of the US as you chastised one person saying that Muslims have a longer history in the US than that persons ancestors, that is an outright fantasy. To say that having the name Omar denotes a Muslim is laughable”
        Once gain, friend, reread my posts. Here is my original point :”And as for Elaine Savage, not suitable for the Western world? Really? Had you known your history, you might have realized that Islam influenced this Western world you talk about, and that there is no they and us. There are American Muslims whose stock goes back way longer than yours;”
        So nowhere do I claim what you say, that there were Muslims among the founders of the US. I am claiming that Christopher Columbus had either Muslims on his crew, or had people with the names Omar, which originated from the Moors’ presence in Spain. My point is thus that there was then, a Muslim influence at that point of “discovery”, even it is just one of name. Omar and Aida do not a Muslim make, but do denote a Muslim influence or background, and that is my only point.

        4- “In fact, most colleges at the time would have to have a Koran in their libraries since most of them were religious institutions. I doubt that many colleges in Muslim countries have any copies of the Bible for study by their students.”
        How do I answer that? boy! Such crazy logic! Did you know that in Islam the Bible and the Torah are considered divine messages, and that therefore one should not ignore them? Do you know that much of our traditional knowledge of the history of Islam was gathered from Biblical and Jewish sources? Do you know that many of our scholars know the Bible as well as they do the Quran, because the Bible and the Torah complement the Quran, and some of the details of the latter are only found in those preceding books? No? Now you know.

        5- “Unfortunately again, in modern day Islam, the moderates are on the run and are becoming marginalized.”
        No, it’s not! Most Muslims, most Christians, most Buddhists, most Jews and most Atheists are moderates. The ones willing to kill, maim and upend all rules and laws to implement their message are the extremists and the fundamentalists, and those are the tiny minority. They are however the armed minority, the blood thirsty minority, and that makes them more powerful than the majority.

        6- “You say that you do not wish to force others to follow your religious doctrines and practices, yet you think it is OK to demand that a store give you special breaks and considerations for your religion. Sorry, but if it is that so important to you, there is a simple solution, you can leave this infidel hell, and go and live where Muslims are the majority and be content.”
        Who are you referring to when you say “you think it is ok…”? If it is to me, then, once again, I am not asking for anything other than you, Arthur, stop lumping all Muslims together, which you seem to do if your “you think it is ok” is plural and refers to Muslims as a group.
        I am not demanding anything from any store. I worked in a restaurant moving alcohol, then worked in a store selling alcohol, making and selling pork sandwiches. I love pigs and think that they are cute, though I don’t eat them. My beliefs are mine and mine only, why would I ever demand anyone else live their life according to the requirements of mine? That’s insanity. And that is also insanity for you to keep inventing words to put in my mouth and then use them to derive conclusions that are just as inane.
        I do find it ironic that according to you, my religion makes me intolerant, and unhinged, and yours tolerant and grounded, and yet, and yet…

        • There are American Muslims whose stock goes back way longer than yours;

          I have to quote Po to show that in FACT you DO assert that Muslims were here at the founding of the US or near to it. so as to have their stock go back farther than hers. Unless you think she is an immigrant herself. There is virtually no culture on Earth that has not influenced others in some way or another. To claim that such influence is a major factor in qualifying Muslims for being one of us is absurd since warfare has been the historical norm between the US and Europe vs Islamic culture for centuries. You do not need to rewrite or stretch history to give Muslims their equal rights in the US and western culture.

          The reason that I CAN legitimately question the beliefs of Muslims as being tolerant members of our society is that in almost ALL countries which are majority Muslim, the government and law DENY all kinds of rights to their citizens based on their religious beliefs. Non-Islamic beliefs are severely restricted and human rights as we know it in the West are denied under the guise of Islam. THAT is the majority of Islamic countries. You cannot say the same about any Christian country of the west. THAT alone shows a BIG difference between Islam and other religions. It thus marks Islam as a whole as intolerant today. The behavior of individual Muslims in demanding that their religious beliefs take precedence over normal business reeks of this same intolerance that Muslim majority countries show towards infidels. Po is guilty of supporting this kind of thing when he states that the business should have made some accommodation for them.

          I my working life, I had over twenty five years when I never had Christmas off. When I was on the workmen’s committee in our union, OCAW, we had one worker who was on rotating shift come to us to demand that we file a grievance on his behalf since he could not get Sat. off as his religion demanded. We turned him down since it would have given him more privileges and rights than the other workers. He knew what the job demanded when he hired on. The same is true for these Muslim workers. They need to be fired if they cannot do the job they were hired to do. Simple and it is NOT anti-Muslim prejudice, but a question of job performance.

          • “To claim that such influence is a major factor in qualifying Muslims for being one of us is absurd since warfare has been the historical norm between the US and Europe vs Islamic culture for centuries. You do not need to rewrite or stretch history to give Muslims their equal rights in the US and western culture.”
            Obviously, Arthur, there is an issue with misreading and/ or misunderstanding. If I say “there are American Muslims whose stock goes back longer than yours” it means this: there are contemporary Americans who are Muslims, but whose stock, whose ancestors have been in this country since its inception, or soon thereafter. Since all of us are either immigrants or descend from immigrants, our personal stocks precede one another regarding how far back they run. I don’t know about Elaine Savage’s stock, but there is a chance that hers was not the oldest American stock, and it is likely that hers was preceded by another stock, whose descendant is now a Muslim.
            And since being Muslim is neither an ethnicity nor a nationality, it is simply and fully a personal belief and a way of life for some, you have neither the ability nor the option of denying any American Muslim the right to be one of us, or to have equal rights. AS you cannot tell an American Jew or and American Hindu that he is not one of us. Nationality makes one of us, not religious belief. The more you talk, the more you reveal yourself as the bigot you claim not to be. One moment you claim you have no issues with Muslims, and the other, you say they are not of us and don’t deserve equal rights. Which is it? You have the right to dislike Muslims, sure, just be honest and acknowledge it.

            “ALL countries which are majority Muslim, the government and law DENY all kinds of rights to their citizens based on their religious beliefs. Non-Islamic beliefs are severely restricted and human rights as we know it in the West are denied under the guise of Islam. THAT is the majority of Islamic countries. ”
            Perhaps you ought to differentiate between Muslim majority country and Islamic country. Saudi Arabia for example is an Islamic country, Indonesia, which is majoritarily Muslim, and with more Muslims than S Arabia, is not an Islamic country. The Saudi Arabia’s governemnt is a repressive one, and is disliked by most Muslims around the world, and the Indonesian government is a democratic one and the society is very tolerant, with Christian, Buddhists and Animists living together peacefully.
            Senegal, my country of origin, is 95% Muslim, with 4% Catholics and 1% animists. Our first president, for 20 years, was catholic, whose election was supported by sufi saints. Our second president was Muslim, however his wife was Catholic. When one of the larger churches came down in a storm, Muslims gave money and labor to build it back. Christmas is a holiday there, and Christians are able to take time off to attend religious events and celebrations. My best friend, whom I helped immigrate to the US, is Catholic.

            “Po is guilty of supporting this kind of thing when he states that the business should have made some accommodation for them.”
            Would you please provide a quote proving your statement? If anything, I have made the opposite point, by sharing how I acted in a similar circumstance. I asked for accommodations, was denied then found another job. As simple as that.
            Apologies accepted, Arthur, have a great new year ahead, a blessed 2014.

            • Po I think we need some facts. First off, while there might possibly be one or two recent converts to Islam whose family may have been here a long time, the FACT is that 72% of all Muslims in the US are immigrants, not natives. The Muslim population of the US is under 1% and your claims that Muslims played any part in founding the US or colonizing the Americas is likewise absurd. As far as Muslims being part of us as citizens from our founding, that is simply not true. Obviously Muslims are NOW part of our country, but most certainly NOT our heritage or traditions. There were one or two Muslims in our colonial past, but one or two is hardly any tradition or factor at all. Indeed Laplanders have a larger tradition in the US than Muslims. I hardly think any rational person will claim that they are part of US history or traditions.

              I found that there are 49 majority Muslim countries in the world and about 70% of them have Muslim religious restrictions on others and their freedom. Those are not theocracies, as Saudi Arabia, but only Muslim majority in which savage restrictions apply to all other religions. Even in Indonesia, there are legal restrictions, and even in secular Turkey, they BAN proselytizing for Christians. Think that there are any laws in the US that ban Muslims from preaching or seeking converts? Think that Muslims are denied their rights in Western Europe as the majority Muslim countries do? I am glad that there is at least ONE majority Muslim country which has tolerance for others, it does NOT speak well for Islam that there are so few. So I have to say I don’t believe Muslims when they say that they are a religion of peace and tolerance since I see VERY little evidence of that throughout the world. It is quite possible for individuals to be that way, and that is what we must judge them on. One cannot characterize the whole of Muslims in that fashion since the majority do NOT follow those precepts. THOSE are FACTS. If the US were to become a Muslim majority country, I doubt our freedom of religion and speech would remain at all, even with the moderate non-extremists in charge

              ., though I am sure that some could have legitimately made such demand

              This is your quote supporting the demands of the Muslim clerks in the incident in question. I suggest you remember your own words..

              • Here is your answer, Arthur. Let me know if I need to address any other point you have made. I don’t want to break out the books for lack of time, but I will if I must.
                (( link to Islam_in_the_United_States on Wikipedia ))

                Additionally, a bit about what some great non-Muslims say about the Prophet Muhammad.
                http://www.prophetofislam.com/what_do_others_say.php

                Islam and democracy, sorry about the length:
                http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=4145

                The Islamic Society of Democracy

                Islamic values refer to the high values of peace, human rights, freedom of speech and belief, justice and equality, and democracy. Any society that upholds and practices these values is an Islamic society. Because democracy is only one aspect of this society, we have to mention briefly the other aspects:

                1. Equality between races and cultures:

                God said in the Quran, “O people, we created all of you from the same male and female, and we made you into nations and tribes to recognize each other. The best among you is the most righteous. God is omniscient cognizant” [49:13]. So we are brothers and sisters from the same parents. God made us into different races and cultures to recognize each other, not to fight each other, to benefit from this plurality in this life. In this life God ordered us not to exalt ourselves, not to use the religion as a means of living and power. [53:32] [16:90 to 95].

                2. Equality between men and women:

                The Quran confirms this equality in creation and in responsibility in this life and in the hereafter [3:195] [4:124] [16:97] [40:40]. In the realm of marriage, the Quran states justice beside equality.

                3. Equality between the different religions:

                This is confirmed by two other Islamic values;: freedom of speech and belief, and peace. Accordingly, everyone has the right to believe or to disbelieve, to advocate his belief in a peaceful way without insulting anyone else’s belief or personality.

                4. Human rights, and the balance between the society and the individual:

                The Quran mentions five rights, and makes a unique balance between the society and the individual in this regard.

                a) Justice:

                Everyone has an absolute right to justice. Justice is the mission of the holy divine messages from God [57:25] and the mission of the Islamic state [4:58], [42 :15], [2:282], [65: 2], [16:90]. Any society or state that upholds and practices justice in any time, place, or language is doing so in the true spirit of Islam.

                b) Freedom of belief and speech:

                Everyone has an absolute right to believe or not to believe [17:107], [18:29], [41: 40] and to advocate what he believes without insulting the others [6:108], [23:3], [28:55], [29: 46]. On the Day of Judgment, everyone will be questioned before God alone, according to his or her freedom of belief. The Islamic state has nothing to do in guiding people to the right path; it is a personal choice and responsibility [28:56], [10:108], [17:15], [27:92], [39:41], [3:20], [6:104].

                c) Wealth:

                Individuals are entitled to wealth so long as they are not minors or fools who may squander their wealth. In such cases, society must appoint a guardian to manage the wealth on behalf of those incapable of doing so themselves. Society must also look after such persons, give them a good life from his income, and supervise the guardians charged with looking after the wealth [4:5-6].

                Society is expected to look after its poor. The poor are entitled to charity and to alms, collected by the state or given directly to the needy [9:60], [2:215], [17:26], [30: 38], [6:141], [51:19], [70:24].

                At the same time, the Quran forbids the concentration of a society’s wealth in the hands of a few people [59:7] because it makes them control the power and the state. Such a concentration of wealth and power results in a class division pitting the hungry majority against the affluent few. The Quran considers this a sign of a society’s eventual self-destruction [17:16], [23:33], [21:13], [11 :116], [34:34], [34:23], [56:45], [23:64], [2:195].

                d) Security:

                Individuals have an absolute right to security. Society has to defend itself from external enemies and to protect its people. An Islamic state is a strong, peaceful state; it prepares its army to prevent enemies from attacking its borders; and it has to be strong in maintaining peace. At the same time, it has to punish any criminal who violates the peace.

                e) The right of power:

                Shura, or democracy, means assuming power. According to Islam, it is the society as a whole—not one person, like the Egyptian pharaoh in the time of Moses—that owns and exercises power. [43:51 to 54], [40:37], [28:38], [79: 24].

                Finally, I am hoping that any point you will make thereon that denigrates Islam is based on your actual reading of the Quran and other ISlamic sources. Just quoting the various talking points shared by every Islamophobic website alone won’t do.

                And, one last word regarding your quote “Obviously Muslims are NOW part of our country, but most certainly NOT our heritage or traditions.”. Would you please explain what that heritage and those traditions are that I am not part of?

                • Po, the FACT is as I pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Muslim majority nations do NOT practice toleration of other religions, or allow the free speech to advocate for other religions. By the way, most of the bad things that I note are posted on THIS blog where Muslim parties advocate the death penalty for gays, restrict freedom of speech, support blasphemy laws, etc.. I guess you simply wish to ignore FACTS, much like GOPers.
                  Even in your post you admit that one is NOT allowed to insult Islam, and that can be almost anything. That flies in the face of the USAs tradition of freedom of speech, and that part of our traditions you seem to wish to have NO part of.

                  Given the fact that there are so few Muslims in the US and even almost NONE in our history, there are little or no Muslim American traditions to be a part of since Muslims basically did not exist for most of our history. I think that you are perfectly free to practice your traditions and that will establish some Muslim American traditions now. You cannot claim one going back to the founding of the US though.

  7. PO:

    I restored the above comment you made; as you had put much work into it. The spam filter does not allow three or more hyperlinks. To make it work I modified the link to wikipedia. If you have more than two links you can make more than one comment.

    • I concede this battle to you, Arthur, and declare forfeit. Not on intellectual grounds however, but simply on my realization that no matter how long we keep at this, the process will be the same, you’ll just refuse to be pinned anywhere. We are obviously not using the same standards intellectually and philosophically. I’ll cut my losses and regroup for another battle some day, as I am sure the opportunities won’t be scarce. Thanks for engaging me, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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