Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being Offended, Clueless Tolerance, and the Smell of Bacon

This post is a little off-topic for Another War-on-Terror Blog, but not by much.

Screwball Traditionalism

In my opinion, part of what is encouraging some (a few, I trust) Muslims to wage war against the 'wicked' West is a matter of cultural perspective.

Here in the West, most people live in a world where the Magna Carta is centuries in the past.

It's hard to shake the impression that, in many parts of the Islamic world, the Magna Carta is thousands of years in their future.

From legal action taken against a 'blasphemous' teddy bear, to outlawing the color red: I think there's evidence that many folks living in places like Sudan and Saudi Arabia are dealing, none too calmly, with a world that they simply don't understand.

Or like.

As I've said before: just a few generations back, many folks had been living in a culture which hadn't changed all that much since the days before Abraham moved out of Ur. Then they were dragged across thousands of years of change, from a culture of burqas and honor killings to a world of bikinis, Budweiser and dog food commercials.

No wonder some went a bit nuts.

Screwball Progressivism

Then there are the folks who are convinced - passionately, blindly, irrationally - that groups of people they don't normally associate with are being oppressed something fierce. I think many mean well, but the results are - sometimes regrettable.

Here's the news item that set off this post:

"Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan because neighbour claimed 'smell of frying bacon offends Muslims' "
MailOnline (October 21, 2010)

"A hard-working cafe owner has been ordered to tear down an extractor fan - because the smell of her frying bacon 'offends' Muslims.

"Planning bosses acted against Beverley Akciecek, 49, after being told her next-door neighbour's Muslim friends had felt 'physically sick' due to the 'foul odour'.

"Councillors at Stockport Council in Greater Manchester say the smell from the fan is 'unacceptable on the grounds of residential amenity'.

"The fan has been in Beverley's Snack Shack takeaway in the Shaw Heath area of the town for the past three years.

"Mrs Akciecek and her husband Cetin, 50, - himself a Turkish Muslim - work more than 50 hours a week buying, preparing and cooking hot and cold sandwiches and hot-pots for their customers.

"Today mother-of-seven Mrs Akciecek said she plans to appeal against the decision.

"She said: 'I just think it's crazy. Cetin's friends actually visit the shop, they're regular visitors, they're Muslim people, they come in a couple of times a week.

" 'I have Muslim people come in for cheese toasties. Cetin cooks the food himself, he cooks the bacon.

'When we go to a cafe my husband wouldn't be offended by the smell of bacon. His friends are not offended by it, we have three visitors who come here for a sandwich, friends of my husband, and the smell doesn't offend them at all....
I don't doubt that a person, somewhere, was "offended" by the smell of frying bacon. That person may also be a Muslim. It's fairly obvious that other people who are Muslims aren't "offended" by the odor.

I've known 'Christians' like that, who were 'offended' by women wearing slacks. That's (almost) another topic.

It's Not Easy, Being Part of a Religious Minority

I have some sympathy for Muslims who are living in places where most folks don't follow Islam. Although 'it's not the same thing,' I have analogous experiences: being a practicing Catholic in America. Yeah: I'm one of those people. (see my A Catholic Citizen in America blog)

That said, I also think that:
  • Muslims aren't all alike
  • There's tolerance
    • And there's cluelessness
I suspect - strongly - that what we're seeing in that news item is an example of heavy-handed, clueless 'tolerance.' Possibly triggered by a woman who is so backward and ignorant - or maybe oppressed - as to actually have seven children (shocking!).

That last point is conjectural: but here in America I've run into the notion, among the 'better sort,' that having children - or, if one must, having more than one or (shudder!) two - is somewhat indecent. And a sign of backwardness, ignorance, and general ickyness.

No wonder it seems like the 'better sort' is a dwindling demographic.

And that is definitely another topic.

Related posts:More related posts, on Islam, culture, and catching up:In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.