Dutch to Jews and Muslims: Stop abusing animals

I hope this becomes an enforceable law soon:

The Dutch parliament has passed a bill banning the slaughter of livestock without stunning it first, removing an exemption that has allowed Jews and Muslims to butcher animals according to their centuries-old dietary rules.

If enacted and enforced, religious groups say observant Jews and Muslims would have to import meat from abroad, stop eating it altogether, or leave the Netherlands.

When atheists and other reasonable people talk about the undeserved respect that religion gets, it is these sort of allowances we’re referencing. Why should Jews and Muslims, or any other religious group for that matter, be exempt from laws banning the mistreatment of animals? Because they think their acts are holy? Because they’ve been abusing animals for a long time? Has either group even bothered to give a rational reason?

A question from Michael Moore

In regards to the recent shooting in Arizona:

If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web with crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he be sitting right now? Just asking.

I think it’s a fair question.

Religiously-motivated violence gets worse in Nigeria

It’s only getting worse.

Witnesses say people are fleeing their homes in central Nigeria over fears of renewed religious violence between Christians and Muslims.

Witnesses say there has been at least one death in the city of Jos and people began fleeing on Saturday.

A military spokesman confirmed there was unrest in the city, but gave no details.

It isn’t going to be easy for Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, to deal with all the violence it currently faces. Some of it comes from corruption that pervades its entire government. Some of it comes from poverty. But much of it comes from religion; religion is the cause of all the killings between Christians and Muslims going on right now. To cause a significant change in the dynamics of the region, the fact of religion would need to be removed. It cannot simply be replaced with anything – only a simpleton would think that – but without religion, the basis of any violence would change. (It would also change if one religion was all that dominated, but then the entire country might come in conflict with entire other nations.) In places like Northern Ireland, an elimination of the Catholic/Protestant divide throughout the later half of the 20th century probably wouldn’t have completely eliminated all violence there, but it would have subtracted from the equation one significant piece of unnecessary (and untrue) ideology.

For Nigeria, the Christian/Muslim divide is acting as a reason to kill over a lack of fertile lands. Eliminate that divide and the lack of good growing land still exists, but one significant reason for all the murders will be gone. I suspect that for this country corrupt officials might step in to fill the void of controversy and unrest, but they would actually be a step forward in an effort of social and political reform for the better.

They certainly couldn’t be any worse than the two violent religions that have such a strong hold in Nigeria right now.

Belgium to ban burqa

A bill is making its way through the hoops in Belgium that would ban the covering of one’s face with clothing in public, effectively banning some of Islam’s most prolific tools of oppression.

The draft law would make it illegal to wear clothing that covers all or part of the face, which would also include the facial veil known as the niqab. Defying the rule could lead to nominal fines of $20 to $35 or possible imprisonment for up to seven days. Proponents say they’re targeting the burqa not because of its religious symbolism or even because it is widely seen in the West as a sign of male oppression, but rather for safety reasons: they say that people who hide their faces represent a security risk. In that light, the law also seeks to target potentially violent demonstrators who cover their faces, backers say.

I don’t believe that for a second. Everyone knows the purpose of the burqa is to oppress women – and reasonable people reject its use on that basis.

This reminds me of blue laws. In their original form, these laws are meant to enforce what the religious think people should be doing. That is, they are immoral impositions of morality. In the U.S., they are usually unconstitutional since they endorse a religion, but court rulings have tended to cite the modern secular reasons the laws are maintained. (Incidentally, the secularization of Christmas is why it legally remains a federal holiday.) Recently in Maine, there was an attempt to allow car dealerships to be open on Sundays, something they currently cannot do. There was a backlash from that industry that pointed to higher costs and effectively forced openings on Sunday due to higher competition. It’s that sort of reasoning that makes what were once blue laws into just regular, secular laws.

Belgian lawmakers are utilizing this sort of reasoning in their rationale for banning the burqa. They’re claiming security since the religious basis has less clout. The difference, however, between what happened with Maine car dealerships and what is happening in Belgium is that the dealership owners really did have secular reasoning; it wasn’t just a thinly veiled lie.

Of course, not everyone is lying.

But the bill’s chief sponsor, Daniel Bacquelaine of the liberal Reformist Movement party, admits that cultural considerations have also come into play. “In an open society, we need common values and we need equal rights and duties,” he says. Bacquelaine estimates the burqa is worn by only a few hundred of Belgium’s 630,000-strong Muslim population, but the numbers have been rising in the past decade. “It has become a political weapon,” he says. “There is nothing in Islam or the Koran about the burqa. It has become an instrument of intimidation, and is a sign of submission of women. And a civilized society cannot accept the imprisonment of women.”

The sensitivity of crybaby Muslims

A Somali man was shot after trying to murder a Dutch cartoonist.

A Somali man believed to have ties to terrorist groups was shot as he allegedly tried to enter the home of Danish political cartoonist Kurt Westergaard — known for his controversial depictions of the Muslim prophet Mohammad — on Friday, police said.

The man was only shot in the leg and hand and will survive, but it’s unlikely that his injuries have caused him more harm than the cartoon. Not real harm, of course. He’s just another crybaby Muslim who is demanding undue deference for his insane beliefs. He has no basis, no evidence, no good logic, no method by which to come to any sort of intellectual satisfaction for anything he seems to think (as is the case with Christians, Buddhists, Scientologists…), so he lashes out when anyone dares to confront his ideas. As is the case with those who crafted the Irish blasphemy law, he cannot handle any sort of religious criticism. He hates the idea of individual liberties and free speech. He’s a selfish, small man. The worst of it is that he’s just the cry – the whine – for religious respect embodied.

The biggest irony of this all is that Westergaard was actually criticizing people for exploiting Muhammad in order to legitimize terrorism.