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Turks Are Angry About The Head Scarf
I sure don't blame them. I get angry, too, especially when I see black tents with eyeholes moving through the corridors of the Galéries Lafayette department store here in Paris -- walking symbols of the backwardness of Islam, and of the way Muslim women are accorded the rights of a dog. (See how, for example, in Islam, women who are rape victims are punished as adulterers.)

And here's how Turkey is changing, from a story in the IHT by Sabrina Tavernese:

ISTANBUL: When two women in Islamic head scarves were spotted in an Italian restaurant in this city's posh new shopping mall this month, Gulbin Simitcioglu did a double take.

Covered women, long seen as backward peasants from the countryside, "have started to be everywhere," said Simitcioglu, a sales clerk in an Italian clothing store, and their presence is making women like her more than a little uncomfortable.

"We are Turkey's image," she said. "They are ruining it."

As Turkey lurches toward a repeal of a ban on head scarves at universities, the country's secular upper middle class is feeling increasingly threatened.

Religious Turks, once the underclass of society here, have become educated and middle class, and are moving into urban spaces that were once the exclusive domain of the elite. Now the repeal of the scarf ban - pressed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, passed by Parliament and now just awaiting an official signature - is again setting the two groups against each other, unleashing prejudices that have as much to do with class rivalry as religion.

Okay, I'm sure there's some snobbery here, but these people see their society lurching visibly backward. Of course they're upset.

Plus, Muslim women in Europe breed like bunnies, and in France, they, their husbands, and their litters of children are on the dole. In Britain, the idiots in government are giving these primitive religious fanatics, with their multiple wives, multiple helpings of the dole. And, Dutch citizens, and not just the Muslims, are howling for "tolerance" for Islam in the Netherlands -- the country where poor Theo Van Gogh was murdered on his bicycle for daring to make a film criticizing Islam's treatment of women.

Well, tolerance will eventually equal death -- certainly of European society, and probably of quite a few people when Muslim populations increase enough to be a majority or near-majority.

Remember, this is a religion that preaches that good Muslims must convert, kill, or dhimmi-tax and humiliate all infidels, who get lesser rights in a Muslim society. The Muslims just haven't had the population numbers to do all of this in Europe so far.

Can these European nations be party to their own destruction any more helpfully?

More from Tavernise:

Hasan Bulent Kahraman, a professor at Sabanci University in Istanbul, put it this way: "Cleaning ladies are all in head scarves and no one says anything. But if a judge wants to cover her head, the problem is triggered."

But Turkey is different from the United States, secular Turks argue. The fight here is not about skin color, but a religious belief that seeks to impose an ideology, they say. Islam dictates specific rules for daily life, many of them extremely limiting for women, and secular women argue passionately that Islam's growth in Turkey will inevitably lead to a society that is less free for women.

"To associate the head scarf with freedom sounds a little cynical," said Ayse Bugra, a political economist at Bogazici University in Istanbul, "since it is clearly about limiting the way in which a woman can appear in public."

Women are "clearly inferior" in Islam, whose rules limit inheritance for women and allow men multiple wives, she argued, pointing out that Turkey's president, Abdullah Gul, at the age of 30, met his wife, Hayrunnisa, when she was just 14.

"If you ask her, did she choose freely to wear the head scarf, she'd say yes," Bugra said. "What does that mean?"

Stockholm Syndrome?

Posted by aalkon at February 20, 2008 1:29 PM


Steyn, of whom Amy often now reminds me.

Posted by: Crid at February 20, 2008 12:39 AM

Bugra says it all, very frankly and very honestly. For this, she'll probably be called a bigot. Nevermind that she does have something to worry about. These days you get called a bigot if you speak the truth and the truth simply is not pleasant. We're supposed to go about acting like the entire world is a land of milk and honey, even when it's bullshit.

Posted by: Donna at February 20, 2008 4:48 AM

I still like this quote,

In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee”—the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

‘’You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”
At some point, we westerners forgot that the customs of our culture should be respected, too.

Posted by: Jeff at February 20, 2008 7:23 AM

Something is wrong with block quoting multiple paragraphs.

Posted by: Jeff at February 20, 2008 7:24 AM

Mmm-hmm. We now have Muslims demonstrating against the Danish cartoons again. One argument they put forward is that we should not show disrespect for the deeply and sincerely held beliefs of other people.

The trouble is I deeply and sincerely believe their beliefs (along with many others, it's not just Islam I disrespect) are crap. Especially since the expression of their beliefs involves insulting me and threatening me with unpleasant death, not to mention denigrating many values I hold dear.

So, do I get to express my deep and sincere beliefs? Or is that something only they can do?

I don't want respect for my beliefs. I want respect for my right to hold and to express them, and within the law, to enact them. The deal is, it cuts both ways.

(@Jeff: I would not have thought there was anything wrong with block quoting multiple paragraphs. But I'll defend your right to believe that.)

Posted by: Norman at February 20, 2008 8:39 AM

That Steyn article Crid linked is a great one. Not long ago I was firmly in the "Steyn's an alarmist" camp, but after the past year or so of news out of Europe I've sure changed my tune.

You'd think at some point even the most committed multiculturalists will wake up and be alarmed, but non-Muslims will probably be paying jizya in Holland by that point.

BTW, I thought multiple paragraphs were the whole point of block quotes.

Posted by: SeanH at February 20, 2008 9:28 AM

Odd isn't it that there isn't an outcry from liberals and women rights groups here. Where is NOW on this?

Oh, I forgot, it would mean making a judgement. Well, when they come to put the burka on you....

Posted by: Old Glory Radio at February 20, 2008 10:40 AM

I liked Norman's joke.

In other news: Let's stop pretending that Europe is an exemplary wonderland of sophistication, OK? (Amy excepted, and only until she comes back to the States.) The beauty of this is backhanded. No American cares enough about the Netherlands to deface one of our streetcars in order to mock it.

This from Rebecca seems more to the point.

Posted by: Crid at February 20, 2008 11:19 AM

We are seeing round 2 of the Ottoman Empire but with a slightly different twist. In the first round the Ottomans took land by force, forced conversions of the locals to Islam, moved muslims from other countries into the newly gained lands, and began building mosques and having babies. In round 2 rather than using force, muslims use the open societies of the west to achieve the same goals. Muslims take the long view and moving into western countries is a definite strategy. What can be done? The answer is simple. Eschew political correctness and identity politics and call the muslim migration what it is - a strategy to destroy the western culture over time. Employ immigration policies that restrict muslims from moving in and push aside the apologists like the Archbiship of Canterbury who thinks that Sharia law can coincide with the western rule of law. It takes guts, that's all.

Posted by: gordo at February 20, 2008 11:26 AM

"That Steyn article Crid linked is a great one. Not long ago I was firmly in the "Steyn's an alarmist" camp, but after the past year or so of news out of Europe I've sure changed my tune.

You'd think at some point even the most committed multiculturalists will wake up and be alarmed..."

A rather crucial point that Steyn affects to glide over in the linked article is that the multiculturalists were horrified by the Archbish's pro-sharia comments in the UK!

Even the few cradle liberals who were inclined to cut him some slack (on the dubious grounds that the Archbish is, after all, a well intentioned egghead idiot) choked at the notion of a two tier "multicultural" legal system.

It's a bit much for Steyn to pretend dozy liberals are looking the other way re: the Muslim sharia menace when, in fact, the opposite was true.

(I do find Steyn entertaining but can't stand his pro-life stuff, fwiw).

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at February 20, 2008 12:09 PM

> in fact, the opposite was true.

What makes you think so?

Posted by: Crid at February 20, 2008 12:21 PM

A rather crucial point that Steyn affects to glide over in the linked article is that the multiculturalists were horrified by the Archbish's pro-sharia comments in the UK!
If anything I think that proves his point. These same folks have spent the past decade shrugging their shoulders about guys like Abu Hamza and suddenly they're all horrified over this? Isn't it a bit odd that someone has to be as non-Muslim as the Archbishop of Canterbury before they'll criticize a pro-sharia statement?

Are they so horrified at the notion of a two tier "multicultural" legal system that they're finally going to start insisting that the laws in the UK apply to Muslims just like everyone else? I'd like to believe that soon the UK will insist hate-speech laws apply in mosques just like the rest of the country, Pakistani immigrants must quit marrying their close relatives, polygamists will stop getting welfare for multiple wives, and it's kidnapping to hold a Muslim woman against her will just like anyone else, but I'm sure not going to hold my breath.

Until they realize the de facto two-tier legal system they have isn't fundamentally different than what the Archbishop suggested, I think Steyn's got them pegged.

(I can't stand Steyn's pro-life stuff either)

Posted by: SeanH at February 20, 2008 1:14 PM

What made me think the opposite was true, Crid...was tracking the sharia law/Rowan Willams story -that Steyn uses in your linked piece -very closely as it unfolded day by day in the UK press.

The usual suspects (i.e. UK middle to right wing), Telegraph, Times, the horrible Daily Mail - right down to the uber-tabloid, The Sun, all pretty much called for the guy's head. (That was as expected).

The Guardian (lefty) and The Independent (mixed lefty) spluttered a bit that Williams had been partly misunderstood - since he wasn't talking about criminal matters, but "merely" civil law areas - but concluded it was the Archbishop's fault for being incredibly unclear on such an important subject.

Furthermore both The Guardian and The Independent later editorialized that since most normal people ONLY deal with "the law" as it relates to mainly civil matters of marriage and property - the issues most often before the ad hoc sharia "courts" in the UK at present - basically, what the fuck was the Archbishop thinking of giving these special status?

The Guardian dredged up ONE astonishingly annoying blogging apologist for sharia (the web only content) - not a staff writer - who was drowned out by anti-Williams commenters.

The BBC (left anti-American agitprop), which had run an interview with Williams, found themselves the subject of further stories when anti-Williams phone in comments started melting switchboards.

As the story wound down, a new one emerged as the media meme; that the entire point of having an Archbishop of Canterbury these days was - clearly - to unite the British public in rage at any threat to the nation's cherished, cobwebbed principle of One Law For All (and bugger the foreigners!).

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at February 20, 2008 1:21 PM


Yes, I do see what you mean (honest).

BUT one can hold the view that Steyn is laying it on dangerously thick with the brown tidal wave of breeders demographic stuff while AGREEING that Steyn's apoplexy about any sort of future codification of sharia within British law is for once - appropriate.

(I object to Steyn's 'lone voice in the howling wilderness' pose, I guess!)

And I don't think you can make cousin marriages illegal in the UK - after all it's kept the old aristocracy tottering along for centuries!

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at February 20, 2008 1:33 PM

Heh. Yeah, his prose style can be annoying. Also counter-productive. If his goal is to convince people he'd probably do better reaching them if he cut out the snark and the Cassandra act.

Posted by: SeanH at February 20, 2008 2:34 PM

Cassandra was right.

Hi everybody...packing for home!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 20, 2008 3:10 PM

Jody- Hitchens agrees with you re: Steyn: "He need not pose as if he were the only one with the courage to think in this way."

He later adds "Mark Steyn believes that demography is destiny, and he makes an immensely convincing case."

I don't watch the British media closely enough to remember the Guardian vs the Telegraph, though I know the Sun has tits, or at least they used to. (Tanya from 1977 still sets my heart free, wherever she is)

But anyway, if all the conservatives in the Isles are clear on this, and all the liberals are too, then how are the Catholics finding this much room to be stupid about things?

A bloglink-acquaintance of Amy's named Jackie had a bad experience in London a couple of years ago that included slow-moving police response. You could Google here to get the details if you wanted. But that and many other accounts from bigger older media have made it clear that the problem isn't just one mouthy vicar.

Posted by: Crid at February 22, 2008 12:21 AM

"But anyway, if all the conservatives in the Isles are clear on this, and all the liberals are too, then how are the Catholics finding this much room to be stupid about things?"

Yes, that's the crux of the matter EXCEPT your question needs to be far more specific.

When "beardie Rowan" speaks - it is not clear for whom his voice tolls.

It certainly isn't for "the Catholics" as you put it - because "the Catholics" in the UK usually refers to Catholic Catholics - and Rowan isn't one. He's a small "c" Anglican catholic Protestant Welsh person.

It ain't for the British Anglo-Catholics - even though he represents many of them - since he pisses them off with his gay rights/lady priests etc support. (Anglo Catholicism is far from the control of Rome, but disciples love dressing up and ritual. Also Anglo-Catholics can, confusingly, be British, or English or Ugandan or even German.)

It ain't for the very, very, very broad Anglican Church - which Rowan heads - because as soon as it comes down to single issues such as this this very, very, very broad church fissures like a stained glass window during the London Blitz!

Rowan is so bloody ecumenical, he makes no policy sense.

This is a dusty answer, yes. Personally I think he's a complete tit. Everyone sort of agrees that he must be very, very bright - but in a "whatever that means" manner.

As for Hitch (whom I love).

I'd change his quote.

Yeah, demography is destiny - but only looking backwards.

Until you have hindsight - which suddenly disposes of all the variables you skated over in the first place so you could sell your smart arse books - the "destiny" bit is just a prediction.

Some evidence for this comes from a snarky reading of Jared Diamond's "Collapse". The formidable Diamond is even more nimble than Steyn BUT he spends a suspicious amount of time cleverly explaining, and this is my reading, why China hasn't yet collapsed - because - by his own reckoning - it bloody well should have - demographically!

Sure, as Hitch says - Steyn makes a great case. But this isn't an ivory tower sixth form debate.

It's a case for brick through the window of your brown neighbor who makes stinky curry.

And that's what I hate about Steyn.

And Crid?

I know I piss you off.

But don't do your resident polecat thing, okay?

I don't have the stomach for it this week.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at February 22, 2008 7:31 AM

> He's a small "c" Anglican
> catholic Protestant Welsh
> person.

I know every bit as much about British Christianity as I know about British media: Much of it has been state owned & operated, and a lot of it is terrifically seedy.

> the "destiny" bit is
> just a prediction.

About 15 years ago --perhaps in the aftermath of the riots-- a man named Javier Elmasio famously said of LA's power structures: "They better pay attention and listen to us! Unlike Blacks, we may not overcome, but we will overwhelm."

This week it was announced that there are more Hispanic recruits at the LAPD than white ones. No one seems surprised.

> It's a case for brick through
> the window of your brown
> neighbor who makes stinky
> curry.

Oh, that's a crock of shit. *I* cook with curry, and I never cook. For the love of a cocksucking Christ, get over yourself. If yours is the racial sensitivity that's going to protect this planet, we are fucking doomed.

> I don't have the stomach
> for it this week.

Your foolishness circles the calendar: I'll stop if you will. Try it!

Posted by: Crid at February 22, 2008 4:24 PM

More! Polecat! More! More!

It would be wrong to call Steyn my intellectual hero. (Lomborg holds that position now.) But in the months just before 9/11 it was a delight to find such a melodic new conservative voice in the old-time media. He and Reynolds came on the scene at the same hour, and it was surprising that the one from print was the more colorful writer. (I wish both these guys were flashier at radio and public appearances.)

Of course, Steyn can be admired as a top-tier public smartass. He earns those props in two important ways.

First, he's an autodidact. His conservatism wasn't instilled at prep schools or big business... He was a DJ and a musical theater critic (for Christ's sake). He says conservative stuff because he means it.

What's even better is that he's right all the time. Well, maybe he's been wrong about something, but he's never been so far wrong about anything that it hurt my feelings. (And that includes the Islamization of Europe.)

When a flattering interviewer asked him about the mechanics of his writing, Steyn said that his only secret trick was to include at least one truly interesting fact in each column, some telling detail that most people don't know about. It's fun to read the columns now and pick out the little trinket from all the usual stuff. After all these years, no one to my knowledge has ever accused Steyn of getting the facts wrong... And there have been hundreds of columns and appearances.

> It's a case for brick
> through the window of
> your brown neighbor
> who makes stinky curry.

That's batshit insane, just lunacy. (And it makes me wonder how you find could him "entertaining".) It's about the most vile thing you could say about someone. Can you cite any words of his, in any medium, where he even backhandedly suggests personal violence like that? Or are you lost in a child's fantasy of how righteousness works?

Take comfort: You are not alone ....

> If his goal is to convince
> people he'd probably do
> better reaching them if
> he cut out the snark

What's up with that? How is it that people can get to be old enough to vote and still feel that when the world brings them truths to consider, those truths must always be wrapped in flattery and conciliation and cuteness? Do liberals feel like they can reject an argument if it doesn't make them feel good? It's like they want Papal infallibility. They want the forgiveness their of childhood naivete to last a lifetime. We've covered this before.

I blame television. People who watch television think life should be endlessly pandering and emotionally massaging, without any actual human spirits involved... And endless series of meek commercial petitions and trivial appeals.

> Cassandra was right.

Amy comes through like a sister.

Also, Cassandra was a good lookin'.

Posted by: Crid at February 23, 2008 12:05 AM

White like, me, too!

And, regarding the snark complaint, I'm beyond tired with people in America complaining that the humor (in my own column) hurts their poor little feelings. Got a complaint for mentioning an epileptic seizure (in passing) in a column for a deadline a few week's ago (will be up on my site in not too long, but I don't want to compete with the papers). The problem she had -- it was in the same sentence as "or being possessed by the devil." Oh, boohoo.

I responded that I was sorry I offended her (which isn't the same as being sorry I wrote it), and pointed out that I make fun of myself for having ADHD, and John Callahan makes fun of himself for being quadriplegic. Oh, it is:

So sorry I have offended you, but being possessed was a joke and the others were medical problems. I have ADHD and I joke about how I have to leave the house four times and can't remember which flight my boyfriend comes home on (We've been dating five years and he takes it twice a month). My friend John Callahan jokes about being quadriplegic. And the Tourrette's people are exploring using humor -- I know, because I was going to make a joke about Tourrette's and I called their press person to see whether she thought it was funny. Clearly, you and I have a different approach. Best,-A

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at February 23, 2008 12:43 AM

"After all these years, no one to my knowledge has ever accused Steyn of getting the facts wrong.."

Have you read Steyn on the death of bin Laden?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at February 23, 2008 5:23 AM

Dozens of times. Is there a case you wanted to make? Can we skip forward to the part where throws bricks through windows?

Posted by: Crid at February 23, 2008 9:23 AM

Nah, I'm all out of skip, Crid.

(But have you read "Agent Zigzag" by Ben Macintyre? It's a remarkable stranger than fiction tale about a bizarre episode in British Intelligence. Fab reviews. I can't stop recommending it & I just wanted to finish this exchange on a gallant note.)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at February 23, 2008 12:30 PM

It would be better to end this on a relevant note.

Mark Steyn is a big boy, and would defend himself with much better clarity and deeper mustard than I've been able to do here. And as a public figure, he's probably used to people projecting their wackjob enthusiasms onto his identity from distant mountainsides. But I gotta ask....

As you move through your personal life, do you ascribe insanely violent intentions to the people that you meet...? So, like, the brusque guy at the convenience store presumedly killed his mother-in-law and has her body in chopped into a small carton behind the beer chiller? And that one cousin of your husband... the 31-year-old, fat, socially maladroit bachelor who likes to watch sports on TV... do you imagine he usually goes out on Friday nights to fondle little blind girls near the convent? What's Planet Tressider really like?

I'll check out Mcintyre, but Kitten, please: let's all try to keep our fantasy lives under control, particularly vis-a-vis bricks and windows.

I disagree with Hillary about many things, but she never poked a puppy's eye with a stick.

Posted by: Crid at February 23, 2008 6:30 PM

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