February 18, 2006

"If they come out on to the streets anyway they should be flogged."

Chief Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin approves of the decision by the city government of Moscow to reject what would have been the first gay rights parade in Russia.
"If they come out on to the streets anyway they should be flogged. Any normal person would do that - Muslims and Orthodox Christians alike ... [The protests] might be even more intense than protests abroad against those controversial cartoons."
Ah, so the cartoon violence is to work as general threat to suppress all sorts of behavior. Religious fanatics with no power to force others to adopt their religion use violence and threats of violence to force others to behave as if they were followers of that religion.

The mayor's spokesman, Sergei Tsoi, defended the city's decision on the ground that the idea of a gay rights parade has "caused outrage in society." So the power of government is harnessed by the mere expression of outrage and a reminder of how badly your co-religionists behaved over those cartoons.

UPDATE: More commentary on this news story from Andrew Sullivan ("further appeasement of these religious terrorists is counter-productive - and actually enables the extremists in their simultaneous intimidation of moderate Muslims") and Eugene Volokh ("Russian society is quite hostile to gays... The nastiness can't be laid entirely at the feet of parts of the Russian Muslim community").

CORRECTION MADE: Sergei Tsoi is the mayor's spokesman, not the mayor.

43 comments:

Dave said...

Remeber, Islam is a "religion of peace" whose adherents stone to death only adulterers and rape victims!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

When you say "cartoon violence", I always think of Bugs Bunny/Road Runner/ACME anvils dropping, etc.

Balfegor said...

Remeber, Islam is a "religion of peace" whose adherents stone to death only adulterers and rape victims!


I'm sure you mean this humorously, but I recall quite clearly hearing during the run up to our invasion of Afghanistan that the Taliban had debated the appropriate punishments for homosexuals -- whether it was necessary that a wall be constructed, to collapse it on them (crushing and killing them) or whether ordinary stoning was adequate.

Religious fanatics with no power to force others to adopt their religion use violence and threats of violence to force others to behave as if they were followers of that religion.

Isn't that more like "with no legal authority" than "with no power?" Because if they actually start flogging homosexuals in the streets of Moscow, they clearly have the power.

They can set up their own entire alternative system of sharia courts and whatnot if they like, with bands of armed men going about enforcing it (as I understand happens in Saudi Arabia and Iran, without the government necessarily stepping in to arrange it), and hauling violators before clerics and having them tried and sentenced (or summarily flogged without trial) as the cases may be. Informal grass-roots ground-up evolution of proto-state structures in action! Or the Mafia. They can do all this, unless the Russian authorities actively work to suppress these alternative authority-systems.

It could be a little like the whole honour-killing thing one hears about from time to time, just a little broader. Or like the anti-state Dalrymple describes in the banlieues of Paris, just more advanced.

But that's all after this man Tazhuddin's followers actually get up and start flogging gays in the streets. Until then, it may just be a (prominent) man mouthing off.

aidan maconachy said...

Interesting post Ann, and not surprising.

I think the caving of publishers in the West in the face of these so-called "Muhammad cartoons" was a serious mistake. Let me also add that Bill Clinton is a bloody disgrace.

This was a man who was elected to defend the American Constitution, a central provision of which is the defence of free speech. Not only has Clinton been calling the decision to publish "a mistake" - he is now also calling for the European publishers involved to be prosecuted.

This is the same self-serving hypocrite who was recently in Saudi Arabia calling the Iraq war "a mistake" - when he was instrumental in creating the conditions for it and moreover voted in favor of going in.

Since we are on the topic of homosexuality, it should be remembered that Clinton had the gall to describe Arthur Finkelstein as a "sad, self-loathing homosexual", even as he called the late Pope's record "mixed". Given his sordid ethical credentials, who the hell is he to make moral pronouncements on anyone?

These spineless concessions to pressure created by Islamic radicals and their minions, creates a precedent and is being read by many Muslim radicals as a victory. The latest move, is the placing of a Fatwah on the head of a Danish cartoonst with a one million dollar reward waiting for the murderer - raised by a Pakistani jewellers' organization.

That they now attempt to extend the climate of fear and intimidation to target homosexuals is no surprise.

This is a war about ideas as much as anything else. In England we have seen efforts to attack emblems and traditions associated with traditional British society. A Muslim traffic warden, M'Hammed Azzaoui, resigned from London's Metropolitan Police Authority on the grounds that the St Edward's crown on the police badge includes a tiny cross. Some UK councils have caved into pressure to get rid of the term "Christmas" and have now begun to use "Winterval" instead.

This is indeed a clash of cultures and a clash of ideas.

I had a conversation online recently with a Saudi immigrant to Canada - a well heeled businessman with extensive family connections here. I argued that since we have a Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech that has allowed religious icons and "sacred" personalities to be satirized in the past, Islam cannot be regarded as an exception. If the icons of Islam are accorded an "exception" what we are effectively saying is that there is now a system of religious ranking, with the inviolable mysteries of Islam at the the top - out of bounds to any with the temerity to mock.

Why should a Canadian atheist whose interest in Muhammad only relates to the prophet's role as a hoaxer responsible for creating a sham faith, be shut up and censored???
Such a person is perfectly within his/her rights to speak out - even in the form of an irreverent cartoon - and our governments should be supporting that right NOT the sensitivities of Muslims. Since when did we pass legislation to protect hurt feelings - and at one point does the canvassing of hurt feelings become emotional blackmail?

In any case, this Saudi gentleman made it clear to me that he didn't give a fig for our "secular laws" and that Muslims were prepared to die to enforse their "religious rights".

The implications of this type of talk coming from the mouth of a "moderate" are disturbing to say the least.

We have many religions in our societies, who follow their own customs and laws within the context of their communities. Only Islam it seems, is unwilling to permit a public forum that operates in accordance with traditional free speech provisions. They target not only speech infractions, but customs, symbols and anything deemed "offensive" - then use our PC multi-culti sentitivities to compel apologies, retractions and in some cases complete reversals.

Nah, don't ask us to stand up - it's easier to target the likes of Ann Coulter and burn her at the proverbial stake for presumed "excesses". I'm sure people like Ahmadinejad will be duly mollified by our show of constraint and move immediately to soften his stance.

Don't hold your breath.

Elizabeth said...

So the power of government is harnessed by the mere expression of outrage and a reminder of how badly your co-religionists behaved over those cartoons.

You nail it on the head, Ann. This same argument is used to defend Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and any policy banning gays from serving in the military. Even if there's no evidence gay and lesbian servicemembers are in themselves a problem, the argument goes that their heterosexual counterparts will be disruptive due to their discomfort and outrage. So, the problem isn't the fag bashers who can't control their hysteria, it's the gay people for provoking it.

This is the "gay panic" defense, but offered by the state, not a murderous individual.

PatCA said...

Sullivan is quite right. We are emboldening the radicals by our tiptoeing over their sensibilities.

It is a fiction to think that some perfect ideal of cultural sensitivity can be achieved through appeasement without sacrificing our basic freedoms. Some people will just have to be offended. I don't blame the media for being scared; who wants to live like Hirsan Ali? But they should know that it will be the Hirsan Alis of the world, not the NYT, who will be remembered as heroes.

chuck b. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

For a second I thought this was about a gay pride parade in Moscow in February (not work safe). Whew!

DEC said...

I travel the world. If Americans want peace rather than war with Islamic societies, they need to take these initial steps:

1. Limit freedom of speech.

2. Drop all women's rights issues.

3. Drop all gay rights issues.

4. Stop the exportation of sexually oriented American music.

5. Halt the exportation of sexually oriented American movies and television shows.

The artistic products and the hot-button issues of American liberals cause a large portion of the tension between Islamic societies and the United States. American liberals lay the groundwork for conflicts, but they want nothing to do with the wars they help to create.

Elizabeth said...

I would have to do the research to ensure this is right, but I recalled today that David Duke has of late been making money in Russia and in the Middle East. Nothing like hating Jews and Gays to bring folks together.

Elizabeth said...

Not so, DEC. Most liberals I know supported our military invasion of Afghanistan, where our enemies sought refuge, and where the attack on our nation was planned. To make the argument you're attempting to make, you have to ignore the main objection to the war in Iraq, that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and was not a threat to the U.S. We can debate that, and it still won't add up to liberals wanting nothing to do with defending freedom. That's just one of the problems with arguments that try to paint with such a broad brush.

downtownlad said...

Republicans and Islamic Fundamentalists are united on this issue.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1581063/posts

DEC said...

Al Qaeda is in Iraq, too, Elizabeth. It doesn't matter how they got there at this point. They are there. Do you want to fight them there? If not, where would you like to fight them? Most of them have left Afganistan.

My point really has nothing to do with Iraq. Having dealt in the Middle East for 30 years, I knew Iraq was not a threat to the United States. I knew it before the war began. I knew it throughout all of the WMD talk by Powell, Bush, etc. prior to the invasion.

At the same time I understood Bush's strategy. If you want to save New York, you don't fight them in New York. You fight them in Newark. You gotta have a battlefield. Iraq is as good as any other battlefield. Everything else was just hype to me.

The selection of Iraq didn't bother me because Saddam was shooting missiles at American pilots in the no-fly zones almost every day. However, I will leave the defense of Bush to others. I am not one of his fans.

Tell me five ways liberals are EFFECTIVELY "defending freedom" against the threat from radical Islamists.

How many "liberal" American newspapers have published the Danish cartoons to demonstrate their support of freedom of speech?

Scipio said...

Every time I read about more stupid Soviet actions, I rejoice in the foresight of my family in fleeing that cesspool of filth that is Russia back when the Bolshies took over. Although I'm afraid that many members of my family are as stereotypically anti-gay as they are anti-Jew.

downtownlad said...

Looks like we're banning free speech in this country too when it comes to gay-rights.

See here:

http://www.harktheherald.com/content/view/166277/

Please explain to me how the Soviet Union is any worse than this country when it comes to gay rights????

And I can find plenty of Americans who advocate "flogging" gay people.

Just see George Bush, our President, who advocates incarcerating gay people.

"Gubernatorial candidate George W. Bush on Friday promised he would veto any attempt by the Texas Legislature to remove from the state penal code a controversial statute outlawing homosexual sodomy. Bush, a Republican, was asked about the sodomy statute shortly after speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary.

" 'I think it's a symbolic gesture of traditional values,' he said."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A54318-2003Jun30?language=printer

I'm sure our President favors flogging gay people as well, in addition to the incarceration which he has already advocated and enforced. Somebody should ask him.

Gareth31 said...

Fact check .. um, Anne, I think the mayor of Moscow is Yuriy Luzhkov. Tsoy is his press spokesman.

aidan maconachy said...

It is now open to question whether Clinton actually called for the conviction of the European publishers.

The report of Clinton's call for "conviction of the publishers" came from the Daily Times. On the video version there was no actual evidence of Clinton making this statement - so it is open to question whether or not he in fact said this in so many words. It is possible it was a remark made off-the-cuff when he wasn't on camera.

Whether or not he made this statement isn't finally the point. He has made it abundantly clear where he stands on this issue, short of a call for court proceedings.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Gareth (though you did spell his name and mine wrong!).

Elizabeth said...

DEC,

Iraq is as good as any other battlefield. To the Iraqis whose homes are now part of a battlefield, I'd bet that statement comes off as pretty callous. I don't think much of sacrificing other people's lives and security for our own. It stinks.

How many conservative U.S. papers have published the Danish cartoons? I didn't find them over at Fox. I've seen them on liberal blogs, however.

How are liberals defending our rights against Islamists? Well, you've centered your argument around the premise that liberal causes (gay, women's rights) incite the Islamists to attack us. Sounds a bit like Pat Robertson, post 9/11, so it's hard to take that seriously. The lefties started the bar fight then ran out when the Islamists started throwing punches! How about you list some specific ways (5 is good, but who's counting) the Islamists are attacking our rights, here in the U.S. Besides the Towers, 'cause we're all in favor of justice for that one. But as Bush says lately, "Osama who?" If you're unhappy with the pursuit of Al Queda, you can't be blaming liberals for that.

This is hardly on topic for this thread, by the way.

Elizabeth said...

d'lad: Just for argument's sake, I'll have to say I don't think W wants to flog gays, unless it's some dark fantasy we don't need to explore.

But you can look right over at Focus on the Family to find a mainstream group that has welcomed as speakers and endorsed as heros people like Michael Marcavage, who cite the Old Testament in arguing for the execution of gay people. This is our American Taliban. They're on the fringe, but they are still at the table, and not repudiated by the powers that be on the right.

I've witnessed it more than once that when a gay issue comes up in local politics, first the ministers grab some press with their condemnations, then the politicians rush to legislate against us (GOP and Democrat alike), then the bullies cruise in from the 'burbs to bash some queers walking home from the bars. I have a friend lost an eye in a baseball bat bashing during the week Louisiana was voting on an amendment banning same sex marriage. No, it wasn't a mugging. The bullies knew exactly what they could get away with, and what their church and state would put up with from them.

DEC said...

You're right, Elizabeth; I have gotten too far off topic here. You ignored my questions. So I will ignore your questions. Pat Robertson? Give me a break. Have a great evening.

chuck b. said...

I am highly intoxicated (it's Saturday--like I need a reason!), but PleASE )hiccup( let me say that I am sooooooOOOOOOO happy to be homosexual in America--and not in Russia.

Peace be upon us all.

Elizabeth said...

chuck,

I'll drink to that. Cheers.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Elizabeth said: "I don't think much of sacrificing other people's lives and security for our own. It stinks."

Yes it does. War stinks. But there are things that stink more than war.

Chuck B said: "I am highly intoxicated (it's Saturday--like I need a reason!), but PleASE )hiccup( let me say that I am sooooooOOOOOOO happy to be homosexual in America--and not in Russia."

Now there's a guy with some sense. This is what we're fighting for, Elizabeth: Capital-L Liberalism. And the gay-hating Right and the gay-hating American military are making it happen. Ironic, isn't it?

As that wonderful anonymous Iraqi said: "Democracy, whiskey, sexy!"

How can that not bring a tear to your eye?

Hey said...

The appropriate response to Islamists who want us to obey their religious taboos is to offer them the choice of accepting offense or of living under a Christianised version of the laws of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. This is especially aposite in countries with established churches (Britain, Denmark, Norway, etc.)

Given the severe penalties levied on Bahais in Iran, as it is a false religion, coming after Islam, one could apply the same rules to Islam, as it is obviously false having come after Jesus. Further, the restrictions on non-Islamic religious material in Saudi could be applied, and perhaps the Pakistani (and other) death penalty for converting away from Islam could be mirrored.

Islamists hide behind the ignorance of how they conduct themselves in the countries that they control. When you show how cruel, aggressive, intolerant and illiberal Islamist Shariaized regimes like that urged by the various Islamist pressure groups, they begin to lose the war of ideas. The supposed "moderate" groups headed by Muslim Brotherhood types need to be exposed for the fifth columns that they are. There are very few Muslim organisations that have not been subverted by Islamists, in a similar manner to past communist/socialist subversion of NGOs and the general tendency of any pressure group to be made up of the most extreme individuals of the cause that it purports to represent.

We need to vigorously stand up to Islamists and those that demand that we abide by their religious taboos simply because they are sincerely held. Peaceful protests and denunciations are fine, as are demands that "blasphemy" not be publicly funded, but if you want others to abide by your taboos you need to come up with arguments grounded in reason and outside argument, rather than simply holding the appropriate holy book.

Elizabeth said...

Althousefan,

You twist my words. I didn't say war stinks, I said the flypaper approach of taking our war to someone else's turf, stinks. But your glibness just emphasizes my point, so thanks.

I'm with democracy, whiskey and sexy, too, but your quest to find irony in the gay-hating right and the military bringing "Liberalism" is for naught. Both the right and the military work very hard to deny rights to gays here and abroad.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Elizabeth: It is not my intention to twist your words. I'm trying to get to the essence of what you are saying, and I'm trying to respond in a punchy manner.

When you say "It stinks" what do you mean by "It"? If not war, what? You mention the "flypaper approach." Is there another strategy you prefer?

How does the Right and the Military work "very hard" to deny gay rights "here and abroad"? Lets take gay marriage off the table, and let's stipulate that changing "don't ask, don't tell" to "please ask, please tell" is not a civil rights imperative. What do you got? You got nothing.

hygate said...

downtownlad:

Check out this url

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A40508-2005Feb20?language=printer

Where you will find:

I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Bush said after meeting high-profile Texas preacher James Robison.

The future president said he told Robison, " 'Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?' "

Referring to one conservative group, Bush said, "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however."


Not, exactly, I must admit, a ringing endorsement of gay rights, but neither does it betray a desire to flog gay people. Must be a pretty scary world you live in. Anyway, I'll freely admit there are plenty of people in the GOP who harbor prejudice against homosexuals. But, there are plenty of them in the Democratic Party as well.

downtownlad said...

Hygate,

I couldn't give a rats ass what Bush says privately. All I care about is what he does publicly.

And he has publicly called for and enforced the incarceration of gay people - solely becuase they had sex in the privacy of their own home.

What you're implying is that he only said that to get votes - and doesn't "really" believe that.

That's pretty disgraceful if you ask me. Makes me think even less of him.

Bush also opposes laws against bullying? Why - because most of the victims of bullys in this country happen to be gay. Again, that implies that Bush FAVORS bullying against gay people. How Chirstian of him.

Elizabeth said...

Althousefan,

I clearly stated I supported our attack on Afghanistan, which answers your question. Another poster said Al Queda is in Iraq because it was our strategy to meet them there, and that is what I said "stinks."

It's funny that you have to take two major issues off the table before you can claim I "got nothing"--I am noticing that seems to be your rhetorical trick, to hem in the possibilities and then insist I respond on your terms. Too bad.

Don't ask, don't tell is on the table. The right path is everyone serves, based on ability, period. As for marriage being the only issue of importance for gay rights, you're woefully uninformed. Do some reading. downtownlad already pointed out one issue right here, that of banning gay student groups. Read some anti-same-sex marriage initiatives that have been passed in the states: they go much further than banning marriage, and instead forbid gay couples from a wide range of civil and legal arrangements that protect their property rights, healthcare decision making, ability to raise their families and more. It's perfectly legal in my state or employer to decide he doesn't want gay people working for him and fire me outright. I'm not going to go any further to explain to you that the right-wing attacks gays on many fronts. That's easy enough to figure out for yourself. You are willfully ignorant, in my judgment.

Ann Althouse said...

Downtownlad: "he has publicly called for and enforced the incarceration of gay people"

Do you have a link for that?

monkeyboy said...

Now if we shouldn't fight in Iraq, why support a war in Afghanisatn? I'm sure that the Afghanis are not exactly happy to have a war in their backyard.

Elizabeth said...

monkeyboy, these are tangents to an original conversation, and defending that point is not the purpose. My answer is that Afghanistan harbored the people responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers. They were given the opportunity to hand over Bin Laden, and the others involved, and refused. Our actions there were thus justified. I'm not going to continue with a rehash of the Iraq debate.

Elizabeth said...

Ann, I believe d'lad's argument is that by publically supporting the sodomy laws in Texas, Bush was advocating the incarceration of homosexuals and lesbians. Do you need a link to an article quoting his support of the sodomoy laws? D'lad's rhetoric is counterproductive, in my view, because it raises the image of Bush wanting public floggings of gay people. That rightly invites a "huh? you're nuts" response, and the actual facts, which are troubling, is lost.

downtownlad said...

I was being a little sarcastic on the flogging. But it wouldn't surprise me if he did favor it. After all, he does think that gay marriage will lead to the end of civilization, so what's a little flogging to keep the world intact . . .

Bush has publicly favored sodomy laws. After all, Lawrence vs. Texas, involved, well, um - TEXAS!!! Governor Bush could have easily pardoned Lawrence, but chose not to. He was wholeheartedly behind the prosecution.

Here are a few links. Bush has never reversed himself on this issue. He has only said that states are free to legalize sodomy if they so choose. He never said that he himself would favor that choice. Wow - how noble of him.

http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/texas/txeditorial06.htm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A54318-2003Jun30?language=printer

Johnny Nucleo said...

Elizabeth: So your employer could fire you for being gay. Employers can fire people for smoking. In either case, how has one's rights been violated?

Rights are very specific things. They are eternal and ubiquitous to humanity, but very limited in scope. We need to be very careful in defining them.

I'm not a lawyer (but I am a legalitician!) so you're right, I am willfully ignorant of law. But as ignorant as I am, how hard would it be to keep it from your boss that you're gay, or to get a lawyer to draw up a paper that says, when I die my partner gets everything, or when I'm sick my partner gets to see me? Is it about tax breaks? Can't we work that out?

And if your thinking about it, please, for your own credibility, don't compare the West's historical lack of acceptance of homosexuality to lunatic jihadists or to the persecution of Jews and Blacks. There is no comparison.

Elizabeth said...

Althousefan, so you're fine with employers firing people for being black, or female, or having red hair? You're trying the behavior argument, which is full of holes. I don't DO gay, I AM gay.

Why should I have to lie and hide in dark corners? Rights are narrowly defined as long as yours are in that definition, no doubt. I am unashamed, because there's nothing wrong with who I am.

Again, do some research. The anti-same-sex marriage laws being passed in states actually take aim at the very contracts you propose. These laws are mean-spirited and punitive. That's a separate issue from whether I should have to pay a lawyer and court costs to do what you are able to do with a $25 license.

I'll skip the comparisons as long as you don't sink to telling me I should just be grateful I don't live in Saudi Arabia and stop whining already about my rights.

hygate said...

downtownlad -

You said you think that Bush is for flogging gays. I produced a link showing that is highly unlikely - so you changed the subject. Doesn't say much about your intellectual honesty.

hygate said...

Oh, by the way I support gay marriage and feel that what consensual adults do in the privacy of their home is their business, not the governments. I'm just trying to point out that painting horns and a tail on Bush when it isn't warranted is counter productive.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Elizabeth: Employment discrimination based on one's race, creed, religion, sex, or sexual orientation is immoral. That doesn't mean it is unconstitutional, or a violation one's inalienable rights.

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against a person based on race, creed, religion, or sex because the people of the United States, through their elected representatives, have made it so. However, in my opinion as a legalitician, non-governmental employment discrimination is not unconstitutional.

Because the Constitution does not directly address the question, in order to prove that such discrimination was unconstitional, you would have to prove that it violated one's rights, enumerated or otherwise.

Marriage, gay or otherwise, is not a right. But, within reason, living how you want, with whom you want, where you want, for as long as you want, is.

What do you think rights are? Where do you think they come from? Do you think people just make them up? If you do, then what's to stop people from un-making them up?

Elizabeth said...

Althousefan, your question is self-serving. Do you believe, as our founding document states, that certain rights are inalienable, i.e. ours by virtue of being alive? I'll go with that. Otherwise, I'm in the mix, with everyone else, in acting to see that my ability to conduct my affairs is no different than any other citizen's. You may certainly argue that employers should hire and fire as they please, regardless of morality, but the case is that we have laws about employment discrimination. As long as that is the case, sexual orientation ought to be covered by those laws. Likewise, the opportunity to marry is there for heterosexuals, whether you call it a right or not. It ought to be for me as well.

Do you believe gay people ought to be legally outside of the same rules and privileges that govern their fellow citizens? If so, why?

Johnny Nucleo said...

"Do you believe, as our founding document states, that certain rights are inalienable, i.e. ours by virtue of being alive? I'll go with that."

The Declaration does not say what you think it says.

The Declaration refers to "certain unalienable Rights" not "certain rights [that] are inalienable."

You misunderstand Jefferson's use of the word "certain." He does not mean "some" rights are inalienable (are there other, "alienable" rights?). In this context, the qualifier "certain" means "definite, fixed, undeniable." Rights are rights. All rights are inalienable.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I retract my previous post. I'm not sure I know what I'm talking about. My apologies, Elizabeth.