Monday, January 22, 2007

A strange story :

LONDON — Police said Sunday that a Muslim woman officer had refused to shake hands with London's police chief during a graduation ceremony last month due to her religious beliefs, fanning a debate in Britain over the assimilation of Muslims into society.

The woman — whose identity was not revealed — asked to be excused from the customary handshake with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair during the ceremony, saying her faith prohibited her from touching a man other than her husband or a close relative.

Commissioner Blair immediately questioned the validity of her request, said a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with force policy.

“Ordinarily the (police force) would not tolerate such requests. This request was only granted ... to ensure the smooth running of what is one of the most important events in an officer's career,” the spokeswoman said.

She said the incident was still being looked into by the force, but she declined to say whether the officer could face punishment.

I suspect this story has more to it. Why is the report so skittish? Why doesn't the reporter identify in which "London" this incident is supposed to have occurred?

Particularly puzzling I find how a woman training to be an effective policewoman for the duration of a few months-long preparatory course, avoids touching other trainees? Wouldn't the training involve carefully constructed scenarios that approximate modern policing activity, such as chasing, apprehending and cuffing suspects? What if she is required to give first aid in emergency situations? Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation?

So the question is begged: why would a woman, obviously a devout Muslim, choose a line of work that would inevitably involve physical contact with other men?

The article does not address any of these valid points. The story is too full of missing information. I wonder if it is either made up, exaggereated or deliberately under reported?

A few minutes later:

Some questions answered here:

"The incident happened at Imber Court, Scotland Yard's sports and conference centre at Thames Ditton in South West London, when the 200 recruits attended a passing-out parade having completed their 18 weeks' basic training."

"Some officers argue that her attitude towards men might impede her ability to detain offenders.

However, it is clear that she is happy to come into contact with men, just not shake their hand or kiss them."

Harry's Place has a post about this story.

Lileks' Bleat today includes the following expostulations:

These are the acts of the extreme believers, not the majority, but in the end that’s irrelevant. The extremists are accommodated and the moderates undercut. It buys a day's peace, but it worsens everyone's tomorrows.

... Thus the virtues of tolerance and multiculturalism, intended to construct that gorgeous mosaic in which everyone holds hands and smiles at the common future, ends up codifying a tiered society that imposes the values of the least tolerant on the most. It seems as if the cultural commissars believe there is a magic point at which the culmulative amount of prostration, apologies and accomodations will satisfy the ranters, the plotters, the seethers, the madmen who live to hate and hate that we live. But the extremists won't be happy until the Queen wears a veil - and the next day they'll demand she give up the Corgis. Unclean.


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