The Iconoclast brings us this story:
On the subject of bizarre ritualistic hang-ups, here’s some lovely religious apartheid in London swimming pools. Naturally, this bold leap forward is funded with council tax.
This morning, my son asked to go swimming at 10 am. As he
was going to play with a friend at 11.30, I agreed to take him early. I checked
the pool programme online… and the opening times. Apparently, the pool was open,
and no special programmes were being run. So, off we trundled. When I arrived at
the pool, I was told that we could not swim in it until 10.45. The reason is
that it was being used for ‘Muslim Male Swimming’. This is apparently so every
Sunday morning. I couldn’t quite believe that a swimming pool was really
institutionalising both gender and religious segregation… Apparently, this is a
policy insisted on by Hackney Council, which sets the policy for all Hackney
The demand for segregated swimming is anchored in Islamic religious law. Here is the why:
Now, we arrive, in our discussion, to unbelievers, meaning, those who do not believe in Allah (the Creator) or follow any of the laws set forth for believers.
It is clearly understood that if a person does not follow a way, he or she cannot be considered as one of the group traveling that path. This state can be due to the fact that the person belligerently refuses to follow, or that the person does not have enough information to make a correct judgment about his condition and choose the way, himself.
Whichever the case may be, a human being who does not eat or drink pure foods, keeps impure animals in his home, involves himself in abhorrent activities, and the like, must be considered impure, himself, until the time that it becomes apparent that he follows the laws for purity.
Likewise, the sweat of anyone who is considered impure, according to the rules of purity, by way of reasoning is, also, regarded as impure.
The water of the body, after we exert ourselves, comes through little pores in the skin, to the outside of our bodies, in the form of sweat. This water carries with it impurities of the processes in the body. When we eat or drink or take drugs, and then sweat, residue of these substances come out with the water. Therefore, it only stands to reason, that if a person eats or drinks anything impure, after the filtering process, these will come out in the sweat.
We, then, conclude that the wet hands of an impure person, even though the original source of the wetness is not impure, are impure and anything he or she touches then, becomes impure.
This leads us to understand that the milk bottles, fruit, or vegetables in the supermarket, or foods in the restaurant which are handled by the wet hands of an impure person are najes and must be washed or discarded, as the case may be.
All alcoholic beverages are next on our list. As a general rule, everything intoxicant or narcotic is definitely injurious to human health. They undermine physical and mental fitness, as well.
Their natural origin, such as grapes, are made impure when altered and mixed with other substances and can produce very detrimental side effects in humans. The extra ingredients corrupt the nature of the original to the extent of destroying its identity.
Liquor contains ethanol, a colorless volatile flammable liquid (C2H5OH) which is the intoxicating agent in liquors and is, also, used as a solvent in cleaners.Purifying agents:Making any item pure requires rinsing the impure item with water, and pure, running water is the best. The sun is, also, a source to use in purifying.
Humans can become pure by following the rules of purity and accepting the belief in the Creator, Allah.
Islam has, then, in more than one way, exhorted people to the cleanliness of utensils, clothing, body, hair, teeth, drinking water, water used for ablution and bathing, dwellings, streets, public places, food and everything in human use.
I have two comments:
1. How is this logic any different from the logic applied by the old Apartheid regime in South Africa to its segregation laws between black folks and white folks?
2. How can any Muslim know with any certainty that his Muslim brother, bathing in the pool alongside himself, did not eat, touch or imbibe any of the forbidden substances? This doubt alone should preclude any joint bathing in water for fear of contamination.
It seems a little reckless to have such faith in one's coreligionists to follow to the letter the law. They are after all human, and might be a bit too lazy to wash the milk bottle, or to abstain from taking sip from that frosted glass of Heineken beer. Muslim men, according to the following description, are known to be fragile and susceptible to consuming lusts, always in need of strident and vigilant protection, as in such cases as these (H/T: Mick):
"Women without the veil are a danger that the authorities underestimate," said Hojatolislam Seyyed Ahmad Elmalhoda, a powerful cleric who leads the Friday prayers in Mashad, a site considered sacred for Shia Muslims as it houses the shrine of Imam Reza.
"This situation is very serious in that if men see these bad women, they will turn into beasts, and then the whole of society will have to pay the consequences."
And tangentially relevant, here is the latest grievance from a highly revered Islamic scholar (H/T: Solomonia):
PROMINENT scholar Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi has denounced Pope Benedict's baptism of a Muslim-born journalist during the last Easter Mass at the Vatican as a "provocative and hostile act against Muslims".
Sheikh Qaradawi, who is the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) and the European Council for Fatwa and Research, said the public baptism of Majdi Allam has provoked Muslims around the world...
..."It is not strange that Allam, who betrayed his country and supported Israel, left his religion. We know that he is an agent of Israel. He would not contribute to Islam if he were a Muslim," he said...
...The scholar also blamed the West for worsening relations with Islam. "We try to seek peace with the Vatican and the World Council of Churches but in vain. They keep provoking us by their hostility."
Perhaps the next amendment to the Universal Declaration of Human rights will deal with the prevention of such atrocities.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Sunday, April 13, 2008