Contact Form * Contact Form Container */ .contact-form-widget { width: 500px; max-width: 100%; marg


Email *

Message *

Surely there are some things you must not do in public

It is a bitterly cold winter morning as I head into the toilet of my quaint railway station just over an hour out from London. To my astonishment I am confronted by two bearded young Muslims washing their feet in the hand basins. To say I am shocked is to understate it, I am gob smacked. My bladder is made shy by the feet ablutions to my right so it takes longer than usual. Afterwards I thin  of  rinsing my hands but the two hand basins are still being commandeered by the Muslim duo  unhygenically washing their feet in the hand basins. I skulk out.
At first, I think, I will report this to the staff at the Ticket Office, but then I have reservations, what if...well, you know, if I am arrested for, well...for inciting something or other.                                                                                                                                             ‘Yes, if you would just sit down there, sir, now you do understand that there laws against inciting racial hatred.’
‘What happened, Dad?’
‘I was arrested.’
‘What for, Dad?’
‘I don’t know...for inciting...for some ‘thought crime.’
‘What’s that, Dad?’
‘A thought crime is... when you break the commandments of the politically correct.’
“Who arrested you Dad?” 
‘The ‘Thought Police’.’                                                                                                                ‘Who are they Dad?’                                                                                                                                          
‘People who like to plant themselves on the moral high ground; people who need ‘victims' so that they can feast on them in that vampiric way; moral imperialists, who in their stunning self assurance get heart arrhythmia at the thought of some humanitarian intervention; do gooding grandstanders who...’
‘Slow down, Dad.’
‘Look, I feel I am aware of my own biases, but I am  talking about  people who have an absolute intolerance of views which run counter to their own; just as it is impossible for the Muslim believer not to act if he feels he has been blasphemed against, so too the Liberal left are compelled to act when they feel their commandments have been broken: Islamophobia, Homophobia, Racism, Gay Marriage, Abortion Rights,; Immigration Reform, Human Rights; do you understand what I am endeavouring to say....?’
“Well, not really, Dad.
 ‘Look the politically correct are the children of humanism and humanism is a metaphysically secular version of theism...and no humanism can be authentic which has not passed through its own negation, who said that?’
“I’ve no idea, Dad.’
.’Yeats WB.  So let us subject these people preaching to us from ‘Mount Moral’ on the right way to behave, to the indignity of evidence.’
‘What is the evidence, Dad?’
‘The evidence is that human nature is historically relative and it s delusional to talk about human essence. Besides who are these humanists who propound a metaphysical philosophy that ascribes to humanity a universal essence and privileges it above all other forms of existence - to talk in that way of human essence is to propound metaphysically, in what is a  secular version of theism. I know that’s a mouthful.’
‘What are you trying to get at, Dad?’
‘The point is we enter this world at the mercy of language and the belief, desires, preferences and judgements of the human individual are the product of social practices, as society moulds the individual in its own image through its ideologies, there is a disciplinary normalisation by an infinite web of discourses; discursive discourses on power, sex, family, science, religion, poetry, etc. Do these liberal humanists ever have a tincture of doubt in their fabrications of what it is to have human sympathy.  I could go on...’                                                                                                                      ‘Please don’t Dad. That’s enough ranting. Would you like a cup of tea?’                                                ‘I wasn’t ranting. Does any of it make sense?’                                                                                          ‘No, it doesn’t Dad, not a word of it. So when will you get out of prison, Dad?’

I stop this catastrophic fantasising and timorously slope away from the Ticket Office to stand further down the platform and watch as the two now presumably cleansed Muslims kneel down on the platform facing Mecca I presume and commence their prayers. I look at the other passengers to gauge their reaction to this extension of the Mosque to English suburbia but apart from a discreet roll of the eyes to heaven from one or two, most people bury themselves in their newspapers. 
Still, I should not be so surprised by this extension of the Mosque to this very sleepy English shires town, as the recent atrocities in Paris come to mind. You think of the absurdity of  a counter Christian extremism act of blowing oneself up outside a Mosque with a loudspeaker cry of  ‘This one is for Mary, Mother of God... and can i tell you while I  am pulling the cord of my suicide vest... this one if  for the Holy Ghost...’ as I recall my last visit to that wonderful city where whole streets can become impassable as hundreds of Muslims kneel for midday prayers. Move aside Monsieur Hollande, pudgy little egotist that you are; with your Pink Panther level of intelligence ineptitude and the hard to erase comic image of you on the back of a scooter clutching your bag of baguettes on the way to your illicit liaison with an ‘actress’. Yes, step aside, for here comes France’s 21st century Joan of Arc in the guise of Marie le Pen, don’t laugh, for le Pen may very well hold the key to power in the coming French elections.  Le Pen refers to French immigration policy as ‘An occupation without the tanks.’ She would argue, as others do, that the difference between migration and invasion is only one of degree. But why shouldn’t she chirp up when Islamic mosques are being built more often in France than Roman Catholic churches. Nearly 150 new mosques are currently under construction in France, home to the biggest Muslim community in Europe.  The total number of Mosques in France has already doubled to more than 2,000 during  just the past ten years, One of France's most prominent Muslim leaders, recently called for the number of Mosques in the country to be doubled again to 4,000 to meet growing demand. Open a Mosque and you close a prison, a leading Muslim spokesperson said. About 70% of all inmates in the French prison system are Muslim. (The rate of increase of Muslim inmates in British prisons is eight times faster than that of the overall prison population.)                                                                                                              It used to be that every Friday, thousands of Muslims from Paris to Marseille and elsewhere used to close off streets and sidewalks, by doing so they closed down local businesses and trapped non-Muslim residents in their homes and offices to accommodate overflowing crowds for midday prayers. Some Mosques were also broadcasting sermons and chants of "Allahu Akbar" via loudspeakers in the streets. Not slow to legislate, the French government's response to growing public anger over the phenomenon of Muslim street prayers was to ban such an activity.                                                                                                                                  I look down the platform and see that the two Muslims are still kneeling in prayer  in the bitter cold and one senses the militancy by this al fresco display of prayer. I think of the Romans and how they taught kneeling was a mysterious, Christian barbarity. What do people expect in prayer, catharsis, purgation?  Isn’t that the sort of thing most people in the increasingly secular western world goes to the theatre for?  A woman in full black mournful regalia the only slit in her garb being for the eyes, hurries along the platform looking intently at her mobile; all the accroutemnt of the Western world but none of  the beliefs, howhypscriici si that.  How to account for all this to our rapidly changing world? Are these outward displays of belief no more than a cultural phenomenon; for I recall on a family holiday in Turkey in the Hotel lobby looking at photographs of Nasser’s funeral in 1960s Cairo where apparently  a million people were in attendance. Perusing the photographs there is not a hijab wearing women in sight.  The same is evident in other photographs of Istanbul in the 30s right through to the 70s. So is this dress code no more than a cultural phenomenon. I am no Quoronic expert but the wearing of the hijab is not in the qu'ran, it's not in the hadith. But the key question is not what the Koran really says, but what Muslims say the Koran says.  Is all this no more than these modern day Muslims seeking to imitate the dress and mannerisms of the religion's founding culture.  One understands that for millennia the requirement of a practical dress code for the desert; to keep out the sun and the flies; as to the washing of feet is this no more than a practicality of the desert to wash the sand off sandal wearing travellers.  The weirdness of it all as the indigenous population endeavouring to come to terms with this massive Muslim socio-political movement, the speed of it and an overpowering feeling of being culturally asphyxiated.                                                                                                             Now the train, like a promise, approaches from the bend ahead. The two Muslims get off their knees and join the commuters waiting to board the 7.37 am that will convey them, I presume, to the 'real' world of earning a living.

No comments: