Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Jailers 'sadistic toward Muslims'

The murder of Zahid Mubarek by Robert Stewart is indefensible. If prison officers deliberately exposed Mubarek to harm by placing him in a cell with "...a known racist psychopath..." that is indefensible too. Of course this begs the question, what was a "psychopath" doing in a conventional prison? Are we dealing with a psychiatrist's, a journalist's or a prisoner's definition here?

The Daily Mail writes in shocked terms that "...a Muslim and a Jew were ordered to share a cell even though both objected..." When dealing with racial and religious issues, it's often useful to substitute other groups for those mentioned in a text. For example, if we substitute "black person" and "white person" for "Muslim" and "Jew", how do we respond to the same sentence? Or how about "Welshman" and "Scot", or "Presbyterian" and "Anglican"?

Muslims in Britain cannot expect to live apart from other races. If they commit offences and are jailed, they should get the same multicultural experience as everyone else.

in another, more trivial, example a relative of mine told me a story from a paintball venue in the North-West. The normal deal is that all the groups who arrive are divided into two teams to play against each other. So half of each group of friends or colleagues finds itself in opposition to the other half, playing alongside a number of strangers. Recently, group of Muslims from Manchester refused to play with non-Muslims. They wanted to play on their own.

The management, fearing the reaction, immediately changed their normal practice to accommodate them. This created the need for two arenas and two games. Yet if another group had refused to play with Muslims, (or Blacks, Presbyterians or Welshmen), there is no way the management would have co-operated. The Muslims in question were racists. As a libertarian I believe both that they were entitled to their view and that the paintball centre management was entitled to refuse their demand.

It is only in such everyday ways that we can rebuild our society to accommodate and assimilate the various groups within it. We are all citizens together and both public and private sectors should operate, in that wonderful old phrase, "without fear or favour". We should neither improperly discriminate against a group, nor accept its demands to discriminate against others. In our rush to abolish favours, we have perhaps become too fearful.

the Mail online | Mail - news, sport, showbiz, health and more | Jailers 'sadistic toward Muslims'

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