Thursday, April 19, 2007

She shoots! She scores!

Katie scores her third consecutive column in a row (as Bob Kostas might say) as an anti-Muslim rant. Spotty wondered if she could score the hat trick. Katie has had columns on the same subject twice in a row at least a few times, but rarely if ever does she have the attention span to go for three.

Muslims obviously bother Katie a lot. Well, you can sure see why! Washing their feet in the restroom sinks before the mid-day prayers when attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College, eating a restricted diet in the cafeteria at the school when it's not even Lent! And Katie doesn't want to scare you, boys and girl, but Katie says to be worried about many more accommodations that you will have to put up with in the future.

Spot made that part up about Katie not wanting to scare you. That's obviously the object of the whole exercise. Today, the object lesson comes from Canada, which we learn, is well down the road to perdition in accommodating Muslims.

Last week [and Monday of this week], I wrote about Minneapolis Community and Technical College's proposal to install ritual washing facilities to facilitate Muslim prayer. Is this a tempest in a teapot, as some have suggested?

Canada, our neighbor to the north, is farther down the "accommodations" road. A glance north can shed light on whether prayer spaces and ritual washing facilities are likely to satisfy activists for long.

Katie goes on to describe some of the recommendations (the key word here) of an Ontario student organization:

Some recommended changes could affect all students. For example, the report criticizes Canada's loan-based system of financing higher education and calls for outright grants to students. "Education related government loans should not accumulate interest," it says, since Islam "opposes usury and involvement with interest-bearing loans." Other changes would be more focused. The report endorses "women-only" time at athletic facilities, and urges colleges to "provide curtains or screens over the observation windows" when women are using the pool.

The report calls not just for Muslim-only prayer space but for "multiple prayer spaces" with "easy access" from all over campus. All new building plans should include prayer space and ritual washing facilities if necessary, it adds.

Food service workers must learn to prepare halal food, which is ritually slaughtered and otherwise permissible under Sharia law. After preparing non-halal food, staff must "change sanitary gloves and wash cutlery and surfaces" to avoid contaminating halal food.

Have you read Leviticus recently, Katie?

Katie says that according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission,

Islamophobia includes more than clearly inappropriate behavior such as violence against Muslims or unreasonable suspicion of them.

Reasonable suspicion, now that's fine, right? Of course, Katie thinks about "reasonable suspicion" the way that Mr. and Mrs. Bigot do, meaning "breathing while Muslim."

And our little emotion arsonist Katie stirred up quite a controversy with her jeremiad against the installation of what the president of the school, Phil Davis, calls a "plumbing fixture":

The proposal was the subject of a column by the Star Tribune's Katherine Kersten, which was picked up by conservative bloggers across the country. It became the subject of a nationwide "action alert" by the American Family Association, which urged its Minnesota readers to contact their legislators regarding the MCTC proposal. Davis, bombarded with 3,000 e-mails, in turn sent letters to every Minnesota legislator and Gov. Tim Pawlenty this week.

That Katie knows how to tweak the base, doesn't she, boys and girls?

One of the funniest responses to Katie's column came from a defender of the faith in the Minnesota House:

And today Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said he planned to introduce an amendment to the House Higher Education bill that would allow MnSCU workers to display religious symbols at their desks and cubicles.

Abeler is quoted as saying:

Abeler said his amendment would clarify what can be permitted in MnSCU workplaces, in light of the Muslim foot-washing issue.

"The foot-washing thing is absolutely a religious accommodations [sic] which they should do," Abeler said. "My point is that as we accommodate one faith, we shouldn't suppress the rights of people of other faiths."

Abeler said he is likely to offer an amendment on the House floor today to send a legislative letter to college officials urging them to remember that as they might accommodate one group, they should accommodate others as well.

Just as Katie and Captain Fishsticks did, Rep. Abeler turns First Amendment law on its head, arguing in effect that Establishment Clause considerations are irrelevant, and that all religions should just be treated equally generously. This is what happens you start to drag religion, any religion, into the public square. Everybody wants a place at the trough.

Katie probably understands that she cannot argue against Muslim foot baths on Establishment Clause grounds because of her position on things like public support of sectarian schools. However, the Establishment Clause is where it ought to be argued.

So instead, Katie falls back on comfortable grounds: religious and racial bigotry.

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