October 26, 2005

Whos Afraid of the Pig?

When you’re safe and sound in your snug house in the West, the Middle East can look totally whacked when you pick up the newspaper. But guess what else is true? When you’re in the Middle East, the West looks absolutley bonkers sometimes as well.

Here are two examples. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

First, pig stories are banned in some schools in Britain.
A West Yorkshire head teacher has banned books containing stories about pigs from the classroom in case they offend Muslim children. The literature has been removed from classes for under-sevens at Park Road Junior Infant and Nursery School in Batley. [Emphasis added.]
Some banks are now frightened of “piggy banks.”
The Koran forbids the eating of “the flesh of swine”, and as a result, NatWest and Halifax have taken down promotional posters which feature piggy banks.
Can I make a new rule? Anyone who is in a position of power and who will make policies relating to Muslims is first required to visit Muslim countries.

Look. I’m in Lebanon. Somewhere around 35 or 40 percent of the people who live here are Christian. Except for around 60 Jews, the rest are Muslims. This is a Muslim-majority country. Muslims outnumber Christians approximately two to one. And yet pork – pork – is all over this place. I had a pizza for lunch today. My pizza had ham on it. Not fake halal “ham,” but actual pig meat. The restaurant that served me this pizza is on the Muslim side of the city.

I have sliced ham in my refridgerator. Guess where I bought it? I bought it at a regular grocery store on the Muslim side of the city.

I guess it’s possible that religious Muslims are offended that Christians, liberal Muslims, and atheist “Muslims” eat pork. Some vegetarians are offended. Some Jews probably are too. So? Onions offend me. That’s my problem, not your problem. So I don’t eat them. End of problem.

I wonder how many Muslims are actually offended by the fact that I can buy pork in restaurants and stores in the Muslim parts of Beirut. Not enough to make any difference, apparently, because pig meat is and has been readily available.

Don’t tell me “oh, that’s just Beirut.” It’s not just Beirut. I also saw plenty of pork in Tunisia. I’m not just talking about the hotels either. Tunisia is 99 percent Sunni Muslim Arab. And if you want pork in Tunisia, just go to a French restaurant. They are everywhere in that country. French food is that nation’s second cuisine. And it has pork in it. Big deal. Somehow Tunisian society manages to hold itself together without tearing itself to pieces over some imaginary “pork problem.”

If Muslims in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East can handle pig meat, I think Muslims in Britain can handle plastic piggy banks and The Three Little Pigs. If they can’t handle those things they need to learn how to handle those things. Tolerance is not only for the majority.

But I don’t think I’m wrong.
[O]ne of Britain's four Muslim MPs, Khalid Mahmoud, said: “A piggybank is just an ornament. Muslims would never be seriously offended.”
Listen to that man, stop condescending to minorities, and put the piggy banks back.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 26, 2005 8:31 AM

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