Friday, July 15, 2016


Newtie (via Raw Story), seeking to exploit the horror on Promenade des Anglais for his own personal profit, goes way beyond Trump's illegal proposal. He wants to give that Muslim test not just to people who want to travel here but to people who are here already, including citizens by naturalization and by birth:
“Western civilization is in a war,” Gingrich told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “We should, frankly, test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia? Glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door. But we need to be fairly relentless about defining who our enemies are.”
I'm not going to make any effort to figure out what he thinks "Sharia" means. The man has a PhD in history and should learn to use technical terms correctly. But Sharia is a religious law and our First Amendment guarantees the right of anyone to follow its principles (not to institute it in American civil and criminal jurisprudence, or to do things that violate US law), just as it permits people to keep Kosher or even to refuse blood transfusions or throw their money away on Scientology. And how would you "test" people on whether they "believe" in it or not anyway?

In Spain in the early 16th century officials used to spy on Jews to find out whether they were keeping the Sabbath or not. If you had a stew on a very slow fire all day on Saturday you'd better be able to prove it had some pork in it or you could be jailed, your house and goods expropriated, your body maybe burned at the stake. That was high-stakes testing. Americans always used to be opposed to that sort of thing.

One of the reasons for the way this affliction seems to be endemic in France—France and Belgium, I guess—which they kept adverting to on CNN, I was watching CNN for a while, is the way much of the Muslim population (there for two or three generations, mostly French citizens of North African or Subsaharan origin and many unable to speak their ancestral languages) finds itself concentrated, in the banlieues ringing the major cities, unable to assimilate into the wider society, in a way that literally does not happen in the United States, or Germany or Britain. This is hard to believe, because we often think of ourselves as pretty awful, parochial and intolerant of differences, but the situation in France is really an order of magnitude worse, maybe because it's correlated to a severer chronic unemployment, or because the laïcité tradition inhibits the innocent expression of ethnicity and drives people to express it in a more dangerous way.

(And our cases of indigenous "Islamic terrorists" in San Bernardino and Orlando don't fit the profile, either, in so many ways. I should emphasize that I really love France personally and don't mean to suggest anybody there deserves this terrible thing to happen to them, including obviously the many passionately French Muslims who were out celebrating the fall of the Bastille last night when that person struck and were as wounded by the attack as anyone else.)

Did you hear how the EU has been pushing against French discrimination against the traditionalist Muslim scarf?
A French design engineer who was dismissed for wearing an Islamic headscarf should have been allowed to cover her head at work, a senior EU lawyer has said.
In an influential preliminary opinion, an advocate general at the European court of justice found in favour of Asma Bougnaoui who lost her job with Micropole SA, a French IT consultancy, in June 2009.
The advocate general has advised that the Muslim woman’s dismissal amounted to discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.
That's probably a good thing. Following the EU views would make France more like the US in a good way. Changing the US the way Gingrich would like to change it, taking it back to the time of Torquemada, is not a good idea. It will not stop terrorism, tout au contraire, but it will make our country less what we want it to be.

Lobby of the Hôtel Negresco when it's not being used as a triage center, via.

A wonderful response by Professor Cole to the Nice strike, Ghandhian and in a classically Gandhian way practical, is here.

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