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Thread: Wearing of religious items in public

  1. #1
    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    Wearing of religious items in public

    The whole issue of wearing religious items in public is flaring up again in the media. It's driving me crazy. I think that religious items should be able to be worn, within reason. But this is part of a bigger problem. It is the complete lack of any compromise which really urks me.

    When you leave your country, it is obvious that you cannot recreate the same situation you lived in, in your previous country. There may be some positive elements from your previous country that you may have to leave behind, but you trade it off for the positive things your adopted country brings to you. Sure, some of these can be kept, but wanting to recreate your previous country is unrealistic. You weigh up these two options to decide if moving overseas is right for you.

    I know of an Indian man who brought his family to Australia, but when he saw just how "bad" or "immoral" it was in his personal eyes, he made a decision that this was no place to raise his daughter. He subsequently moved back to India after 2 or 3 months.

    The issue I'm talking about though are mainly Muslims. The wearing of a hijab, a simple head scarf is fine in my eyes. It's not very conspicuous and can be put down to retention of culture. But what about the full Burka I see many women wearing. I don't think wearing one is acceptable. You have to have a certain degree of assimilation when you move to another country. When I went to Indonesia, I was told not to wear singlet tops because it may be construed as inappropriate. Not offensive or against ones religion, just inappropriate given what everyone else is wearing. Naturally the people I was with and I wore other clothes, despite us being very unaccustomed to the heat and humidity (Melbourne boys).

    We made that sort compromise when we were on holiday, if we lived there we'd almost certainly do the same. If we lived in Saudi then I would not expect any female I was with to wear a short skirt or whatever, even though I wouldn't mind one little bit back here.

    The number of Muslims in Australia is less than 2 per cent of the population. A suburban pool in Melbourne was also segregated, thanks to some Muslims not willing to compromise and accept the rules of Australia again. In Shepparton, a taxpayer funded local government pool was transformed into the type of pool you would find in Saudi Arabia. This is a pool visited by Australians, of all backgrounds. Now there are designated bathing times for Men only and Women only. No men would be allowed to work at the pools that day, only women staff and windows would be blockaded.

    This is simply not the Australian way. If they want to live like this, they should a.) open their own private pool for Muslims only or b.) Decide whether or not Australia is the right place for them? Not transform tax payer funded public facilities into their own retreats. If I as a male, taxpayer pay for a pool, I expect reasonable access to it.

    Another example is in Sydney somewhere. An annual fair in a fairly Lebanese area was stopped from serving any pork or related products. Why? Because a lot of Muslims were in attendance and objected to it being served. I would think that if they didn't want to eat pork, they don't have to buy it.

    This is not an attack on Muslims, I am friends with a few Muslims who have assimilated but have also retained both their religion and their culture. It is not paradoxical to do so. There are my rants for the day

  2. #2
    Global Moderator vic_orthdox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shounak
    This is simply not the Australian way.
    I'll start off by saying that I hate this sort of term.

    And if the immigrants of the 1950s were to have adhered to the "Australian way" we wouldn't have some of the best parts of this nation. Someone who moves here should be able to live their life as they see fit, not as someone else sees fit for them. I don't care if Indonesia press their beliefs upon tourists and migrants, in principle Australia should not do the same if we see ourselves as a nurturing, tolerant nation.

    If there is the need to make small concessions, then so be it. What we'll probably find is that most second, third and fourth generations who have grown up here won't feel the need, nor want, to have these extra measures taken for them.

    Of course, if it doesn't serve enough of the community, people won't provide the service.

    Also need to point out that Shepparton does have a relatively large percentage of Muslims amongst their 10,000 population.

    Interesting to read a letter to the editor in the Age (a Fairfax paper in Melbourne) where someone pointed out that restricting the freedom of one to express their religion is actually outlawed in the constitution - one of the very few rights given to us in the document, as we have no official "Bill of Rights".

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    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    I'm a hindu myself. I'm not suggesting supress religion at all. People should feel free to practice whatever religion they wish. Just do it yourself. Don't expect the society to mould around your religion.

    I'm a member of large Indian organisation in Melbourne, we pay for our events ourselves. Although sometimes we do get government grants. But we are mainly funded by membership fees and our activities do not affect anyone in the general public. Even if we became a significant amount of the population, I doubt we'd be pushing to stop the sale of beef in surrounding areas.

    Read my post again. I'm not suggesting we emulate Indonesia or Saudi's intolerance. Or the freedom of people to practice their religion. You simply have to change a few things when you move to another country.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    This is simply not the Australian way.
    The Australian way is to accept and integrate other cultures into our own society and do our best to allow for differing customs/beliefs in all situations, not to rail against weird cultures because they don't conform to some WASP-ish 'norm'.

    Or was your definition different?

    This is simply not the Australian way. If they want to live like this, they should a.) open their own private pool for Muslims only or b.) Decide whether or not Australia is the right place for them? Not transform tax payer funded public facilities into their own retreats. If I as a male, taxpayer pay for a pool, I expect reasonable access to it.
    Do you also expect access to female toilets just because your (and my) taxes pay for them?

    Read my post again. I'm not suggesting we emulate Indonesia or Saudi's intolerance. Or the freedom of people to practice their religion. You simply have to change a few things when you move to another country.
    Not to this one, particularly when it comes to wearing whatever you feel, even a full burkha.

    No kidding, if the stuff you detail in your posts is what infuriates you, maybe you should consider a reality check and ask yoursef where your real beef lies. You know what infuriates me? Rape, murder, sexual assault, racism, sexism, intolerance, etc. Not whether a community at a fair bans pork because it's offensive to them or whether a pool is segregated.

    Also need to point out that Shepparton does have a relatively large percentage of Muslims amongst their 10,000 population.
    Exactly. The needs of those people have to be taken into account if they comprise a significant proportion of any given geographic area.
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    Banned Pratters's Avatar
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    One should be allowed to wear what one wants

  6. #6
    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat
    The Australian way is to accept and integrate other cultures into our own society and do our best to allow for differing customs/beliefs in all situations, not to rail against weird cultures because they don't conform to some WASP-ish 'norm'.

    Or was your definition different?
    To allow for is fine. But for it to impact on the lives of people who don't follow that religion isn't. Why should tax payer funds go towards making a public pool less acecssible for patrons. This sort of a thing will just drive non-muslims away, creating more distinct cultural pockets.

    Do you also expect access to female toilets just because your (and my) taxes pay for them?
    I expect full access to male toilets. I wouldn't want all toilets to suddenly be turned into female toilets, diallowing me any access to my local toilet. On that same note, I'd also expect women should have access to female toilets, at the same time that males have access to theirs.

    If you closed off both sets of toilets and made them both belong to one sex, I would be ****ed.

    No kidding, if the stuff you detail in your posts is what infuriates you, maybe you should consider a reality check and ask yoursef where your real beef lies. You know what infuriates me? Rape, murder, sexual assault, racism, sexism, intolerance, etc. Not whether a community at a fair bans pork because it's offensive to them or whether a pool is segregated.
    Those things also infuriate me. But those are clearly identified as being wrong and are being dealt with accordingly. It is possible to have beefs with a number of items, all of which one considers egregious. But yes, your issues rank a lot higher then this one.

    Exactly. The needs of those people have to be taken into account if they comprise a significant proportion of any given geographic area.
    As I said above, this will create pockets of culture. Where do we draw the line anyway? If you worked at the local pool and you lost shifts because of the adoption of the Muslim segregation, you would not be happy. If you could no longer swim at your local pool during the times that suited you, you would not be happy.

    I'm not advocating a hardline stance. But is a certain degree of assimilation too much to ask?

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    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pratyush
    One should be allowed to wear what one wants
    What would be the reaction of a girl or woman walking around in Kolkata wearing a micro mini skirt and string top with bra straps and cleavage showing?

    I just got back from Kolkata and the craziest thing I saw a girl wearing was jeans. What about the aforementioned? Give me an honest answer..

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    International Captain cameeel's Avatar
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    it's not like it affects you
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    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cameeel
    it's not like it affects you
    I only said it to address appropriateness.

    Wasn't there a case in South Australia where a Muslim woman was allowed to have her Drivers License photo taken with a burqua on? This is completely unacceptable and inappropriate. What if she gets pulled over by a male officer for speeding? Is he not allowed to verify the validity of who she is? Wait a second, the photo's of a burqa.

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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    I don't have a problem with it, as long as they dont impose their religion on anyone, and conversely I don't think the state should have the right to impose religion on them, or order them to remove the items..

    I got made to take my rastafarian bracelet and necklace off at work.. Do you think I could go to the Authorities and stir some feeling?
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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shounak
    What would be the reaction of a girl or woman walking around in Kolkata wearing a micro mini skirt and string top with bra straps and cleavage showing?

    I just got back from Kolkata and the craziest thing I saw a girl wearing was jeans. What about the aforementioned? Give me an honest answer..
    I know someone who was arrested in relitively liberal UAE for wearing a bikini

  12. #12
    International Vice-Captain Dasa's Avatar
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    Vic_orthdox and Top_Cat have summed up my feelings on the matter.
    shounak, I don't really see what you're complaining about here...
    Last edited by Dasa; 31-08-2005 at 09:14 PM.

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    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    You said before something about being against muslims. Which I have seen you've edited out. But this does not only apply to Muslims.

    Yesterday I was at the Sauna and a Hindu, wearing his sacred string was telling everyone about the evils of meat and how people should be vegetarian. Not in an informative manner. It was more of a self righteous, i'm trying to convert you because you're a heathen manner. I respect his right to not eat meat. But he should respect everyone elses to eat meat.

    Just because I am aghast at his behaviour does not mean I am against Hindu's.

    Same thing with Muslims. I am against Muslims who refuse to give an inch when they move to another country. There is such thing as cultural appropriateness.

    When people move somewhere else, they shouldn't be trying to change everything about the country to suit them. Of course they should expect some concessions, but within reason. I personally don't think segregating the general public in a publicly owned facility or compromising security (the drivers license photo), falls within the bounds of reasonability.
    Last edited by Shounak; 31-08-2005 at 10:12 PM.

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    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Langeveldt
    I don't have a problem with it, as long as they dont impose their religion on anyone
    If you could not visit your local council owned pool when you wished because of the religious beliefs of under 2% of the population, would you believe that someone elses religious beliefs were imposed upon you?

    Would you also belive that your taxes are going towards the imposition of a minorities religious beliefs on you?

    My answer's yes to both questions.

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    International Vice-Captain Dasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shounak
    Yesterday I was at the Sauna and a Hindu, wearing his sacred string was telling everyone about the evils of meat and how people should be vegetarian. Not in an informative manner. It was more of a self righteous, i'm trying to convert you because you're a heathen manner. I respect his right to not eat meat. But he should respect everyone elses to eat meat.

    Just because I am aghast at his behaviour does not mean I am against Hindu's.
    That example doesn't make sense. That Hindu was preaching - I fail to see how a Muslim woman wearing a Burqa is preaching to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by shounak
    Same thing with Muslims. I am against Muslims who refuse to give an inch when they move to another country. There is such thing as cultural appropriateness.
    Who is failing to give an inch? As far as I can see, Muslims are giving an inch by functioning in Australian society. They're not preaching to us to convert, they're going along in their lives as they should. Cultures change, they develop - trying to 'preserve' some sort of Australian culture won't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by shounak
    When people move somewhere else, they shouldn't be trying to change everything about the country to suit them. Of course they should expect some concessions, but within reason. I personally don't think segregating the general public in a publicly owned facility or compromising security (the drivers license photo), falls within the bounds of reasonability.
    Again, who is actually changing things to suit them??! With matters of security, I agree - but that is one case!
    Quote Originally Posted by shounak
    If you could not visit your local council owned pool when you wished because of the religious beliefs of under 2% of the population, would you believe that someone elses religious beliefs were imposed upon you?
    As has already been said, the place where that happened has an Islamic population much larger than 2% of the population.

    Quote Originally Posted by shounak
    Would you also belive that your taxes are going towards the imposition of a minorities religious beliefs on you?
    Again, who is actually imposing religious beliefs? If you're going to rail against Muslims who are apparently trying to convert us all, why not have a go at governments endorsing Christian traditions? It doesn't matter if it is a minority or not...at any rate, taxes go to minority groups anyway for them to use as they choose. Taxes go to private Christian schools, churches get tax exemptions, there are dozens of cases where taxes go to minorities, whether religious or not. What's the point in only complaining about Islam unless you have a problem with Muslims specifically?
    Last edited by Dasa; 31-08-2005 at 10:25 PM.

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