Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hindu priorities and Sikh dishonour

These two faiths attract nothing like the column inches presently apportioned to Islam, yet two recent issues merit a little analysis. The whole world now appears to have heard of Shambo, the unfortunate bull which contracted bovine tuberculosis and had to be ‘slaughtered’ (as opposed to being ‘put down’ with a humane injection , which it was, but ‘slaughter’ sounds so much more barbaric and newsworthy). But why has the Skanda Vale community raised a 24,000-name petition protesting at the ‘desecration of sacred life’, but has not said a word about the wider issue of Hindu suffering? Why weep over the euthanised bull, but not mutter a whisper for the systematic slaughter of Hindus in Kashmir? Or their persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan or Malaysia?

According to the Hindu Human Rights group, ‘the frequent killing of Hindus in Kashmir generally meets a typical muted response by the world media and human rights organisations. Tragically, the apathy with regards to such incidents extends to the general Indian public and government too. Perhaps the reason is that such indiscriminate killings of Hindus have become so commonplace, that it is just accepted now as part of the way things are.’

So while Hindu women are being raped, men tortured and massacred, and children burned to death, the monks of Skanda Vale might consider a sense of perspective, and use the opportunity to bring to the world’s attention a forgotten genocide.

And it would be remiss of Cranmer not to mention the Sikh ‘honour killing’ – a practice (and misnomer) which hitherto has been associated in the UK with Islam. A 70-year-old grandmother and her son conspired to murder his wife because she was seeking a divorce. The case goes back to 1998, but evidence has only recently come to light to permit a trial to take place.

These killings of manifest dishonour are shrouded in cultural self-justification, often deploying religious language. The Mohammedans can support the degradation of women, referring to the Qur’anic injunction on wife-beating (4.34), but Sikhs have no such recourse to a ‘word of God’. The practice may, therefore, be a product of religious or cultural prejudice of the sub-continent, but it may also be a further example of Sikhs in the UK following the example Mohammedans.

The Sikh community bared its teeth a few years ago when 400 of them descended on a Birmingham theatre to demand the play Behzti (‘dishonour’) be cancelled because it caused them offence. They insisted: ‘In a Sikh temple, sexual abuse does not take place, kissing and dancing don't take place, rape doesn't take place, homosexual activity doesn't take place, murders do not take place.’

Try telling that to the Southall Black Sisters, a charity which has chronicled many such incidents. But one simply no longer dare say so, for fear of being accused of being ‘racist’.

The reality is that minority religious groups are becoming increasingly belligerent in asserting their ‘rights’, and when these are deemed to conflict with the law of the land, there is protest, intimidation, or violence. Islam may be the present media obsession, but it would be a mistake to assume that some other minority faiths are or intend to remain peaceable, respectful, and compliant.


Blogger Cranmer said...

Cranmer once again observes that matters Sikh and Hindu evoke in his communicants the most persuasive expressions of boredom and apathy. They just haven't got the Islam factor...

29 July 2007 at 10:32  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The bull had a post mortem and post mortem said bovine TB.

The Deputy High Court Judge who prolonged this farce simply lined the pockets of counsel preparing skeletons for the Court of Appeal and its three judges.

This is a fatuous exercise by an ill-educated High Court judge. It is time they stopped wasting time and learned that bulls are not cows, and used grey matter once in a while before incurring costs for people that are unnecessary and unreasonable

29 July 2007 at 16:37  
Blogger Matt said...

Your Grace may well be correct about the lack of general interest in Hindu and Sikh extremist behaviour and also in their suffering in Kashmir and other places. Perhaps though that is because when "offended" they don't resort to blowing themselves, and all those innocents around them, up on public transport.

Islam gets the most media coverage because it is a real and present, growing, danger to the rest of the world. There is not a single major world religion with which Islam is not in violent conflict somewhere on our planet, all of which the Muslim extremists justify by means of a constant and blatantly untrue narrative of victimhood in which the entire world is islmophobic just because they do not wish to be converted to Islam at the point of a sword.

29 July 2007 at 21:30  
Blogger A S Grey said...

"There is not a single major world religion with which Islam is not in violent conflict somewhere on our planet"

Careful, Matt... You may offend some Muslims (by some I mean the majority of the global Muslim population) who will then attempt to disprove your 'racist' allegations of Muslim violence by, well, behaving violently.

29 July 2007 at 22:58  
Blogger A S Grey said...

PS, Your Grace, we have just proved you right...2 of the few people who actually commented on the article ended up discussing Islam anyway!

29 July 2007 at 22:59  
Anonymous VOyager said...

Interesting letter in The Times today

Sir, The problem lies with secular morality, as it exists in the UK, which undermines the rule of law. The rule of law is one of the greatest heritages of our Judaeo-Christian tradition; an ordered system of determinations based on settled principles (not outcomes).

The present system is one of judgeocracy; the determination of cases according to the personal predelictions of individual judges benefiting favoured and penalising disfavoured groups. In our current weakened situation, it is imperative that Parliament reasserts its sovereignty over the judiciary. Mistakes will be made by judiciary and lawmaker; however, judicial determinations can be antidemocratic and vesting power in Parliament ultimately vests power in the British people.

PAUL DIAMOND, (Barrister) Cambridge

30 July 2007 at 07:09  
Blogger Nadim said...

It's not Islamic to kill wives for 'honour', and it is apalling and racist to suggest it is.

30 July 2007 at 10:45  
Anonymous Simon Lamb said...

Previous correspondents have forgotten the destruction of an Air India flight en route to London from Canada in 1985. Whilst no one has been convicted for this despicable act which led to over 300 deaths, it is widely thought to have been caused by Sikh extremists seeking 'Khalistan'.
The case of Shambo concerned how to balance respect for religous observance with the law of the land. Last year a Hindu group practised an open-air cremation in Northumberland - a flagrant breach of the law with no prosecutions following. If the Shambo case is followed, the next group to try such an act should face a court to account for their actions.

1 August 2007 at 23:06  

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