Looking hate in the face
May 5, 2005 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Looking hate in the faceWashington Blade blogger Chris Crain describes a vicious beating he suffered while touring the Netherlands, "arguably the 'gay-friendliest' place on the planet. "By almost any measure, the equality movement in the Netherlands was won years ago. There are laws protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, there are hate crime laws, and Holland is one of only a handful of countries where gay couples can legally marry."
posted by dhoyt (46 comments total)
 
I was waiting for this show up in the blue. Just goes to show that, even in gay-friendly cities, there will always be assholes who hate and resort to violence because they don't have any other means of coping with thier emotions.

By the way, I liked this bit in his previous entry, the Defense Department is now saying that sodomy is being "updated" from simply a criminal act to a violation of "good order and discipline in the military,. Maybe this should go in the Coulter thread?
posted by fenriq at 11:34 AM on May 5, 2005


I hope our gay friends in Holland realize that it's a bit too soon to declare victory and go home, now that they've won their legal battles. Winning the hearts and minds of the people will be a much more challenging task.

I feel sorry for him and all that but I dont see the larger point. Is it that homophobia still exists even in "gay-friendly" places. Gays are unfortunately beaten even here in San Francisco.

I was once walking through the Castro district once, the densest population of gay males on the planet, with a male friend of mine. Even there, a bus drove by once and some teenage kid looked at us and shouted "fags!!" (Arguably he had been dared and I'd hate to see him if he tried that near one of the bars where heavily-muscled gay men hang out..)
posted by vacapinta at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2005


Interesting that he could place "Moroccan features."
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:44 AM on May 5, 2005


That's just awful. Having been to the 'Dam a few times myself I see it as a place where one is extremely unlikely to see any violent crime at all, let alone hate crimes.
posted by clevershark at 11:46 AM on May 5, 2005


Gays are unfortunately beaten even here in San Francisco

Golly. Sometimes by other gay people, too.
posted by tkchrist at 11:50 AM on May 5, 2005


I see this on Metafilter, and then within another minute I see this on Boing Boing.
The point is that homophobia will still surface no matter how tolerant or pro-gay rights the country is. But this is not surprising, considering how racist some people can be even in nations that foster multiculturalism. Same goes for sexism and essentially any phobia that has been addressed.
posted by Menomena at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2005


I feel sorry for him and all that but I dont see the larger point.

I have to agree. Murder is illegal here in America, but we still have murders. That's probably why it's neccessary to have laws against them. I imagine the same principle applies here.
posted by jonmc at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2005


The violent crime rate in the Netherlands is 24% higher than in the US, and the property crime rate is about 55% higher (according to the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports).
I don't mean to derail here, but clearly being 6'7" is no deterrent, perhaps having a gun would have been. On the other hand in this situation the guy is on vacation, so...
But that aside it seems this is the precise situation a handgun is made for: protecting the rights of the individual. (I grant of course, it is very often used in very different circumstances).
I see no reason why anyone should have to take an ass kicking simply because they are outnumbered by Philistines (or in this case Moroccans).
The point being laws only go so far. While the rainbow crowd has been anxious to compare themselves to the '60 civil rights folks the two groups differ in one regard: ass kicking.
Black folks got their heads bashed in by cops on cameras. Other black folks started organizations to kick ass (metaphoriclly and literally) and were on t.v. saying so.
I'm not saying, nor am I informed enough to say this hasn't or isn't happening among gay folks, but it certainly isn't being seen on t.v.
Most of the violence is this brief interpersonal type which is in fact similar to what was happening to black folks who so much as spoke too loud pre-civil rights era.
It's not the laws that make the hate go away.
Obviously I'm in favor of laws which don't discriminate - gay marriage, etc. but there do need to be some society shaking events beyond the signed pieces of paper.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:14 PM on May 5, 2005


Interesting that he could place "Moroccan features."

His prejudices may have gotten the best of him, or perhaps he's no stranger to high-profile Moroccan imams like Khalil el-Moumni:
From 2001:
El-Moumni told a television current affairs programme last week that homosexuality was a dangerous sickness and said society was threatened with extinction if gays were permitted to wed.

"Homosexuality does not remain restricted to the people who have this disease," he said. "If this disease spreads, everyone could become infected."

The leaders of the Netherlands' four biggest mosques, quoted in the daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad appeared to endorse his view.

One of the imams branded homosexuality "shameless, improper, scandalous and intolerable", while another said medical treatment was the only solution, according to the NRC.


From IHT:
At El Tawheed mosque, considered by many people to be the epicenter of extremism in Amsterdam, Farid Zaari, the mosque's spokesman, argues that pressure from the debate has hindered the Muslim community's ability to control its radical youth.

The mosque was previously associated with a Saudi-based charity, Al Haramain, which American and Saudi Arabian officials accused earlier this year of aiding Islamic terrorists. The mosque has since severed its ties with the charity, but more recently it has been criticized for selling books espousing extremist views, including female circumcision and the punishment of homosexuals by throwing them off tall buildings.

Several legislators have called for the mosque to be shut down, but under the Dutch constitution it is difficult to do.

posted by jenleigh at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2005


Menomena: I see this on Metafilter, and then within another minute I see this on Boing Boing.
The point is that homophobia will still surface no matter how tolerant or pro-gay rights the country is.


Regarding that post on Boing Boing: I wouldn't refer to Poland as a "tolerant" or "pro-gay-rights" country. As I understand, it's brutally homophobic.

jonmc: Murder is illegal here in America, but we still have murders. That's probably why it's necessary to have laws against them. I imagine the same principle applies here.

Well, I think you've nailed his larger point. Crain would argue that while gay-rights advocates have won every imaginable legal victory in the Netherlands, there are still cultural battles to be fought. Hearts and minds, you know? And while we're speaking of culture:

AlexReynolds: Interesting that he could place "Moroccan features."

Big-ass can of worms, here. It's not particularly surprising that someone who has spent some time in the Netherlands could pick out someone of Moroccan origin: they're a prominent minority. Let's give Crain the benefit of the doubt, for the sake of argument, and say that he accurately identified the ethnic origin of his attacker. If Crain's attacker was Moroccan, this incident raises the specter of the recent friction in Dutch society between the mainstream and Muslim minorities. We've discussed it here before, but I'm not going to link to the MetaFilter thread: it was a crappy, uninformed, politicized discussion. The Economist had a special section on the issue about a month ago, but it's subscriber-only web content, sorry.

Anyway, the purely speculative questions would be: Is this incident further evidence of a gap between (tolerant, gay-friendly) mainstream Dutch culture and (intolerant, homophobic) Muslim immigrants? Can Dutch culture afford to continue to tolerate such intolerance?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2005


First of all, there's violence against us everywhere on Earth, liberal society or not. Second of all, many visitors to Amsterdam relax their usual guard because they think they're in some "homo heaven" or something, and that's always a mistake. Crain is a fool for believing he's safe anywhere, and has been very lucky up til then, and has no standing to remark on Dutch society on the basis of the attack on him. The way the police treated him alone shows what a difference it is to our own country.

Finally, Chris Crain is an idiot, and not qualified to speak on any subject at all: ...Crain asserts that he wouldn’t report on Mehlman even if someone confirmed they had sex with him.
“I would not go with that even if I had it,” he said. “I don’t think that is justification for printing the story.” ...
The Blade’s editor notes that the only time he formally outed someone was when staffers for Sen. Mel Martinez’s campaign (R-FL) told him personally that they were gay.
“I don’t think you can report someone is gay–unless someone says it to you,” he said. ...


Signorile (and many others) have said of him: “If you can’t take on the responsibilities of journalism or are afraid of reporting what needs to be reported, you should get out of the business.”
posted by amberglow at 12:36 PM on May 5, 2005


Interesting that he could place "Moroccan features."
His prejudices may have gotten the best of him, or perhaps he's no stranger to high-profile Moroccan imams like Khalil el-Moumni:


damn! it took only 35 minutes! good job! down with teh Murlims!
"his prejudices". you don't say.
the "Moroccans hate teh gays" thing will come as news to people like, say, Paul Bowles. Or the legions of gay people who regularly visit that beautiful place, often buying houses in that marvelous, tolerant place that is Tangiers.
bah.

anyway, the Blade guy makes a very good point by the end of the main link:
hope our gay friends in Holland realize that it's a bit too soon to declare victory and go home, now that they've won their legal battles. Winning the hearts and minds of the people will be a much more challenging task.
as the American South proves in the post-desegregation years, the solution is only one: to end discrimination, first you make it illegal, then you enforce tha law. that way, you show people that the blacks (or the gays, or whatever oppressed minority) are neither space aliens nor vermin but, strangely enough, human beings like everybody else.

legally enforced equal rights give, of course, less and less power to the bigots -- they're like Kryptonite to bigots. the nice KKK gents who liked to fuck black people's shit up became less and less powerful, less and less relevant, very quickly after desegregation (and they are as of today only a sick joke).

equal rights are the answer, even if they have to be rammed down the bigots throats -- just like good old Lyndon did in 1964. but then, it took balls as big as cantaloupes
posted by matteo at 12:37 PM on May 5, 2005


Big-ass can of worms, here.

If anything it raises interesting discussions:

• general American intolerance/suspicion of Muslims
• intolerant Muslims targeting gays because of religious beliefs
• intolerant Muslims targeting gays out of frustration of own persecution
• this gay man blaming Muslims for bashing because he doesn't want to further soil romantic notions of Dutch society

The writer of the article would do well to expand on his mention of "Moroccan features", instead of writing it off (no pun intended). When he talks about "hearts and minds", whose hearts and whose minds?

My money's on door #3, but that's just me.
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:03 PM on May 5, 2005


the "Moroccans hate teh gays" thing will come as news to people like, say, Paul Bowles. Or the legions of gay people who regularly visit that beautiful place, often buying houses in that marvelous, tolerant place that is Tangiers.

Indeed. And yet homosexuality is illegal in Morocco, and "you risk arrest, deportation or imprisonment if found guilty of lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex." The penalty ranges from 6 months to 3 years prison terms.
--->Warm as male friendships among Moroccans may be, the western concept of homosexual love is unthinkable here. Most Moroccans will not condemn you for being gay, but rather pity you as they would pity someone who has an uncurable disease.
But none of that changes the fact that Holland has begun to experience its share of Khalil el-Moumnis, who do, in fact, use their religious beliefs to the condone murder of homosexuals. It has created confusion and prejudice in a society who otherwise has had positive intentions toward receiving immigrant cultures.

as the American South proves in the post-desegregation years, the solution is only one: to end discrimination, first you make it illegal, then you enforce tha law. that way, you show people that the blacks (or the gays, or whatever oppressed minority) are neither space aliens nor vermin but, strangely enough, human beings like everybody else.

Hate crimes are illegal in Holland, and the laws are enforced. If there is a community within modern Holland's borders in need of reaching out and explaining why homosexuals are neither "vermin nor aliens", it is the Muslim community, IMO. Dutch gay rights activists have also asked for a better understanding between the communities.
posted by jenleigh at 1:25 PM on May 5, 2005


"Interesting that he could place "Moroccan features."

Why? Don't they have any? I can pretty much tell is somebody is Dutch, Irish, or Italian. I can tell if somebody is Chinese or Japanese, so then why can't this guy tell if buddy is Moroccan?

Is it a crime to note ethnicity if it may likely indicate a link to the individual's religious affiliation? And if one's religious affiliation may be an indicator of potentially high levels of intolerance should we blind ourselves to this problem as well? This is intellectually dishonest.
posted by Rusty Iron at 1:29 PM on May 5, 2005


Black folks got their heads bashed in by cops on cameras. Other black folks started organizations to kick ass (metaphoriclly and literally) and were on t.v. saying so.
I'm not saying, nor am I informed enough to say this hasn't or isn't happening among gay folks, but it certainly isn't being seen on t.v.


From my understanding of the civil rights movement, the greatest strides were made by the non-violent participants while the openly hostile ones only served to further ingraine the racial boundaries.
posted by schroedinger at 1:36 PM on May 5, 2005


Black folks got their heads bashed in by cops on cameras. Other black folks started organizations to kick ass (metaphoriclly and literally) and were on t.v. saying so.
I'm not saying, nor am I informed enough to say this hasn't or isn't happening among gay folks, but it certainly isn't being seen on t.v.


I've been saying this for a while.

• intolerant Muslims targeting gays because of religious beliefs
• intolerant Muslims targeting gays out of frustration of own persecution

My money's on door #3, but that's just me.


I'd say a combo of 2 & 3. Christianity isn't the only religion with a history of intolerance.
posted by jonmc at 1:37 PM on May 5, 2005


From my understanding of the civil rights movement, the greatest strides were made by the non-violent participants while the openly hostile ones only served to further ingraine the racial boundaries.

In legal terms, yes. In terms of consciousness, it was about 50/50, IMHO. It took the Malcolm X's and Bobby Seales of the world to let the world know just how angry black people were, which probably made some people realize just how reasonable the Dr.Kings were being.

Mind you, I'm not arguing in favor of random violence, and I'll gladly admit that many militant groups of all stripes in that era had their excesses and blind spots, but it's not as simple as it seems at first glance.
posted by jonmc at 1:40 PM on May 5, 2005


I know a Moroccan when I see one. And a Tunisian. I can also spot a Libyan like you read about. And don't get me started on Algerians, Saharauis, Egyptians, Sicilians (yes, they too were conquered by the moors) and Andalucians.

Here's a hint in case you're blind: they all smell of rotten oranges. For real.

What I can distinguish is any of the asians. I fail miserably at the test on http://alllooksame.com/
posted by jsavimbi at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2005


"you risk arrest, deportation or imprisonment if found guilty of lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex." The penalty ranges from 6 months to 3 years prison terms.

I hear they'll also throw in a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage, the savages -- I mean, no civilized country would do that, right?

jenleigh, I hate to break the news to you that pot is illegal in the US -- and as a result we all know that nobody smokes pot there!

as I said, I have plenty of friends who often visit/own property in Morocco, where they meet many other gays from around the world. you'll be surprised at the amount of gay sex they're freely enjoying there, even with the evil Moroccans. Paul Bowles had boyfriends all over the place, as well.

but I agree with you that fundamentalist, gloomy, intolerant monotheism is very much against honosexuality and that ain't right and they shouldn't do it no' mo' -- Muslim, Xtian, Jewish fundies alike really need a lesson in tolerance. one that I am sure you'll be equally available to provide them, since nobody could ever think you have a double standard when it comes to evalute Islam's many shortcomings against other Middle Eastern sky-God religions.
posted by matteo at 1:54 PM on May 5, 2005


jsavimbi, thanks for that test!! I did pretty well. Even though I'm not Asian, I have a lot of Asian friends.
posted by Spencerinc at 2:04 PM on May 5, 2005


matteo: I think that the reason Islam was brought up in this thread is because the incident in question took place in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, at least according to the links jenleigh provided, the most prominent homophobic fundamentalist movement is Muslim. It's a reasonable connection to make; I'm not sure why you're getting so upset. Would it be better if we discussed it more generally? Maybe if we wrote: "In Europe, the values of monotheistic immigrant groups can come into conflict with the values of secular, tolerant mainstream society."? Or: "Some people are homophobic; other people are not homophobic."?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:09 PM on May 5, 2005


Something which has come out recently about the Netherlands -- it was discussed on 60 Minutes and other shows following Theo Van Gogh's murder -- is that a lot of Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands lead very separate lives from the Dutch and in many cases belong to such extremist sects that those sects are banned in their countries of origin. So, Moroccans in Morocco are one thing, and those in the Netherlands are quite another.

As far as I'm concerned Saudi Arabia has a LOT of explaining to do on this subject. They're the ones who have been funding the extremist mosques for decades, and it's absolutely shameful that they're getting away with that shit.
posted by clevershark at 2:23 PM on May 5, 2005


one that I am sure you'll be equally available to provide them, since nobody could ever think you have a double standard when it comes to evalute Islam's many shortcomings against other Middle Eastern sky-God religions.

If your point is, "You have biases!" then I think your analysis is pretty trite, and in doing so you're showing clear bias yourself as I notice you remain conspicously silent in any any discussion involving criticism of Islam.

But who cares, really? You seem unable to bear that some focus their interest & writings on certain issues (venomous Republican practices, say) and some on others (venomous Islamic practices) as though one is right and the other wrong. Guess what—humans are biased. They speak about issues close to them, and in doing social work all over Europe for ten years, routine Muslim mistreatment of women & homosexuals (often impotently explained away as "cultural practices") has become an issue close to me. Deal with it.

When I look at the world's major religions in 2005 and scan the number of atrocities done specifically & outspokenly in the name of one's religion, I look—with a jaundiced eye—squarely at Islam. Thus, it is often what I write about. Here at MeFi, I have little to add on threads regarding Western Xtianity because I am outnumbered by likeminded people who have already made the points succinctly. And as a lifelong atheist, I cannot say I possess any pro-Xtianity 'bias', so let's eliminate that straw man before he comes to life.

In short, your points here carry no weight.
And what mr_roboto said.
posted by jenleigh at 2:24 PM on May 5, 2005


"From my understanding of the civil rights movement, the greatest strides were made by the non-violent participants while the openly hostile ones only served to further ingraine the racial boundaries."
To add to what jonmc said - being on the recieving end of violence while one is engaging in non-violent passive resistance really drives the point home. The objective (as jonmc said) is to raise consciousness of this issue.

People actually believe they are being reasonable when they deny people their rights as humans (particularly as Americans) based solely on sexual orientation.
They must be disabused of this notion.
"equal rights are the answer, even if they have to be rammed down the bigots throats" - as matteo said.

Boots must be put in asses philosophically, politically, and publicly (if not literally - but I am not - vicerally anyway - opposed to busting heads in the name of a good cause) to make a dent in this issue.
Of course, times would get rough for a while, but nothing is born without blood and pain.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:34 PM on May 5, 2005


Smedleyman has a good point. Laws are worthless unless they are backed with (literally) a threat of violence, whether that violence takes place in the form of an arrest and imprisonment, or in the form of ordinary physical violence.

That's why unenforced laws don't work -- they breed contempt for laws in general, and keep no one from breaking them, since there is no retribution.
posted by clevershark at 2:40 PM on May 5, 2005


a lot of Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands lead very separate lives from the Dutch and in many cases belong to such extremist sects that those sects are banned in their countries of origin.

Laws are worthless unless they are backed with (literally) a threat of violence, whether that violence takes place in the form of an arrest and imprisonment, or in the form of ordinary physical violence.



Where is the debate on Europe's Muslims?
Holding the EU's rotating presidency, the Dutch could have inserted the outrage into the leaders' business as a signal assault on everyone's liberty. After all, hadn't Gerrit Zalm, chairing a cabinet meeting here as vice prime minister the same day, chosen a tone of international emergency (for home consumption at least), issuing a declaration of "war," and a promise to "ratchet up the battle and make radical Islamic movements disappear from the Netherlands"?

No matter, Europe talked about other things.

Yet the future integration of its Muslim populations, quite reasonably, is the subtext to just about everything Europe thinks and does these days. If the subject is Iraq or education or job training, the reaction of tens of millions of Arabs, Turks and Pakistanis within Europe's borders stands as a largely unspoken but constant consideration.

All the same, the center-right Dutch government, confronted with a killing meant to scare people away from an open discussion, decided to avoid insisting Europe focus on it. Could this have been reasonable?
So, Moroccans in Morocco are one thing, and those in the Netherlands are quite another.

Exactly.
posted by jenleigh at 2:46 PM on May 5, 2005


On the way there in a week-and-a-half. Still my favorite city on the planet, but violence is an escalating factor there, across the board.

matteo, spend some time in that country and tell me what you observe -- or experience. As a matter of personal observation, I found (studying there) that street-level violence ran along ethnic lines -- and had heard nothing of this prior to going that would have affected my expectations. Were they Muslim? You know, I didn't ask (and didn't see Kufies). Were they Moroccan? Again, couldn't tell you (and am not about to assume). But you'd be a fool to walk Amsterdam at night -- or worse, linger for whatever reason at Station Centraal -- and be mentally colour-blind.

I would liken it to North American "gang" violence, though it doesn't quite have that vibe. But perhaps that concept makes sense even to you (not trying to insult, but I too would never have guessed this before spending time there, coming from a liberal, inclusive background and multicultural cities like Vancouver and Toronto) -- that ethnic gangs involved in violence mean people on the street may see violence perpetuated along ethnic lines. Asian gangs are an issue in Vancouver and no one calls that a racist concept. But that doesn't concern most people in Van, because (again, another racial observation), most gang violence in Vancouver is aimed at other gang members.
posted by dreamsign at 3:31 PM on May 5, 2005


you're showing clear bias yourself as I notice you remain conspicously silent in any any discussion involving criticism of Islam.

it's just too funny -- I confess: I'm biased against racism, and against ethnic stereotypes, that I admit. but please, go on attacking Islam (a religion I am not sure you have properly studied and researched, and an area of the world I am not sure you have visited since you keep painting them with a very wide, uninformed brush) and feel good about yourself pretending to mask your anti-muslim bias with concern about women.

you're so concerned about women? well, very close to your home in the Continent that gave birth to my beloved Enlightenment, Irish women can't terminate a pregnancy. it's a right they don't have. your friend mr Bush will soon tilt the SCOTUS and have Roe vs Wade reversed. instead of posting link after link showing the dark peoples' many shortcomings you could, you know, stock up on the coat-hangers American women will soon need -- you may donate a few of them when mr Scalia has had his way with Roe. that, if you care so much about women's issues.

re: your MeFi obsession, ie Islam's (perceived by you) problems? let the Muslims worry about them. it's none of my fucking business. Muslim beat up gay people? lock them up for a long time, just like you'd lock up atheists, Jews, etc who commit the same crime.
I'm happy living in secular Europe reading my Montaigne, for fuck's sake. I cherish the day the crucifix will be removed from my country's schools, for example. but in the meantime you can enjoy Bush's self-described (at least twice) "crusade". he's invading or planning to invade more than a few Muslim countries, maybe he'll get to invade and civilize the Morocco you hate so much. that, if he manages to extract America from the Iraqi 300-billion-dollar slaughterhouse first, of course.
posted by matteo at 3:31 PM on May 5, 2005


Cluttered with stereotypes & strawmen, and utter garbage about "dark people" and "hating morocco"—your responses to this thread are unreadable and totally off-topic. I'm flattered I get you so flustered, but it's not making your arguements any more compelling. You don't seem comfortable til you're in the bully pulpit.

You have no intentions—and seemingly no ability—to carry on an intelligent discussion whenever confronted with people you don't agree with, so why even pretend? You seem to already have plenty of friends here at MeFi, the majority of whom consistently agree with you, so—who are you trying to impress? If you treat discussion like gradeschool slapfighting ("NeenerNeenerFilter", I believe it's called), I'll learn to start skipping what you write.

I don't think the tantrums are impressing anyone. I interpret them to mean you don't have much to offer, re: the substance of this discussion.
posted by jenleigh at 3:49 PM on May 5, 2005


I'm flattered I get you so flustered

don't be -- fish in a barrel just amuses me mildly, it's no big deal
posted by matteo at 3:51 PM on May 5, 2005


re: your MeFi obsession, ie Islam's (perceived by you) problems? let the Muslims worry about them. it's none of my fucking business.

It's been suggested that it is exactly this attitude that has led to the tension between Muslim immigrants and mainstream Dutch society. The Dutch approach has been to isolate Muslim communities: this appeals both to the left, whose multicultural creed makes them loath to interfere with immigrant cultures; and to the right, whose nationalistic and xenophobic tendencies work against outreach and integration. As a result (so goes the theory), few Muslim immigrants have integrated into Dutch society. Combined with high unemployment, this isolation fosters extremism and violence.

Instead railing against America (a country with a spotty, though generally positive record of integrating immigrant groups), matteo, could you suggest a better way for European nations to relate to their growing Muslim populations? Because the approach that you espouse--"ignore them"--simply hasn't worked.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:52 PM on May 5, 2005


utter garbage about "dark people"

look, I'm sure Aryans beat up gays (and their Aryan wives), too. it's not my fault if you don't link them. you're a one-trick MeFi pony, it's not a problem. Postroad and ParisP are, too, and we all like them in the end
posted by matteo at 3:53 PM on May 5, 2005


mr_roboto, what I suggest is to ignore the many shortcomings of, say, Morocco's laws -- the way Moroccans behave themselves abroad is of course very relevant. read above -- if they commit crimes, lock them up, no bias, no special treatment. the clear-headed recipe is very simple: it's a choice whether or not to "assimilate" (horrible word, by the way), it's a choice the way you dress, you eat, etc. respecting the laws of the country you live in is not a choice but a duty. if you don't, you'll pay the price. very simple.
I also dare to suggest that most immigrants to Europe (the Satamic Muslims but also Christian South Americans and atheist or Christian Eastern Europeans) do come here because poverty has them do it. the equation "immigrant = danger" is a lame straw man.

those who'd like to rewrite the Qu'ran following Richard Perle's memos about civilizing the infidels just amuse me -- that I admit, too.
posted by matteo at 3:59 PM on May 5, 2005


respecting the laws of the country you live in is not a choice but a duty. if you don't, you'll pay the price. very simple.

Well, obviously. The question is whether social structures that have been built up over the past couple of decades have led to increased crime, isolation, religious extremism, etc., and whether these social structures have been established because of a failure of European governments to develop a cogent policy for helping immigrant communities gain an economic foothold, for example.

I mean, I think government has responsibilities beyond just establishing criminal law.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:05 PM on May 5, 2005


Welfare is not omnipotent, roboto -- it's incredible that it's a Euro-commie like me the one who has to point that out.

I don't know about Holland specifically, but in most EU countries the vast amount of immigrants who are indicted and found guilty of criminal offenses are found guilty of drug-related crimes, not hate crimes. they need cash, they get involved in drug dealing. I don't see where the Qu'ran's guilt is in this drug-dealing problem, but I'm sure our unbiased friend will help me out on this.
posted by matteo at 4:12 PM on May 5, 2005


> the solution is only one: to end discrimination, first you make it illegal, then you enforce tha law.

I hoping for desegregation and busing myself!

Hopefully forced fraternization will end behavior based distinction as it did color based discrimination.
posted by dand at 5:38 PM on May 5, 2005


if i may take a moment to blame the victim (not that i ever condone violence) and to play qu'uran's advocate, why must some men flaunt and prance? why are they flamboyantly awful? why do they muck up manliness? the issue is one of respectful behavior, on both sides.

why do so many religious conservatives object to "homosexuality"? because it is associated with behaviors that openly mock heterosexual men. it should not be a surprise that these men retaliate once in a while or publicly hold attitudes of outrage.

in fact, i'd like to propose that the objection we see so often is principally to unmanliness, not to 'gayness'. there are effeminate straight men who receive the same scorn. and it is only when they are found to like women that the angry blow is withheld--or at least, forestalled.

now, i happen to be all for gender-blurring...but since some find it offensive, discretion is the better part of valor.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:22 PM on May 5, 2005


Ok, look, can we tease out one distinction, please?

There is a difference between discrimination (literally, telling the difference between any two things) and unjust discrimination. Those of you pointing to discrimination or discriminatory views regarding any group first need to demonstrate that the views you're confronting are unfair, otherwise you're just criticizing the observation of distinctions.

I don't buy this "you're a fool if you let your guard down in 'tolerant' Amsterdam". There is obviously a clash between the progressive Dutch, world-renowned for their tolerance, and some more "conservative" (does that label even apply?) populations who have moved in. Culture may be a factor. Religion may be a factor. What we don't know is whether members of these groups commit crimes of violence in The Netherlands disproportionate to their representation in that society.

Frankly, I'm tired of arguing with people who -- the same people, now -- want to tell me all the reasons why members of a particular group are overrepresented in the prison population (a view to which I am usually sympathetic) and at the same time somehow deny that members of that group (I am not hinting at a specific one) are disproportionately involved in street crime.

To specifics:

it should not be a surprise that these men retaliate once in a while or publicly hold attitudes of outrage.

This sounds dangerously like justification but since I don't know, I'll let it drop.

i'd like to propose that the objection we see so often is principally to unmanliness, not to 'gayness'. there are effeminate straight men who receive the same scorn.

Interesting point. On topic, too. I recall receiving a lot of hostility wandering the streets of Amsterdam solo one particular night (I'll never understand why a lone male conjures up the image of a gay man cruising moreso than a hetero out for a walk or looking for women). And I do know a guy who is notoriously intolerant of gay men who has this bizarre grudging respect for "manly gays" -- who have muscles, watch sports, hold many similar views to him. It's odd. I don't really know why this would be.

One quick personal rant, though. I am sick and tired of the "tolerance" shield applying to ANY "religious" view. That goes for Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or Buddhist (yes, there are violent Buddhists). I mean WTF people! If I believe that little green men tell me that they're going to take me to Mars to live out the rest of my life in a giant lego castle, then I'm crazy. If it's God telling me this, my beliefs get special consideration from the legal system? In Canada, many, MANY people have tried to invent religious beliefs for the purpose of evading tax. They do not succeed. Elsewhere, though, (in the area of human rights, for example) we tread VERY carefully to avoid weighing such beliefs aside from the sincerity with which they are held. So if I believe that little green men insist that I wear a purple hat on the job, you can fire me. But if it's God telling me to do it, you might be infringing the Charter. It's ridiculous.
posted by dreamsign at 9:10 PM on May 5, 2005


"homosexuality ... is associated with behaviors that openly mock heterosexual men"

I know that every day when I get up, I think to myself, "Now, what behaviors can I behave in which are sufficiently mocking to the straights? Since, as a homosexual, it is my duty to model my life around them in whatever way will irritate them the most."

Riiiiiiiiiight.
posted by kyrademon at 11:37 PM on May 5, 2005 [1 favorite]


jenleigh, your hijack a bit earlier -- based on a suggestion in the original link -- is a shameful thing. At first, I thought you were just a person who has "a bit of thing" for Islam and its negative effects, skewed by a few Sam Huntington theories. Now, you've stepped all over this definition. I say "a shameful thing" because you have done some good before. "Ripley, you've blown the transaxle.. ease down, ease down."

gorgor... your response is far far worse. "She deserved to get raped because she dresses like a whore." It's basically homophobia, and the exact thing I heard from someone a couple of days before he beat up a homosexual. You are a fucking idiot.
posted by gsb at 12:09 AM on May 6, 2005


Matteo ... I couldn't agree with you more.

Responding in part to mr_roboto and jenleigh, I find the 'Moroccan' features comment completely objectionable, because Moroccans are not a race. Moroccans are racially Arab, Berber or Black-African. I lived in Morocco for a year, and am not sure what 'Moroccan' features could be construed to be.

Additionally, not all Moroccans are Muslim. So the link that everyone has made between Moroccan and Muslim is also objectionable, because it is an assumption that is again perpetuating an insiduous racial-religious stereotype. Moreover, even if those men were Moroccan and Muslim, they could be gay bashing for non-religious reasons--likely motivated by machismo than by religion.

While the Quran (like the equally, if not more, retrograde Old and New Testament) says a man should not lie with another man, it is a historical fact that before the advent of European dominion over most of the Muslim world, the Muslim lands, particularly in North Africa, where very tolerant to homosexuality, and the criminalization of homosexuality was introduced the the Napoleonic Code by the French, or the common law penal codes introduced by the Brits. In the pre-gay-liberation in the West movement, European and American deviants (as they were considered to be at the time) would go hang out in countries like Morocco that were far more tolerant.

To paint it as though 'Islam' is not tolerant of homosexuality or less tolerant than others is a fatuous statement/insinuation. Islam does not speak for itself. There is no clergy in Islam. Each Muslim can individually interpret their beliefs as they wish. Most Muslim countries that have punishments for sodomy, first of all, do not restrict it to male-male sodomy; secondly, their punishments are based on European colonial law, not Islamic law.

As for the 'problem' of Muslim immigrants in Europe and their intolerant views, why should it matter whether a hate crime is committed by a Muslim or a Christian or a Jew? It's not as though gay-bashing Christians or intolerant white people in Europe (and there are plenty of young white boys) are considered to be a racial or religious problem. No one laments the Christian- or Jewish-white problem when a white-Westerner a hate crime against a gay person occurs in Europe or America. Matthew Shepard's case is one such example. Someone in earlier post mentioned that no one in Vancouver shies away from referring to the Asian gangs ... I couldn't agree more. But if they started blaming Confucianism or Shinto or Taoism or Communism for violent nature of the gangs that would smack of racism.

Also, self-righteous Westerners (read: Europeans and Americans) should remember that gay people have a long way to go in their societies. Umm, lemme think: Ratzinger? The Christian right in the US? All the Defense of Marriage Acs? No condom use? No abortions?

Could go on, but I think you get the point.
posted by Azaadistani at 1:01 AM on May 6, 2005


No one laments the Christian- or Jewish-white problem when a white-Westerner a hate crime against a gay person occurs in Europe or America.

I'd say the Christian problem has been lamented plenty around here. Not sure how you haven't seen that...
posted by Stauf at 2:01 AM on May 6, 2005


I'd say the Christian problem has been lamented plenty around here.

maybe because most of us live in nations where there's a majority of Christians and our laws (and hence our lives) are more heavily influenced by Christian leaders (Evangelicals in the US, the Vatican in Italy, Ireland, etc) then by mullahs? maybe that's why?
posted by matteo at 2:23 AM on May 6, 2005


Uh, yeah. Well no shit matteo. I was responding to Azaadistani's claim.
posted by Stauf at 5:46 AM on May 6, 2005


in fact, i'd like to propose that the objection we see so often is principally to unmanliness, not to 'gayness'.
gorgor_balabala I have to wholeheartedly concur, except I have greater contempt for those who are so fearful of their own sexuality they have to beat on such men.

I have several gay friends, one of whom was nervous in coming out to me (after he had pretty much fully come out already). I was offended. I could care less about which set of genitalia he preferred in his mouth, but I thought he had balls. I also thought he knew me better. While I greatly enjoy violence in many many forms, I am not one of those neuters that substitute it for or need it to protect my libido.
Whoever the gelded milquetoasts are who needed to group up to do this, their color, their religion, or the feelings about effeminate men that many masculine males feel are no excuse.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:04 AM on May 7, 2005


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