December 20, 2006

Let's play Name That Theocracy!

In which country did the following incident take place?

A woman who reported a vicious attack by an ad-hoc "modesty patrol" on a [public city bus] says she was traveling to pray at [a holy site] early on November 24 when a group of [religious] men attacked her for refusing to move to the back. [The 50-year-old woman] says that on the bus three weeks ago, she was slapped, kicked, punched and pushed by a group of men who demanded that she sit in the back of the bus with the other women...Throughout the encounter, [the woman] says the bus driver "did nothing." The other passengers, she says, blamed her for not moving to the back of the bus.

So what did you guess? Pakistan? Saudi Arabia? Try Israel. (You knew it was a trick question, right?)

"I said, I'm not moving and he said, 'I'm not asking you, I'm telling you.' Then he spat in my face and at that point, I was in high adrenaline mode and called him a son-of-a-bitch, which I am not proud of. Then I spat back. At that point, he pushed me down and people on the bus were screaming that I was crazy. Four men surrounded me and slapped my face, punched me in the chest, pulled at my clothes, beat me, kicked me. My snood [hair covering] came off. I was fighting back and kicked one of the men in his privates. I will never forget the look on his face."

But of course, religious rules against contact with women are about "respect", not sexism. So really this incident only raises one question: how did they manage to beat her up without touching her?

[Hat tip: Craig via Gina]

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Sooo, is your point here that no country is perfect, because every country has at least a few religious zanies? I'll give you an amen on that. If you're trying to say that Israel is just as screwed up, religiously, as Pakistan and Saudia Arabia... then, uh, no.

So is your point that I'm sullying the pristine standards of blogging by using hyperbole to grab attention? Because I'll deny that to my death.

Also, every country may have a few religious zanies, but I can't quite see this happening in the US. Or Canada. Or Japan. Or anywhere in Western Europe that's not a ghetto of fundamentalist Islam. The expectations of society at large do in fact influence individual actions.

"Snood" and "via gina" in the same post? Whatever this theocracy is it's kicking me right in the funny bone!

"So really this incident only raises one question: how did they manage to beat her up without touching her?

Gloves. Duh.

mmmm... a few religious zanies? try 30%.

Hmm. I get 11%. Though they are disproportionately influential.

You know, I'm with you (and the victim) on this as an example of the hypocrisy of the deeply religious, etc.

But I'm also very much of the "When in Rome" contingency. The article says she's an "American-Israeli" who lives in Canada. I don't believe that exactly gives her jurisdiction to go and change the social customs of the country she's in.

Just as we don't want people coming over to the U.S., insisting we segregate because That's How They Do It At Home, neither should this woman have decided to be Rosa Parks for the day.

Once the spitting and the name-calling began, though, the polite observation of custom went out the window. Nobody deserves to get beaten up, spat on or cursed out by so-called holier-than-thou-ists.

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