Health and safety warning

Professors at prestigious American universities and members of other vulnerable groups may experience vomiting and fainting fits as a result of exposure to other people's opinions. If you think you may be affected, you should click on the Back button and seek medical advice before returning to this site.

Mr Grumpy can now be found posting at

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tough love from Madeleine

Who'd'a' thought it? Madeleine Bunting lecturing young Muslims on 'tough love' under the headline 'Why Muslims must guard against the satisfactions of complaint'.

But don't worry, our Madeleine of the Sorrows (Norman Geras, not me) hasn't moved too far out of character. This is a gem:-

'As alcohol consumption has soared in the past two decades, Muslims have been left to negotiate its centrality in British social life - at work, school or university, or as neighbours - with great difficulty. Alcohol is probably now one of the most effective and unquestioned forms of exclusion practised in the UK, affecting every kind of social network.'

Speaking personally, I find a little pub culture goes a long way, so I do have a degree of sympathy. But it has never before occurred to me to complain of exclusion. And I have no idea what the best guess for Alcoholics Anonymous's UK membership is, but they certainly make up a substantial constituency of the 'socially excluded'.

It really isn't a problem to go to the pub and not drink, is it? But maybe it gets more difficult if your beliefs confer moral superiority over the drinkers. And could it be that part of the real problem with pub culture lies elsewhere - in the unregulated mixing of the sexes, say?

Then there's this:-

'And then there are the thinly concealed intentions; for example, the government's current proposals to regulate "places of worship" aimed at mosques is an unprecedented intrusion of the state into the affairs of a religious institution that could take Muslim alienation to a whole new level. '

Well, I think you'll find that state interference in religion has plenty of precedent in British history - the terms 'Dissenter' and 'Nonconformist' reflect some pretty hefty levels of social and political exclusion, after all. But I grant that the phenomenon of place of worship as terrorist recruitment office doesn't have too many recent precedents as an argument for interference.

No comments: