Slap of the hijab

A woman punches a man and he starts thinking about the Quran. Right? You know the script. And I have got so used to my daily fix of “Just look at Islam” in my mailbox from the Hindutva folks that I seriously worry about them. They seem to be reading everything specifically aimed at showing up Islam as bad.

Now, here is something from the Toronto Sun . Columnist David Menzies was doing ordinary things:

I was at Yonge-Dundas Square with my nine-year-old son. We ate pizza. We drank bubble tea. And I used my new Canon camera to take photos of this neon shrine.

And then evil descends on him:

Suddenly, a woman wearing a hijab ran toward me. She was part of a group that included two women wearing full face-covering burkas. She was screaming: "We are Muslim! You do not take pictures of us!" (Odd. I can't find the "no photos" rule in the Qur'an.)

Of course, like all liberals – and most certainly unlike Muslims who only read the Qu’ran with a few fatwas – he has speed-read the book and knows there ain’t no such digital restriction. Yup, the Muslims had digital and other cameras centuries ago and were photographing camels and date trees.

Rather conveniently, too, the hysterical woman was in hijab and not full face burqa, unlike the other two. Or how else would the writer see her react and write this heart-wrenching piece?

I informed the lady I was in a public square in a democracy. I can actually take pictures of whomever I please.

No. You cannot. There is something called privacy. The Tutsi tribals object. Westerners object. Indians object.

And then: Ka-pow! Her fist collided with my face. Worse, she almost knocked my new camera from my hands.
My son and I were then surrounded by a mob of about 20 people, many of whom were speaking Arabic. One kept demanding I surrender my camera to him.
It was surreal. Was I in Toronto - or Riyadh?

Right. He assumes that this would happen in Riyadh. Has he been to Riyadh? Suddenly in the neon shrine a mob gathers and they have to be Arabic speaking.

But there was a sliver of hope. Eye-witnesses:

The 50-something couple, originally from Syria, told the police they had observed the entire affair and my allegations were true. The couple said they understood Arabic and knew what the mob was saying.

The token good Arab appears to be witness against the bad guys. He does not tell us what the mob was saying. Were they all saying the same things? You know, the uniform Arab reaction?

After the officer took my statement, he went over to the offending woman. Another constable was inexplicably miffed I was (legally) taking photos in the first place. The irony: Just above our heads a Toronto Police Service sphere was videotaping the activities.

Clearly, he does not know the difference between security cameras and personal use ones. It is polite to ask if it is okay to take pictures of people. Or, is he trying to say that since two of the women were fully veiled they had no business to protest? The point is that it can be seen as flaunting/ridiculing a particular image.

The officer interrogated the woman. She was still hysterical. Good. The constable would encounter firsthand what I had been forced to deal with earlier.

Just look at the use of “good”. Had she not been so hysterical, he might not have an op-ed case. Had she not punched him would he have understood her position better? There are women who might object because such photographs infringe on their space. Would he react in a similar manner if a woman from another culture had taken umbrage?

The cop walked back to me. No charges would be laid, he said, because he believed the woman's story - namely, she was merely trying to knock the camera out of my hands.

Well, she could have wanted the camera out of the way too. He said so at the beginning. Ask the paparazzi.

He is on a different trip:

The fact we have Islamists living amongst us who despise western values isn't news. But surely you can't just sock someone in the mouth.
Well, apparently you can - as long as the intent of the aggressor was merely to inflict property damage.

Right. Taking pictures is now a western “value”. How tinged with moral righteousness this is and ironically as a response to moral righteousness. It is now about Islamists “living amongst us”. How many of them are there? Hasn’t he bothered to visit Gerard Street and seen that not all Muslims are Islamists, although this term ought to be shorn of its blanket negative connotation.

The Toronto cops did the right thing. Because a democracy does not give people the carte blanche to intrude. A hijab wearing woman in Malaysia wanted to take a picture with me because we struck up a conversation. I too reciprocated.

He may be technically right about taking pictures, but so is she. There is also the gender angle. But since the 'victim' is on one track, here's a thought:

Let a typical Muslim man aim his camera at a woman in the West and see what happens.

End note:

We have discussed KAC and Ghulam Nabi Fai and the yadda yadda about the whining by the majority Kashmiris. The Pandit groups had rejoiced over his arrest. Here is a report to give another side that shows that the lobbying is there also from the other side:

Influential Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone has introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives, condemning violence against the Kashmiri Pandits. The resolution takes note of militancy, lack of religious freedom, and human rights violations in the valley. It also insists that terrorist infrastructure in the region must be dismantled and ultras should be held accountable for their action.


  1. this blog is by far one of the most sensible and original blogs i have read.....i perhaps dnt agree with u all the time.....but most of the issues make a lot of?.. sense.....but sometimes sense is not all tht matters..right? wrong...i can hear u already say...

    abt this article....true to the last word...

  2. Farzana,
    At times it is really tiring to see MSM (especially the Western MSM) so obsessed with Islamic and communal Identity that it clouds the basic issues. I am guessing the kind of events that would relegate our identities to a personal level. Economic issues ? For sure. Climate change ? Trust the "ruling class" another certainity. Our own evolving social understanding ? Nah.
    p.s. : Have a Nice working week ahead.

  3. FV,

    You seem to be saying that everyone who has issues with Islam is automatically a "Hindutva guy"! Is everybody who has issues with Narendra Modi automatically an Islamic terorist?

    I am certainly not a "Hindutva guy" in the sense that you are using the term. But I do have serious issues with Islam. And Muslim community.

    You many not agree but there are a lot more terms which need to be shorn of "blanket negetive connotations"!

  4. Shshshshshshsh:

    Well, thank you...my keyboard could not stop typing your 'name'! How do you know what I'd say? In fact, making sense can be a complex process and conveying that even more so. So, sense is not all that matters, but if I can make it then I can bake it too.


    I am quite certain that problems with economic issues, climate change, very much part of our "evolving social understanding" could well be attributed to Islam in the MSM on a good bright day.

    The reason for the obsession is that Islam can be hit on the head with 'facts' - like the Quran or contemporary attitudes resulting in paranoia. Can't do so with other intangibles.

    PS: It's already midweek, so hope it's going well for you.


    Please pinch me. Was this about Hindutva? Have I called George Bush a Hindutva guy? And the Modi example is completely off, but it is revealing. This is what YOU believe - that anyone who is anti-Modi is an Islamist.

    Oh, okay, this is pehle ka hisaab. I don't think you are a "Hindutva guy" and I do make a fine distinction between a community and the extremists who are from that community. I did say there ought not to be blanket negative connotations, but this does not happen often with non-Muslims. Face it.

  5. Moran B. Eeghuzzar11/08/2011, 18:57

    What does all of this have to do with chia pets? Anything?

  6. FV,

    I am sure you are already aware as to why it happens mostly with Muslims and not so much with non-Muslims. I do not want to be reverse-accused ("It is what YOU believe") so I will not make a more specific statement. Thanks for the lesson in how to silently stifle debate while holding on to the moral high ground!

    Pehle Ka Hisaab : I now have my copy of Quran with me. Do you assure that you will allow my comments to be displayed? :)

  7. F&F:

    The fact that you want to bring in unconnected arguments to prove your point reveals who has the high moral ground here.

    I have my say in the post. Whatever else I add is a response that need not result in long drawn-out input from me. This does not count as stifling debate.

    As regards displaying your comments about the Quran, then you will be taking bits and pieces for no reason at all. How often have I quoted from any scripture? I do not permit slander. I am sure you have a forum and several websites that will be glad to imbibe knowledge from your copy of the Quran. Is it monogrammed or limited edition?

    To be clear: No, I will not display your comments. It sounds like a case of unhealthy obsession. Kkkkkay?

  8. Moran:

    Were you just trolling past? I found the comment amusing. Yup it has a lot to do with chia pets because you saw them where they weren't.

  9. moron b. Eeghuzzar12/08/2011, 21:06

    chia pets blaze the road for peace in the middle east! There should be chia pets atop the whole length of the Israeli wall to shame the Israelis and the terrorists that made it necessary! And yes, I sell chia pets and would get rich if that many were sold. And yes, a sense of humour(good to see you have one) is more valuable than any idealogue and any blog.

  10. FV,

    Thanks for a straight answer to a straight question! I think it is a novel experience for your commentators! :)

  11. Moron:

    How would chia pets shame anyone, and why are you not getting rich from their sale since guilt is an intrinsic part of human nature as much as 'animal' instincts?

    I see you have a sense of humour, too. Why else would you choose such a nick?


    No, it is not. The commentators here know that the staright is also the narrow and patli galli se niklane waalon mein se hum nahin hai!

  12. moran lowiq Bl Eeghuzzar, King Vacous I06/01/2012, 06:01

    So...Happy New Year 2012 to all Chia Pet owners! Morons Rule!

  13. Good Sharing.


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