כּנור דוד

Kinnor David - "a most attractive blog".

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Skaf Prosecutions & Their Context

Ittay has correctly pointed out, in response to this post that "rape is rape, no matter who the perpetrator".

That proposition cannot be refuted. What can distinguish one rape from another are factors such as premeditation, and the additional injuries, indignities and humiliations inflicted upon the victim(s). That is a matter of law, and that was precisely the question considered by the Court of Appeal in the case in question. Was this "the worst kind" of rape? In my view, it certainly came close. These were, in my view, worse (warning, not for the weak of stomach), but the circumstances, the premeditated, "gang" nature of the rapes, the hunting of the women like prey, and the degradation, made these particularly heinous crimes.

Let us now look at the context of my post.

In the prosecutions of the Skaf brothers' gang, there was evidence that "Aussie pigs" and "sluts" were singled out by gangs whose members professed the Muslim faith, for rape and sexual humiliation - hence the "f-uck you Leb-style" comment. The Sydney Muslim community has been critical of articles that have appeared in the (left-wing) Fairfax Press, particularly the Sydney Morning Herald, saying that they constituted "Muslim bashing".

Typical of the impugned articles is a piece entitled Betraying the Rape Victims, by Miranda Devine.

So when Cunneen and McKay addressed the legal conference in February they were happy to report the good news about rape prosecutions: that the shame has now shifted to where it ought to be - onto the perpetrator, not the victim. It was a theme that should have been welcome but, instead, a "small but vocal group" in the audience angrily asserted that the gang rape cases were "nothing but racist prosecutions", that Skaf would not have received such a long sentence if he hadn't been Lebanese.

This is how an influential part of Sydney's legal and media circles thinks; many, to their eternal shame, are women, for whom a politically correct stance on multiculturalism is more precious than feminist principles or the safety of young women and girls. It makes them uncomfortable to acknowledge the fact that young Muslim men have been roaming around Sydney gang raping non-Muslim women, or as the rapists like to say, "Aussie pigs" and "sluts" who ask for it. Despite the evidence, they refuse to acknowledge it, and that this same pattern has been occurring in other Western countries, notably France.

There have been attempts to smear as racist, journalists or media outlets which present these facts to the public. In March, the Anti-Discrimination Board published a carefully concocted 123-page smear pamphlet Race For The Headlines, about "moral panic" and "anti-Arab, anti-Muslim" bigotry in the media. It was just one of many attempts by ideologues to diminish the real and lasting suffering of the brave young women who testified in court and ensured that at least some rapists were locked away.

Now, that was the context of my comment to the effect that reference to the rapists' religion was haraam. Why is any of this important? Devine's argument is as follows:

But the social problem behind the rapes hasn't gone away. Whatever makes a subsection of immigrant families in Sydney bring up their sons with such disregard for "Australian" or non-Muslim females remains. In a speech recently, former detective sergeant Tim Priest, the Cabramatta whistleblower, said he saw a pattern of denial about "Middle Eastern crime" similar to that which he experienced about drug crime in Cabramatta. He told of many instances of police "backing down to Middle Eastern thugs" in confrontations in what he calls the "Muslim-dominated areas" of south-western Sydney.

He cited a case in Auburn in 2001 when two uniformed police officers stopped a suspect car and found stolen property. The three occupants of the car threatened to kill the officers, and "f---" their girlfriends. When the police called for backup, so, too, did the thugs on their mobile phones, summoning 60 associates for battle. The response by police chiefs was to order the officers to retreat. And then, later, when the offenders drove to the police station, intimidating staff, damaging property and "virtually holding a suburban police station hostage," again the police did nothing. "By avoiding all confrontations with these thugs the police gave away the streets in many areas of south-western Sydney," Priest said.

That's the point. I apologise if my comments were misunderstood as a cheap-shot at those who profess the Muslim faith. They were not. The serious question here, is to what extent our society expects its citizens and residents to conform to a set of basic values, such as respect for women, the rights of gays and lesbians to live their lives unmolested, freedom of religion, of speech and of conscience.

In many places throughout the so-called western world, in London, Michigan, and Sydney, those who claim to speak in the name of the Mohammedan faith, loudly and aggressively assert the rights of their co-religionists to repudiate, reject and ignore those basic values.

Many on the left are willing to jettison their "feminist" "principles" and argue that journalists such as Devine are dealing in racial and religious prejudice, when they call for the severe punishment of gangs such as Skaf's. It was those people that I was intending to mock with my haraam comment.

But, as I venture to suggest is generally agreed, the relationship and tension between Islam, and customs (such as female genital mutilation) and attitudes (towards women, gays, Jews, and other infidels) which are either Islamic or or common in Islamic societies and liberal (in the John Stuart Mill sense) society, is a legitimate and important question for debate.


Blogger airforcewife said...

That is an excellent point you make, and one that has been argued here in the US, too.


It seems to me that the rush for "toleration" of other cultures means that allowing unnaceptable behaviors is okay when it is placed in the context of a minority. There is always an excuse, and it is racist to point out that there is a problem.

I've heard that education solves it - and I would agree to a certain extent... but I'm not the one that needs to be educated in this matter.

5:22 AM  

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