Room 101 and Sharia Law


I’m back with another Room 101 post, and I have to thank John Zande of The Superstitious Naked Ape at https://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com for providing me with the topic – THANK YOU JOHN!!!!

Room 101 posts; I write about what I hate or dislike about one topic. In my post I have to try to persuade you, the reader, that the points I have raised are valid enough to consign the topic to Room 101. Therefore, you the reader have to get involved, leave me your opinions and decide if this topic is worthy or Room 101. After this, please then leave me your ideas for further Room 101 topics.

What I dislike about Sharia law (people who believe it should exist in Europe or the Western World).

For those of you who don’t know a thing about Sharia law;

It is the body of Islamic law. The term means “way” or “path”; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam.

Sharia deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business, law, contract law, sexuality, and social issues.

There is not a strictly codified uniform set of laws that can be called Sharia. It is more like a system of several laws, based on the Qur’an, Hadith and centuries of debate, interpretation and precedent.

Western law confines itself largely to matters relating to crime, contract, civil relationships and individual rights.

Sharia is however concerned with more;

Sharia rulings have been developed to help Muslims understand how they should lead every aspect of their lives according to God’s wishes.

So, whether democracy and Islam can coexist is a topic of heated debate.

Yet, Sharia has been incorporated into UK political systems in general ways:

British food regulations allow meat to be slaughtered according to Jewish and Islamic practices – a touchstone issue for both communities.

Also in late 2008 the UK officially allowed tribunals governing marriage, divorce, and inheritance to make legally binding decisions if both parties agreed.

Many might argue though that what has been incorporate into law doesn’t go far enough, and that the law should in fact fully adopt Sharia law.

Has any western nation allowed Sharia to be used in full?

In short, no;

Canada is widely reported to have come close – leading to protests in 2005.

In reality the proposals were little different from the existing religious arbitration rules in the UK, and the UK hasn’t protested.

What about Sharia and women?

Some Muslim women in the West are worried about protection of their rights in Sharia courts where there is discrimination against them because of patriarchal and cultural control in their communities.

They have concerns about the fairness of its application, and women are more concerned about how existing British equality measures and human rights laws can be used to improve their position and voice in society.

So, HOW DO I FEEL REGARDING Sharia law in Europe (Western world) and those who advocate it;

This is a tough one. For me I feel everyone should be represented within the country they live and work within. BUT, why can’t we just accept that every country does things differently and for a reason.

There is no system of law or Governance that is perfect, I doubt it ever could be. Also, no system of law of Governance completely reflects the needs, religions, beliefs or rights of every citizen. There are many flaws, pit falls and grey areas already within law and Governance, without even thinking about how Sharia law could be assimilated fully into these. Especially as Sharia law doesn’t have one universal definition that every Muslim can agree upon. 

Also; if Western countries are doing what they can to accept and assimilate other religious beliefs, and incorporating laws required to fulfil these beliefs, why can’t the same be said about Islamic countries and Western beliefs, rights and laws?

It certainty wouldn’t be OK for a Western unmarried couple to kiss publicly in Dubai or for women to wear Western dress in an Islamic country (by revealing too much flesh).

Tolerance for, and the desire for certain codes, laws, ethics, rulings and rights to be established, should I feel swing both ways. It can’t literally be one rule for one in one country and one rule for another in another country.

Or, perhaps the fact that the law is the law in one country should be respected.

I have moved to Spain, but haven’t expected the Spanish way of life, rules and laws to be the same as they would be in the UK. Nor, could I demand that they should change to reflect my needs, and the rest of the British Ex-pats who live here. I choose to live here, therefore I choose to live by the standards of the country. I knew what to expect and knew Spain wasn’t the UK. So, who am I to dictate my needs and demand they be met?

People who want to enforce Sharia laws on all citizens of the West, in Europe or US have to realise that it would never work, mainly because we aren’t all Muslim. Also, if Sharia law is fundamentally about God’s wishes, how can these wishes be incorporated into a universal law or Governance to reflect everyone’s needs? Also, to be Devil’s advocate; how can we be sure those are God’s actual wishes? Or that this God reflects what we believe to be or not to be God? Or could it be that these wishes are more man made – using religion as the excuse to legitimise a set of laws to benefit ‘man’ not really God?

When thinking about how countries could adopt Sharia law, I consider a country like Spain. Sharia law in Spain would be too much of a conflict. Spain has deep seated fears relating to their past; wars with Islamic countries, and consequently being conquered and ruled by Islamic nations. Also the fact that Spain is a Catholic country (follows a different ideal of God), and that not too long ago Spain was ruled under a dictatorship (they therefore aren’t too keen on mass control).

I think people now want more freedoms, not less. They don’t wish to be controlled by any set of Draconian religious rules (Islamic or other). That is why people come to the West, to enjoy freedoms and live a life they might not otherwise of had (free of religious doctrine and controls). By all means reflect the needs of the people, but not at the expense of everyone else’s liberty, rights and freedoms. There has to be a balance, that is what tolerance is.

What do you think??

Should Sharia law be consigned to Room 101??

Also, please let me have your ideas for a next topic.

I’m Not Made Of Money!


I’m not made of money, but I think I ought to be!

Now I am a Landlord it seems money is all anyone wants from me.

As you may recall, from previous posts, I have placed my prior home upon the rental market. The reason for this is because rental is the only valid choice open to me. I am no longer residing in the UK, therefore it was either rent the house or take my chances with the uncertain sales market. I couldn’t leave the house empty and languishing waiting for a buyer, running the risk of weather damage and worse occurring in my absence.  

Yet, I am discovering that property rental is not for the impoverished and humble individual, such as I am!

I am not a wealthy property developer who owns many houses that turn over great profits, I have one property and that used to be my home. I make no profit from the rental process, in fact, I lose money. Between the initial costs to begin the rental process, the Rental Agency fees, the fact I remain financially responsible for the property and even pay a portion of the mortgage (still), means that I have to find money every month just to have the ‘privilege’ to rent my own house out!   

Only today I was informed that I have to fork out another £250 for an Electrical Inspection. Now this inspection was not supposed to be obligatory I.E enforced by any written law, yet, this little loop hole is worded in such a way, it might as well be a written law. Without this inspection and a certificate to prove to the Rental Agency all is well with my home electrics, I won’t be able to rent my house out (what a surprise), the Local Authority can fine me (which they would as they are money making sharks), and my Landlord Insurance will be null and void (any excuse for an Insurance Company not to pay out on a claim)!

So, all in all it is fantastic news – yet again there is more money going out and no money coming in!

All of these little inconsequential loop holes mount up to become one large dent in my bank account balance. It therefore seems that to be a landlord, I do have to be a wealthy Donald Trump type property tycoon, as these little loop holes all cost money! They maybe in place to keep Landlords on a leash, to ensure that we are all reputable, abiding by the rules and of course protecting our tenants, yet it is landlords like me who suffer most from these loop holes. We who are scrupulous, we who abide by the rules and laws, we who don’t have massive property portfolios which turn over vast profits, we who don’t know how to dodge the rules and laws to line our own pockets suffer from the endless silly loop holes, because we haven’t the money to keep forking out to cover their requirements.

I am pretty angry about it all. Just because I am a Landlord doesn’t mean I am either rich or unscrupulous! 

Now I am wondering what will happen if my home electrics are found to be ‘unsafe’. Of course, there will be more money at stake. Not to mention the re-plastering and re-decoration costs also part and parcel of having to replace the electrics!!

What makes this worse and made me spit blood, was the fact that they also require me to pay for installation of fire alarms (connected to the mains). This is to protect the tenant;

I asked: ‘What is wrong with the two fire alarms I already have in place’?

Reply: ‘Oh, they aren’t good enough because they are battery operated’.

I said: ‘Erm, they still do the same job as a mains fitted alarm, they were fitted by the Fire Department’!

The reason for having these electrical alarms fitted, is basically as the tenant can’t be trusted to replace the batteries in the alarms we currently have fitted. OMG! What is this exactly, a baby sitting venture? Did the tenant forget their brain in the last property they resided in? Why can’t they take the responsibility on board to replace two measly batteries? I mean if they aren’t capable of that, then please God don’t rent them my home!!

Not to mention the fact that now I have signed the rental agreement with the agency, I have actually lost all my rights to state who and who doesn’t rent my property out. As long as a potential tenant passes the agencies vetting procedures (which are no doubt sub- standard anyway), then basically anyone can rent my home! I find this bizarre. Considering I am, and always will be financially and legally responsible for the house with or without a tenant in-situ, and the shit hits my fan and no one else’s if anything goes wrong, I find this stipulation in a legally binding contract as the biggest insult!

So I am left wondering what next? Or more specifically, what next must I pay for?

There has been; a Gas Inspection (not cheap), Landlord Insurance (not cheap), Boiler/heating Insurance (not cheap), PAT testing (not cheap), an Energy Certificate (not cheap), Rental Agency fees (not cheap), an Electrical Inspection (not cheap), tax and mortgage documentation to complete and organisation of the necessary paperwork (a complete nightmare), sale of my furniture (messing about), house clearance (stressful), house repairs (hours of life I won’t get back), and let us not forget the fact I am obligated to pay Council Tax (et al) whenever there is no tenant in the property (during void periods).

Money makes the world go round, yes, I know and therein lies the moral of the story 🙂  

Rant over!  

     

Freedom Of Speech?


Everyone has got something to say about how free their speech should be.

However, peoples beliefs, ideas and notions about freedom of speech seem to be in conflict with what it actually is.

Well, what exactly is freedom of speech?

To clarify the mystery let us look at the Wikipedia definition, just so we know we are all on the same page, so to speak:

“Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, as with libel, slander, obscenity, sedition (including, for example inciting ethnic hatred), copyright violation, revelation of information that is classified or otherwise.

The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that “[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”. Article 19 goes on to say that the exercise of these rights carries “special duties and responsibilities” and may “therefore be subject to certain restrictions” when necessary “[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others” or “[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals”.

Interesting. Interesting also to note I have emboldened certain parts of this text, to comment on obviously, as on the this humble piece of the blog-stratosphere, I have the freedom to speak my own opinions.

The first point to consider states that we have the right to; “Communicate one’s opinions and ideas….to anyone who is willing to receive them”. To me, this statement does not mean forcing your opinions or ideas upon those people, who frankly couldn’t care a less. As we all know, we all have our own ideas and opinions, and of course as is human nature, and the difference of being different, they all differ from time to time. What a shock!

Why then do some people think they have a right, or a duty, above and beyond us mere mortals, to shout their ideas and opinions loudest of all? Why do some people wish to drown everyone else out, and force others to shut up and concede to them? Where is the freedom of speech in that ethos? What makes one person, or people, think their ideas and opinions are superior, and are worth listening to more than anyone else’s? “[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference”, that is what the definition states loud and clear. Perhaps then these people who wish to subdue everyone else, really ought to educate themselves on the premise of freedom of speech, before they speak!

In other words; if you have something to say then make it worthwhile, otherwise, please just shut up and leave other people alone! We’re not listening if we don’t want to, as per our right, according to freedom of speech!

“The right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations”. People often disagree with this, but then of course these people also don’t wish to hear or be informed about other people’s ideas and opinions either. Some people only really want to hear what they want to, and would indeed censor anyone who conflicted with their own ideas and opinions. So, once again, where is the freedom in that??

I would like to know, what is absolute freedom anyway?? Also, why do some people think that their freedom is more important than anyone else’s? Could it be that people claim there ought to absolute freedom when they themselves are censored, because they have something horrible, threatening, bullying and insidious to shout about? Maybe.

This leads me directly to what is censored, and why of course; “the exercise of these rights carries….. special duties and responsibilities………and may…..therefore be subject to certain restrictions……. when necessary……[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others….or…..[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals”. Does this clause, that can limit the freedom of anyone’s speech seem reasonable??? For me, no.

Before people accuse me of having petty despot fantasies, hear me out; this is my freedom of speech after all!!

Consider what damage words can do to a person, their life, their reputation, their happiness and security. Many of us may indeed recall a school-yard bully, who didn’t resort to violence to inflict pain and rule with terror, but only words. The sort of words that are better off never being spoken. The type which are threatening, nasty, damaging and damn right insidious.

Extrapolate this example then into the wider-world, and imagine what damage words, uncontrolled and misdirected can do. The answer is, plenty of damage.

Shouldn’t we all then have a responsibility to edit our words? Consider the content, quality, quantity and intent before we fire the loaded weapon, and expect everyone to just sit back and be OK with it all? If we aren’t willing to allow other people’s words to just fly past our ears without response, then why should other people afford us such courtesy?

I think the moral of this tale is; choose your words carefully, and always, always, expect a response!

Would You Intervene?


Picture the scene………………….

Your on your way home from the usual busy, and depressing day at work. As per your routine you wait for and then take the number 5 bus home. Sitting there daydreaming listening to your choice of MP3 player you think you can hear raised voices from behind you. As you turn around you witness the beginnings of a violent fracas; a young woman is being attacked by four other young people.

What will you do?

It is a moment everyone surely dreads; seeing the unbelievable happening right there, right then in public, and for you to bear witness to.

It is a moral dilemma; ignore it and ‘walk’ away or confront the situation, intervene and say ‘NO’!

After all it isn’t YOU they are harming, YOUR not under threat. It isn’t YOUR business, YOU have enough on your own plate. It could well be that young woman DESERVES those punches she is receiving.

What makes a person intervene or walk away?

Why is it when people are being attacked it is better to shout ‘fire’ to alert and raise the alarm to solicit help, then the actual words ‘help me please’!

‘Help’, does it always fall on deaf ears? Yet, not just the word help, but seeing that someone requires help; YOUR HELP.

Can we all so easily turn our backs on those who are being attacked, mugged, harassed  verbally abused, pushed and shoved or whatever??

Where did our solitary as human beings go? What happened to rob us of our outrage, of our sympathy, of our heart and souls?

When a herd of Buffalo are attacked by wolves, they will actually band together, regroup and turn on the aggressor, the threat that is hurting one of their own.

Yet us humans don’t often share their mentality.

We say that the ‘bad’ people of the world act like animals, no they don’t; because animals look after their own. Animals protect the vulnerable in their groups and fight back; not walk away.

Could it be then that humans alone are the exclusive owners of the ‘selfish gene’? We call this self preservation, it might be, but if you aren’t in mind to protect your own species, how then can it ever survive?

Yet, all is not lost.

 

There are some amongst us who will take the part of the guardian Angel’s in our time of need. Sometimes these Angel’s come in unexpected guises; elderly people walking past, teenagers sitting on a train, and even a young women walking her dog.

So, what makes some people not accept or tolerate others being harmed in their presence?

What is it that makes some people fight back and defend others they don’t even know; regardless of the danger it could pose to themselves?

What separates them from the rest of the herd????????

OPINIONS PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!! 

What do you think about intervening in a crime???

WOULD YOU INTERVENE??? HAVE YOU INTERVENED???

OR, maybe you wish you had??

PERHAPS, you or someone YOU know has been subject to a crime where no-one helped??????

What DO YOU THINK MAKES US react as we do to these extraordinary events????????

The Fight or Flight – Home Owners V’s Burglars


At last common sense finally prevails!!!! The Criminal Justice System has eventually bowed in favour of the person in their own home, under siege from burglars. The new Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, has plans to change the UK law, to afford proper protection of the law to terrified householders who ‘over-react’ when confronted by burglars.

Of course it is easy to have always labelled those who have chosen to stand firm, fight and protect themselves, and their homes as ‘over-reacting’, and using ‘unnecessary force’. Yet, until you have been in that situation you will never know what you will do, how you will react. Fear and the Adrenaline do strange things to your body and mind; ‘An adrenaline rush causes the muscles to perform respiration at an increased rate improving strength’ (Wikipedia.org). It is either the case of flight or fight, and if you choose to fight you may be a different person than that over breakfast! Not quite a ‘Dr. Bruce Banner’, but indeed ready for what you have to do.

If you could, would you stand there and allow another to run rampage through your house, and over your life? Would you react or calmly walk away?

The UK’s ‘most senior judge’ has now strengthened the notion that ‘a person’s home is their castle’, saying that householders naturally have ‘the right to be offended by burglars’; why thank you most senior judge, as though none of us would be offended by a burglar in out home! People will for once have a right to lawfully defend themselves and their homes against the intruders. ‘People are not expected to remain calm when confronted by intruders’; at last sense is being spoken in defence of the victim of a heinous crime!

Justice Secretary, Mr Grayling will address Tory party Conference with this statement: “Being confronted by an intruder in your own home is terrifying, and the public should be in no doubt that the law is on their side. That is why I am strengthening the current law. Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self-defence are victims of crime and should be treated that way. We need to dispel doubts in this area once and for all’; about time I say Mr Grayling!

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said last month that ‘burglary was an offence against the person, should always be treated seriously’; he was speaking after Judge Michael Pert QC said that being shot by homeowners was simply a chance that burglars took. The advice then, be warned wanna be burglars.

Fight or flight, a strange and often redundant bodily reaction; and yet very necessary to aid those who have to face the things we all hope we never have to. Only then would we truly know what our reaction would be. Until then are we ever in a position to judge anyone else?

Burglars; take heed, homeowners are now lawfully willing and able to fight!

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© Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.