Sunday, January 15, 2006

I Am Special. Got a Light?

 
In some sections of New York City, you can smoke in the bars now. But only if you’re a Muslim.
     Layali Beirut, an ornate Lebanese cafe in the Little Egypt section of Astoria, is packed nearly every night.
Patrons cluster around tables on terraces, drawing on Middle Eastern water pipes called hookahs while they play round after round of backgammon. As they puff on fruit-flavored tobacco, or shisha, dense clouds of smoke merge into a flavored haze that fills the area.
"The hookahs allow us to come together and unwind," Beirut-born Mahmoud Abraham, co-owner of the cafe, said. "It's an important part of our culture."
Oh, that’s right. How could we have forgotten? Culture always trumps law. Especially if your bone-headed city councilman sees which side the vote is buttered on and decides to go to bat for your outlaw behavior. Here’s what the café owners and Mr. Vallone, from the City Council have to say:
     Cafe owners contend that their establishments should be eligible for a cultural exemption from the law, which exempts tobacco bars only if they serve alcohol. In accordance with Muslim custom, Steinway St. hookah bars do not serve alcohol.
City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) has been petitioning the Health Department to grant the hookah bars an exemption. "No one should be punished for not serving alcohol, much less when it's for religious reasons," he said.
Well, the neighbors are most unhappy.
     Last fall, [they] presented a petition signed by 30 neighbors asking that Queens Community Board 1 shut down the outdoor terraces where customers smoke. But board representatives [said] it is legal to smoke outside, and their hands were tied unless the law is changed.
The smoking continues unabated, despite a little bureaucratic pushing around of paper.
     The city Health Department said in a statement: "We enforce the Smoke-Free Air Act in hookah cafes. We inspect them upon complaint and issue violations as appropriate."
But many of the fines have been dismissed, as some hookah bar owners have argued at hearings that shisha is made primarily of fruit. "It's not like a cigarette," said Gamal Dewidar, who manages his brother's Elkhaiam cafe and Hookah Palace on Steinway St. "There is a little tobacco and honey mixed in, but it's not dangerous."

A little taqiyya never hurts an argument. But the Health Department isn’t buying it, they say hookah smoke is no less harmful than cigarette smoke.

Sounds like a foot in the door to me. Next thing you know, New York City will be up to its armpits in all the rainbow shadings of sharia law. While I think the draconian smoking ban established there is unconstitutional, it ought to be applied across the board. You have a dumb law? Then you have to follow it.

“Cultural exceptions,” my foot.


Hat tip: Pastorius at Infidel Bloggers. At the same blog, read Blueslord on polygamy proposed in Russia and Canada.

Now, Russia, that may make sense…so many of the men die young of alcohol poisoning, what’s a girl to do? But Canada??? I can just hear Canadian women now…in fact, I think I’ll invite a few to come over and give their opinion on the idea.

Generate a little heat and light on the subject.

10 comments:

Jimmy K. said...

I linked to this post. Very good!!
http://butthatsjustmyopinion.blogspot.com/

Spanish Eowyn said...

well, just as ever:

they think they are different from all the others. The ordinary law does not apply to them and they want to be ruled by the Sharia. And that is really a problem in modern States that have as a real target the equality of all people when regarding the law.

The main problem is that States are not applying the laws to all their citizens without taking notice of what they are. It is just the ordinary reason.

And well, about poligamy: what really astonished me was that they think that all Russian problems (mafias, insecurity, political unstability, etc) are going to be solved with poligamy.

And about Canada: the spent $150.000 in a study about poligamy!!!!! I just could not believe it. I did have to read the newspaper web three times before realizing that it was not a joke.

Do you know that after the law of homosexual marriages passed in Spain all the requirements, the Muslim community asked why the poligamy was not also legalised? BUT whatever the man or women married that way was or believed, they asked they should be ruled by....Koram and Sharia.

I am not feeling fine :(((

Van Berthemium said...

Man, sounds like the folks in NY have no clue what the heck "shishah" is and I have no doubt that the owners of the "hookah" bars are lying through their teeth. First "shishah" is just an Egyptian dialectical word for "water pipe" and is is not what you smoke on the water pipe. "Hookah" is another word for the same thing.

That being cleared up, what is smoked is tobacco that is typically soaked in fruit molasses; apple is particularly popular. It is not mostly fruit. Studies have shown that smoking a water pipe is in fact worse than cigs as it concentrates the tar and other nasty stuff as the water cools the smoke.

Now personally I think smoking laws are inane and I don't smoke. I just go to a non-smoking environment and take my business with me. However if the law exists, it needs to apply to EVERYONE. Will Indians get to smoke pipes for cultural reasons? Heck, can't Americans smoke cigs for cultural reasons then? Stupid

Epaminondas said...

We need to get some gals to GO INTO THE CLUBS and insist on their rights to have the laws of NY enforced. (Why do I think they would try to keep women out?)

How can we organize?

Think the NY POST might be interested?

If the teachings of the quran are unconstitutional then let's find out VIA ALITO, ROBERTS, SOUTER, BREYER, KENNEDY, GINSBURG, SCALIA, THOMAS, and STEVENS.

Anybody know how to contact Phyllis Chesler?

bioqubit said...

I have a different take on this. I realized that there is a key difference between the liberal and conservative mindset. Liberals love to cut deals, and conservative work by guiding principles. One plays up exceptions, the other plays down exceptions. The result is that the liberal mindset is miserable for governance. Can't set a direction, can't stick to a plan. There are always exceptions.

The conservative mindset does a much better job of goverance. Demands consistency and constancy. Keep those exceptions away from the main objective.

John B said...

Let's examine this. Muslims want to smoke in their own bars and smoking will likely eventually kill you. And your objection is?

Regarding the study done on polygamy in Canada - following is a post I made on Dhimmi Watch the other day:

I listened a few minutes ago to an interview on CBC Radio As it Happens with Prof. Bailey and here is what she stated.

First - the report has been widely misquoted and misunderstood. They advocate the decriminalization of polygamy and NOT legalization. It may seem a fine point but not neccessarily. The report is directed generally to the Mormon (or Mormon related) community of Bountiful, British Columbia and any other similar communities. Since polygamy is presently against the law in the criminal code, the authors' concerns were any women who wanted to leave (i.e. divorce) would be afraid to as they would be admitting to having committed an illegal act. They are there fore unable to leave with custody of children or any other property settlements. If they did leave a bad marriage, they would also be unlikely to remarry within the community as they would be seen to be still married.

When asked if any current polygamous marriages have been prosecuted, Prof. Bailey answered no with the likely reason being that crown prosecters were most likely afraid this would end up as a court challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She is of the opinion that such a challenge would be won under the freedom of religion article.

Prof. Bailey also stated that the current marriage act, which now defines marriage as a union between two people (and is not in the criminal code) would be sufficient to prevent polygamy.

The authors were not in favour of polygamy.

The interview can be heard on CBC's website as a past program - it aired as the first interview on Friday last week. The link is the general program site - click on past shows.

http://www.cbc.ca/aih/

Since the report came out the P.M. has stated he will use the "notwithstanding clause" if necessary as will the Conservatives who will likely win the election next week.

Annoy Mouse said...

We need to be more sensitive to cultures but our own.

The marijuana laws were put into place to back in the day to keep Mexican migrants in their place.

In Caliphornia the fine for smoking tobacco in a bar is $270. Smoking marijuana, $60.

What are ya gonna do?

Eleanor © said...

"Sounds like a foot in the door to me. Next thing you know, New York City will be up to its armpits in all the rainbow shadings of sharia law. While I think the draconian smoking ban established there is unconstitutional, it ought to be applied across the board. You have a dumb law? Then you have to follow it."

No,no,no! Never let the camel's nose under the tent! Too many cultures and civilizations have been overcome and absorbed by this predatory ideology that first flouts and then uses tolerance to take over. Stomp it out like a cigarette butt found burning on the street before this sets fire and brings along other "cultural exceptions" that follow along just like party crashers or unwanted houseguests that follow along with those that are invited...

daughter of patriots said...

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
-George Orwell

Papa Ray said...

There is another reason for more than one wife.

Population control works both ways. If the US and other "Western" countries don't start to breeding as fast as they can, the latino and muslim population will rule the world ( under Islamic rule).

Unless of course, we kill each other off, first.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA