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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Annals of mosque and state: the brothel shakedown 

From Spiegel Online, we learn that Muslims have threatened a German brothel for flying particular national flags:

A German brothel seeking to drum up business during the World Cup has been forced to remove the national flags of Saudi Arabia and Iran from an array of flags on its facade after threats from Muslims saying it was insulting their faith....

A giant poster covering the side of the seven-story, 126-apartment building showed a friendly-looking blonde woman lifting up her bra above the slogan "A Time to Make Girlfriends", in a play on the World Cup's official slogan "A Time to Make Friends." Right beneath her pink panties were posters of the flags, including those of strictly Islamic Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Pascha's manager Armin Lobscheid had also erected real flags of all the World Cup nations on another side of the building.

The campaign provoked excitement, but not the kind the management was hoping for. Men from the Muslim community came to the door complaining that showing the flags of Saudi Arabia and Iran was an insult to the Prophet Muhammad. Later, some returned in masks.


"On Friday evening we were threatened by 11 masked men who demand that we take down the Saudi Arabian flag," Lobscheid told the K├Âlner Express, a local newspaper. Not wanting any trouble, the brothel obliged and removed it and the Iranian one. But that still left the flags printed on the poster.

"On Saturday night there were 20 masked men armed with knives and sticks. They threatened to get violent and even bomb the place unless we black out the Iranian and Saudia Arabian flags on the poster as well," said Lobscheid.

We are becoming sadly used to the spectacle of gangs of Muslims threatening violence to demand that non-Muslims retract speech that is otherwise protected under Western law. While Border's, Comedy Central and Jyllands-Posten probably won't appreciate being lumped in with the Pascha brothel in Cologne, they have all confronted and, with the exception of the newspaper, capitulated to the same threat. With each victory the Muslim vigilantes that punish lawful speech will be emboldened, so we must be prepared for this story to repeat itself many times.

There is more here, though, than fodder for another rant about the willingness of Muslim extremists -- if that is what they are -- to threaten speakers. One of the huge differences between Islam and modern Christianity is the former's insistance that the state and the religion should be integrated, or at the very least mutually reinforcing under law. This idea is not only alien to modern Westerners, but most of us (including religious Americans) believe that separation of the state and religion is a fundamental requirement for the liberty of individuals. However similar patriotism and religion may seem in their derivation from faith and emotion, Westerners consider them to be very different. The brothel incident reveals the extent to which even European Muslims disagree.

The "cartoon intifada" fought depictions of the Prophet Mohammed. The masked men behind the brothel shakedown claim that the unflattering deployment of the Saudi and Iranian national flags are tantamount to the same thing. If we imagine that many Muslims (whether or not a small percentage of the whole) share this point of view, the political and policy implications are more than a little troubling. Several come to mind.

First, if it is blasphemous in the minds of Muslims to denigrate the flag of Iran, how will Muslims the world over react to Western criticism of the government of that country? Yes, we have always expected that Muslims will to some degree naturally rally to the side of Muslim governments that stand up to the United States. What will we do if large numbers of Muslims living in the West claim that criticism of Muslim governments is blasphemous? Will that fact undermine the ability of the West to contain Iran and other Muslim powers?

Second, what are the implications of this for the American legal system, particularly civil rights laws? For better or for worse, American law usually defines discrimination according to the sensitivities of the plaintiff. If an employer expresses the political opinion that "We should bomb Iran to kingdom come," has he just created a hostile work environment for his Muslim employees, actionable under U.S. law? Under the logic of the brothel vigilantes, why not?

Third, the German Muslim vigilantes did not seem to care that Iran is Shiite and Saudi Arabia is Sunni. Both national flags were seen as a proxy for Islam the religion. If disaffected European Muslims take this point of view, why should we assume that other radicals won't? Beware the claims of Western analysts that Sunnis and Shiites won't work together, at least in the confronting of non-Muslims.

Fourth, if the perspective of the brothel vigilantes are not uncommon in the Muslim community, what does this say about the claimed distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism? If the denigration of the flags of Muslim nations is equivalent to insulting Muslims, how can it be that denigration of Israel is not equivalent to anti-Semitism?

Of course, we might be reading far too much into this incident. It might just be the unreasoned objections of the mob to identification with a house of prostitution. Do we hope that is true and ignore this incident, or do we defend the pimp in order to learn whether the implications of this small story are of political and geopolitical significance?

Please offer your comments below.

[Cross-posted to The Belmont Club.]

18 Comments:

By Blogger viking kaj, at Wed Apr 26, 12:29:00 PM:

Next thing you know they will want to have their flags taken down at the UN too, since this will be considered an insult as well.

One world under God indeed...  

By Blogger Ken Adams, at Wed Apr 26, 01:02:00 PM:

I think the real issue driving the Muslim protest is being obscured. It's not that the presence of the flags in that context is an insult to their religion. Rather, it's that the Muslims don't want anyone else to know that they are regular customers. Put yourself in the position of the proprietor -- wouldn't you expect a display of a national emblem (the flag) to attract clients from that nation?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Apr 26, 03:37:00 PM:

Ugly legs,cheap bikini...  

By Blogger diabeticfriendly, at Wed Apr 26, 03:53:00 PM:

as some who know and "love me" would expect me to say..

kill'em with ridicule..

I'd pay a buck to see "sex the burka" or maybe in amsterdam they could sell the movies like "Mohammed and the 72 goats, sheep and little boys & girls" or maybe, "Pre-Pre-Teens the Prophet Thinks are Hot"

Time for all infidels of the world to mind-f*ck them..

drive them crazy, start rumours about their mothers and sisters...

use photoshop....

hope they burn their own cities to the ground  

By Blogger Mark White, at Wed Apr 26, 04:06:00 PM:

Rulers in both Saudi Arabia and Iran use their unearned oil wealth to export radical Islam. The protesters (who presumably violate German law and subject themselves to arrest and prosecution by appearing in public wearing masks and bearing arms) are "protecting" their financiers. Those financiers will certainly use that unearned wealth to attend the World Cup and make new girlfriends (unless they behave way out of character), but they'll do so hypocritically -- do as we say, not as we do.

We can protecting Western free speech from radical Islam most directly by defunding Islamic radicals. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are empires, with many disparate communities ruled from imperial capitals. The unearned oil wealth of Riyadh and Tehran is concentrated in provinces with Shiite Arab majorities, oppressed in their homes by small numbers of Wahabbi Arabs from Riyadh and Revolutionary Guard Persians from Tehran. With help from our Anglosphere allies (principally the UK, Canada, Australia, and India), from Japan, and from our new Shiite Arab allies in Iraq, the USA could make very short work of those Wahhabis and Revolutionary Guards, and administer that oil wealth to create infrastructure and democracy in the Middle East rather than exporting radical Islam to the rest of the world.

Confronting those masked protesters with the challenges of making a living will soon turn their energies to other, less noxious, pursuits.  

By Anonymous Mystery Meat, at Wed Apr 26, 04:20:00 PM:

I couple of years ago, I read a newspaper story about an annual vacation members of the Saudi Royal family take in Spain. Apparently, this has been going on for many years. They rent an entire resort hotel. $150 million is spent yearly to redecorate and get all new stuff prior to their visit. A one-month bacchanal ensues. The newspaper had a interview with the owner of the London escort service who provides the female companionship. The only requirement is that the girls must be young, beautiful and blonde. The first group of whores is replaced after two weeks with another. (They don't want the customers to get bored.)

I seem to recall that some of the 9/11 hijackers spent their final days in Las Vegas boozing it up and whoring.

You gotta love these pious muslims!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Apr 26, 07:34:00 PM:

I guess they weren't satisfied with the discount Pascha offered them.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Apr 26, 09:21:00 PM:

"It might just be the unreasoned objections of the mob to identification with a house of prostitution."

Perhaps you could have begun your piece with this observation, instead of burying at the very end. Then you could have contended with the more difficult task of explaining why they shouldn't be upset with their national flag being associated with prostitution, a subject you chose to ignore altogether. But it's ever so much more fun to rant when you get to manufacture your own issues, isn't it?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Apr 26, 11:40:00 PM:

There's plenty of evidence to suggest that their outrage wasn't because their national flag was associated with a brothel. First and foremost, of course, is what the mob actually complained about, which was that Muhammed was being disgraced. There was no mention (at least as far as I know) of the nations themselves being disgraced by the association, and even if that were the case, why would the mob want both flags blacked out? Wouldn't there be two distinct groups, a Suadi one and an Iranian one? Why would the Saudis care that much about Iran being associated with a brothel, or vice versa? Also, where, then, are the Irish, Mexican, Brazilian, etc mobs? Since the Muslim men obviously weren't simply asking for their own country's flag to be removed, why didn't they also demand that the rest of the countries' flags also be blacked out? Obviously because the mob felt that Muslim countries deserve special protection against unflattering speech. That's the critical issue.  

By Blogger Soldier's Dad, at Thu Apr 27, 02:52:00 AM:

Just a side note.

Muslims have a concept called "Temporary Marriage".

For the life of me, I can't work out how a "Temporary Marriage" is different than prostitution.  

By Blogger KGS, at Thu Apr 27, 05:01:00 AM:

I believe it was either Natan Sharansky who noted that, "one notices the speed in which a Muslim businessman changes his attire when traveling outside the the Middle East.

Beirut was not noted and praised for being the "Paris of the Middle East" for its French bread.  

By Blogger Karridine, at Thu Apr 27, 06:52:00 AM:

Hawk,
If you read Pierre Rehov's interview for his SEVENTH documentary movie about the Jordyptian Middle East, (MP3 at
BrainSurgeryWithSpoons.blogspot.com
...look for "Suicide Killers" in the Psycho-Sexual Perverts post)
you'll be stunned at the clarity and enormity of his allegations:

Suicide Killers are almost all sexually stifled young men, afraid of and daily tormented BY their own sexual feelings; denied ANY non-sexual outlet, relief or relationship... and also denied any SEXual outlet other than marriage...

Wait, it gets worse! Homosexual rape is rampant, male bonding is fetishised, separation of men and women is total and totally destructive of rational development as either man OR woman...

Listen to the MP3...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Apr 27, 07:04:00 AM:

I helped design and build a hospital for the Saudi govt in 84-85 in Unayzah, north of Riyadh...

An hour's lunch with the senior nurse at Fahd ben Abdul Aziz hospital left me too ill to stomach any food...

"The royalty fly in hundreds of kilos of heroin, amphetamines, XTC, LSD... then sell what they can't use; every DAY I treat 15-25 royal family for 'allergies' or 'kidney problems' and they're actually 'drug OD, or ab-response, or drug addiction' and 'VD'... but VD doesn't EXIST in the Muslim kingdom, so we have to be inventive in diagnosing, BUT these people come in SO MUCH that the anti-biotics don't work..."

And when I returned to the hospital-plan-approval process, we had to put armed guard stations at every door where teen or older males could access post-op or ANY SORT of female inpatients...

THAT is your 'chaste separation of the sexes'!!  

By Blogger Lanky_Bastard, at Thu Apr 27, 11:23:00 AM:

Every cloud has a silver lining. In this case Muslim violence is causing us to value free speech. If this were 5 years ago it could have easily been James Dobson outraged at the indignity of putting the American flag on a poster with a giant topless whore (where is the US flag btw?)

Against Dobson, only nasty perverts would have defended free speech, and righteous Americans would be upset. But against Muslim extremists, we'll all unite behind German prostitution companies. What a crazy world we live in.  

By Anonymous foreign devil, at Thu Apr 27, 04:32:00 PM:

Believe me when I say that these Muslims WEREN'T all that offended by the ad. Some of them have probably even visited a hooker (not necessarily one of these) at some time; why then would they say that? It's a tactic and a window where they could suprise the brothel managers by arriving suddenly with almost a dozen men threatening destruction. They planned to use this intimidation tactic. It's a TACTIC. The manager should have just ordered them off the premises and I'm sure they have video of the visit which they could then use to have the police charge intimidation. We HAVE to stand up to these bullies. I know it's scary but they aren't completely nuts and if you threaten them with the law, they'll often back down. The thing is to pursue it right into court. If they get chased enough times they'll realize we are dhimmified and won't roll over. Even a brothel in Germany has rights. Just don't give in every time they threaten. Bold faced face them and say, 'do you damndest and we can all go to court and tell the Judge what's going on'. That'll cool their jets pretty quickly.  

By Anonymous foreign devil, at Thu Apr 27, 04:33:00 PM:

PIMF! Meant to say 'we aren't dhimmified'. My bad!  

By Blogger efuji, at Thu Apr 27, 06:02:00 PM:

What happened to the rule of law that says extortion with a threat of violence is an illegal act. Why weren't a group of masked men brandishing weapons and threatening a legal business arrested? What the f*#k is wrong with everybody?  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Apr 27, 08:31:00 PM:

I can't wait for someone to pull a stunt like this in Texas.

"We demand you do X or we'll blow up your*blamblamblam*. *thud*  

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