Earlier this year, La Meca, a popular nightclub in southern Spain, decided to change its name after Spain’s intelligence agency notified the owners of threats from Islamic extremists. While moderate Muslims in Spain weren’t calling for beheadings, they did echo the call for the club’s name to be changed. Mohamed Ali, head of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities, explained: “Muslims pray towards Mecca and it is there that the prophet received the holy Koran. Calling a place for dancing and drinking by that name shows disregard to the feelings of Muslims.”
It’s hard to keep track these days of what ¨shows disregard to the feelings of Muslims.” Consider the case of the student at the Menéndez Tolosa school in Cadiz who recently asked his geography teacher to stop discussing ham in class because it was disrespectful to him as a Muslim. It should be noted that the teacher, José Reyes Fernández, was not mocking the Koran’s prohibition against eating ham. What was so offensive to the student was Fernández’s use of the Granada town of Trevélez as an example of a cold mountain climate conducive to the curings of hams.
Fernández’s explanation to the student that he did not consider his pupils’ religious beliefs when creating his lesson plans apparently did not pass muster. The student’s parents immediately filed a complaint against the teacher with the National Police for psychological ill-treatment due to xenophobia and racism.
Fernández is a well-respected teacher with 20 years of experience and no history of problems with students. In a note to the media, he wrote that the incident has damaged “his honor [and] image.” Fortunately, it appears that the complaint will not also hurt his professional career: a local prosectuor on Tuesday announced plans to archive the case.
Nevertheless, the story, which verges on parody, made headlines across Spain. Javier Jordán, a political science professor at the University of Granada, told PJM: “This incident is an absurd example of how the Islamist ideology attempts to impose an ‘Islamic exception’ to Europe’s customs and laws. The Muslim student and his parents who denounced the teacher have hurt the image of Islam in Spain and contributed to social polarization. These types of episodes do damage to the idea of Muslim integration into Spain’s pluralistic society.”
Cognizant of public opinion in this case, the same president of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities who was so upset about the name of a disco called the student’s complaint “absolutely ridiculous.” Mohamed Ali explained that the “Koran prohibits the consumption of ham, not the discussion of it.”
Using that standard, one has to wonder whether Mohamed Ali found it ridiculous when a hospital in West Australia took baked ham off its Christmas menu in order to avoid offending Muslim patients back in 2005. The Sunday Times reported then:
But one long-time Port Hedland hospital worker told the Sunday Times the menu change was “unAustralian.”
“It’s going to be a boring old Christmas lunch for the patients,” he said.
“After all, what’s Christmas without a ham, or Sunday morning without bacon and eggs?
“The management of the hospital are unable to stand up to a minority and keep our Australian way of life intact. They are bowing to the pressure of a select few.”
In 2007, the “pressure of a select few” caused a UK school to take political correctness to a whole new level when it changed the name of its production of the “Three Little Pigs” to the “Three Little Puppies.” And earlier this year, French police banned “a street party whose organizers planned to serve alcoholic cocktails and pork sausages in a heavily Muslim neighborhood of Paris.” Robert Spencer of JihadWatch correctly noted at the time that the planned event was a provocation, but doubted that cops would have acted similarly “if a Muslim group in France had announced that it was going to do something in a non-Muslim area that many non-Muslims found offensive.”
The stories above read as parody but are all too real in the age of political correctness. While the authorities correctly dismissed the charges against José Reyes Fernández this week, would we really have been all that surprised if he had been hauled off to court?