Roger’s Rules

Watch where you're going! Or, plumbing and the progress of soft jihad

God, Mies van der Rohe may or may not have said, is in the details. I wonder what would Mies have said about this detail, sent to me by my friend Andy McCarthy:

“Toilet facilities are being built at London’s Olympic Park so Muslims will not have to face Mecca while sitting on the loo.”

Thanks for the advisory, pal. And thanks, too, for the additional information that “The Islamic religion prohibits Muslims from facing the Kiblah – the direction of prayer – when they visit the lavatory.”


As far as I know, the Catholic Church has not weighed in on the important matter of evacutorial direction, so that is one less burden for me and my co-religionists to conjure with.

Having just participated in a conference on the progress of “soft jihad,” though, I have to say that I absorbed the news about this latest accommodation to Muslim sensitivities with some irritation. No piglet (or other “pig related items“). No fido (dogs, say Muslims, are unclean). And now this.

Some months ago, discovering that English Muslims were up in arms because a certain brand of crisp was processed with alcohol, I offered, free of charge, a pragmatic intervention to tame the progress of jihad, soft, hard, and flaccid:

“Start putting a bit of alcohol in everything edible or potable. There are, of course, other reasons for wishing to increase one’s usual consumption of alcohol, but here is a patriotic imperative to guide you: what if you went into Harrod’s food hall or your local grocery shop and every item had at least some trace amount of alcohol (or, alternatively, pork residue)? I understand that there might be certain logistical difficulties, but if the EU can effectively police the system of mensuration used in its jurisdiction, if it can prohibit certain types of bananas because they deviate too markedly from the perpendicular, then surely they can employ the vast apparatus of their bureaucracy to assure that a drop of alcohol or a dollop of bacon fat is added to any food stuff sold in Britain.”

I suggest that cognate consideration be given to the placement and orientation of public toilets and other relevant bits of plumbing. These are tiny details, it is true, but you have to start somewhere. Mies, I think, would be pleased.