Friday, August 17, 2007

National Health Service Orders Scottish Doctors Not to Eat In Front of Moslem Colleagues During Ramadan

This is the type of story that, when first heard, one thinks must be a hoax. But no, in our modern politically correct world, truth is stranger than fiction.

The Daily Express reports that in Greater Glasgow, Clyde and Lothian, Scotland, the Boards of the National Health Service have ordered doctors not to eat lunch at their desks or in the workplace during Ramadan, because the sight of them eating might upset their fasting Moslem colleagues. Vending machines are also to be removed from the workplace where Moslems work, and lunch trolleys are banned during the 30-day Moslem holy month, which begins next month.

What is next? Will the National Health Service boards prohibit feeding hospital patients, because the sight of them eating may offend Moslem doctors, nurses, and patients?

As a Jew who observes the kosher dietary laws, I have shared workplaces with non-Jewish and non-observant Jewish working colleagues for almost three decades. Not once did it occur to me that, to avoid offending me, they should be prohibited from diving into a shrimp salad or enjoying a ham sandwich or cheeseburger. Although the Hedgehog, a devout Mormon, has slipped below the radar of late at this blog site, I will say for him, and he hopefully will concur, that he has never taken offense at the site of a fellow employee slurping a cup of coffee.

It is peculiarly ironic that this condescending patronization of Islam began as a reaction to 9/11 and subsequent Islamist terrorism. It is as if society must take extraordinary measures, which one would never be expected to adopt regarding any other religious group, in order to assure Moslems that we don't think ill of them or their religion merely because their co-religionists regularly engage in the mass murder of innocent men, women and children, including other Moslems.

But don't necessarily expect sound-thinking and good-hearted Moslems to object to this patronization. Indeed, a Moslem senior consultant with the firm Meem, the Glasgow-based consultancy that authored the guidelines, said that he was "thrilled" that the National Health Service boards had adopted his firm's policy guidance. “After the Glasgow attack this is very important, " he said. "This is about educating people and making them more aware and more confident when dealing with issues surrounding the Muslim community."

Seeing how several of the suspects in the June 30 Glasgow Airport bombing were doctors, working in Great Britain's National Health System, once might think a better way of making people confident in dealing with healthcare professionals in the Islamic community would be for Moslems to forcefully reject radical Islamism, display more tolerance of their non-Moslem colleagues, and adjust to life in a pluralistic, secular society.

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