Mark Steyn casts an askance glance at the latest example of Western civilization's unwillingness to stand up for itself. Ganked in toto from The Corner:
Okay, Muslim foot-baths in Kansas City airport, gender-segregated swimming sessions at French municipal pools, banning pork from Aussie hospital menus, no eating donuts for Belgian cops during Ramadan, no seeing-eye dogs or alcohol in Minneapolis taxi cabs, fine, fine, fine. Must be sensitive and all that.Hermione smokes a little and has felt the fascist grip of Canuck nannyism tighten on her over the years during our sojourns to Toronto. I'll have to tell her to light up and when anyone hassles her, she should say, "Back off! I'm Muslim, Bub!" even though she's so melanin deficient that she can be used to set a white balance.
But this is an amazing victory. In Vancouver, infidels can't smoke but Muslims can:Vancouver's hookah-parlour owners are celebrating after winning an exemption Thursday from a proposed new bylaw that will ban smoking on most sidewalks in commercial districts, in bus shelters and even in taxis passing through Vancouver.Where do the rest of us go to deal with depression? As Jay Currie asks, "What about my culture?"
In giving the bylaw unanimous approval-in-principle, Vancouver city council members bowed to arguments that hookah lounges provide an important cultural space for the city's Muslims and granted them a temporary exemption...
[Emad Yacoub] said hookah lounges are essential for immigrants from hookah-smoking cultures, because it helps them deal with the depression common for newcomers and gives them places like they have at home.By creating a special exemption for Muslims - who do seem to be the only immigrant group actively demanding these sorts of “cultural accommodations” we are basically declaring our Muslim citizens worthy of special treatment and, at the same time, unworthy of the health concerns which are purported to be the basis of general smoking bans.The state, in other words, is prepared to treat Muslims as free-born adults who can weigh the "cultural value" (ie, the pleasures) of smoking against the health risks. But not the rest of us.