British Police: You did the Islamic morality police proud

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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join the FEMEN action against Sharia law and Islamism at the Olympics today as I am really sick and travelling tomorrow for a conference in Montreal (which I would most likely have missed since they were arrested).

Reza Moradi was there and filmed their action and the police’s brutal arrest. Interesting how the police were so pre-occupied with covering up their breasts and bodies.

British police: you did your Islamic morality counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan proud!

Written By: Maryam Namazie
continue to source article at freethoughtblogs.com

116 COMMENTS

  1. I checked. It seems there were a series of “naked bike rides” around Britain and other parts of the world to protest such things as dependence on oil etc.

    The naked bike riders for the most part were not arrested and were allowed to ride their bikes naked through London and other cities around Britain.

    So as the foreign journalists in the video asked the police men and women in the video… why were these women arrested… they weren’t violent and only created a minor scene… and why were they treated so? The one woman in the video ( a french woman so I gathered ) had scratch marks down her back which were bleeding…

  2. Well done for putting in the effort, you brave and georgeous ladies of Femen ! – you’re a far cry from the shrouded women and their owners taking over much of the east end of London where the Olympics are held.

  3. “Killed a generation.” A reference, I think, to women in Islamic countries since the Gulf War. And “Boo to the Russians” referring to Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, now visiting the UK.
    My own war cry: NO SHARIA!

  4. I just can’t side with these nutsos. They were running around like maniacs, endangering the public. It’s fair call on the police’s part to remove them from the scene.

    There is a difference between peaceful protest & this attention seeking headline grab. The latter is just something uneducated people watch on youtube to get themselves off without paying for porn subscription.

  5. Well, I wasn’t there, and top marks for spirit, but this protest didn’t seem to be the best I’ve ever seen!

    The message was not clear – the “acting” was confusing, the dialogue in a foreign language or unintelligable, and I didn’t see anyone handing out explanatory flyers to passers-by, all of whom looked bemused.

    If the idea was to get arrested and gain publicity that way, then they achieved that.

    But, in my experience, an attractive street stall with banner, leaflets and a petition to sign, manned by chatty and outgoing people is far more productive. And you won’t generally get any hassle from the police, so you can campaign all day.

  6. I often wonder what these kind of protests actually achieve. Running half naked down the street shrieking doesn’t exactly say to me they have the voice of rationality on their side. If ANYONE runs down the street naked and shrieking they’re likely to get arrested so saying the police did their Islamic morality counterparts proud seems more than a little silly. Police in almost ANY country would arrest people running naked and shouting down the street.

    Personally, regardless how worthy their message, I’d likely disregard anything said by someone shouting obscenities whilst being dragged away by the police. There’s a sort of implication that if the bobbies are dragging someone away they’re some kind of a lunatic. Where I live, people screaming obscenities are dragged off the streets every Friday and Saturday night by the police. I don’t associate that kind of behaviour with rational political protest, nor do I stop to see what they’re shouting about.

    Wouldn’t something like a bikini car wash – but with veils – have got more attention (and also a captive audience to explain the issue whilst you wash their car) whilst raising funds to then pay for a billboard campaign? That seems to me to make more sense. You don’t get arrested, you get to explain your views to people who are more likely to listen, you get *supportive* newspaper coverage and – as a bonus – collect some pennies to campaign with.

  7. Oh come off it.

    The British police can’t win.

    When they do something about nutters running around breaching the peace, they’re being brutal and oppressive.

    When they let a situation run its course, they’re weak and too soft.

    The vast minority of British police officers are good, honourable men and women trying to do a difficult job in difficult circumstances where pleasing everyone is often impossible. Put yourself in their shoes. A bunch of women start running around shoting aggressively at the Olympic park where security concerns are very high. You try to restrain them but they resist (and they WERE resisting). What else are you going to do?

    This was a stunt that had the intention from the outset to make our police look bad. Our police have sometimes behaved in a shameful manner but this was not one of those occasions – they clearly did their best to restrain these women in the best way possible, minimising the risk of injury to the women and to the officers.

    Comparing what the British police to Islamic morality police is nothing less than insulting hyperbole.

  8. This was indeed a pretty weird protest, and I can’t help wondering why they didn’t shout their slogans in English. Nevertheless, Sharia Law is SO vile that I would have liked to have seen the British police showing a little more sympathy. The sort of good humour that they often show towards streakers at cricket matches would have been more than justified by the fact that these women, unlike most streakers, were actually making a serious political point – a point with which, I would hope, virtually the entire British population would sympathise.

    There is also a subsidiary point. The fact that men are allowed to go bare-breasted while women are not is a double standard that at least would merit some discussion before being taken for granted.

  9. Unimpressed- brainless sensationalism. Pity the police had to act, it may have fizzled out if left alone. What’s “kill a generation” supposed to mean? It’s the kind of irrational rubbish usually associated with muslim extremists, IMO.
    Stunts like this are counter-productive.

    Afterthought- I did notice one had SHARIA in large letters across her chest…

  10. Indeed – but how was anyone supposed to know that they were protesting against Sharia? They didn’t exactly give many clues to the fact. They just ran around shouting a nonsensical slogan wearing vaguely middle-eastern clothes – the protest could have been about anything.

    Re: double standards of men being able to reveal their breats and women not, one could argue that women’s breasts are a reproductive organ whereas men’s are not. In an ideal world the issues would be linked but bringing this up is just counterproductive to the anti-sharia / police brutality argument so I don’t think we should muddy the waters :).

  11. As politicians, Islamists use religion as a front and know what they can get away with, all terrorists employ such tactics, and members of The House of Commons kowtow to them because to do otherwise would cost them votes; however, the social fascists are finding it more difficult to make inroads in the House of Lords, partly I would like to think, because there, logic and knowledge trump votes.

    And of course that knowledge includes awareness of the Nation’s history - Magna Carta, which since the year 1215 has had enshrined “one law for all”, The Enlightenment, The Renaissance – and all the advantages and rights that have flowed from those developments, and which must at all costs be preserved, determine decision making.

    Whereas in the other House the opportunistic short-termists would appear to reign supreme, hence we are in deep doo-doo in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in hock to the banks; apart from which everything’s just dandy.

    Now, I must go and clear up the hedge cuttings before getting back to the Olymics.

  12. Yes. The fact that they shouted their slogans in a foreign language would make me suspect their motives – if I could only think of a single motive for their doing so. The whole thing seems ill thought-out.

  13. I too think this stunt was counterproductive, and I think the police behaved very professionally. My only criticism is that the police didn’t seem to know where they were going! This traipsing around prolonged the physical and mental strain on all concerned. In America (or at least Chicago) they would have had a “paddy wagon” nearby in which all disturbers of the peace could cool off.   

  14. I’m at work so no sound but it does look a bit OTT on the part of the police, not sure if the cuffs needed to go on..?

    there’s also a slightly weird contrast between looking at this and comparing to last August when a load of hooligans ran wild for 3 days and the police largely stood by and watched them doing it, at least initially

  15. According to wikipedia, FEMEN is some kind of topless activist group from Ukraine. I think they’ve done some good protests in the past (iirc), but this one was not one of them.

    As many people have said already, their message wasn’t clear — and that should have been a priority. 

    Simply taking off some of your clothes will get you attention (good or bad), but it will not necessarily win you supporters. A clear message is everything!

    (p.s. I think the cops were relatively “mild”, given recent examples of over-the-top policing in the UK and in other parts of the world)

  16. I think the police were right to cart them away but I find the video a bit disturbing – maybe I’m being oversensitive though – I wasn’t there and I can’t hear the audio here at work

    there were several officers surrounding one girl and it looks to me like they could have more safely removed her by just carrying her away, it doesn’t look like she was attempting to harm anyone..?

  17. I abhor Sharia and am generally very supportive of Maryam Namazi’s campaign. However, this particular protest was completely counterproductive. Everyone with any sense knows that a woman baring her breasts and shrieking wildly and aggressively will be arrested, especially at an Olympic venue where security concerns are understandably incredibly high. And then to attempt to make capital out of an obviously false and desperate claim of police brutality: I watched the whole video and there was no police brutality at all. The police behaved professionally, talking calmly to the woman and restraining her and then cradling her head gently to prevent her bashing it on the ground. They covered her breasts, obviously to protect her from the many photographers attempting to take salacious pictures; that was to their credit. For Maryam Namazi to call the arrest ‘brutal’ and to claim that this makes them the moral counterparts of repressive Islamic police is truly pathetic.

    I am very disappointed in Maryam Namazi. I have been seriously considering whether to give financial support to her campaign, such is my strong objection to Sharia. As a measure of how counterproductive her reaction to this protest has been, I’m afraid to say that I will now look for alternative, more rational organisations to support – perhaps the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

  18. Hand cuffs help protect the police, members of the public and, potentially, also the person who is cuffed, while also preventing an incident from escalating. They do not cause injury, only perhaps a little chaffing if the cuffed person resists, and are used when a member of the public is resisting arrest, i.e. they were used appropriately in this instance.

  19. Maryam is an admirable person but her support here is a bit questionable. I also wish that feminists and other groups would focus a bit less on their particular grievances and more on the wider issues. 

  20.  FEMEN (Ukrainian: Фемен) is a Ukrainian protest group based in Kiev, founded in 2008. The organisation became internationally known for organizing topless protests against sex tourists, international marriage agencies, sexism and other social, national and international ills.[1][4][5][6][7][8][9] Some of the goals of the organisation are: “To develop leadership, intellectual and moral qualities of the young women in Ukraine” and “To build up the image of Ukraine, the country with great opportunities for women”.[3] 

    It’s possible the aim was to get seen in the Ukraine.

    Looks like a total police over reaction to me. Is public decency really outraged by a few topless women running around instead of being plastered over page 3? The sensible thing would have been to stand back and watch for awhile and then tell them it was time to stop.

    I don’t buy the Olympic security story they are nowhere near the village.

    Michael

  21. “As politicians, Islamists use religion as a front (…)”

    This is such a bizarre notion, and you really don’t have to know that much about Islam to see how illogical it is. The so-called “islamists” do not use religion as “a front”, simply because Islam is political in itself, and to the core. Islam is a political religion and it always has been. No need to use it as “a front”. If anything is a front here it is the words “islamism” and “islamist”, which are simply smoke screens to cover up this fact.

    And has anyone ever heard an islamist describe himself as an islamist, by the way?

  22. I think that the idea of nudity in protest of Sharia and in protest of Burkas and all types of veils has some serious merit.  However, this particular protest leaves something to be desired.  

    But what if the protest went more like this:

    The next time there is a sizable gathering of Muslim fundamentalists there in London who are gathered to protest free speech or to demand ridiculous accommodation, then let’s have a large gathering of men and women on the other side of the street, in the nude and socializing as if nothing were out of the ordinary at all!  In fact, let’s have tea (everyone bring their favorite teacup and saucer. Borrow one from your Grammy) and some of those delightful crumpets and scones served with lace doilies as well!  

    What is the point of this? It would certainly come as a total shock to Muslims (and plenty of other people in this world) that adult humans, men and women in a mixed group, could actually congregate in a group, nude, and could actually behave in a kind and respectful way to each other!  No one gets raped!  No one gets fondled against their wishes!  Men and women will actually be able to control their behavior and refrain from frothing at the mouth in the grip of uncontrollable lust! Unbelievable. Fantastic!

    We don’t need to lock women and girls away from the world and shroud them in layers of shapeless dark fabric to maintain order in society.  This is an insult to men and a human rights violation to women.   

  23. fair point RichardC however watching from here the degree of restraint looked a bit over the top

    I don’t think the police wouild have acted in the same manner if they hadn’t been topless

    We didn’t see this sort of footage during the riots last year

  24.  “The fact that men are allowed to go bare-breasted while women are not is
    a double standard that at least would merit some discussion before
    being taken for granted.”

    Sounds a bit strange coming from a biologist. Women’s breasts are sexual signals. They make man brain think boinky-boink. Having a functional society means thinking less about reproduction and more about production. At least less than the average bonobo.

    Jealousy is also a factor, I guess, but I don’t have that much to say about jealousy except that it’s color is purple. (It’s a fact, professor.)

    By the way: Sam Harris claims science can determine what human morality ought to be like. I don’t see why not, but so far science doesn’t seem to have gotten very far on the subject of objective morality. Maybe it should. Anyway, my point is that maybe science should be able to say something about sexual morality? It’s on people’s minds all the time, after all, so it might be sort of important to determine.

  25. “Women’s breasts are sexual signals. They make man brain think
    boinky-boink. Having a functional society means thinking less about
    reproduction and more about production.”

    This sounds structurally rather like the claim from some Muslims that women should be completely covered head to toe because showing cleavage might arouse men into a raping frenzy.

    It cannot be right that one group of people are penalised because another group of people might not be able to control themselves or may become less productive. It cannot be.

  26. Please do not call the police filthy pigs. You presumably don’t think that all members of their profession automatically deserve the insult – unless you would seriously like to live in an anarchist society without a police force.

  27. As things stand, it is illegal in the UK for a woman to be topless in public. We employ the police to uphold the law of the land, so we can’t complain if that’s exactly what they do. The police may exercise some discretion. However, apart from being topless, i.e. ‘outraging public decency’, an arrestable offence, the protesting women were shouting very aggressively, even hysterically and causing  a ‘breach of the peace’. One can only assume that the women planned to be arrested, no doubt with the intention of scoring points by claiming police brutality. This was obviously the intention of their stooge, the guy in the video who kept questioning police tactics, making his best attempt to give the most worst possible interpretation to anything the police did. I suspect he must have been very disappointed by the exemplary conduct shown by the police.

    Re the riots last year, the police held back initially with the unfortunate result that the riots spread. Four of my neighbours had their cars torched on the London estate where I live. I watched while teenage gangs roamed my estate being violent and creating mayhem. Then the riot police came and I watched again while they showed commendable restraint, professionalism and courage. It’s amazing how keen people are to put the police in a bad light, even when it’s obvious, as in this particular video, that they haven’t done anything wrong.

  28. “This is such a bizarre notion,”

    Oh I don’t think so. I grant that all religions are political to a degree, why do you think there are Bishops in the House of Lords? 

    According to Anna Waters a co-author of “Sharia Law In Britain” (a threat to one law for all & equal rights), Islamists form the political wing of Islam.

    Our Muslim neighbours quietly get on with it without kicking up a fuss, and that’s fine by me; I wish they’d kick the habit, but there’s a fat chance of that happening I would have thought.

     

        

  29. When I expressed my muted sympathy for this demonstration, I was assuming that it did indeed have something to do with protesting against the obnoxious Sharia Law, that the women came from a country that suffers from Muslim oppression, and that their shouts were in a language such as Arabic or Urdu or Persian. Now it is revealed that they, and their organisation, come from Ukraine, and they were presumably shouting Ukrainian slogans, I find myself confused and, I have to say, measurably less sympathetic than when I first read Maryam’s article.

  30. The idea was to make a protest in the vicinity of the Olympics. In order to stage something like a bikini carwash, as you suggest, they would have had to apply for a permit from Hackney Council, which would have been refused.

    Now, if these women had been affiliated with Coca Cola™ or BP™ or any of the other Olympic sponsors…..

  31. Well, let’s not step on islamist’s toes… Maybe they’ll set off a bomb again. So let’s just cover up our women, like they do theirs, for we don’t want those poor Islamic men who can’t contain themselves when ever they see something more of a woman than her eyes to start harassing them as I saw them do in a shocking documentary about these men in Brussels. Let’s install shame showers for we should all respect our body by being ashamed of it. Let’s pretend God made a mistake when HE created women (I don’t believe that story, it’s just for the purpose of using their own words against them) and right HIM. He must have been one halfwit (God) when he created women….
     
    Well lets.
     
    Lets all just use our heads, especially the secular police…

  32. Dear Richard,
    I have no problem with supporting any group that protests against the misogynistic poison of sharia law ;wherever they may have originated.
    It’s my view that political correctness is a jaundiced and accepted suppression of freedom of speech encouraging the waywardness of cultural equivalence.

  33. Another point on the double standards of men and women being able to reveal their breasts – if a bunch of men took off their tops and ran around shouting nonsense aggressively, I’m pretty sure they’d get the exact same treatment and also end up arrested, with the exception that the police wouldn’t bother trying to protect the mens’ chests from photographers.

    I don’t think bare breasts had anything to do with the arrests. Running around shouting aggressively in an area of high security did.

  34. Yeah, and anyone who doesn’t want to join in can show their displeasure by taking their clothes off and running around aggressively shouting nonsense at random passers by. Because that will make such a huge diffence to their cause.

  35. I have never had a bad experience with the police. I don’t doubt that there are many isolated bad instances but frankly I think that if anyone has regularly had bad experiences with the police it says more about them and their inability to behave respectfully (to anyone, not just people in uniform) than about the police themselves. In the UK, at any rate.

  36. Can you back up this claim? Did we see the same video? I’d be grateful if you can reference the part of the video where the police are behaving like ‘pigs’. If simply arresting someone for an arrestable offence is deemed ‘pig’-like, then I don’t think you have a strong argument.

  37. Then why on earth are you comparing your experience of the South African police with the British police?

    Foreigners coming to my country, trying to provoke my country’s mostly hard working and honourable police force, failing, and STILL criticising them really, really annoys me. Other foreigners insulting my country’s police based on assumptions from their experiences of the police on another frikkin’ continent in a country that only recently emerged from a racist dictatorship is just stupid, ignorant and rude.

  38.  You see them running around whizzing near passers-by like crazy loons playing cats and mouse games with the police when they can just stand together with their tops off carrying signposts and shout their slogans.

    These women are just being crazy & unpredictable. This is just a stupid attention grabbing stunt because neither police “brutality” and “British Talibanism” are topical issues and neither has this been a platform of their protest before. They’re just fishing for reactions from the police & they stupidly took the bait.

    This is an attention grabbing stunt. Can anyone here actually tell me what their message actually is without having to guess what they could be trying to say?

  39. I have to say that topless ladies running around are vulnerable in a way that topless men running around would not be – its not a double standard to state that the level of threat to the public is completely different

  40. No, but people running around aggressively shouting nonsense tend to get arrested anywhere. If a bunch of guys took off their tops and did the same thing they probably would have been arrested because such behaviour is pretty damn scary for the public and the police’s first duty is to protect the public. I don’t think the arrests had anything to do with bared breasts.

    As for being nowhere near the village, do you really think that’s the only area of security concern? Or did you miss the massive stadium in the background?

  41. OK, then I shall attempt to make my comment more colloquial:

    I salute these brave and beautiful girls. Those dirty bluebottles should keep their hands to themselves and show a little respect.

  42. And, as I said in reply to your comment on Ms Namazie’s blog, those girls should themselves be showing more respect. This country has had the right to peaceful protest going back centuries. What those girls were doing was not peaceful – it was aggressive and intimidating.

  43.  “Islamists form the political wing of Islam.”

    You’re getting closer. Islam may have unpolitical elements, but you can’t have one without the other; no Muslims are free to choose away the parts of their faith they may not like. If your neighbours were to turn their backs to political Islam they would be branded heretics because there is no unpolitical Islam for them to seek refuge in. Because of this a more accurate way to divide Muslims into political groups would be by the labels active and passive, instead of the often used “radical” and “moderate”.

    All, or at least most, religions may be political to some degree but I don’t think drawing comparisons to Christianity and “Bishops in the House of Lords” is getting us westerners very far in an understanding of the inner workings of “the religion of peace”; Islam is a category all to itself, a beast of it’s own, if you like, and should therefore be examined on it’s own merits.

  44. You’ve got a point, I’ll give you that, but I actually think Muslims got a bit of a point, too. Not a very big one though, but I’ve got no problem admitting that I wouldn’t want my wife, or daughter for that matter, to dress like a stripper. And I’m sure you’ll agree that there are other options to female clothing than just bin liner or whore uniform?

    And how is putting some clothes on being penalized? Is it ok if I walk around town swinging my penis from side to side of the sidewalk? No, I think you’d prefer to penalize that, actually. ;-)

  45. Something tells me there is a better way to protest sharia law than running around like a psychotic topless clown and yelling indecipherable babel repeatedly in a frantic loop. Those black spandex granny panties did not help either.

  46. They all sound French to me but it’s hard to tell. The cameraman is almost definitely French.

    EDIT: Yes, definitely French. The cameraman threatens the police with contacting a minister in France and then later talks to one of the girls in French.

    How ironic that the French police response to such a situation would be far, far more heavy-handed.

  47. It was the south bank of the Thames the stadium is up to the north. Maybe they had rocket launchers hidden somewhere but I missed them. 

     
    Members of the Ukranian women’s rights group, Femen, stage a topless demonstration against the International Olympic Committee outside City Hall on the south bank of the Thames near Tower Bridge in London. Femen claims the IOC collaborates with ‘violent’ Islamic states. Police arrested the protesters 

  48.   I think that if anyone has regularly had bad experiences with the police it says more about them and their inability to behave respectfully (to anyone, not just people in uniform) than about the police themselves. In the UK, at any rate.

    Or maybe it is just their inability to be white.  Haven’t you followed any of the racism scandals dogging the Met at the moment? 

    Michael

  49. Actually, I was asking what their message was for the Olympic protest. You don’t know so you have to look it up.

    “FEMEN’s actions received criticisms in Ukraine for “being meaningless” or “being outright tasteless”. According to Ukrainian gender studies expert Tetyana Bureychak, most Ukrainian women are unimpressed by FEMEN. According to sociologist Oleh Demkiv of the Lviv University, FEMEN does not enjoy popular support.”^ That’s from the link you posted yourself. Also, how is protesting Sharia law by being topless in UK going to stop the legalization of prostitution in Ukraine? That, apparently, is supposed to be their main goal.

  50.  Yes, one has to ask why the police were so worried about bare breasts. Here in New Zealand we have an annual parade in the major cities called “Boobs on Bikes”. It was started in 2003 in response to two women being arrested for baring their breasts in public. The organiser, who unfortunately is a pornographer, argued that the arrest was in breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights because it discriminated against women and that has been upheld in court. 

  51. What, the ones from over a decade ago?

    Anyway, I’m sure racism is still a problem in parts of the Met and you might have a point in some areas of the country – I don’t want to do there; let’s not get side-tracked. These girls are white, so race clearly isn’t the issue here.

  52. Whose side-tracking ?  You raised the general point that you had never had a bad experience with the police.  I was replying to that. 

    I assume by a decade you mean last year 

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2

    Usually a decade means 10 years.  Then there would be this one 

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm

    and this one this year 

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2

    Also a few cyclists with their breasts covered 

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm

    but I guess that is also covered by the general “jump on anyone it’s the Olympics” rule the Met are operating under at the moment.  So lets go back to the whole “kettling” controversy 

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2

    Generally I admire the police particularly the UK police as they do a tough job without any weapons.  But the reports I have been reading in the five years or so are disturbing.

    (EDIT) Oh I forgot the Tomlinson case

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2

    Michael

  53.  Sounds a bit strange coming from a biologist. Women’s breasts are sexual signals. They make man brain think boinky-boink.

    wiki suggests this is not the same across all cultures

     Many cultures associate breasts with sexuality and tend to regard bare breasts as immodest or indecent. In some third-world cultures, like the Himba in northern Namibia, bare-breasted women are the social norm, while a woman’s thigh is highly sexualised and not exposed in public.  

    Michael

  54.  It would depend on the chest of course, but no matter the amount of Tom Selleckness to your upper body I highly doubt it creates the same degree of arousal as any random boob does to any random dude. If there is an equivalent, it’s probably the buttocks. Or maybe I just read too much Desmond Morris as a kid?

  55. I saw nothing wrong with the way the police handled the situation what so ever.

    And on a side note, sharia law and all of its brutality is needed. I live in Saudi Arabia and I have travelled throughout the middle east and Europe with conservative, moderate, and liberal muslims. My experience in dealing with these people is that in terms of social evolution they are not in any position to remove abayas and live in an all-inclusive society.

    For example, there is a reason why a male police officer cannot arrest a woman in Saudi, and I’ll leave it to your imaginations to guess what that reason is…..

    When I first arrived one of my Saudi colleagues broke down Saudi society to me thus:

    75% are uneducated animals who would cause absolute mayhem without these rules.

    15% define themselves as muslim and Saudi but at the same time fully understand and acknowledge their cultural and religious issues.

    10% are just like you and me.
     

  56. There’s nothing brutal about this, as the article suggests. One idiot constable was holding her head in a way that didn’t harm her but, I will admit, degraded her. She was held and placed in a hammer-lock because she was resisting arrest and the scratches on the back of her shoulder were most likely caused by the concrete when she was on her back. With the exception of one constable, who really was just a well-intentioned moron who didn’t do any harm, the police conducted themselves in a professional manner.

    As for why these women were arrested while the bikers weren’t, you need to understand that decisions on the ground are rarely the same as each other—especially when the situation differs. The women on the bikes may have had to be tackled off their bikes, risking injury to themselves and arresting officers. I would imagine that either the officers in the vicinity of the bikers didn’t notice the women, or simply made a different decision when it came to the cost benefit analysis of tackling someone on a bike that was moving at speed. However, we may never know.

  57. I see that one of my comments has been removed, so I would like to state for the record that it was never my intention to insult any member of this forum directly. My insults were directed instead at police in general wherever and whenever they behave in an Orwellian manner.

  58. Here in Spain, in the early 1980’s, a judge who was on holiday on the beach sued a girl who was topless on the grounds that the girl had aroused him and had steadfastly refused to wear the bra when requested. In the court hearing, the girl said that she also got aroused every time she saw the muscular torso of a half naked man but she didn’t ask men to cover their torsos and she had the same right to show her upper half when on a beach. In the end the girl was acquitted and the judge who had sued her was severely reprimanded by the Supreme Court. Twenty-two years later, the same judge refused to marry a gay couple claiming he was a practicing Catholic and didn’t agree with this type of weddings. This time he was suspended from employment and salary for 15 years.

  59. What exactly was the protest about? It looked more like a Zoo/Nuts inspired ‘get your tits out for the lads instead of putting your burkhas on for the lads’ stunt than a serious protest against the treatment of women under sharia law or, I assume, the band in Russia under threat of long prison sentences. Why didn’t they dress as mechanics, doctors, engineers, car drivers or strong women taking charge of their lives? So the men might have actually listened to what they were saying rather than going on about the topless element. That one fact rendered it utterly pointless and I still wouldn’t be sure what they were protesting about if it hadn’t been here.

    And nobody is mentioning female athlete Tahimini Kohistani who has had to fight every step of the way and endure threats and abuse during training just to come and run here yesterday. She presented a genuine protest and voice for womens rights in that backward primitive Sharia run nation! Maybe cos she didn’t get her tits out for the lads?

  60. Dirty Kuffar you’ve said it all with the gorgeous comment, it was just an attention seeking stunt to say look at me look at me. What exactly were they saying? You don’t seem to have commented on that at all. Clearly not resonated. Brave? Nope, what is going to happen to them in the UK exactly, a slap on the wrist and a photo shoot and write up in a lads mag where whatever it is they were protesting about will be sidelined?

    So how exactly have they contributed to the rights of the shrouded ladies taking over much of east London? I have no problem with anyone taking their clothes off and running around at all, but pretending they are doing it as a serious protest to further the rights of the shrouded women of east London! Get real.

  61. Exactly! And many of the comments here back up what you’re saying.

    And to be honest if you’re running round the security nightmare that the Olympics must be it’s a given that you’re going to get arrested. The whole place must be a magnet for terrorists without that distracting attention.

  62. The subsidiary point is men aren’t judged solely by their toros women are. And I’m pretty sure that if 60 year old women were deciding to go topless or running in that protest, as 60 year old men do regularly, there wouldn’t be half as much support from some of the people here. Perhaps if people protested against that attitude instead it wouldn’t be an issue anymore – and we could all wander round topless quite happily.

    As for their method of protest, I work in a school where we now overhear really bright girls who should be aiming for univeristies and careers talking constantly about saving up for boob jobs or vomiting in toilets before they digest just to fit some male stereotype. Thats not progress away from Sharia is it? It’s just taking a different track. What did these protestors contribute to that exactly? More than they think. Want to be noticed get your tits out. Want to be taken seriously for what you think/do -forget it.

    Streakers are fun and harmless and in a fun context – I doubt very much those streakers undress when making a serious point at work. And if they’d been promo girls for the sponsors it would also have been harmless sexism in a fun context. This was supposed to be a serious protest for women abused by men via sharia law! It looked like a girlie stunt to tittilate the readers of Nuts.

  63. On the contrary, that was exactly my attitude before I moved over there. I was convinced that islam was responsible for the misogyny of the region but once you get to grips with the culture you realise that it can’t be because the misogyny predates the religion.

    A lot of the rules and practices of islam just happened to conveniently combat a lot of the problems faced during the period it was invented.

  64.   Peter Grant
    Islam does not combat misogyny, it institutionalises it.

    ______________________

    (I don’t know how to quote)

    I didn’t say otherwise. I was actually referring to more mundane things such as dogs, pigs, and polygamy as an example of how culture influenced religion rather than religion influencing culture.

    My point is that islam cannot be responsible for the misogynistic attitudes because they existed before its conception. Islam takes its lead from Arabic culture, and Arabic culture is both tribal and patriarchal.

  65. There are many patriarchal tribal cultures which get along fine without the institutionalised brutality of sharia, with the added bonus that they are a lot easier to modernise. I’m not interested in “responsibility” or lack thereof, it is enough that we acknowledge Islam as a cause of misogyny, even if just one among many.

  66. It isn’t enough, more is needed. If you take away sharia then you’re still left with a societal attitude towards women which has no place in the 21st century.

    With this I sound just about as xenophobic as is possible but I would hope that I am at least sounding rational: Under the nominally secular Hosni Mubarak, Egypt may have had a liberal islamic population but sexual harassment was still prevalent. Bahrain and the UAE are liberal theocracies (to a certain extent) but the attitudes towards foreign women are still stuck in the 16C.

  67. I’m trying not to come across as a xenophobic bigot but it would appear that my points have been too watered down for you to realise the implications of removing sharia.

    Removing sharia would remove the extreme punishments and the threat of those extreme punishments is a huge part of the protections needed in such a misogynistic culture.

    Removing sharia should be the long term goal, they need to evolve to the point where they don’t need the sharia to keep them in check before you remove it.

    This is a cultural problem not a religious one, although it is compounded by the religion it is not the root.

  68.   Peter Grant
    Protections, like stoning women for being raped? Don’t try to pretend that sharia protects anyone but an elite patriarchy.

    __________________________

    Find me one quranic verse or hadith which stipulates the punishment for being raped as stoning. You just display an ignorance which is commonplace in the west and perpetuated by the media. Stop regurgitating the shit you’re fed and do some actual research into the subject. It is quite amazing but the truth is actually more sinister than that, at least being stoned for the “crime” of being raped would be straight forward, but in reality that is anything but the case.

    Stoning is the punishment for adultery or sex out of wedlock, and the burden of proof for rape is put squarely on the woman who must either rely on the conscience of the man to admit it, provide a male witness to the attack, or 4 female witnesses. Why? Because of a cultural belief that women are mentally inferior which has been perpetuated by one particular hadith in which Mohammed’s wife allegedly cheated on him, an act that was witnessed by 3 women, but he refused to believe it and then came up with the arbitrary rule that 4 must witness it. 

    The sharia doesn’t only give protection to an elite patriarchy, it gives protection to men in general. For god’s sake just look at the differences between a man divorcing a woman and vice versa.

    All a man has to do is say “I divorce you” 3 times (it is documented to have been done by text message) whereas a woman must either prove abuse (which is near impossible due to the 4 witness stipulation) or go through the courts and have her name dragged through the mud. They’ve also got to pay back the dowry which can run into 10s of thousands of £££. And if you want to know just how abusive a Saudi relationship is then I suggest you look up the divorce statistics and compare them to the women’s retreat in Jeddah’s statistics regarding spousal abuse. I don’t have the exact figures to hand but the divorce rate is somewhere in the mid 60%s and the abuse rate is a little over 50%. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  69. Choose one of the following:

    1) Live in a society where women have a lesser value than camels but laws and extreme punishments designed to deter.

    or

    2) Live in a society where women have a lesser value than camels and laws such as ours which are veritable slaps on the wrist in comparison.

    or

    3) Keep the rule of law as it is and attempt to educate your society in the ways of equality so that in the near future you won’t need to have laws and punishments designed to deter.

  70. That doesn’t sound like a relevant question in the context of the discussion. What that sounds like to me is a question you know I can’t answer designed to discredit my argument. You seem to have gone for the age old theist trick of starting with question 1 and continuing down the list to question 10 waiting for the time to come when I cannot answer the question with the intention of using that to back up your own argument.

    How ever, in my opinion there is no way to educate. You need to rely on the availability of information and the desire of the people to find and use it. The internet, social media, and access to international media will be the keys to the liberation of women. It’ll take time though.

  71. The Virgin Mary
    Re: Your defense of Sharia Law for “these” people.

    And on a side note, sharia law and all of its brutality is needed (in Saudi Arabia)….I am deadly serious.and ANYBODY (my caps) with experience of the Arab world would agree with me.

    Unlike yourself, I hate using the “I’ve been there and so I know best” arguement. But in this case it’s apt. I have experience of the Arab world and I disagree and therefore you are wrong.

     .Here is how you probably came to your erroneous conclusion: you just won’t fucking listen. You don’t know the difference between a conversation and a monologue and so your ignorance persists.
     
    Sharia is not synonymous with strict. It is laws taken from the Quran or the reported actions of the prophet. No society needs a law which includes stoning people for adultery. And that includes “these” people. There are no shades of grey here: only a fundamentalist or fuckwit could disagree.

    I’m not trying to come across as a xenophobic bigot here

    Oh dear.

  72. Actually, I do want to live in an anarchistic society, but only once people have grown up and can learn to live by the golden rule. I see anarchism as being an honourable state without limitations on individuals and without rules. Maybe not possible today, but in a 100 years, who knows? It is surely a more ambitious and a more optomistic view of what humans are capable of and a far more comforting idea of the future than the 1984 total government model.

  73. I have friends who’ve worked in both Saudi and Kuwait and unfortunately they would agree with virginmary’s breakdown of the populace though not with the need for sharia. A medieval mindset with 21st century technology is how one put it. Sharia seems to be part of that mindset, it was written by Mohammed, or made up as he went along, to deal with governing his own community.

    My friends weren’t sure exactly how you then deal with that situation. How exactly do you deal with large groups of largely uneducated men who think women are inferior and there simply for their use? And how do you actually start changing that attitude whilst protecting the women involved? 

    Those are issues that need careful thinking about – and when lives are involved there are always shades of grey..

  74. Maryam Namazie describes the arrests as ‘brutal’ when they clearly were not (‘brutal’ involves batons and firearms, as in other countries.) She says the British Police are somehow supporting islamist morality, when in fact they were simply upholding British secular law, which is exactly what they are paid to do.

    How else are Police officers supposed to halt a group of silly, deranged women running along the public highway annoying passers by without physically tackling them?

    Posting this shrill and clearly biased article on the Web’s premier atheist site beggars belief.  How is this rubbish supposed to further the cause of atheism?

    This kind of ‘journalism’ is more suited to some students’ union mag in 1977 than what is supposed to be a haven of clear thinking and truth.

    Even just linking the activities of these ridiculous women with the cause of rational atheism does no good at all. What on earth is happening to this formerly so excellent web site?

    It’s shocking and disappointing, and not for the reasons Ms Namazie thinks.

    ps: Peter Grant: Why have you had such bad experiences with the (British) Police?  When here, do you make a habit of breaking the law?

  75. Maybe this is beside the point, but the first thing that came to my mind when seeing this video is how tame the British Police are compared to NYC police.  Had this happened in NY during the Olympics, there’s no telling how many bullets would have been discharged and how many bodies of protestors and innocent bystanders alike, would have been carried away in body bags. At the very least, in NY,  I could envision bloody heads and faces smashed into concrete, arms broken, knees pressed into backs (not one set, more like 10 sets per woman) and the continual screams of  ‘get those cameras out of here’ (while we do our normal job of terrorizing our citizens with unnecessary, uncalled for and often deadly force.)   These British Police were so gentle it almost seemed unreal.  Truly, in NY and many other cities in the USA, this would have been a totally different scene. 

    The other thing that came to mind is that while the protest meant nothing to me because I couldn’t understand what was being said (screamed) or protested, the footage does stand as a reminder to the world at large what real breasts look like, as opposed to what we see in magazines and have begun to think of as the norm. 

  76.  I had a discussion about the subsidiary point with my Mother when I was about 6.  It went something like  ‘why can the boys take their tops off and I can’t!?’  After a while, I wore her down, and she said ‘fine, take off your top if you want to be made fun of!’   :(  I put it back on and,  sadly, took a small, begrudging step down the road of inequality.  Still bothers me that I didn’t do what I wanted to do and simply run around that hot summer day with my 6 year-old chest bared to the world!  I could run as fast as the boys, climb as high, be just as daring but I knew, in that moment, I was not as ‘free’ as they were.   Looking back, I don’t blame her for trying to spare me ridicule, which just makes the whole incident even more annoying to contemplate/remember.

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