On France, Richard Dawkins And Atos

The French President has stated what might be obvious to many people, but seems to go unsaid in Britain, that the victims in Toulouse last year were killed because they were Jews.

A similar point should have been made in the British media when killers deliberately sought out Mumbai’s Chabad House, however, given the peculiar nature of the British press, it wasn’t.

Tell MAMA takes on Richard Dawkins:

“Naturally, Dawkins, his supporters, and the broader movement of self-identified ‘liberal, nice, decent people’ may yet defend themselves as critics of Islam who do not adopt the violent extremist attitudes of EDL members. Many of them may well be decent people though it is important that they realise that their actions may feed into the rhetoric of hate organisations like the EDL.

Sometimes, the language and comments used may well be perceived by Muslims as being identical to groups like the EDL and whilst they are coming from different places, the impact and perceptions on Muslim individuals may be the same – whether from the liberal or political left or whether from the Far Right.

Any form of speech that lumps groups of individuals together and abuses them collectively is unacceptable in a tolerant, diverse, and equal society.

Furthermore, these ‘decent, nice and liberal people’ need to understand that some in society attack Islam to undermine and dehumanise Muslims. Some genuinely believe that by attacking Islam, they are having no impact on the perception of Muslims by others.

It is therefore not a simple issue and saying that hating and attacking Islam does not impact or affect Muslims in our communities is naive.”[My emphasis.]

Spot on.

Having scanned Richard Dawkins’ timeline on Twitter I can see the issues.

It is peppered with questionable argumentation, fields of straw men and a depressingly simplistic approach to the issue of racism. It would take a whole blog post to pick them apart, but his failure to understand that religious identities can be used as a way to attack ethnic minorities is surprising.

Even President Hollande got that point fairly quickly and he is not a professional academic.

Elsewhere, Atos’s callousness knows no bounds, as the Independent reports:

“A Thalidomide victim with a brain tumour who is blind in one eye and has trouble walking is battling against a decision by Atos that she is capable of “work related activity”.

Martine White, 50, is due to appear at a tribunal in which she will appeal against the decision which she fears could force her to take employment or face losing up to half of her benefits.

The mother of four from Burnley, Lancashire, is one of a number of victims of the morning sickness drug which left more than 500 people in Britain with severe birth defects who claim they are being unfairly treated by the Government’s controversial back-to-work assessors.

Mrs White, who has deformed arms and is facing spinal surgery which she fears could put her permanently in a wheelchair, was assessed by Atos and moved from incapacity benefit to the new employment and support allowance last year.

She was placed in the category which deemed she was capable of “work-related activity” which can require attending a “work-related interview” once a month and putting together a CV in order to continue receiving her benefits of £212.70 a fortnight.

Mrs White, whose late husband Michael was also affected by Thalidomide, has twice appealed against her assessment but has now been told to argue her case in front of a judge. “

Antisemitic Attack In Villeurbanne, France

After a brief report on the radio yesterday I haven’t heard much concerning the events in Villeurbanne, France and the antisemitic attack that occurred, but the EJP has more:

“The Interior Ministry says the attack by 10 assailants on the three people was anti-Semitic, and has called for the assailants to be brought to justice. Two of the victims were hospitalized.

The office of Manuel Valls said Sunday that police were mobilized to arrest those behind the attack a night earlier in Villeurbaine, near the city of Lyon.

The ministry said the assailants wielded a hammer and an iron bar.

One youth had an open wound to the head and a girl was struck in the neck, authorities said. The third was hit in the arm.

French Interior Minister Valls, denouncing the assault, said he was “determined to fight against any aggression of a religious nature.

“These extremely serious acts are a deliberate attack against our republic, which allows everyone, without exception, to live freely and in all safety in their religious affiliation,” his office said in a statement.

The victims were hospitalised but later released as police stepped up patrols in the neighbourhood.

The National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism said the attackers were of North African origin.

Investigations were under way and no suspects had been arrested.

“We are in the 21st century and there are youngsters assaulting those wearing Jewish skull caps with hammers and bars,” lawyer Alain Jakubowicz of French civil liberties group Licra said.

Lyon is located about 470 kilometres (300 miles) south of Paris. The Jewish community there is about 20,000 strong.

France is home to western Europe’s largest Jewish community, estimated at about 600,000 people, and has faced bouts of violent anti-Semitism.”

Update 1: I can’t see much on the English news feeds, but 20 Minutes in France covers it, and Le Progres in French.