Austria: Judge Rules That Yodeling Offends Muslims
by Elad Benari
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It seems as though in Austria, the popular yodel is an insult to Muslims.
An Austrian court has recently fined a citizen for yodeling while mowing his lawn, according to a report in The Kronen Zeitung newspaper.
The citizen, 63-year-old Helmut G., was told by the court that his yodeling offended his next-door Muslim neighbors, who accused him of trying to mock and imitate the call of the Muezzin.
In Muslim tradition, the Muezzin is the chosen person at a mosque who leads the call to prayer at Friday services and the five daily times for prayer from one of the mosque's minarets.
The yodel is a song which is sung with an extended note which rapidly and repeatedly changes in pitch and makes a high-low-high-low sound. Developed in the Central Alps as a method of communication between alpine mountaineers or between alpine villages, the yodel later became part of the region's traditional lore and musical expression. The technique is used in many cultures throughout the world and Austria is one of the countries where it is most popular.
Unfortunately for Helmut G., his neighbors were in the middle of a prayer when he started to yodel. The Kronen Zeitung reported that he was fined 800 Euros after judges ruled that he could have tried to offend his neighbors and ridicule their belief.
Helmut G. clarified that “It was not my intention to imitate or insult them. I simply started to yodel a few tunes because I was in such a good mood.”
James Meeks: White Women Shouldn't Get Affirmative Action From City
State Senator James Meeks, a reverend at a South Side church and a candidate for mayor of Chicago, was trying to talk about his education policy yesterday.
Instead, during a forum on WVON radio, he wound up making another round of controversial comments about race. (Scroll down to watch.)
Meeks was talking about the city's programs designed to benefit minority- and women-owned enterprises, which mandate that a certain share of city contracts go to such businesses.
"I think that the word 'minority,' from our standpoint, should mean African-American," Meeks said, as reported by FOX Chicago. "I don't think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title. That's why our numbers cannot improve, because we use women, Asians and Hispanics, who are not people of color, who are not people who have been discriminated against."
Later, when asked to clarify, he said that the City Hall programs should only stop their set-asides for "white women."
This is not the first time Meeks has raised a stir with some racially motivated remarks. A fiery sermon he gave at his Salem Baptist Church several years ago likened Mayor Daley to a "slave master" and called some black elected officials "house n*****s" who "are gonna fight you to protect that white man."
Meeks has also struggled with remarks he made about homosexuality, describing it as "an evil sickness" in 2006. During the campaign season, he's sought at leaset publicly to make amends with the gay community, though he continued to vote against a civil unions bill in the state legislature.
obama made a specific, special, SINGULAR recognition yesterday of Kwanzaa from the White House....(a fake holiday by a black racist felon)
"a real organization that was originally named United Slaves but now calls itself The Organization Us (or simply Us or US). It was created some 40 years ago, in Southern California, by a black racist who had begun life as Ron N. Everett but later had assumed the name Maulana Karenga.
Karenga -- known chiefly as the inventor of Kwanzaa, a fake "African" holiday that he contrived in 1966 -- has enjoyed a truly colorful career. He was a prominent black nationalist during the 1960s, when his organization was involved in various violent operations. He was sent to prison in 1971, after he and some of his pals tortured two women with a soldering iron and a vise, among other things. He emerged from prison in 1974, and a few years later -- in a maneuver that even The Kingfish might have found difficult -- he got himself installed as the chairman of the Department of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach. CSULB wasn't the only American university that got the racial willies during the 1970s and set up a tin-pot black-studies department, but CSULB (as far as I know) was the only one that hired a chairman who was a violent felon. "
Just how offensive is Sandra Lee's crazy Kwanzaa cake?
A recent mea culpa from the creator of this Internet sensation raises the question: What is Kwanzaa food? Video
By Francis Lam
Just how offensive is Sandra Lee's crazy Kwanzaa cake?
Sandra Lee and her Kwanzaa cake.
It was the cultural mash-up that was destined for the Viral Video Hall of Fame: Sandra "Queen of QVC, First Lady of New York" Lee going all-out for African America with her Kwanzaa Cake.
In the clip, the very perky -- and it must be said, white -- Lee takes her Semi-Homemade philosophy (yes, she refers to it as a "philosophy," and yes, it's trademarked) to new heights, using an array of store-bought cake, frosting, canned pie filling and corn nuts to "celebrate" the African-American holiday. As you might guess, the video takes pride of place in the pantheon of hilarious culinary disaster videos.
PBS’s Smiley Sees ‘Tolerance Decreasing’ in America, U.S. Seen as ‘Arrogant, Elitist, Pompous’
On Monday’s Tavis Smiley show on PBS, during a discussion with author Robert Putnam to discuss his book American Grace, after Putnam recounted the central thesis that various religions in America - and even non-religious people - tend to tolerate each other well compared to other countries, host Smiley made known his view that tolerance is "decreasing" in America and cited attitudes toward Muslims as a recent example. Smiley:
I'm not so sure that our religiosity these days makes us as tolerant as we think we are. Witness, you know, any number of examples of late - namely, Muslims come to mind - about how our tolerance is, it seems to me, decreasing, not increasing.
Moments later, the PBS host brought up the negative views of America held by some as being a nation that is "arrogant," "elitist," "pompous," and "nationalistic." As he analyzed the book’s title by defining the word "grace" as being "unmerited favor," Smiley continued:
And if American grace is then an unmerited favor, I’m trying to juxtapose that grace with what some see as our increasing arrogance, our increasing elitism, how it is that we could be the beneficiaries of this unmerited favor, this grace, and yet, around the world, we don’t appear to be graceful to so many other people. They see us as arrogant, elitist pompous, and not even just patriotic, but increasingly nationalistic.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, December 20, Tavis Smiley Show on PBS:
TAVIS SMILEY: You didn’t say this, but you intimated this, I think, so this is my term, not yours, but I’m not so sure that our religiosity these days makes us as tolerant as we think we are. Witness, you know, any number of examples of late - namely, Muslims come to mind-
ROBERT PUTNAM: Sure.
SMILEY: -about how our tolerance is, it seems to me, decreasing, not increasing.
PUTNAM: Well, you know, that’s, you have to have the right historical perspective here. A hundred years ago, there were anti-Catholic riots in America. People were killed in the conflict between Catholics and Protestants, and, by now, our book shows Catholics are - along with Jews - probably the most popular religious group - outside their own circle, I mean - in America. Muslims are a special case. They’re new to America largely, and, of course, it seems to be tied up with the whole war on terror and all that.
But we found that there were three groups actually - not just one - that was kind of a little less among Americans. One is Mormons, one is Muslims, and one is Buddhists. Now, last I heard, there weren’t any Buddhist terrorists who were out wandering around. It’s, I think the reason that Muslims and Buddhists and Mormons are held in less high esteem is because they’re, we don’t know them. Most Americans really don’t know a Muslim or a Mormon or a Buddhist.
The proof of the pudding is that in the African-American community - which looks like a lot of the rest of America in most of its religious views, in fact, is even more religious than most Americans - African-American attitudes toward Muslims are substantially more favorable. Why is that? Because, in the African-American community, there are more Muslims, and therefore more folks in the African-American community, when they’re asked that question, are responding about real people that they really know and have respect for.
SMILEY: I don’t have data on this, but I think it’s also because black people know what it means to be disavowed, to be disenfranchised, to be the other-
PUTNAM: Yup, that’s right.
SMILEY: -in America and they resonate with what Muslims may be going through at this moment in American history, but I digress on that point. I’m still, I want to stay with this title before I go inside, and it’s a dense text, so before I go a little deeper inside, I’m still so fascinated by this title, American Grace. As you were talking just now, I’m thinking that, to my mind at least, grace is - how would I define this? - an unmerited favor, grace is an unmerited favor. And if American grace is then an unmerited favor, I’m trying to juxtapose that grace with what some see as our increasing arrogance, our increasing elitism, how it is that we could be the beneficiaries of this unmerited favor, this grace, and yet, around the world, we don’t appear to be graceful to so many other people. They see us as arrogant, elitist-
SMILEY: -pompous, and not even just patriotic, but increasingly nationalistic.
PUTNAM: Yeah, well, if I were writing a book about international affairs, I would completely agree with you. That’s exactly the stance that we seem to be taking in the world. And, although the advent of Barack Obama as the leader of the country has had some effect on that because he doesn’t seem like such an arrogant guy, I agree that in terms of foreign policy we seem like a pretty strong, powerful, sometimes even to people we seem like a bully. But we were looking at a different aspect of American society here in this book. We’re looking at the degree to which Americans are able to manage strong, divergent faiths. ..
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