Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Month: April 2010 (page 2 of 4)

Morocco Bans Swimsuits

(Note: This is a beautifully done, elaborate joke)

From Ahmed BlaFrancia’s blog, 3alash?:

ردا على مشاريع القوانين الجديدة في بعض الدول الأوروبية التي تمس الحريات الدينية للمواطنين المغاربة في أوروبا بمنعها لإرتداء الحجاب والنقاب وما شابه ذلك، قررت الحكومة المغربية في اجتماع عاجل منع كل القاطنين والسياح الأوروبيين من ارتداء ملابس مخلة بالحياء ولا تتطابق مع القيم الدينية والأخلاقية التي يعتز بها المغاربة.

وجاء ضمن الملابس الممنوعة: بذلات البحر والبيكيني والسراويل القصيرة. كما ألزم القانون الأجانب الراغبين بزيارة المدن العتيقة بارتداء الجلباب المغربي التقليدي في كل المناطق التي تقرب بأقل من 1 كلم من المسجد.

ولمزيد من التفاصيل حول قانون “اللباس المحترم في المملكة الشريفة”، يرجى من وكالات الأسفار والفاعلين السياحيين الإتصال بوزارة الأوقاف والشؤون الإسلامية التي أعدت دليلا شاملا للباس المحترم مترجم لكثير من اللغات الأوروبية ليتم توزيعه على السياح. أما بالنسبة للأجانب القاطنين فعليهم تسلم هذا الدليل من أقرب إدارة للأمن الوطني.

ويستم تغريم كل المخالفين للقانون الجديد 1000 درهم على المخالفة الأولى و3000 درهم على الثانية ومواجهة الطرد وسحب بطاقة الإقامة على المخالفة الثالثة.

وأوضح بلاغ حكومي في هذا الشأن بأن هذا القانون الجديد ليس بقرار عنصري ولا يفرق بين الأجانب على أساس ديني أو عنصري ولا يبغي فرض الشريعة الإسلامية على الأقلية غير المسلمة.

In response to new draft laws in some European countries that infringe upon the religious freedoms of Moroccan citizens in Europe by banning hijab and niqaab and such, the Moroccan government has decided, in an urgent meeting, to ban all European tourists and residents from wearing indecent clothing that do not conform with the religious and moral values that the Moroccans cherish.

The banned outfits are swimming suits, bikinis, and shorts. Also, the law requires foreigners who wish to visit the old cities to wear the traditional Moroccan djellaba in all areas that are within 1 km from a mosque.

For more details about the law, dubbed “Decent Clothing in the Cherifian Kingdom,” travel agencies and tour guides should call the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs, which has prepared a comprehensive guide on decent clothing that’s available in many European languages, to be distributed to tourists. As for resident foreigners, they should receive or acquire this guide from the nearest national security administration.

Those who don’t comply with the new law will be fined 1,000 dirhams for the first offense, and 3,000 dirhams the second time and will face deportation and the revocation of their residency card when they break the law for the third time.

A governmental announcement on the new law states that this is not a racist decision, and that it doesn’t differentiate foreigners on the basis of religion or race, and Islamic Shari’a should not be enforced on the non-Muslim minority.

Let’s be clear: In Morocco, swimsuits are common on every beach, and in the old cities, even Moroccan women feel comfortable in jeans and modest tops. If this were real, it would be nothing but a response to the racist laws being implemented across Europe.

Still, I can’t help but wonder if it would be enforced on Moroccan women as well, who most certainly wear Western clothing within 1km of a mosque (note: mosques are every meter or so in some old parts of cities; the “law” is clearly meant to enforce djellaba within their entirety).

Truth be told, I love the djellaba. I own three, and I don’t mind wearing them. But forcing djellaba, just like forcing someone to not wear niqaab, is ridiculous.

Thanks Anas Qtiesh for the rapid translation.

How Banking Should Be

Net Freedom Starts at Home

David Ignatius is one journalist whose work I greatly respect. I followed his PostGlobal project with Fareed Zakaria for its duration and know that, as a journalist, he tends toward openness and honesty, with a definite global (and sometimes even developing world) slant.

Yesterday, in a Washington Post op-ed entitled, “The case for spreading press freedom around the world,” he made the case for spreading press (and Internet) freedom globally, a sentiment I typically agree with, assuming it’s done right.

Utilizing a forthcoming “press-freedom manifesto” by Lee Bollinger, Ignatius argues that “‘America’s “Manifest Destiny’ in the 21st century is to extend to the world the standards of our own First Amendment.” Though there are subtleties to that argument that I might disagree with, generally speaking, I agree with Ignatius (and by extension, Bollinger), that it’s in the best interest of the United States to support press and Internet freedom globally.

But as the old adage goes, such sentiments must start at home.

As I’ve written before, the U.S. often acts as a de facto
censor toward other countries when it comes to certain technologies. Recently proposed HR 2278, for example, would block certain satellite TV stations not only from US consumption, but (were the satellite providers to follow U.S. diktats) from their intended audiences as well. And while the Department of Treasury recently loosened restrictions barring certain downloads from netizens in Cuba, Iran, and Sudan, Department of Commerce restrictions still make basic use of certain Internet sites and tools nearly impossible for citizens in Syria.

Ignatius notes that private companies are often affected by other countries’ censorship, but fails to mention how his own government affects private companies’ ability to remain open in other countries.

If you ask me, the U.S. needs to walk the walk before it starts talking the talk.

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