Can we petition to have everyone who says the word “god” punished?


Like Minneapolis, the city of Mississauga is allowing mosques to broadcast the call to prayer during Ramadan, which seems reasonable, since 12% of the population is Muslim. The only problem is that some people are objecting, for bogus reasons.

An open letter attached to three petitions, two of them hosted on Change.org, calls on Mississauga to reverse the decision, arguing that broadcasting the Islamic call to prayer amounts to a “violation of human rights.”

“Those who would like to celebrate religious holidays should be allowed to do so without infringing on the rights of others,” the letter said.

It also suggests that hearing the Islamic call to prayer would trigger PTSD in soldiers who served for Canada in the Middle East. (Veteran Affairs Canada didn’t answer if any soldiers actually experience PTSD from hearing prayers but said any personnel needing help can reach out to them.)

I don’t get the argument that public religious practices are a violation of human rights. I am offended by the erection of churches all over my town; I can’t walk to the grocery store without passing 3 churches. Have my rights been violated? Hell no. If that’s a violation, that someone could argue that putting a giant spider outside my door for Halloween was violating their rights.

The PTSD argument needs more consideration, but is hard to take seriously in the absence of any individuals who are actually complaining about the problem. It also makes me wonder about the actual root of the problem: soldiers who were sent to Islamic countries to attack Muslims now get to come home and complain about Muslims because they acquired an aversion to the culture while they were bombing it? OK, PTSD is real and irrational, but I don’t think you get to blame the victims of a military operation for your problems. These soldiers, if they exist, should get help for their condition, but putting the problem on the shoulders of Muslim citizens is inappropriate.

And change.org? Really? Once upon a time that site seemed like a good idea, but it has become a morass of petitions, petitions, petitions, all of them destined to be ignored, and they have diluted what influence they might have once had to an absurd degree. Does anyone bother to read those petitions anywhere?

Comments

  1. whheydt says

    What puzzles me is that the petitioners are complaining that a call to prayer in a US city will cause PTSD flareups in Canadian ex-military personnel. If they’d complained about PTSD effects to former US troops, it would at least make some sense.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    whheydt @1: Mississauga is in Canada. Just west of Toronto.

    Can we petition to have everyone who says the word “god” punished?

    Including the muezzin?

  3. chrislawson says

    That PTSD argument is bogus. It’s a reason for providing psychological services to affected people. It’s not a reason for banning benign religious practices. We don’t suppress fundamental human rights because some people might be triggered by them. Although it seems conservatives do.

  4. doubter says

    It should be noted that Mississauga, along with the rest of the suburban communities that surround Toronto, house the bloc of voters who put the late Rob Ford (Remember Crack Mayor?) into office. It is a significant power base for his thuggish brother Doug Ford, now the Premier of Ontario. It is locally referred to as “Ford Country”.

  5. erichoug says

    I’ll be honest, Whenever I have been in the middle east, I always quite liked the call to prayer.

    One morning in Dubai, I was running through the Fish market at early in the AM (jet lag) when they started Salat al-fajr. This busy place suddenly became quiet and hundreds of men and women took a break to pray.

    I’m not a believer but, after the first day, I would always stop and stand to the side respectfully and use the time to meditate or think about the upcoming day.

    Of course if you were at the big mall, you never heard ANY of the prayer calls.

  6. stuffin says

    PTSD exacerbation is caused by things like loud noises (explosions/sirens) or scenes of gore like accidents or shootings. Experiences that bring back the terrible memories are what cause PTSD to exacerbate. Unless every time the call to prayer caused an explosion or set off gunfire, I doubt it is a bona fide rationale. I’m a medical professional who has worked closely with Veterans for 14 years. Never heard of, or saw in any medical note where the call to prayers set off their symptoms. I mean it is possible, but probably last on the list of things that would do that.

  7. mrshinyandnew says

    Mississauga, while next to Toronto, doesn’t contain many Rob Ford voters on the basis of they were voting for their own mayor at the time. It is, however, not an insignificant source of support for the Progressive Conservative party in provincial politics and the Conservative Party of Canada in federal politics, which both attract more racists on average than the other parties.

  8. says

    One of my less-informed family members posted a link to a Change.org petition to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. The caption said, “We recalled Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger. We can replace Gavin Newsom!” I mildly pointed out that Change.org petitions cannot recall elected public officials. They’re just for letting off steam. Clueless people are called to arms. But at least they spelled Gov. Newsom’s name correctly, which was a cut above their usual nonsense.

  9. ColeYote says

    I’m not sure how anyone still takes change.org seriously after a petition to remake season 8 of Game of Thrones “with competent writers” became one of the most-signed in the website’s history.

  10. says

    I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has noticed that all through the United States, from early November to the middle of January, stores and other public places are deluged with stomach-turningly wretched “Xmas music.” It’s a wonder that I don’t puke at it.
    I’d like to sign a petition to eliminate ALL “Xmas music” or “Christmas music” from public places and from radio stations, throughout the year. Except for Bach, of course; and for some Handel, selectively.

  11. velociraptor says

    “PTSD is real and irrational”

    Been under bombardment, perfesser?

  12. says

    @#7, stuffin:

    PTSD exacerbation is caused by things like loud noises (explosions/sirens) or scenes of gore like accidents or shootings.

    No, actually, this is false. Your second sentence is true:

    Experiences that bring back the terrible memories are what cause PTSD to exacerbate.

    PTSD is triggered by whatever random thing your mind associates with the trauma — we mostly hear about former soldiers and refugees with PTSD, who usually have loud noises and flashes of light as triggers, but it can be any sensory experience at all, even smells and tastes. I know of at least one person who is a victim of abuse who has their PTSD set off by the feel of lying on a hard, narrow surface.

  13. jrkrideau says

    I get to listen to the bells of the Roman Catholic Church every day, why not call to prayer for Ramadan.

    Are not Toronto & Barrie doing the same in agreeing to a broadcasted call to prayer during Ramadan?

    Actually, for all I know the local mosque may be doing this but the Cathedral is less than a kilometre away and the only local mosque that I know of is 8 or 10 km away.

  14. jrkrideau says

    @ 6 erichoug
    Of course if you were at the big mall, you never heard ANY of the prayer calls.

    I was in Dhahran/Al Khobar SA and we had a old matawah stumping through the (tiny) mall, waving a cane and shouting “Salah! Salah!”.

  15. says

    Monty Python had a sketch called “Bells” lampooning this attitude. Turned it around with a Straw Atheist complaining about Sunday church bells and how no other religion intrudes on everyday life by having free rein to make noise. In 1972. Complaining about other people’s calls to prayer has been with us for a long, long time.

  16. microraptor says

    It’s interesting that these people seem to only remember that PTSD is a thing that exists when they can use the potential of PTSD to promote their own agenda. Funny how that works.

  17. nomdeplume says

    Look, I’d sign that petition of you draw one up PZ. Never thought I would see a world driven mad by religion in the year 2020.

  18. wzrd1 says

    The PTSD argument needs more consideration, but is hard to take seriously in the absence of any individuals who are actually complaining about the problem.

    Yeah, I do get that. I still have some PTSD that flares at times, but thankfully, not all that often and family and friends defuse those rare outbursts.
    That said, I retired from the US Army, became a contractor in a Muslim nation in the GCC states and managed hearing the Call each and every day, not bothering to check, fairly soon, the time on my watch and when that was retired, my phone.
    I do that because, when you’ve held a person’s hand while they died, which choice do you make? Remove all comfort against the inevitable and turn their final moments into agony or comfort them?

    OK, PTSD things aside, if anyone wants to godfucking come after me over some godbastardly reports, have at it. ;)
    Any that feel it necessary to actually do so, feel free. I have a watch, feel free to push the 17th button, the Blow Me button.
    Anyone else, kindly send chicken ramen, I’m horribly addicted to it…
    Well, ramen and milk. I have enough to provide bread for another month or two.

    In an actual hostile environment, my preferred method of handling things was tying the shoelaces or other footware together, preferably, against a fixed object.
    First loud noise was entertaining.

  19. blf says

    The local situation is similar to jrkrideau@16, I hear the bells from at least one of the local raping children’s cult churches every(-ish) day. They’re actually Ok. I have no idea of any of the local mosques broadcast a call to prayer, but also am unsure where any are… and until recently, also didn’t know where the(? a?) local synagogue was, until I noticed a discreet sign in side-street perhaps 200m from the lair.

    David Fanshaw’s “African Sanctus” (perhaps best known for its amazing eponymous opening track (video)) has a nice version of the Call to Prayer (video). I met the late Mr Fanshaw at a live performance of “African Sanctus” in London many yonks ago, and he did indeed seem to be the nice amazing man the conductor in the first video describes.

  20. ORigel says

    “I’d like to sign a petition to eliminate ALL “Xmas music” or “Christmas music” from public places and from radio stations, throughout the year. Except for Bach, of course; and for some Handel, selectively.”

    Ditto.

  21. blf says

    I be up for a petition banning French rap “music” — which the mildly deranged penguin points out is a WMD, banned on all known civilized planets…
    (I’m joking, whilst there certainly is music (“scare quoted” or not) I strongly dislike, I also lean towards the suggestion “banning” such music is akin to book- or “heretic”-burning — But this does not mean absolutely anything can be blared out at high volume to an involuntary public.)

  22. Alverant says

    I heard prayers start at 5am so if they want to do something that wakes people up that early, I have a problem.
    If the law says you can’t amplify something above a certain dB level, there’s no reason to let someone violate that law just because they’re a house of worship.

    But yea, those other reasons are suspicious. If you’re going to object, at least have it be for the right reason.

  23. says

    #7 PTSD exacerbation is caused by things like loud noises (explosions/sirens) or scenes of gore like accidents or shootings.
    Nope – my PTSD is triggered by finding crumbs on a counter next to a toaster, and canaries singing

  24. jrkrideau says

    @ 27 Alverant
    I heard prayers start at 5am
    Depends on the time of year and where on the globe you are located. Fajr, the dawn prayer is scheduled for 04:09 tomorrow where I live.

    Just google for prayer times to check the times in your area.

    Toronto is only granting a noise exemption for sundown pray (Maghrib, I think).

  25. jrkrideau says

    @ 23 blf
    David Fanshaw’s “African Sanctus” (perhaps best known for its amazing eponymous opening track (video)) has a nice version of the Call to Prayer

    You must be kidding! That sounds horrible and about as authentic as a plastic-wrapped croissant from Wonderbread.

  26. davenash says

    It’s 2020 already… let the believers get a smartphone app if they need to hear the call to prayer or the Angelus.

  27. wzrd1 says

    @Kathi Rick, please never trivialize the pain and suffering of real PTSD sufferers,
    Ever.
    You trivialize every violent crime victim, every rape victim, every accident victim and every soldier, to only mention a few, their pain.
    That is unacceptable, for anyone, ever.
    BTW, do explain to me how a rape or a tsunami are loud.
    Every trigger is a real thing, you trivialized everyone who has any form of PTSD.

  28. jack16 says

    The bells, to me, usually sound a dreary bonging. I’d much prefer change ringing as is frequently done in England.
    jack16

  29. says

    #32 I trivialized nothing you have no idea the life changing HORROR that crumbs next to a toaster and canaries singing means. My father fed my beloved canary Beethoven down the garbage disposal because I didn’t clean his cage fast enough. FUCKFuCKFUCKFUCK you and now I am right back there

  30. Bruce H says

    I haven’t thought about change.org in years. Hell, I forgot they even existed; and I’m a reasonably aware liberal progressive. Even given a sample size of one, that should tell you something.

  31. says

    FWIW, Kathi, I’m sorry that happened.

    PTSD is a funny beast. While there are some common triggers, everybody’s case is different, and everybody’s trauma is different.

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