The brazen demands of religious extremists never cease to amaze me. In the London borough of Hackney we have the case of members of a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) community putting up posters in Hebrew and English telling women which side of the street they should walk on.
The Shomrim group, whose Jewish volunteers support policing in the area, said they were put up by an orthodox Jewish group for a religious parade this week.
People from the religious sect are prohibited from touching members of the opposite sex unless they are married or closely related to them.
More than 20,000 Haredi Jews live in the area – the third largest group in the world.
Needless to say this has caused a backlash with one women saying “If I saw one of those, I’d walk on the other side out of sheer cussedness.”
The signs were taken down but the council seems surprisingly open to the idea of imposing such a restriction in future just for the duration of the parade.
Superintendent Andy Walker, from Hackney police, said officers had spoken to the parade organisers about “potential misinterpretation” of the signs.
He added: “They have agreed that next year they will only by written in Hebrew and will be removed more swiftly after the event.”
The newspaper article goes on to say that “homophobic posters quoting lines from the Torah which condemned homosexuality have previously been taken down after they appeared on notice boards in nearby Amhurst Park.” Maybe the Haredim want the park to be free of gays when they go there.
I am fed up with this kind of accommodation to bigoted religious views. Afraid of accidentally touching women? Don’t like to encounter gays? Then stay inside your house or go and live in some remote outpost with people who share your views. Others should not have to accommodate your ridiculous beliefs.