The Sharing Group Discussion on Refugee Assimilation

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ 

Sister Natalie Trog shared, on The Sharing Group, on the 05th May 2017: “I am a Muslim and I say well done Switzerland.  When in Rome, do what the Romans do.  Simple as that.”  This is the article: Swiss Deny Citizenship to Muslim Girls Who Balked at Swimming with Boys. 

Brother Khalid Yaqub: It is just a swimming class.  If people want to abstain, why begrudge their choice?  Withholding citizenship on this basis is harsh. 

Sister Natalie Trog: I am sure they can wear a burkini. 

Brother Ibrahim Underwood: Switzerland is quite an isolated society, and odd, with definite dashes of xenophobia, so I would hesitate to say it is a clearcut case.  On the other hand, another canton rejected some annoying hipster paleo-diet gluten free person’s application who kept complaining about XYZ in the village she lived in.  Her neighbours had to decide on her application for citizenship.  A few years ago they had a referendum to ban minarets as architectural features, and to my joy, some major punk and rockabilly labels that I listen to actively campaigned against it.  The referendum was passed though. 

Sister Natalie Trog: I heard about that.  I wish I could vote on my annoying neighbours’ citizenship.  The thing is that paleo-diet tree hugger was forcing her belief down her neighbours’ throat and even went as far to protest their cows.  She was pretty much annoying.  I did not hear about the minaret thing though. 

Brother Edis Bezdrob: Really?  You do not want to swim next to the boys from your class?  Okay, no problem, we will send you back to the Syria/Iraq/Yemen/Libya. 

Sister Chloë Green: But there are lots of single gender schools in Switzerland so it seems that you can refuse to swim with boys if you can afford to pay for it but not if you are poor. 

Brother Ismail: Surely for someone refusing to swim with the opposite gender for religious reasons or otherwise, it is not fair grounds for denial of citizenship, is it?  I do not see how not wanting to participate in a swimming class is “failure to assimilate”.  Mandatory participation with penalties that harsh for non-compliance seems a little fascist to me. 

Sister Chloë Green: Wriggling out of co-education swim classes is pretty standard for teenage girls in every culture.  Switzerland is a little fascist.  They looked the other way when the Germans filled their vaults with stolen gold and refused to release it after the war. 

Brother Adam Badi: Clearly there is a common sense path here - removing citizenship is a foolish right wing knee jerk reaction which if - in fact it is damn right childish.  But this is a minor point.  The elephant in the room is that Europeans are becoming increasing racist and paranoid, seeing immigrants arrive in their nations, worried that their culture is dying out - but their culture is dying out because they are on average having less than 2 children, perhaps even less than 1 child per family, like in Italy.  Economically, the European governments cannot function with an increasingly elderly population with not enough younger taxpayers to support them - thus immigrants are the only way.  Why else would Germany accept 800,000 immigrants? 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: I believe the point here is values.  In Singapore, I would be concerned, even as a Muslim, if we had a huge influx from any particular country, and they did not share our values.  I would oppose, for example, a huge migration of Arabs or Pakistanis, or even non-Muslims, if they insisted on their gender segregation, their ideas of gender relations and their expectations of our culture.  That means they would be unlikely to mix with the general population.  In such a case, it is justified. 

Sister Lucinda Beverley Burton: I agree.  I have lived in UK in one of the “Muslim” neighbourhoods, and was made to feel extremely uncomfortable, which upset me because I was brought up in a liberal accepting family.  To be made to feel uncomfortable in my own country where my family has lived for as many generations that can be traced made me very sad.  So yes, I agree with Switzerland in this case.  Plus, I thought the whole hijab and burkini wearing option is so that Muslim women can integrate. 

Brother Jon Terry: You come into a country which has opened up itself to accept you and now you want to impose your values and lifestyles.  Muslim brotherhood?  I would tell such people, you learn and adapt but not at the expense of the five pillars and Islamic ethics, or else go find some other country to accept you.  Nothing racist about it unless the society is such. 

Sister Naomi Green: Values?  What are Western values exactly?  Secularism has replaced traditional values which really are not that different from mainstream Islamic ones. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: I support secular values.  Religion should be a private matter.  We have Malaysia across the border to remind us what Muslims are like when they are the majority.  I oppose anything that comes close to bringing us in that direction. 

Sister Naomi Green: People are jerks the world over.  You can live in a secular society and not go swimming.  It was never an issue when I did it as a child.  Forced secularisation, especially, on gender issues is just as scary as far as I am concerned.  It has led parts of the West to allow men in changing rooms and even domestic abuse shelters, and God Forbid, we dare complain about men in our personal spaces, especially if they wear a dress.  This whole thing is mad. 

Brother Adam Badi: Well you may not have had a huge influx, but colonialism was in effect the imposition of another culture’s values on another culture.  Like, for example, the British forcing the Irish not to speak Gaelic.  Being mixed race and of mixed heritage, it is harder for me to appreciate the values point - we live in an ever changing globalist where “values” are disappearing fast and we are adopting a monocultural attitude towards things due to the communications and television.  This reactionary move to the right across Europe and in the United States will sadly end in failure due to the product of their own technological advances. 

Not to go off topic, this particular case it was the compulsory element of forcing Muslims girls to swim with boys - this goes against liberalism to force people to adopt something which goes against their values.  I think denying citizenship is extreme. 

Sister Naomi Green: Exactly, Adam.  For all the problems in Muslim countries, there is an idealisation of “Western values”.  That does not stack up to reality.  We have many issues, just in different guises.  Not all Westerners are the same or liberal either. 

Brother Adam Badi: What exactly are secular values?  Is this not simply the imposition of another cultures values on another?  Sorry, but to me, when people say secularism, they do not really know what it means. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: But is it?  This entire idea of being a citizen is to have a say in who comes into our country.  I have spoken out about denying citizenship to certain groups in Singapore that I felt did it share our values.  Our population is 15% Muslim, and we have stripped citizenship from Muslims of a certain country and deported them for not sharing our values.  Why should we allow people to come here and tell us how to run our system and live our lives, demand special treatment because “Islam”, and try to impose certain ideas?  I see the same thing with the Swiss.  Citizenship is not a right for immigrants and refugees to demand.  If they do not intend to conform, they should find a country that suits them better. 

Brother Adam Badi: They are not telling you how to run your system; they do not want to swim with boys!  I agree - you have to earn it and largely you should conform with the rules of society - but this kind of response over something trivial was extreme in opinion. 

Sister Naomi Green: Citizenship is not a right but it is insane to block it for something Western, Christian, native girls also do - some for also religious reasons, just not Islam. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: Why should they go to another country, and then impose their values and be difficult about it? 

Brother Edis Bezdrob: It seems like they are just escaping wars, no big deal.  And these evil young girls attend schools and learned languages are imposing their values and making threats to poor Swiss values because they refused to swim next to boys from the class, and that will send them back to wars.  Really?  How would you feel if your 12 year-old daughter or sister refused to swim next to boys in the class, and the country is going to send back all your family to your war zone where more than half of your family is killed? 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: In my culture, we have no issues with swimming classes.  Also, there is no discussion here about deportation.  They are not going to be repatriated to a war zone; that is against international law.  They will enter the refugee pool and be assigned elsewhere.  What is their priority anyway?  Building a new life or co-educational classes.  I have no sympathy for them, and I do not think we should encourage this sort of entitlement.  As an immigrant, they have no right to go somewhere and demand changes. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: That is just pure bigotry regardless of what your culture is.  How on earth can it be justifiable to send somebody out of the country they live in because they refuse to take part in co-educational classes? 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: They are not citizens.  That means it is legally justifiable. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: Regardless.  It is certainly not a moral thing to do it. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: That is subjective.  The Swiss believe it is acceptable, and it is their country. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: No, it is actually immoral to throw somebody out of a country over something like this. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: That is your opinion.  It is not a universal one, nor is it a Swiss one.  I can understand the Swiss position.  People are welcomed as guests, and already they want to impose their values?  And using religion as an excuse?  That is rude, and I can understand why the Swiss would throw them out.  I do not subscribe to this idea Muslims have that they deserve exemptions.  Hopefully, this would teach them, and others like them a lesson. 

Brother Edis Bezdrob: For instance Guantanamo Bay tells us that every sort of injustice is justifiable when it comes to Muslims; it is a test from Allah (s.w.t.), and the Reward is higher. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: You cannot say that something is right or wrong to do just because the majority of people in a political community might believe so.  That would then make a whole lot of things moral which otherwise are not.  These girls are not trying to impose anything on anyone; they just refuse to take part in a class that requires them to undress in front of other males.  How does that impose something on someone? 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: They are not “undressing” in front of others.  They are in a swim class together.  They are in an educational system.  We have the same in Singapore. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: How are they not undressing if they have to wear swimsuits? 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: I have no problem with swimsuits, and consider it quite normal.  If they believe it a major issue, they should consider moving to a Muslim-majority country. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: So if people disagree with you then they must be wrong, and therefore if they do not like putting on swimsuits then they can move to a Muslim country? 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: Did I say that?  I merely proved on the other path of the thread that an argument on the basis of morality is invalid.  They are not citizens, so they cannot force the issue.  If they insist on it, it would make more sense for them to move elsewhere. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: Well, that is a ridiculous argument Terence.  That means that a government can then do anything to refugees within its borders simply because it has sovereignty and the refugees are not citizens.   I think most people with any sense of morality would reject that. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: We saw what governments do to refugees when they treat them as they want on our television - when they have been beaten, herded and abused for even trying to enter a country.  The line is fine and the leap not too great from denying people basic human rights to flogging them and treating people worse than animals are treated.  The reason it is an emotive topic is because we use our moral compass to judge whether what we see around us is actually the right thing to do.  This sense of what is right based on the view that everyone is equal informs legislation that enshrines equality and freedoms few of us enjoy across the world.  We quite rightly have issue with governments who ride rough shod over such rights as a means to control their people.  The people affected in this article are humans and whether they are citizens or not they should be protected by international laws that allows freedom of movement and to practice a faith that does not harm anyone else.  A country who treats those within its borders like this are unlikely to treat other people seen as 'different' with any respect. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: That is an emotive leap of logic, Brother Damir Sans Souci.  The government has the right to deny citizenship, and they did.  We do the same in Singapore, and it is the same anywhere else in the world.  As for practice of faith, that is subjective.  I personally see no basis for this in shari’ah.  This is a cultural, not religious issue. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: It does not make it any less important that it is more of a cultural issue than a religious one.  It is not about whether or not they receive citizenship, but about removing them from the country for not taking part in co-educational swimming classes.  If the best counter-argument to what I am saying is that law and morality do not have to coincide then that is more of a deflection than a counter-argument.  It still stands that to remove refugees on this basis is morally wrong. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: There is no evidence that they have been removed from any country, only that citizenship was denied.  Please stick to the facts.  Denying citizenship is easy.  But repatriation is a fraught legal process even for convicted criminal elements. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: I am addressing the contention that you and others have made that in this case removing these refugees from Switzerland, denying them refuge, would be an entirely unproblematic and legitimate thing to do. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: When a refugee is denied citizenship, they are invited to take it up with another host country.  They cannot be simply repatriated unless there is a place to be repatriated to.  For example, Singapore repatriated all Vietnamese refugees at the conclusion of the American War by 1984, long after hostilities ended and reconstruction had been completed.  They were each given US$10,000, and it was a quick process.  An option for the EU, if they do not want to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees is to put them up in proper camps, and then pay them to go back once hostilities have ended.  It kills several birds with one stone.  It is also cheaper than integrating an entire new community in a short time. 

Sister Asha Zuri: When people visit Muslim majority countries, we are expected to respect the culture.  Switzerland is setting the tone and making sure Muslims that come there respect Switzerland’s culture and although rather harshly, are acknowledging they will not bend to Muslim will.  When I moved from the United States to my Muslim country, I did not expect them to cater to me.  I respectfully adhere to their cultural norms, even the ones I disagree with, so as to not be disrespectful or create discord between myself and my neighbours.  For example, I would not dare go to the mosque and try to pray with the men because my religion makes that normal.  I would stay on the women’s side or not go at all. 

Sister Ash Kimber: Where do you draw the line?  Does that mean they should also be made to remove hijab or abandon their religions as well or faced being sent back?  Dangerous game to play. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: That is the slippery slope argument, and it goes both ways.  None of these are issues of creed, so there is no issue of them abandoning their religion. 

Sister Naomi Green: Brother Terence, there is nothing wrong with girls being excused from swimming classes.  Something that was perfectly acceptable when I was a girl 15 years ago or so, and not out of line with many traditional schools throughout Europe who always had segregated swim classes.  The problem is they are only jumping up and down because these girls are foreign and Muslim.  It has never been an issue for European girls like me when we did it. 

Brother Mikaiil Galliana: That is true.  I remember when I was in school, a lot of the Italian and Greek girls would either not attend or would be covered in some attempt to be modest.  Usually there was no issue with that. 

Sister Naomi Green: I was a non-Muslim teenage girl once.  I would not have been happy to go to mixed gender swimming classes either.  I did not enter a swimming pool for well over a decade until I discovered the wonder that is burkini.  Sorry, but this is a ridiculous petty decision.  It is quite possible to be part of Western society and keep traditions like this.  I have heard similar arguments to this against Muslim immigrants in regards to drinking alcohol and various other things.  Thing is, my own parents are teetotal, keep certain modesty rules, and no one questions their nationality just because they are white Christians.  We do not all have to be the same.  As for “in Rome, do as the Romans do”, well sorry, not all Romans act as popular culture dictates anyway.  It is xenophobia, sorry. 

Sister Natalie Trog: My argument is this: there are always ways to circumvent laws without compromising our religion.  I do not see a problem when Olympians wear hijab or burkini when swimming or playing other sports.  I do not see a problem, when people sit next to each other be in lectures, public transportation, and so forth.  I admit this is a slippery slope and it goes both ways.  But one has to see reason and logic instead of not assimilating and expect special treatment.  What next?  Women-only cabins because women and men cannot be mixed together?  You come into a country which has opened up itself to accept you and now you want to impose your values and lifestyles.  Sorry, not sorry. 

With regards to the argument of abandoning hijab, clothing is an individual right.  You can wear hijab, you can wear skirt, you can wear whatever you want, it is pretty much your entitlement.  No one can impose on their belief to force you to wear anything against your wish.  But in this case, the class was compulsory.  Since you have to attend it, you just have to find ways to cover your ‘awrah, if that is the concern.  Islam is easy; people makes it difficult. 

Sister Naomi Green: No one is forcing themselves on others by sitting out of a swim class.  In secondary school my mother wrote me a note every week asking me to be excused.  Were we imposing our views on the school too?  What you cannot seem to see is, when I did it no one questioned anything because I had white Christian privilege.  When a Muslim or person of colour does it, it becomes an issue.  This is xenophobia in action. 

Sister Natalie Trog: The way I see it, when you did it, it was a different climate altogether.  Different laws, different countries.  You can cry foul, and xenophobia, and I respect that.  This group is all about differences.  But my position still stands and I applaud the Swiss decision. 

Sister Naomi Green: Nobody is “imposing” anything by doing what they think is best.  Imposing is making others do it.  Which they are not. 

Sister Natalie Trog: I am talking about your rights to wear anything you want.  No one can impose on their belief to force you to wear anything against your wish is what I am saying. 

Sister Naomi Green: The only people enforcing their beliefs is the Swiss secularists demanding girls swim with boys.  I wonder if they would apply the same rule to orthodox Jewish or fundamentalist Christian women who may also have these issues.  As I said, I see the difference in how my own fundamentalist Christian parents never have their European citizenship questioned even though their “norms” are more closely aligned to Islamic rather than secular ones.  Yet Muslims and people of colour are forever being expected to prove themselves. 

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: The reasons for refusing citizenship here are debatable but how far does this go?  What will the Swiss insist on next?  Their history suggests this is about more than just “integration”. 

Sister Natalie Trog: Likewise the same can be said, how far will the Muslims push for their rights?  What next?  It is a slippery slope for both sides and I acknowledge that.  On one hand, it's our freedom of religion and oppressive behaviours, on the other hand, it is imposing undue hardship on others to make way for our beliefs. 

Sister Naomi Green: My region is less than 0.2% Muslim by population.  Yet we have women-only taxi company and women-only driving school.  The leader of the UK Opposition recently suggested women-only carriages in trains and tubes. 

Sister Chloë Green: They already have women-only carriages in Japan and Brazil and a few other countries. The concept has also been floated by conservative politicians in the UK. 

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: That is a nonsensical strawman argument, Sister Natalie, because the issue is what happened, not what might happen later.  Christian women like women-only swimming classes too and we get them in the UK.  So whilst the handshake situation was Muslim stupidity, the swim situation shows how the overall policy of the Swiss government is highly suspect. 

Brother Edis Bezdrob: Sister Naomi Green, it seems like less than 0.2% have great influence there, they imposed their culture pretty much. 

Sister Naomi Green: You think the Muslims did it?  It is the natives who want this.  Muslims here have no power or influence whatsoever.  I am involved in trying to renovate a building for first purpose built Islamic Centre here.  Currently, the community only meets in houses.  We have a lot of opposition including from the largest political party, some of whom think we are sort of Satanists.  My daughter’s school has a few families who cannot eat with the other kids, since they consider them to be disbelievers, so go home for lunch.  They also stay home during Easter and Christmas parties, and events and excluded from some classes.  They do not attend birthday parties and adults do not vote in elections.  Their mothers wear headscarves.  And they are not Muslim.  They are Christian sect called the Plymouth Brethren.  We have a small population of them live near us.  We all get on. 

Brother Ibrahim Underwood: They date back to the Republican period. 

Sister Naomi Green: Yes.  There are still a few families here.  They tend to live together as they have limits on how far they can travel on a Sunday and socialising issues. 

Brother Jak Kilby: This shows the Swiss to be xenophobes.  It does them no favours. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: I live in Tower Hamlets, and it is a pretty well mixed borough in London.  I love that it is so mixed and can see that as a community we keep our traditions and benefit from being part of the traditions of others.  For me, I live in a country whose history is proof that blending cultures and traditions is not a bad thing.  We fear what we do not understand but I can see increasing levels of racism and xenophobia sweeping across Europe, aimed at those who are “different”.  We voted on Brexit based on the lies about immigration- so many people who come to the UK actually contribute so much but this is forgotten when we see only skin colour and religion.  If we are to accept people as residents then I believe compromise goes both ways.  What a great opportunity to learn about others and their beliefs, a way forward to build joint traditions and culture based on mutual respect and understanding?  Unless, you fear for the loss of your own way of life and will hold on to it regardless.  The Independent article from last year pretty much sums up what I know in terms of the Qur’an and sunnah regarding modesty, but what world are we a part of when we refuse to accept difference?  When we refuse to learn from others and seek to understand their own beliefs?  It is a world that frightens me - well done to Switzerland for giving the xenophobes another stick to hit us with. 

“When in Rome do what the Romans do” is a term that is easily used to justify racism and oppression.  I am grateful to live in a community that is mixed and free to express their cultures and faith without fear.  My fear is that this is under threat from those who argue “if you come over here, you have to do as we say, regardless of your beliefs and traditions” sound familiar?  It does to me, and reflects a past of Great Britain that I am not proud of.  We have a long way to go, but culture develops over time.  Whilst we accept subtle changes as we embrace each new community - the lessons we learn about our commonality are powerful, something that those in power do not want us to do - unite as one and wake up to what the real oppression is. 

Sister Naomi Green: Exactly.  This trend of imposing a particular set of secular “values” as essential to being European is worrying and the fact that so many are accepting it.  Similar attitudes to Jewish people before WW2, especially in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, that they are not quite “the same” as the rest of us. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: History is there for us to learn from. 

Sister Sally Walker: All the schools I attended in England and in Wales had segregated swimming and PE lessons.  It was the norm.  To hold Switzerland up as a fine example of a country is ridiculous.  The country that only gave women the vote in 1972?  That has questionable morals in regards to who its banks deal with past and present?  The country has never had a decent moral compass.  Plus, after years of holidays in Europe, I can honestly say that the Swiss, British, French, German, Dutch, and many others do not do the “when in Rome” bit.  They find a resort they love and turn it into a little “mini” whatever.  None like trying local culture, food or customs.  Then, they cry foul when folk do not mingle with them back in their own countries.  Always double standards with most white Europeans. 

Brother Khalid Yaqub: Some degree of integration is necessary, sure.  People should learn the language and generally respect local customs to the degree that one comfortably can, and graciously think of the well-being of all in society.  But enforced conformity for the sake of conformity is a very disturbing idea. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Not really.  Either shape up and assimilate or go back home.  That is scary.  Either everyone be the same or go back.  History teaches us many things and there are examples of how whole communities have been oppressed and almost wiped out on that basis.  I cannot subscribe to that ideology at all.  Sorry but it sounds like fascism.  That is something I will fight against with my last breath.  I think integration happens over time with acceptance of others and understanding of their differences. 

Brother Khalid Yaqub: I think that so long as the modesty dress option is there, along with supervision, the parents should encourage the girls to participate.  However, I would not force them too, and I certainly would not revoke citizenship on such a basis.  That is draconian. 

Brother Husan Ruzehaji: Denying citizenship for refusing a swimming class seems a little farfetched though, Sister Natalie Trog.  Especially given the age of the children. 

Sister Naomi Green: Again, Sister Natalie what about White Christians who are born and raised in Europe.  Should they assimilate to these secular values also?  With or without that comment the whole concept of this post is disturbing. 

Sister Natalie Trog: Sister Naomi Green, yes, I agree white Christians who are native should assimilate as well, otherwise if special preference were to be given to one over the other would be racism and discrimination. 

Sister Naomi Green: But why?  Why do we have to conform to secular values that pretend women and men are the same?  Why should my 60-year-old mother or 97-year-old grandmother have to compromise their values because you decide so?  No one has ever accused them of “not assimilating” so the racism and discrimination has already happened.  As I said many times these issues were never issues until “immigrants” started to do it.  No it seems increasingly modern secular culture is becoming less tolerant than ever.  Our way or no way. 

Sister Naomi Green: It is not just religion.  I have non-religious friends who also would not go swimming.  When it comes to women’s bodies forced “assimilation” should never be okay.  You do know many changing rooms are now mixed gender.  That's why I wouldn't even go to some places and take my children either. 

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: Everyone here knows how much I am frustrated by the behaviour of Muslims today, but it would be remiss not to acknowledge how Western imperialism in the East and South has led to these influxes of people desperately fleeing the chaos in their own countries caused by others. 

Sister Brenda Ní Mhurchú: I visited Oman, quite a conservative country, and female tourists were walking around in shorts and strappy tops without a problem.  So this mantra about “they expect us to follow their values in their countries” is a bit of a myth. 

Sister Naomi Green: Absolutely.  Same in UAE, Maldives, Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt.  They go out of their way to make provisions for tourists to wear as they want and drink.  Apparently even in Saudi Arabia, they have special expatriate beaches where women wear bikinis. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: “When in Rome do as the Romans do.”  What if the Romans do not do Islam? 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: Islam is the theology, not the culture.  If they are so concerned about their version of Islam, they should have gone to a Muslim country.  Whether the “Romans” do Islam is irrelevant then. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: Yeah, and the Romans still do not do it.  Theology is also something you do, not just beliefs you hold in your head. 

Brother Ibrahim Underwood: When in Rome meant participating in all the Roman civic cults - the Jewish and later Christian refusal to worship others gods was seen as treason. 

Sister Naomi Green: And what if Romans are a diverse group that are supposedly open to diverse ways of dress and opinions?  Only some it seems. 

Brother John Lehmann: Generally speaking, I do not have a problem with women seeking their own safe spaces.  Some women feel intimidated by having men in their space in a non-work environment, that is why we have female only gymnasiums and pool sessions. 

Sister Naomi Green: The burkini is banned in many European pools.  It is not in the UK but I am not sure about Switzerland.  It is not just about clothing options.  Many places now have mixed changing rooms, including mixed showers.  This is uncomfortable for many women of all backgrounds.  Segregated swimming is part of European history and culture as well.  Many non-Muslim girls including myself excluded themselves from mixed classes in the past with no fuss. 

Brother Ibrahim Underwood: The hypocrisy with this is that it will be a double standard masquerading as some vaunted liberty.  If it is White, it is modern and progressive;, if it is not White, it is medieval and regressive.  Liberty is fine and good, but not as a ruse.  The French Republic did not want to extend its liberty to the Haitians, who had to fight them for it.  The flowering of religious liberty in Republican England did not extend to Catholic, non-English speaking Ireland, whose people were brutally suppressed by those same proponents of religious freedom in England.  The list goes on through the centuries since then. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: Our attitudes towards this issue reflect where we are in the world and our personal experiences.  I notice that those who are in my part of the world see it as valid because of our experience with our neighbours.  Those in Europe and Australia have a different perspective because of a different historical experience.  Another point to mention is that the refugees are coming from a background of being a Muslim majority, and having their cultural values dominant.  In Europe, they are not used to being a minority, and there is this discordance. 

Sister Vivi YZ: Thanks for the enlightening comments on white privilege, traditional values and conservative non-Muslim communities in Europe.  I had a conversation with a former Muslim married to an Englishman recently.  Now a proud Christian, she says all Muslims are argumentative, bad people, always causing problems in England.  There were no problems whatsoever before Muslims came.  When I asked her about the bombings in England by the IRA, her response was, “But they are Christians!” 

Brother Adam Badi: It is a shame the biggest aversion to Islam is the attitude and behaviour of those who claim to be followers of Muhammad (s.a.w.) - one sign of disease is that people believe saying swalawat on the Prophet (s.a.w.) is an innovation.  So why should God help such people who do not praise His Beloved? 

Sister Naomi Green: I am in UK.  We have many, many homegrown ignorant and argumentative people.  People get put out of their houses here regularly.  All by local native groups.  Offshoots of the IRA still attack people too.  My area has low immigration yet the highest domestic abuse rates in the UK.  None of this has anything to do with Muslims.  Selective vision. 

Sister Vivi YZ: She claims to be a thinking person, Sister Naomi.  Selective vision, indeed. 

Sister Sally Walker: She obviously did not live in England during the IRA bombings.  Plus other right wing nut jobs that have bombed gay bars and multicultural towns in England.  It is only very recently “Islamic” terror attacks have happened; three I can think of.  Many more done by others, but in recent times they are not called terrorists or attacks if they are done by non-Muslims; they are then lone wolf troubled nutters. 

Sister Naomi Green: Exactly. I grew up a few miles from Belfast.  I remember the army on the streets and heard a few bombs.  It is insane terror is seen as a Muslim thing.  It never was here. 

Sister Vivi YZ: I happened to be in London when the IRA bombed a building in the financial district.  She claims to have been in England for 20 years, but lived in 6 cities off and on.  Coming back to what she said, it seems bombings by Christians are far more acceptable.  I really do not know how that is. 

Sister Naomi Green: I think in some colonialised minds Christian = West = civilised = superior.  That there is some rational reason behind IRA campaign whereas ISIS is just mindless.  But reality is both involve identity and politics as well as religion.  Believe me, the IRA did some very sick things, Including kidnapping, murdering and burying a mother of 6 for putting a pillow under a dying 17-year-old soldier’s head.  They only found her body recently after decades.  They were shooting parents in front of their children and torture.  Offshoot groups still occasionally do punishment beatings and kneecappings for anti-social behaviour. 

Sister Andra Riddle Goddard: Integration and assimilation, not hiding out in a little bubble-world, is absolutely necessary if one wishes to be part of a society.  Of course here, they are not into the fairly culturally-obligatory cheek-kissing as a greeting, except within their own gender, but handshaking is also an option.  Refuse that, and I would be surprised if any country would want to welcome these people as citizens.  Of course, in the US, they would probably have the right of refusal, with the “freedom of religion” but there really does need to be a limit to what is and is not acceptable in society. 

Brother Adam Badi: America was founded on the basis of religious freedom - not anti-religion in the context of secularism from the French Revolution.  Also, most countries in Europe regard themselves as Christian nations and not secular in the French sense. 

Sister Asha Zuri: I do not understand why so many seem to have such a huge issue with this.  This is Switzerland’s position: “The Swiss have become the subject of media outrage because of their decisions, but their rules show that when an immigrant chooses to make a host country his home he must abide by the rules of that country.” 

If you do not want to abide by their rules, do not go.  Choose another country to move to.  I travel all over the world, but I go out of my way to avoid Arab countries for that very reason-- I do not want to abide by their rules.  It was unavoidable once and I ended up in the UAE briefly.  Thankfully, I was dressed “appropriately” because I had flown in from home, but the looks my friend and I received because she had on a spaghetti strap dress were ridiculous.  At one place, we were stared at by the men, and at one point, rudely questioned about the whereabouts of our male guardians.  I only encountered this behaviour outside of the tourist area.  I do remember in another UAE city, about 3-4 weeks ago, an unmarried couple was put in jail because they'd been seen touching and briefly kissing each other.  Unfortunately, they were oblivious to local laws and suffered the consequences.  But, because I do know, I warn about these things to friends that insist on traveling to countries like that. 

They need to know what they are getting themselves into, just like Muslim immigrants that go to Switzerland.  These countries have the same intolerance level, which we are not really used to for Western countries.  People do see their way of life changing and they do not like it.  In the US, it is quite possible to be an immigrant or part of an immigrant community and for the most part, not be involved in American culture.  There are communities that have everything they need, so they stay to themselves.  If that cannot be recreated in Switzerland, then staying out of Switzerland is a great idea.  In my mind, I think Switzerland has no intentions of hiring a second teacher and redoing the swimming class curriculum to appease immigrants.  That is reasonable as there is no logical reason for the change. 

Although, again, I do believe it is a bit ridiculous to deny citizenship because of the aforementioned reasons, I can understand Switzerland’s point.  If you have a problem with this small thing now, what else will you have a problem with later -  are you going to be a problem child?  The country is making sure the answer to that question is no. 

Brother Edis Bezdrob: I was in Turkey 7 years ago on a school trip, get drunk 3 of 5 nights while staying there.  Nobody give a damn about it.  I was in Turkey, once again, 2 years ago, staying in hostel in Istanbul, guys from the dormitory bought some vodka and went outside to drink with some ladies; nobody gave a damn about it.  I was in Tunisia last year for Ramadhan and I went on the beach.  There were tourist couples kissing on the beach; nobody gave a damn about it.  If you come to my country, in the capital where 80% are Muslims, you can organise queer festival, get drunk, walk in bikini, mix with boys, whatever, nobody gives a damn as long as you do not violate our freedom.  It is unfair to make standards and judge the entire Muslim world based on Emirati, Saudi, Kuwaiti, or Qatari customs. 

It is unfair and unjust for young girls and send them back to their war zones just because they refused to swim in the same pool with boys with whom they share classroom, not imposing anything to anyone.  Even if they were not Muslim would you still have the same opinion? 

Sister Naomi Green: Exactly Edris.  The world will not end because a few girls do not want to swim.  They are not imposing their beliefs on anyone else by holding theirs.  It is such a minor issue that other people have done over the years without fuss as they were not Muslim.  It is also unfair to judge the entire Islamic majority countries by the Gulf.  Even there you see many things but anyone who has travelled about a bit has seen pretty much everything as you described. 

No one is asking them to change the country.  That is what is so frustrating about this debate.  Muslims, in general, are not asking the West to change for them either.  It is largely a myth that is being promoted a lot to oppose all immigration and we have seen a rise in xenophobic attacks on people going about their business as a result.  A few days ago a family I know had their house destroyed simply for being Black and Muslim.  The mother is due to give birth in a month and they have other young children.  All were in the house when it was attacked.  They never harmed anyone in their life they merely looked and dressed a little different to the norm.  Welcome to the liberal West. 

Do not think this is not a wider issue than religion in Europe.  My neighbours are Christian, but Indian.  They got new security put in.  They told us so did 25 other Indian families they know of due to racial attacks.  So many comments here worrying about a few girls swimming being the first step in a sliding slope into Islamic Europe.  It is insane.  The Muslims have little or no power in Europe.  I am more worried about the creeping fascism in Europe.  It is never really gone away.  But these days, it has gone mainstream.  Islamophobia is merely the thin end of the wedge in wider racist and xenophobic attitudes. 

We had one Chinese councillor in Belfast - the only ethnic minority representative in the whole country.  She stood up once for the Muslim community and basically got chased out of her job for it.  The racist abuse she suffered was appalling.  When her name is mentioned, people still talk about how she should go home. 

Sister Asha Zuri: Sister Naomi Green, I am a black American from the United States of America.  You do not have to preach to me about being discriminated against because of your ethnicity and colour of your skin.  I am the last person that needs a lesson on that, for various reasons.  Outside of the US, I have also been discriminated against because of my nationality-- even before I ever opened my mouth.  I have been in a few situations where I had to lie about my nationality and use an accent to avoid being physically hurt.  That is part of the reason I do not carry my passport on me when I am in other countries.  Switzerland has gender integrated swimming classes and taking it is a requirement for citizenship.  If they start offering gender segregated classes to appease non-citizens, they will have in fact, changed the country.  A small change, yes, but a change nonetheless. 

Sister Naomi Green: The could just allow the girls not to swim.  Quite simple  Many in Switzerland have the same attitudes as those Whites in the American south.  The same argument was used to argue against ending slavery and segregation.  Because with this mindset only they have the “superior” culture and understanding of the world compared to the “savage” races.  Segregated swimming is not alien to Europe and I think many would actually like it back regardless of religion. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: But the point here is that they are not citizens.  In Switzerland, the residents of a canton vote on the citizenship request of their neighbours. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Did anyone notice there are no quotes or comments from those affected by these authoritarian laws?  There are no details of how the girls or the others affected and fined by simply not swimming, shaking hands or conforming to other, quite honestly ridiculous “norms” arrived in Switzerland.  Yet, there are many judgemental comments, given the lack of detail, by posters on here.  My faith in this group has taken a knock in this thread.  Our Prophet (s.a.w.) showed understanding and acceptance of others and their traditions and beliefs.  Yet we are prepared to send girls “back home” for not wanting to swim with boys in their class. 

I volunteered in Calais supporting the refugees stranded there waiting for asylum - ordinary people like you and me, nurses, teachers, administrators, factory workers, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.  They had all escaped their countries in fear of their lives and all they wanted was a future, a better life.  I wondered how I would be treated if I were in the same situation and wondered how I would feel if my world had been blown apart only for me to find myself in a situation where my safe haven treated me in such an authoritarian way.  Treated me as a second class citizen, then made me wear a star on my clothes, forced me to live in ghettos, stopped me from working in certain jobs, denied me access to health care and education.  After the Second World War, a group of Jewish ex-service men called the 43 Group, returned home to find fascist organising in their area.  They quite simply smashed their meetings and stood toe to toe with these people because they understood that to allow the fascists and racists to organise sets us on a road that will lead to persecution of anyone who is different.  Whether that be colour or skin, religion, sexual orientation, ability and disability and for anyone vulnerable.  Allowing someone to swim separately would build bridges to understanding between different communities, respecting someone's wish not to shake hands should trigger a desire to find a common ground to base a lasting friendship.  Often we find reasons to justify our own prejudices rather than ask questions to understand someone else’s point of view.  To broad brush judgement with such little information is deeply disturbing.  It is very scary in fact.  This is the kind of thinking that will always divide us and leave us open to being manipulated into accepting such treatment of our fellow brothers and sisters as the norm. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: They are not going to be “sent back” to a war zone.  That would be against international law.  What is likely to happen is that they would be resettled elsewhere.  This is not about fascism, but a clash of cultures.  Whilst one example of each story was highlighted, I agree that there is likely more.  We had a Swiss convert to Islam on this group before she left, and her experience with the Muslims is an insight into why there is so much resentment against them. 

I am not going to defend any person because they share the same religion or ethnicity or nationality.  What the Swiss have done is exercise their right to deny citizenship.  Citizenship is not a right anywhere, and no one can demand it.  If Muslims want to move into new communities, they must also learn to be flexible about their interactions.  This is not a legitimate issue of theory we can all get behind. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: I disagree, Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis, - there are many examples of where this leads to and in fact proof is in recent history.  By singling out the issue you miss the wider picture.  We are talking about criminalising people for not shaking hands and for not sharing a swimming pool.  If that doesn't worry anyone then that is in itself a worry.  If we do not have a sense of community with our brothers across the world so that we fight for the basic human rights of everyone then who will fight for us?  I refuse to see situations in isolation, and I will identify with my fellow humans around the world.  I find what is common and base my desire to join with them on those commonalities. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: We have to consider the underlying concerns of the established population.  If we never address those, every subsequent minority would be victimised.  If that means they should learn to shake hands for a longer term solution, then so be it.  We cannot change people by going against the ride of reactive nationalism.  All the emotive outrage will not change the legalities of sovereignty. 

Brother Mike Cucuz: It is not criminalising anything.  A foreigner has requested citizenship, which the government is by no means required to grant to a foreigner.  It is quite normal for the host country to demand certain forms of integration into the host society for someone requesting to become a citizen of that same society.  In the US one has to pass language tests, as well as history and civics classes.  If the culture of the host nation is unacceptable to the foreigner it is up to the foreigner to either adjust, or find another host nation whose culture is more in line with their own.  The fact of the matter is that secular Western culture does not segregate activities, or life, according to the sexes.  Muslims have to deal with that when choosing to live in the West, just as non-Muslims must deal with segregation of the sexes when choosing to live in a Muslim country that enforces it. 

Brother Brenda Ní Mhurchú: Actually the sexes are often segregated in schools, hospitals, sports activities, and even - yes - swimming sessions.  Not at all for exclusively religious reasons.  And there is a vast difference between fleeing a war zone and choosing to live in another country for any other reason. 

Sister Naomi Green: Exactly, Sister Brenda.  We had segregated sports classes throughout secondary school.  With the exception of swimming, due to transport issues - which I was excused from with zero fuss.  The increasing mixing of genders for physical education has been given as one reason that female participation in school sports is down on a few years ago.  That has nothing to do with religion.  Everything to do with being a normal teenage girl going through puberty.  Mixed swimming has another embarrassing dimension as some will not swim on their period so everyone knows it is “your time”. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Thank you, Sister Naomi!  One of the biggest issues for women throughout the world is personal hygiene - I read some research that illustrated some disturbing ways in which women are treated during their period and how there are places where women need to hide their periods.  If we seek to treat everyone humanly then young girls and women will not need to be forced into situations that makes them feel uncomfortable.  Apologies if what I have said upsets anyone - trying to find a way to express my views on a topic I know very little about. 

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Brother Dawud, such a mixture of different situations that have no relationship except in your thoughts.  One thing, if you were to go to their country you would abide by their government sponsored shari’ah law or face harsh punishments if not rejected and forced out of the country.  Stop trying to compare oranges and pineapples.  Just because they are both fruit, the scenarios does not fit. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: That is quite ridiculous!  Please read what I have said.  You honestly think that because others are treated in a certain way we should do the same?  Where would that lead us to?  It is okay for us to force authoritarian laws on immigrants because we would be treated the same way if we went to the country they come from.  And read what others have posted as well.  Honestly. 

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: I did read what you said.  As it relates to governments, they have authority over their sovereign lands.  If you do not like those laws, then leave.  Do not come begging for safety and then claim your safety is based on your own rules and not those of the country they want to enter.  The ridiculousness flows from an expectation that is unreasonable on the face of the law.  You confuse morals with laws, and morals do not trump laws when it relates to a societies right to govern their lands. 

The bottomline are the laws of the Swiss.  You may not like, but will that make a difference?  You know it will not. If people, and in this instance, my co-religionist as Muslims, do not have the right to demand something they themselves would not grant in their home country, the mindset of people continues to hound them because they are demanding a right that is not theirs to claim.  Do not go to someone’s house and tell them how to run their own home in the way you want.  See how such thinking does not grant the space for discussion. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: One of the reasons my faith in this group has taken a knock.  I disagree completely and find your views worrying.  You clearly agree with authoritarian governments and what that leads to which is the persecution of those in the community who are different.  May try looking at the history of many countries who force their authoritarian views of others and see what that has led to.  If we do not learn from history, we are destined to repeat it.  You honestly think it is okay to criminalise someone for not shaking hands?  For not wanting to swim with males? 

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Brother Dawud, as a lawyer and having worked in international human rights, there are always limitations on the guests in a home country to abide by the laws of that country, even when they do not want to abide by them due to “religious” concerns.  If they do not like it, again, flights leave quite often to other places. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: And so, Brother Daayiee, you are suggesting that in this case rules should be followed rather than what's morally right? 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Heartless, truly heartless.  I will not be asking for your services anytime soon!  I am quite taken aback. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: By an extension of Brother Daayiee’s logic the West should also forbid the building of mosques since it is against the law in Saudi Arabia to build churches.  Ridiculous! 

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Brother Damir Sans Souci, you too are confused about the difference between the two standards of moral and laws.  Some laws can be unjust and can be challenged on their influence and effect that is chilling to all of the citizens such as not granting the rights to engage in certain behaviours that all citizens do enjoy, not unlike education, access to food, and such like.  However, morality is based on a number of factors that have nothing to do with the laws and the benefits derived from those laws.  In the end, your morals do not have to be the same morals as I uphold, for yours can be biased towards you and your ilk, where mine can be balanced for the greater benefit of the masses.  Again, morals and laws have little to do with each other in circumstances like these.  If the government standard is for all to obey the laws of the land, you will do so or face the consequences of breaking the law. 

Sister Naomi Green: I share your concerns, Brother Dawud.  The acceptance of this, for very minor issues, is disturbing.  And the willingness of so many to throw these people under the bus to appear reasonable and moderate. 

Brother Ariffin Yeop: When will Muslims learn?  They strained their neck arguing about everything and say that they are from the religion that submit to God’s Will.  Instead of having dignity with humility, they have this sense of entitlement and foolish pride.  They complain about the ways of others and claim to practice a religion of tolerance.  Good for the Swiss authority.  If you cannot accommodate your host, then leave or be sent packing. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: But in this case such a law would be immoral because returning refugees simply because some girls refuse to take part in co-educational swimming classes is an immoral thing to do.  I know the difference between law and morality, and that the two do not necessarily coincide.  But I find it really very odd to hear that in such a case the immoral rule of returning refugees is the right thing to do. 

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Do not forget I have a long history and experience in the law, so I do know the difference between bleeding hearts and the regulations established by people to govern themselves.  Brother Damir, it is obvious that you are emotionally connected to the outcome of how the Swiss run their country, right?  As I see you, you remain stuck on morals and refuse to acknowledge the Swiss have the right to govern themselves as they wish. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Naomi, I despair with this thread.  It is pointless trying to offer an alternative view based on mutual respect and understanding when so many are prepared to accept and argue for the dictatorial behaviour of a government that seeks to irradiate difference and tolerance.  To read some of the views here is crushing considering the example with have in the Prophet (s.a.w.).  I grew up fighting racism and fascism and still I find it lurking everywhere.  What worries me so much is how quick posters jump to the defence of a breach of basic human rights and justify this by “well, it is their country and they can do as they please, like it or leave!” 

Brother Jak Kilby: What these girls wanted as a right in Switzerland is a pretty normal request, actually the norm, in most of Europe.  Then to link it to citizenship for them is not just insensitive but xenophobic.  Perhaps Europeans can understand this better having the living memories of the fascism of Spain, Italy and Germany, with the added horrific reminder of the Serbs and what they did in Bosnia.  Add to that the rise of the far right across Europe.  Maybe Americans and others cannot understand it.  But Americans should - we see it happening there from afar. 

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Now I see where you are coming from, Brother Dawud.  You are stuck on mythology, not actual historical factors that continue to dog those who want to believe in the mythology of a perfect religion, an institution run by human beings, and a faith that guides one's personal life.  Again, lots of confusion here and I understand where it stems from now. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: So if we put a yellow star on these girls clothes, you would still say the Swiss have a right to govern themselves?  It is their country right? 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: Whether a few girls refuse to take part in co-educational swimming lessons has absolutely nothing to do with how the Swiss govern themselves.  It is about upholding the human rights of refugees, which you, Brother Daayiee, have no qualms about seeing crushed. 

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Yellow star?  You are way overwhelmed by emotion.  I am ending this conversation because you will always slink back to emotions and we are talking about laws that are not based upon emotions. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: The ridiculousness of Brother Daayiee’s logic here is too apparent. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: My point about where authoritarian rule leads us was lost on this guy.  He even called my use of history as being “stuck on mythology”!  And not actual historical facts!  Remember we are all commenting on an article where we do not have all the facts. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: I recognise the emotiveness of the issue and the historical baggage. But I want to proceed on facts. 

Fact 1: There is sovereign right.  The Swiss have exercised it, and no one can gainsay unless it is another body of citizens within that sovereignty. 

Fact 2: This hyperbole that they will be “sent back” is nonsensical.  It is against international law for refugees to be sent back to a war zone.  They can appeal the process through a higher court if there is that option, or be resettled elsewhere.  The mention of Yellow Stars is also an appeal to emotion, not the facts of this matter. 

Fact 3: Whilst the highlighted contention was co-educational Swimming classes, as alluded to in this and other articles, the issue is values.  Other examples were also cited.  The primary underlying contention is gender relations. 

I am not an emotional person.  I am not moved by stories simply because people share the same religion, ethnicity or nationality.  I understand that this emotive pull affects most people, however.  But it is unhelpful in an issue of legalities.  What is happening here is a trend across Europe with the influx of refugees from Muslim majority nations into a context where they are now a minority.  Just as these Muslims must get used to being in that minority context, and this is an issue of fiqh al-awlawiyyat and fiqh al-aqaliyyat, so too does the established majority have to get used to a growing minority.  What did anyone think would happen?  When people feel threatened, this is what they do.  This is not something new. 

What can be done?  Well, the first thing that needs to be done is dialogue.  And there are two levels of dialogue.  The first is within the Muslim community.  It is obvious within this group that people are only addressing this from within the prism of their own experience and historical baggage.  So, people from parts of the US and Southeast Asia, converts particularly, would feel different from converts from Australia and Europe.  It all becomes emotive, and ceases to be about the actual issue. 

The second level of dialogue is between the advocates of the Muslim minority and the established population.  Many of the things cited as Islamic rights are actually cultural norms.  That means there is room for negotiation and rapprochement.  Muslims must recognise they are negotiating from a position of weakness, and play the long game.  In an issue of precedence, which is more important, a place to settle down or a hardline position on mutable cultural norms?  They should take the example of the Prophet (s.a.w.) at Hudaybiyyah, and accept certain compromises while preserving the creedal integrity.  Once they are settled, then they can work on the rest. 

After that comes the hard work of building a relationship with the rest of the citizenship instead of trying to rebuild “Syria” or “Iraq”, which creates resentment.  That is the problem with Muslims everywhere.  The only thing this has shown me is that Muslims are incapable of level-headed dialogue on real world problems.  Mention Islam and people become defensive and emotional.  The real world does not care for morality because morality is subjective.  I personally do not believe in Muslim morality.  I have had two decades of dealing with Muslim politicians and policy makers to know that Muslim morality is a bargaining tool to be discarded whenever inconvenient. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: Brother Terence, I think you are allowing your experiences with Muslims in Singapore to affect your general attitude towards all Muslims.  This thing is simply wrong on the basis that refugees who refuse to take part in co-educational swimming classes is in no way a justifiable reason to remove those refugees from the country.  Your elevation of a country’s sovereignty as somehow trumping morality is not convincing, since that would mean that all kinds of discriminatory and racist rules could be deemed right.  That simply cannot be. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: Morality is not the law.  A moral argument does not win cases when that moral issue cited is subjective.  Moral outrage is useless in addressing a constitutional issue.  Legally, the Swiss have that right and they have exercised it.  They and I think we are morally correct.  You believe otherwise.  That alone is proof that morality is subjective in this case. 

Sister Brenda Ní Mhurchú: Sovereignty is such a mighty weapon to wield against young girls who do not want to swim or PE with boys.  I do not agree with the state having the power to force me or anyone into a situation where I feel uncomfortable when my right to abstain harms no one.  And if fascists make laws to oppress people, should we not object?  Just because it is “legal”?  That is the principle here I think. 

Brother Jak Kilby: I find it unfortunate that the refugees should end up in Switzerland, freezing place.  Life does not happen in the fridge.  And presumably the Swiss are affected by brain freeze which has made them deficient.  That aside, I do wonder whether this report has any element of faking for sensationalism.  I would actually have doubts about it were it not for the fact that the Swiss previously set about banning minarets. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: If we focus on the fact that the girls are Muslims - ignoring the other examples mentioned in the article where the person affected are not Muslims, we see an headline that sideline us into a particular thread of discussion.  I was not focused on the fact that the girls are Muslim, but the fact that an authoritarian government believes it is right to debit someone citizenship based on not swimming with boys.  My point is where would it stop?  Once these everyday things are governed and forced upon a population then we have history repeating itself, whilst we all watch from our screens saying “Oh well, they should have chosen somewhere else to go!”  If that makes me emotionally affected by this issue that I cannot have a sensible dialogue then so be it.  I will be on the streets with others who feel that same way as me fighting for the rights of everyone oppressed.  Maybe we need to think why these girls and others left the country they were settled in.  Maybe they did not like the way they were being treated. 

Sister Naomi Green: Most of you agreeing with this thread are men.  You have never been a teenage girl.  There is the wider issue of increasing secularism in the West imposing it's “liberal” values to the extent of trying to erode any difference between men and women to the extent that women cannot have female only spaces.  It goes beyond religion. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: Sister Brenda Ní Mhurchú, the state has no power to force a citizen on issues like that without political cost.  The thing is, they are not citizens.  Therein lies the issue. 

Brother Dawud Marsh, those are valid points, and no one disagrees with you.  But if we want it addressed adequately, we must see it for what it really is: a clash of cultures. 

Sister Naomi Green: Not only is this not an unreasonable request.  It is not alien to the West. In addition, as a teenager, my family did the exact same thing.  No one questioned us or our loyalty to the state! 

Sister Brenda Ní Mhurchú: I am not so sure about political cost, as we see populist right wing parties gain ground across Europe.  The Nazis did very well politically, if only they had not set their sights on expanding their borders. 

Brother Jak Kilby: I also reflect that in the UK there are many instances where children are exempted from various activities for several possible reasons.  It is not an extraordinary situation and I do not perceive the UK as being particularly liberal.  It seems to me this is an excuse for something more sinister in Switzerland, but comments pointing to that by some of us here are being ignored. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: An opportunity to develop greater understanding - my definition is different Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis.  And there are plenty on here who do disagree with me, and express views I find abhorrent which is why I find it such a worrying thread. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: Those who are in support of this seem to be repeating ad nauseum, “Well the state is sovereign so it can do whatever it wants to people within its borders who are not citizens, plus morality and law do not have to coincide.”  That would probably be the view of characters like Geert Wilders and other European fascists too.  Religion here is completely unimportant. The same would apply if the girls in question were Hindu, Christian, Jewish, or atheist.  It is a matter of individual liberty versus state-forced assimilation. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: In East Asia, we tend to believe that the interests of society outweigh the “individual liberties” of a few.  Regardless of the religion, if the community rejects a practice, and it is within reason, than it is done.  This is well within reason.  The rights of the individual are not sacrosanct. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: I can see, Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis, than on certain issues we will have to agree to disagree.  And I accept your point made previously about how our own life experiences inform our views.  But I cannot subscribe to this view. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: I have no issues with agreeing to disagree.  I accept that we can all never agree on every single issue, and we can all be civil about it. 

Sister Brenda Ní Mhurchú: Brother Terence, I can see that applying to some issues but as Naomi has repeatedly explained, mixed gender swimming can hardly be called a cultural value of Swiss or European heritage. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: I understand, Sister Brenda Ní Mhurchú.  I see it as a symptom of larger issues and not the contention itself. 

Sister Naomi Green: Only by completely ignoring real gender issues that have nothing to do with religion.  Women in the West have been silenced in the name of tolerance and being “open minded” to the detriment of their mental health. Increasingly girls are expected to accept things regardless of personal feelings and boundaries. 

Brother Muslim Khorasani: Wow!  We have Brother Daayiee Abdullah in the group.  I read about him in the news - there is even a Wikipedia page about him. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: Brother Muslim Khorasani, we have a lot of “famous” people in this group.  They include ministers, royalty, scholars and such.  The Sharing Group accepts everyone, including non-Muslims and ex-Muslims.  We do not, however, accept people coming here telling us that every one of us is wrong and upon kufr, and they alone are correct.  We have had that problem with people who are Wahhabis, and the Ahl al-Ahadits.  I may not agree with Brother Daayiee Abdullah on many issues, but he has not come here and told us we are all going to Hell because we have a different opinion, and we should respect him for that. 

Brother Keith Esa Washington: The Court’s decision in the 2012 case of it is true shows the role and rights of citizens to challenge what they feel is unacceptable and also be willing to pay a penalty.  I assume the 2012 case involved citizens not refugees.  I would think that in the case of immigrants and refugees some spam of time would be given to adjust oneself and learn the norms.  If they had never swam before no need to push them in the deep end without safety measures.  Issues such as this can cause mental health issues. 

Sister Natalie Trog: In essence, from what I can see, opinions are shaped by the social values and environmental factors.  Maybe in UK individualism is a sacred right that if anyone tries to take it away, it is an unimaginable thing, akin to fascism.  Where I come from, social integration is the key to living harmoniously.  Case in point, Singapore is a melting pot of diverse cultures, races, and religions. A foreign family from China came to Singapore and bought an apartment next to an Indian family.  Curry is a staple and the identity of the Indian community.  So whenever the Indian family cooked curry, the foreign family from China started to complain about the smell and started calling the police and basically making things difficult for the Indian family.  Mediation also failed to reconcile the two families because the foreign family from China was unyielding.  When the news leaked out, many Singaporeans were enraged that the foreign family refused to accept our cultural identity, our practices, our norms.  The backlash was swift, every Singaporean started a movement called “cook a curry day” to show solidarity with our Indian Singaporean family, that this is our culture, our heritage, our food, and no one can take this away from us.  We all live in harmony, different races, different religions and different customs. 

My point is, we all may have different customs, religions, opinions.  This discussion reflects opinions from both sides of the coin, and neither opinions are wrong.  Both opinions are valid.  When I see the discussions not only here but on other threads as well, I do not see people having to resort to calling names, making takfir every time someone disagrees with one another.  We do not have to agree, and that is the beauty of it.  All we need is acceptance of differing views. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: I do not think that this is so much a case of different cultures prioritising either individual or collective rights.  There are proponents of your suggestion in the Western world too, who expect everyone to completely assimilate to the dominant culture.  In Australia, where I live we have a long history of that, which in the last 40 years has changed, thank God. 

The example you cite is also not a good example in this regard.  The family that complained about the smell of the food being cooked presumably wanted to impose its will on the neighbouring family just to evade the nuisance of the unfamiliar smell.  In the Swiss case discussed here, the girls are not demanding that the school they go to has to ensure that all female students do not participate in co-educational swimming classes, they are just claiming the right for themselves to abstain from it.  There is a big difference here. 

Sister Natalie Trog: Brother Damir Sans Souci, my point was about assimilating and integrating. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: Yes, I know.  That is what I'm talking about too.  This is not such an easy matter to solve simply by saying, well you better toe the line and assimilate or get out of the country.  This approach is quite rigid and cruel. 

Sister Naomi Green: I do not see how comparing a rude family imposing their preferences on their neighbours correlates to girls having certain limits.  They are not the first to think that way and segregated swimming classes are not alien to Europe.  So no culture is being “imposed”.  As I have said, secularist have imposed changes that affect women from all backgrounds. many changing rooms and even showers are mixed gender - and I would not attend those centres either. so it is not as simple as them just putting on a burkini - we do not know the full story but also in continental Europe some pools don't allow them anyway. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: I wonder how this case would be solved in Singapore.  Would female Muslim students be told to participate or face some kind of serious consequences, or would the school make an attempt to accommodate this? 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: They would be told to participate.  No one is special, and I support that.  If they wanted to have it different, there are madaris for that.  The last thing we want is the sort of creeping Islamism we have in our neighbours. 

Sister Natalie Trog: Actually this happened before, but in a different context.  Four families wanted their daughters to wear a hijab to school which was not part of the uniform.  The girls were sent home.  Now, if I am the parent, and I wanted my daughters to wear the hijab in accordance to my understanding of religious obligations, I could have just enrolled them in a madaris.  Why impose and make things difficult and put my child through unnecessary trouble just because? 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: So you consider girls refusing to take swimming lesson with boys tantamount to imposing Islamism?  Yeah, but my understanding is that the madrasah is just a religious school.  It is not part of the public education system, or is this different in Singapore? 

Sister Natalie Trog: Madaris in Singapore are a parallel education system where they still learn secular subjects, just like public government schools and take the same national level examinations. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: Singapore is a secular country.  Religion should not be dictating how we interact with other people in the public sphere.  I support the ban on the hijab in public schools, for example.  People can wear it on their own time.  The madaris are private schools, and have a curriculum in addition to that of national schools.  There is some oversight by MUIS and the Ministry of Education.  Students are mandated to take the three national examinations for secular subjects. 

Brother Damir Sans Souci: But that is ridiculous.  Just because girls wear the hijab in public schools doesn't mean that the country is not secular.  According to that then a country like Australia is not secular. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: The hijab was not an integral part of the Malay women's identity until the late 1970s.  Brother Damir Sans Souci, our students wear uniforms.  The hijab is not part of that uniform.  Our police women and military personnel do not wear the hijab in uniform as well.  Whilst there is a movement to petition for it, I personally oppose it. 

If you look at the pictures of Muslim scholars and their wives in the region, none of them, including some of our more famous female asatidzah, wore the hijab, not even the wife of our previous mufti.  After the Iranian Revolution, things changed here.  So, when the Muslims suddenly started agitating for a Saudi style makeover, the government was understandably wary. 

Sister Naomi Green: I do not think I like your vision of Singapore. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: Singapore is not everybody’s cup of tea. 

Brother Ibrahim Underwood: Migrants, including Muslims, have accepted the law of the land they have migrated to.  As Muslims we are obligated to obey the law of the land.  Muslims born in that country though, who have natural inalienable citizenship there - have a different set of rights I suspect.  Their ability to demand autonomy or liberty from the state, or the right to not participate in certain customs, is pretty legitimate.  What is the difference between Catholics tearing the “Cross of War” sword off war memorials and beating them into ploughs, and Muslims wanting to adjudicate marriages by shari’ah?  Both are claims to be following a higher truth than the present state recognises.  In most Western countries, like France or Australia, most Muslims are native born now. 

Sister Asha Zuri: I looked a little more into this.  It is a requirement to assimilate into Swiss culture before a citizenship request can be approved.  Period.  If they do not think you are assimilated, your citizenship application will be denied.  It is the town that starts the process.  Once they think you have assimilated, then they forward your application up.  But, if they do not think you have, the process ends there for you. 

They are not anti-Muslim, they're anti anyone that they do not think will fit in.  They denied an American expatriate’s citizenship request - after he had lived in Switzerland for 40 years - because he could not name friends in neighbouring towns. 

And the father whose citizenship request was denied over not shaking the schoolteacher’s hand?  It was his two sons that actually refused to shake the teacher’s hand.  Apparently, students and teachers shake hands a lot in Swiss culture, so the Muslim boys’ refusal to do so meant they were not going to assimilate into Swiss culture.  Therefore, citizenship denied. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: This does not change my view at all.  Just reinforces my stance of authoritarianism that seeks to treat people differently.  Wonder what other differences are given the same authoritarian brush of Swiss culture? 

Sister Asha Zuri: Brother Dawud Marsh, it does not change my view either.  At least though, I am definitely sure they are not targeting Muslims.  They just want everyone to be like them and I'm certain it is made clear that it's what they expect from those trying to obtain Swiss citizenship.  A little boring if you ask me, but hey. 

Brother Jak Kilby: Good thing for you that you are not trying to get Swiss citizenship.  However, the Swiss clearly think everyone can fit in a box, but those that do not are denied the privilege of having Swiss citizenship.  Since they seem to deny it for the smallest of things, I am certain they do not care if anyone thinks they are the problem. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: It was clear from reading the article Muslims were not being targeted.  The headline was written for effect. 

Brother Mike Cucuz: It is not authoritarianism if the community are the ones making the decisions; it is called democracy. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: If citizens are expected to obey strict laws then that is authoritarian - and the community voting to impose those laws does not then make it democratic but is an expression of that authoritarian regime played out through the perceived freedom of choice within the general public.  What better way to ensure everyone supports your draconian laws then by giving them the right to kick people out for being different?  Saves having to police everyone if the community are enforcing your regime, doesn't it? 

Sister Kay White: If the citizenship application is refused, the person still has Swiss residence and they can reapply for citizenship later on.  They are not being “kicked out”.  There was a Swiss movie in the 70s called “The Swiss Makers” that made fun of the Swiss citizenship process, with officials investigating the minutiae of people’s lives to assess whether they had an adequate amount of “Swiss-ness.” 

Brother Abdul Hussain: I think Switzerland are taking things too far in terms of assimilation by stripping individuals of their individuality and embracing internationally embarrassment-prone practices for the sake of citizenship.  Any country that does this does not deserve any tourist money in my book. 

Brother Mike Cucuz: Switzerland is not all that concerned with tourism dollars, nor with giving people Swiss citizenship.  They are also not even part of the EU, so not bound by any refugee commitments made by the rest of Europe.  However they are also one of the richest countries in the world, and having Swiss citizenship bestows significant benefits.  Like it or not, each country gets to decide for themselves who they extend citizenship to, and what they require in order to become a citizen.  Many people here need to learn about a concept called sovereignty. 

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Brother Mike, so many refuse to acknowledge that sovereignty carries more weight than a morality that is subjective.  You do not have to like how a government responds to refugees, but they have the right to demand their citizens to adhere to certain standards, just like Muslim states demand from foreigners who live there.  The problem continues to be one where standards of one group, Muslims, want to impose those standards on another group, the Swiss.  If one steps back and looks at who is seeking refuge from whom, the reasonable answer is beggars cannot be choosers, particularly when it comes to how one’s religion should be respected.  What some fail to recognise is that within the earliest years of Islam as a faith and before there was an Islamic city-state, Muslims lived under Christian governmental rule.  They did not go demanding anything from them, but sought protection, which was granted.  However, from the historical records, it was not a demand, but request that was granted to them.  I do not see the difference in refugees seeking asylum in Switzerland.  So if certain Muslims believe their views are superior to others, there will always been problems of the beggar disregarding what is offered.  In that case, if they are shown to the door, who is to be blamed? 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Beggars cannot be choosers!  You show your colours regarding how you view those who - through no fault of their own - are forced to move from the country they settled in. If we continue to believe that a country, with authoritarian rule, has the trump card regarding sovereignty over human rights then when will you object?  When that mistreatment or abuses immigrants?  When they herd them into ghettos?  When that country feels its “standards” need to be applied to its neighbouring country?  I am far too emotional about it and seem to have some mythical grasp of history to have my opinion taken on board.  Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of people who have travelled many miles to reach a safe haven.  We are not talking about Muslims imposing Islam on others but being able to have a simple choice about whether to swim in a mixed pool.  If one steps back and sees the wider picture you may actually grasp why some of us are upset about this! 

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Brother Dawud, if you do not like Swiss laws, then become a citizen and change them.  I accepted the reality that governments will do as did those Muslim governments did to cause those issues.  Obviously, we will not agree, however my record stands on those LGBTQI Muslims I have help with their refugee status.  We will just agree to disagree. 

Brother Mike Cucuz: Dawud you seem to have a problem accepting that you cannot force others to be good, warm hearted, inviting, welcoming.  I am not saying it is the correct way of living, but others do have the right to determine how they want to live nonetheless.  In fact, have the sovereign right to set their laws or rules as they see fit. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Brother Mike, I am advocating that everyone is treated fairly, equitably and with respect.  I never made this about religion because it is not.  I had hoped to highlight that throughout history people have been persecuted by their own governments and mistreated by their own citizens because they are different, a minority or have come from another part of the world.  To accept that a country has the right to treat people as second class and to have in place a system that reinforces such treatment, I think is wrong and goes against what I believe.  As we know, from history such authoritarian systems are born out of extreme views and such a society will grow increasingly hostile to the minority within its community.  If you are happy to say, “Well it's their country, they can treat people as they like,” that is fine.  For me, I have a different view that believes we are all equal and deserve to be treated as such.  I think also that many on here have missed some excellent comments that show why the way these girls were treated is wrong and none of these points had anything to do with religion and everything to do with respecting someone’s right to be treated humanely. 

Sister Naomi Green: I agree with many of the replies above.  As a woman, I do find it immoral that citizenship should be denied to any woman who refuses to go to mixed gender classes.  Harp on about sovereignty but this is not about Muslims imposing “their culture”.  This is not just a Muslim issue.  It is a gender issue. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Some of us harping on about how sovereignty trumps morality when it comes to how the Swiss treat those in its community seeking citizenship would do well to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the investigations that some organisations, such as Amnesty International, have made regarding growing concerns for human rights breaches against minority groups in Switzerland- not just from those who are seeking citizenship- in particular: “Voters in a referendum held on 29th November supported a constitutional amendment to ban the construction of minarets.  During the referendum campaign, the Muslim minority was severely stigmatized by political propaganda expressed by defenders of the ban. Responding to the referendum, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) expressed concern that ‘an initiative that infringes human rights can be put to vote’. 

The ECRI's periodic report on Switzerland, published in September, expressed concern at increasingly racist and xenophobic political discourse, particularly in relation to the Swiss People's Party.  It also expressed concern at the limited effectiveness of the criminal law provision against racism and called for improved training of legal professionals in its application.'  Additionally concern has also been raised about discrimination against LGTB community - again with a lack of provisions in criminal law against such discrimination.” 

This may give some members an better idea about where I am coming from in my objections to the treatment of some people by both the Swiss government and the wider community. 

Brother Mike Cucuz: You see, that is the problem, Brother Dawud.  You cannot have your cake and eat it too.  Do you support freedom, or do you support your limited ideas of what people are entitled to?  Because you cannot support freedom and then with the next breath dictate what everyone in the world must do.  It is either one or the other.  Personally, I support freedom.  I believe that every sovereign nation has the absolute right of self-determination especially if it is democratic.  You now sound like the US, who pushes democracy, but only if the people democratically elect people the US supports.  If a country goes too far off the deep end, the rest of the world can manage them through boycott and sanctions if they are only affecting their own citizens, or war if they endanger citizens of other nations.  Just like what was done with South Africa. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: There was a huge movement by ordinary people to boycott South Africa and put pressure on them which did not come from anything but a very small minority of politicians.  You say you support freedom but allow states to freely oppress people living in its borders.  America does not force democracy on other states - it plays a careful game of political chess where any piece on the board is expendable, including its own.  If you saw a parent mistreating their child, do you intervene and protect a vulnerable child or do you say 'Well, it is their child, they can do what they want”?  The declaration gives a clear view of how everyone should be treated.  In your stance, as long as you can justify your actions – It is our country, our laws, people can be treated however we choose. 

What you call freedom, I call oppression.  True democracy looks very different to what we have now around the world, which is a voting process that is flawed.  In the UK, we have an unelected prime minister who actually voted to remain in the EU and is now heading negotiations to leave.  One of the main promises of the Brexit campaign was to get away from unelected officials telling everyone what to do.  You cannot make that stuff up, but it is democracy.  The cantons who vote for whether someone can become a citizen or not vote on the wrong question.  I would say, as a community decide how to support someone to be a valued member of the community, not to vote them out.  If you believe my stance is like the US then you have totally misread and misunderstood what I am saying.  Also, you need to understand global politics to realise why countries are not taken to account for their human rights abuses.  Israel is a classic example where sanctions would stop what they are doing to the Palestinians instantly but why do other countries not do that then? 

Brother Mike Cucuz: Exactly.  So if Israel can straight up murder people for almost 60 years, why is it you think any outsider has a right to dictate to Switzerland what they have to accept in their country?  Either there is national sovereignty or there is a global government.  There really is no in between. 

Brother Jak Kilby: In a civilised nation, Brother Mike Cucuz, which I am sure the Swiss imagine their country to be, you look after your guests, particularly the needy ones. 

Brother Mike Cucuz: That is a nice thought, or ideal, but we are talking about law here, not feelings or what an individual feels is the proper conduct of a nation.  Self-determination means exactly that, if there is a nation that chooses to be assholes that is their right too.  Once again, you cannot legislate “goodness”, not should you be able to as it is largely subjective. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Love how you throw the “but we are talking about law here” as if it justifies abuse and oppression.  It is that kind of thinking that allows this to happen, cross the road, go a different way, turn our head - and allow others to suffer because it is the law. 

Brother Mike Cucuz: Brother Dawud, do you think there is a law in existence that someone does not feel is unfair or wrong?  All laws are despised by some, by definition or there would be no need for the law in the first place.  Where do you draw the line?  How did you determine your answer to my last question?  What laws should be challenged and what laws should be followed?  Do the laws not represent the needs and desires of the society?  Did the society not set the laws in order to bring about the conditions they wanted in their society?  Does a thief like laws against theft?  Does a paedophile think it is fair that 18 years of age is acceptable but he goes to jail for sex with a 17-year-old?  Does the majority of society have to concern itself with what the fringe thinks?  Does a country not have the right to determine what they want their country to look like, or be made up of?  Why does the Vatican city not build a mosque and accept refugees from Syria?  Why does Saudi Arabia not start a Christian missionary programme?  Do either have to?  Does everyone not have a right to live in a place with similar views, and beliefs as their own, regardless of what those beliefs are? 

You live in a democratic country, Brother Jak; the politicians are selected, and represent the desires of the populace.  You cannot hide behind politicians.  Yes, opposition to Israel, in Europe especially, has increased in the last 10 years, but there is still a long way to go. 

Brother Dawud Marsh: Democracy is a myth.  We have less than 1 in 5 voting for Brexit yet the country is heading for a disastrous exit from the EU.  Our moral stance should inform the laws we create.  Our sense of what is right and wrong should inform how we govern our people.  In this instance, where someone is looking for a safe haven they do not have a clear choice.  Amnesty International and other organisations have highlighted the fact that Swiss do not have enough legal safeguards in place to protect the minorities in their country.  What does that tell you?  And two wrongs do not make a right - if you do something wrong then you need to have consequences.  But even so as a human you deserve to be treated humanely.  I am not sure why you find this so hard or such an idealistic view.  As I said, you either intervene if you see and child being abused or you walk on by.  I would cross the road and intervene.  It is the moral thing to do and there are laws in the UK that would support my stance.  The problem we are talking about in Switzerland is that there is not the same legal recourse to support the same view.  People feel it is acceptable to treat someone differently and so vote to do that.  Sorry but I cannot agree with that. 

Brother Terence Kenneth John Nunis: We have established that we all have a right to our feelings and opinions.  What we have no right is to dictate to another community how they run themselves.  People just need to get used to that.



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