Saturday, May 23, 2009

Welcome to the neighbourhood

My idea of reasonable accommodation is a place that's warm and dry, has plumbing and cooking faciilities. Beyond that, I want a neighbor who lives in fear for his life each time he sees me in the hallway. He'd better show me some sure signs of terror whenever I move my hand or turn my head toward him. I want him to sit up nights listening for my footsteps in his living-room....

One of these days, Alex! To the Moon-god!

From The National Post via Jihad Watch:

Toronto: Muslim files complaint after unbeliever says hello to his wife

The joys of multiculturalism in microcosm. Outrage over nothing, intimidation, cringing dhimmitude, naivete -- it's all here. "Hallway culture clash: In a Toronto apartment building, a feud has broken out over a neighbourly 'hello.' What hath multiculturalism wrought?," by Matthew Coutts in the National Post, May 22 (thanks to Stlreader):

When the landlady of my Toronto apartment building said an outraged neighbour had filed a complaint about me over an apparently inappropriate hallway interaction with his wife, my mind raced through the countless conversations I've had with fellow tenants, none of which seemed a possible source of offence.

It turns out, it wasn't a salacious transaction that had caused the complaint, but rather a neighbourly and -- to me -- entirely forgettable greeting, little more than a brief "good morning" as I passed my neighbours on the way to work.

Still, it was enough of an affront for the man -- once a doctor somewhere in the Middle East, my landlady clarified -- to feel I had broken a cultural taboo. The incident started an awkward feud which has involved warnings not to repeat my indiscretion and one face-to-face shouting match, which included allusions to my impending death.

I expect the battle will wage on, as we appear to be stuck at an impasse.

His Muslim upbringing has ingrained in him a sense of entitlement to demand I not speak directly to his wife; and my prairie upbringing has ingrained in me a duty to strive for polite cohesion with my neighbours.

My landlady, who has handled the complaint with tittering trepidation, hasn't helped dispel the friction. She has told me to adhere to the demands because the man "could be dangerous," directing me to literally turn my back to the couple as they pass, never make eye contact and never hold the elevator for them, no matter what.

Life among neighbours has become increasingly complicated by multiculturalism, in this case making even the most affable salutation or good Samaritan gesture a practice in walking on eggshells. But in trying to adapt to a patchwork of often conflicting cultures, has civility become the casualty of accommodation?...

The funny thing about this is that if this man did start ignoring his neighbors, never holding the elevator for them, never greeting them, etc., onlookers would think him "xenophobic" and say that his coldness was the kind of thing that made Muslim immigrants feel alienated and lash out in terrorist acts.

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