Friday, August 14, 2009

It Shouldn't Happen to an MP: Part 94

Imagine it, you're invited to a wedding and you then find out that it's a wedding where women are in one room and men are in the other. What do you do? Go along with it and bid farewell to your partner for the duration, or leave? Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick decided to leave after he was told while attending a muslim wedding in the East End of London that he would be split up from his wife.

He explains what happened an an interview with the Today Programme HERE.

This really is quite a moral dilemma. Do you risk offending your hosts, or do you go along with what is described as a bit of muslim tradition?

49 comments:

canvas said...

you should respect the culture and respect the tradition...but it's an individual choice. big deal.

defend the nhs please!

albertmbankment said...

I heard the interview this morning, and thought he gave a reasoned and reasonable justification for his decision. He would appear to have handled it with considerable subtlety and grace. It's nobody's business but his own. It's a non-story. It's August.

Anonymous said...

Better get used to it. British society is going to be transformed, shops will close 5 times a day for prayers etc. Impossible to stop this now. And many restrictions on (alcohol) licensing hours.

Dick the Prick said...

This is a brilliant story, absolutely marvellous. Doesn't it reflect badly that he didn't have the wit to read up beforehand? And to kick off at a wedding - well, few votes gone there methinks - it's my job to get blottoed and upset the bride, not some ejeet MP on a personal crusade on their most important day!?!?!

WV: Mulers (me & the other ushers at about 7pm?)

Anonymous said...

What is more interesting is why he was there at all? By his own account he has attended hundreds of Muslim weddings. Either he has hundreds of close personal Muslim friends (unlikely) or he is going to be seen' and court the ethnic vote - hardly the best reason to attend a weeding. I hope that he has not put the (presumed) hundreds of wedding presents on expenses.

Ewen Bruce said...

Dilemma? Not a dilemma for anyone with a shred of a personal moral code. Participate in something you find offensive, or risk offending the offender? No contest. Nice to see a politician with a functioning moral compass.

Ruth@VS said...

He was very rude, in my opinion. It's not uncommon for this to happen at muslim weddings and if he knew anything about his constituents he should have anticipated it.

He was a guest, so he should have viewed this as an opportunity to get to know his constituents better. As for his wife, well the best parties are always on the womens' side of these events - I think she would have enjoyed the experience!

Bird said...

His host should have explained the convention beforehand to a non muslim guest. Not all muslim weddings are organised that way.
The MP was entitled to walk out, but he should have shrugged and gone along with it.
I think the key to this story is that he went straighr to the press, trying to get brownie points from the Daily Mail.
I went to a jewish wedding years ago. I can't remember, but my wife thinks we were segregated there.
It wouldn't have bothered me.

Mike Law said...

I know Jim (was his agent in 2001) and I'm baffled by this.

I agree with those that say that he should have been aware of the type of wedding he was attending.

He's handed George Galloway the constituency on a plate.

Liam said...

Anon @ 1047 - if you're going to make such stupid and cowardly comments, do so with a name/ID.

Dave said...

Would he insist his wife sat with him in a Hindu/Sikh temple? Or would he have sat on the ladies side?

Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Dale,

Moral dilemma?

Nothing of the sort.

Jim Fitzpatrick is electioneering. George Galloway is chewing at his ankles, and he needs to shore up the white, working class vote in the constituency.

What better way than a bit of Muslim bashing?

Anonymous said...

The Muslim attitude to women seems overall to be fairly primitive and controlling, although I have been to a Catholic Mass (in the Basque country) where women by custom sat in an upper gallery, away from the men.

Presumably they don't also have 'segregated honeymoons'? Not much fun if so....

Anonymous said...

I went to a Sikh wedding once (my wife was the teacher of the groom's brother). Great experience, fab food and music, great people (and the bride was fantastically beautiful). We were separated for the actual ceremony, although we remained in the same room. I think I might have gone along with being in separate rooms at a Muslim wedding - after all, whose wedding is it? Not the guests'!

Osama the Nazarene said...

Moral dilemma, nothing of the sort. Do not attend full stop.

The Muslim religion is stuck with the values of the Middle Ages.

Alex said...

Well that's one MP who won't be coming to dinner, or if he does, he can withdraw with the ladies while the men hit the port and cigars.

jafo said...

Should I be invited to the wedding of people of a different faith from my own, I should enquire beforehand what the form was, what was expected of me, etc.

Shame he didn't have the courtesy to do this.

Never heard of the man, but as other posters have said, sounds like electioneering to me..........

Rolf said...

Of course he should have stayed. If he were in the slightest bit culturally aware, he would have known what would potentially happen. If being split up is such an issue, the dilema is whether or not to accept the invitation. It only becomes 'moral' when choosing whether or not to be rude by leaving!

Anonymous said...

If he/ his wife was unhappy then by all means they could make their excuses and leave early.

If he is concerned about certain developments in local mosques (or for that matter any other community / religious groups) then as the local MP he can and should speak up.

What seems wrong is the way he has expolited some unsuspecting couple's wedding for his own political purposes which is incredibly rude.

I presume this is a clumsy attempt to keep Labour's white working class left wing on side at at time when worryingly large numbers of them seem to be flirting with the BNP.

Paul Halsall said...

It's a tradition in some Haredi Jewish circles as well.

In this case he was just rude.

Anonymous said...

Wot...no comment on Dan "superman" Hannan...but then again it is the big issue of the day and it is slightly embarrassing.

Desperate Dan said...

Why does he attend two Muslim weddings a week? In no way is an MP obliged to go round attending the weddings of his constituents. I wonder if he attends non-Muslim weddings as well or does he just devote a disproportionate amount of time to Muslims.

Simon Gardner said...

I don’t do religious ceremonies - full stop. Saves a lot of complications and embarrassment all round.

Ditto to Canvas. Defend the NHS and put some backbone into our ****** ambassador who has so far been pusillanimous.

Little Black Sambo said...

There is an element of "Don't you know who I am" about this incident. And can he and his wife really not bear to be parted for a short while? Don't they ever do anything separately? What ninnies!

(WV "torys" - do I get a prize?)

Anonymous said...

Aside from from the moral situation, it does not say much for the judgment of the minister. Being invited is to give the family status, nothing to do with the MP being popular or him getting votes. Once he accepted one wedding he was on a slippery slope for the rest. He should have had the discipline to demarcate between work and private life. What a tw**.

Pete-s

Roger Thornhill said...

This isn't "Muslim" but Mediaeval "culture" and/or "Islamist".

I think he is right to leave even if he went alone.

Quietzapple said...

The question, as put by you Iain, suggests that a mutual decision after brief discussion is not option (a) perhaps?

In practice my personal feelings would partly depend on how we both felt at the time, can see no hard and fast rule.

Anonymous said...

The government of this country needs to decide whether it wants either to allow religions to do whatever they like or to end practices that may be considered discriminatory or otherwise "offensive" to some modern sensibilities.

Given that the government seems perfectly happy to permit first cousin marriage, ritual slaughter of animals and a host of other things that many of us find "offensive", I can only assume that it has chosen to allow minorities cultures to do pretty much what they like.

In which case people who attend other cultures' weddings should put up with the way in which those weddings are conducted and not walk out in faux outrage. How would we react if a veil-clad Muslim woman walked out of a Christian wedding on the grounds that there was too much cleavage on display?

judith said...

If he'd attended a Jewish wedding of only moderately orthodox attitude, the sexes would have been separated in the synagogue.

Any wedding guest should feel honoured that s/he's been invited - don't like the customs, don't accept the invitation.

Unsworth said...

As Fitzpatrick seems not to have any manners perhaps he should have made discreet enquiries beforehand. And maybe his Political Advisors (or, as they are called nowadays,
Civil Servants) should have briefed him properly prior to acceptance of the invitation.

Does he take this stance when invited to an Orthodox Jewish synagogue?

Anonymous said...

Liam: "Anon @ 1047 - if you're going to make such stupid and cowardly comments, do so with a name/ID."

Go watch "Muslim demographics" on Youtube - and wipe the froth off your mouth.

(I'm not the first anon.)

Meanwhile I can't help wondering what the hosts would have done with Iain & partner - except that I suspect they wouldn't have been invited....

londonmuslim said...

I'm with the Archbishop on this or is he with me on this bearing in mind I was one of the first to blog about Mr Fitzpatrick.

Keen to find out Jim's views on segregsation at Hen & Stag nights

Mr Eugenides said...

Non-story. Men and women are segregated in synagogue; that would be no reason to refuse an invitation to one in your constituency.

Most guys I know would relish the chance for a couple of hours at the bar sans wife. Mind you, most weddings I go to have a bar.

JuliaM said...

"...if he knew anything about his constituents he should have anticipated it."

Can't anyone read these days?

He states quite clearly, in every report of this that I've read, that this has not happened at any of the other Muslim functions he has attended, and is a sign of the takeover of this particular Muslim centre by hardliners.

commentor said...

You're a vegetarian, but there's no vegetarian food offered - do you eat the big bloody steak sitting in front of you?

Some things are non-negotiable, regardless of 'culture'.

Anonymous said...

If attending over a hundred 'dry' weddings is part of an urban MP's job description, count me out. Or maybe a discreet hip flask/visit to Gents sees him through the ordeal?

Botogol said...

it's really NOT a dilemma.
what if they were segregating the straights and the gays? or the moslems and the jews? would you go along with that?

(or, let me guess, were there no jews nor gays invited)

Anonymous said...

His constituency is being split at the next election. I haven't checked the division, but if it now includes the Isle of Dogs, this now has 3 Tory councillors, after nearly a century of being a Labour safe seat. I suspect he is playing to the perceived (rightly or wrongly) predudices of the right wing vote. Otherwise why comment publicly abut a personal decision at a private wedding?

AP said...

How utterly selfish, arrogant and rude.

This MP clearly doesn't believe in freedom of expression or tolerance.

This was not a strip show, it was a couples wedding. No law was being broken so the polite thing to do is maintain a dignified silence if your sensibilities are offended not to walk out.

What an arse

JuliaM said...

"If attending over a hundred 'dry' weddings is part of an urban MP's job description, count me out. Or maybe a discreet hip flask/visit to Gents sees him through the ordeal?"

There's a classic 'Yes Minister' episode along these lines, isn't there?

Ruth@VS said...

JuliaM

referring to your comment at 3.11

I can read, thanks, but I think you've made my point for me - his mention of this centre being taken over by "muslim hardliners" suggests that he knew about it already and this was a political stunt.

I don't know how many other MPs go to lots of muslim weddings, but his statement sounds suspect to me, an MP wouldn't normally be top of the guest list. If he had in fact been to lots you'd think he would have come across one segregated wedding - I've only been to a few but they were about half and half. Would he have said the same about a jewish wedding?

I go along with other commenters in that he was playing to the gallery, hence all his media appearances on the issue. Rude and despicable.

Jimmy said...

I wonder if he takes the same line on stag parties? Prat.

SHB said...

On a point of order this would have been because of the 'culture' of the individuals concerned and not because of Islam per se.

As far as I am aware no where in the Koran does it say that men and women must be seperated at weddings. As an aside alcohol isn't specifically banned in the Koran either.

As an example women aren't supposed to go out in public in Saudi with a man that they can marry - the only exception being a driver - where as it is perfectly acceptable in the Emirates and Bahrain.

These are different interpretations of the Koran and The Prophet Mohammad's (peace be up on him) teachings.

I think he has demonstrated utter arrogance in the way he has behaved and shown a complete lack of respect towards the individuals concerned and their beliefs.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Jim Fitzpatrick, a TWO-eyed scotch idiot.

That'll be the Muslim vote gone, then.


Tosser.

Mike Law said...

JuliaM

"Can't anyone read these days?

He states quite clearly, in every report of this that I've read, that this has not happened at any of the other Muslim functions he has attended, and is a sign of the takeover of this particular Muslim centre by hardliners."

He said on radio that he has attended two other segregated Muslim weddings in the past... so what was so different about this one?

Ron Todd said...

Anon.

Would a Muslim woman who has been forced to wear a burka ever be allowed to go to a Christian wedding?

aljahom said...

It's a Muslim wedding. WTF was he expecting? Naked twister?

What a tool.

AJ

folding chair covers said...

I would agree. If you go to a wedding you need to be willing to obey the customs of the wedding party.

johnpaul said...

Yes it was a muslim wedding but do you have to do as teh ysay As a athiest I go to christian weddigns and don't sing along with the hymns as I don't believe in them , would it have been blasphamous for him to have sat with his wife, if not i think he was right