HAPPY SAMHAIN AND HAPPY DIWALI EVERYONE!

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Racial & Religious Hatred, Prejudice, Slander, Defamation

Something was given to me at work today that could be seen as labelling a particular religious group as devil worshipers. I know that they are not.

The information was copied off a website and was given to several people so I asked for a copy. I read it through with interest. Some of it was factual information but then came the lovely sentence referring to, ‘…idol worshipers and devil worshipers…’.

I sent off an email to all of our team pointing out that this particular religion does not worship the devil, and that it was defamation and slander. Thinking about it afterwards it seems to me that it could also be seen as inciting religious or racial hatred. It has been passed to several people, some of whom do not know anything about the religion in question, so it could manipulate their way of thinking.

I’ve spoken to my family about this also. They think that this is a ‘sackable’ offence. They think I should lodge a formal complaint and take it further. Even though the information was obviously copied and pasted from a website.

If you are reading this you may be wondering what religion I am talking about. Well, usually when this type of thing crops up we are hearing about people saying things about Islam and Muslims. People are then in uproar screaming about racism and prejudice.

This particular information was taken from a Muslim website. It talks about the origins of Halloween, or Samhain, which is actually factual information. It then goes on to give basic information of the Christian church labelling it ‘evil’. After that it discusses the Islamic view of Halloween and tells Muslims they shouldn’t take part in any ‘idol worship or devil worship’.

As I put in my email to the team:

1) Pagans do not worship the devil. You have to believe in the devil to worship it and Pagans do not have any concept of this entity. Also, if you check back in Christian history, the devil was actually put into the bible by the Council of Nicaea back in AD326, or sometime around then. It doesn’t actually exist – only in the minds of people who believe in it. Pagans do not.

2) Pagans do not worship idols. We, yes WE, have Gods or Goddesses or both, who we worship. Our deities are as real and as important to us as Allah is to a Muslim.

I don’t call Muslims devil worshipers because they do not follow my religion, so what gives them the right to label me as such because I am not Muslim? Some people need to grow up. Tolerance is something that some people do not understand. Accept of course when they want people to show it towards them. But then some people are used to getting everything they want aren’t they?

Many people celebrate Samhain in the UK as a religious celebration. If you don’t like it go live elsewhere.

HAPPY SAMHAIN PEOPLE!

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Refugees

You would have to be a very hard person not to be moved by the picture of the little boy who drowned. The photo has moved a lot of people around the world. The people who took money from his family have been arrested and will, hopefully, face many years in jail.

We all know that people are leaving Syria and neighbouring countries to get away from the threat of ISIL. But amongst these genuine refugees are those who are taking advantage of what they think is a quick way to get into Europe. So there are many Pakistanis, mainly young men, who are mingling with the refugees in the hope of getting to Europe without the proper protocol. The authorities are faced with the question of whether to spend the vast amount of time and money needed to sort out the fake from the real, or to just accept them all regardless.

These fake refugees are putting the lives and well-being of the genuine people at risk. We’ve all seen the refugees being given food and clothing as they have none – but some of this is going to people who are migrants not refugees. These scoundrels are taking food that is badly needed by people – often children – who fled a war-torn country.

Someone said to me that this is human nature – to take advantage. I say that we all know right from wrong and this is very wrong. These people should be ashamed of themselves putting these vulnerable people at risk. They are no better than these monsters who are overcrowding unbalanced boats.

Then there is the question of the root cause of the matter. Should the military of Western countries be used to wipe ISIL off the map? Many people would say yes because of the atrocities they are committing. But wouldn’t this be against our own fundamental rights of ‘freedom of speech’, ‘freedom to worship how we choose’, ‘freedom to believe in what we choose’? Where do we draw the line between ‘freedom’ and ‘going to far’?

Many Muslims in this country say that ISIL propaganda is not true Islam. Indeed there are Islamic countries that are fighting the ISIL threat. There are many people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, who are having their freedom took away. There are people being sold into sexual slavery or murdered because they won’t convert to ISIL ideology, and this includes Muslims. People are terrified that their children will be taken so they are choosing to flee their homes on overcrowded boats in the hope that someone in the West will help them.

Which brings up another question. Is it really a matter of religion for ISIL, or is it more about power and money? Power over people using fear and manipulation. Making money from selling children into sexual slavery. We are living in the 21st century. We know that we are all connected, all living on one planet, breathing the same air, eating the same foods. We should not be allowing this type of horrendous activity. We should all be standing up against it and if that means blowing ISIL off the map then so be it. No one should have to live in this type of fear.

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Derogatory Additions To Names

I expect a lot of people have seen the news about a gentleman who had a derogatory addition to his surname. It was in the news recently and a great deal on social media. Not a nice thing to happen at all. I can’t see anyone enjoying getting a letter with that kind of thing on there. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often. Although saying that, there are many occurrences of letters being sent out to people who have passed away. Also offensive.

The media have been saying that this offensive addition to the gentleman’s surname was deliberate. But was it? From what I’ve read there is an investigation underway at the moment. But what possible reason would an agent have to do this? If the agent was someone who was just plain and straight forward prejudiced against skins of a particular colour, or particular religion, then surely it would have been spotted well before hand. I can’t see a large company keeping on an agent who is prejudiced, or in fact, a person applying to work at a multi-cultural company if they were prejudiced. Doesn’t make sense either way.

Working in a call centre myself I know first hand how bad it can be on the phones. I often have people coming through and I ask them for their name and haven’t got a clue what they’ve said. Whether it’s a bad line, a strong accent, speaking too quickly, or someone covering the mouth piece, there have been times where I’ve been completely stumped. I’ve begun the call by calling them what I thought they said only to be told quietly bluntly that I’m wrong!

Some customer don’t understand what ‘initial’ means. So when I ask for an initial they spell out their name. I’ve had customers give me their full names – first, middle, last – all in one breath. It can be quite difficult at times, and it’s very common for us to have to ask a customer to spell out their surname and then spell out their first name. Just so that we can understand them.

Is this what happened in this unfortunate case? Was it just a matter of the agent not understanding the customer? It’s interesting to note that at my company there is a split with what people think between those on the phones and that those who aren’t. Those of us on the phones are all saying this couldn’t possibly have been done deliberately – it’s just too easy for us to hear the wrong information. While those who are not on the phones are all saying it was deliberately done.

The only reason I can see for this to have been done deliberate is if the agent had just had enough. I’m not saying that this is what happened here. I don’t know. And I’m certainly not saying that this customer was aggressive. Again I don’t know. But having worked on the phones for so long I’ve had my fair share of abusive customers and it would be so easy to want to get my own back. I never have. But there have been times when the temptation has been very strong.

I had a customer complain that I was heavy breathing. I had a cold and because I was breathing through my mouth he could hear it. Another customer complained about the same thing with one of my colleagues who had asthma. This is blatant prejudice towards us when we are not well. One customer complained about a colleague who asked him to call back. He wanted to speak to an English person but everyone was on the phone as it was particularly busy. My Nigerian colleague asked him to call back later when it was a bit quieter and he may get an English person. He called back and complained about her. This again was prejudice.

What is annoying is that the company upholds the complaints from the customers. Customers come first. It should not be happening. Customers should not be treating agents in this manner. We are not pieces of dirt. Some customers are extremely offensive, aggressive, bullying, prejudicial, swearing, and downright nasty. Agents are human beings. I got to the end of my tether a few times. I got into trouble raising my voice to one woman who was insulting me and shouting at me. We can only take so much before we snap. Is this what happened in the news item recently? I will be very interested to see what the investigation uncovers.


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Petition

In March a petition with over 100,000 signatures was handed in to the UK government, by the British Veterinary Association (BVA). The petition, raised by the BVA, was an attempt to stop slaughter without stunning, which is the current method used in halal (Muslim) and shechita (Jewish) meat industry.

The BVA and animal welfare organisations are against these forms of slaughter as the animal is conscious while killed and often takes several minutes to die. Stunning before slaughter minimises pain and suffering.

The UK government said it had “no intention” of outlawing religious slaughter, regardless of public feeling, or advice from the country’s top vets – people who obviously know what they are talking about. In fact the UK government have said that it is more a case of religious prejudice then animal welfare. Well I’m not Muslim or Jewish and I certainly find it offensive to be given halal or kosher foods. It has nothing to do with my beliefs and should not be forced on to me. When I’m handed this type of food I find it very prejudicial.

There are animal welfare laws in the UK. Laws that state that an animal must be stunned before slaughter. Religious groups are exempted from this law.

Is it right to condone the breaking of a law because of someone’s religious belief?

Lee Rigby was murdered in broad daylight by Michael Adebolajo, and Michael Adebowale who said they were doing it for religious reasons. Were they exempted from murder? Thankfully not.

So why is the UK government allowing the painful death of living creatures just because of some medieval religious reason?

According to the website Chabad.org (http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/222240/jewish/What-is-Shechita.htm), What is Shechita?
“Shechita is performed by a highly trained shochet. The procedure consists of a rapid and expert transverse incision with an instrument of surgical sharpness (a chalaf), which severs the major structures and vessels at the neck. This causes an instant drop in blood pressure in the brain and immediately results in the irreversible cessation of consciousness. Thus, shechita renders the animal insensible to pain, dispatches and exsanguinates in a swift action, and fulfils all the requirements of humaneness and compassion.”

In the case of mammals, the thoracic cavity has to be examined to make sure there are no lesions on the organs in the chest. This is often done before the animal is dead.

Halal slaughter is very similar: the cutting of the throat without the animal being stunned, and then allowing it to die while a prayer to Allah is said over it. It is supposed to be done with a sharp knife and well away from any other animal – alive or dead – so that the animal being slaughtered does not get stressed.

At least that’s what these religious groups are saying.

An undercover investigation in Yorkshire filmed animals being kicked and stamped on, as well as being hacked to death in a halal abattoir.

An abattoir in Beirut was closed down after world outrage of animals being kicked, beaten, stamped on, as well as bulls being dragged by fingers in their eye sockets.

After public outrage, Australia has stopped exporting cattle to Indonesia because of cruelties inflicted on the animals.

An Asian abattoir in Florida is currently being investigated because of animals being skinned alive or having their heads turned 360 degrees to kill them.

All very religious I’m sure.

I often hear religious people say that their God created the Earth and everything on it. Surely if God is the prime artist and you ‘respect’ the artist then you would see the artists work as being priceless? Or am I being naïve? Why do some religions think that they can commit any kind of brutality and it’s ok?

I believe that everything on Earth has a soul and is created by God, or by this miraculous planet that we live on. We are all connected to this planet and cannot live without the other creatures on it.

I also believe in natural justice – you only need look at the state of the Middle East to see it at work.

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The Right People To Work Here

The higher ranks of the company have mentioned recently that they want the right kind of people for the job. Mentioned several times actually. They have also said that anyone who does not have the right attitude should go elsewhere.

During a meeting last week where we were discussing what would make the company an even better place to work for, one of the directors began to ask people if they would like more facilities to help with religious matters. He mentioned praying facilities, better facilities to wash feet, and anything else that people may find beneficial. Well I jumped at him.

‘This is a place of work not a place of worship.’ I said.

‘Oh but we need the right kind of people for the job.’ He replied.

So am I take it that non-religious people are not the right people for the job? Lovely case of discrimination if that’s right. Or does the company prefer people spending their time praying and washing their feet rather than actually doing the work they are employed to do? Surely the ‘right kind of people’ do their job at work and personal issues, such as religion, occupy them outside of work.

Why do some people expect the work place to accommodate their worship preferences? If you worship a God, whatever God it may be, then shouldn’t you be thinking about that deity at all times, not just in worship? And shouldn’t your actions belie the religion you follow? For instance, if you believe that God created everything and is the prime artist, then shouldn’t you be treating the artists work as being priceless, in every form it comes in? Should you not be working to the best of your ability in honour of the fact that God provided the job for you? Or should you be wasting the time of other people by washing your feet and spending your time praying? I can’t see any God thinking a time waster or work skiver is worthy follower to have.


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Grand National Sweepstakes

The usual Grand National sweepstakes were being held at work today, with the usual ‘religious’ people avidly discussing it. I refused to take part as normal.

I think this spectacle is disgusting. How many lives have to be lost before something will be done to end it? Because it’s horses that are dying many people seem to have no conscience or care. Life is important in whatever form it comes in. No wonder there is still racism in the world. After all if something looks different why should we care about it?

Why is it that so many people who claim to be religious enjoy cruelty? Surely if you believe that your God created the Earth and everything on it, then you are saying that your God is the prime artist. If you truely respect an artist then you would respect the artists work – in every form it comes in. You would go out of your way to protect that artists work.

There seems to be many religious people trying their best to convert others to their beliefs, and yet they are supporting things like the Grand National, dog fighting, bear baiting, treating livestock like crap, and they try to make out that they are pious. They make me sick. Hypocritical bigots.