This unbalanced report from AP writer Elaine Ganley appeared today with the headline "Muslim says mistresses are the French way of life." Let's look at an excerpt (emphasis added):
PARIS – A Muslim Frenchman at the center of a firestorm over polygamy said Monday that keeping mistresses is the French way of life. The man's case came to light after his wife was fined for driving with a veil covering her face, and his comments are an ironic riposte to those in French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government who want to push immigrants to better integrate into French society....
Subsequently, wrote Ganley, "it soon emerged that her husband may have four wives."
Hold on. The main thrust of Ganley's AP report, actually, is the "controversial legislation forbidding burqa-style Islamic veils that cover the face, on the grounds that they don't respect French values or women's dignity." So, why a headline that stresses the French tradition of mistresses? The issue here revolves around (a) the veil and its implications for security and the dignity of women, and (b) the possibility that the woman's husband, Algerian-born Lies Hebbadj, is a polygamist.
France's Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, reports Ganley, "wants to revoke the French citizenship of the driver's husband if he is found to be practicing polygamy."
So, again, why the headline about French mistresses? I would guess that it's a nice way for a Western Civilization apologist to throw a jab at the French for daring to challenge the customs of the interlopers in their midst. What Ganley does in her report is, in effect, to distract from the real issue of the veil (include burkas with that), and polygamist practices by Muslims. Ganley waits until her last paragraph to note that "There are no official numbers on the number of polygamous families in France, most of which are from sub-Saharan Africa, but they are estimated in the tens of thousands."
Although Ganley gives prominent attention to Mr. Hebbadj's ridicule of the customs of the nation he has chosen to live in: "If we are stripped of nationality, for having mistresses," Lies Hebbadj told reporters in Nantes, then "there would be a lot of French people stripped of nationality. As far as I know, mistresses are not forbidden, neither in France, nor in Islam."
Is Hebbadj's statement intended to make us, somehow, more sympathetic to him or to the practice of polygamy? Regardless of your opinion of the French practice of taking on mistresses, the fact of the matter is that Hebbadj is an outsider who is excusing his own culture's bad practices by criticizing the bad practices of his host culture. It's a bit like farting at a dinner party, then criticizing the host for belching.
While we see no shortage of headlines such as "French Law Stigmatizes Muslims," we'll probably not see "Islamic Law Stigmatizes All Non-Muslims" anytime soon in the Mainstream Media.
Hebbadj should consider a career in politics. He can obfuscate with the best of them. He mocks the French for their mistresses in order to spin attention away from his alleged polygamy, and to somehow make mistresses and polygamy morally equivalent. In my own opinion, neither hobbies are admirable, but that's not the issue here. The issue is the law - the local law, for which Hebbadj and his kinsmen seem to openly scorn.
Neither Ganley nor Hebbadj mentioned anything about the time-honored tradition of child abuse and slavery in the Muslim world. Perhaps Hebbadj could advocate for those avocations as well.
Perhaps Hebbadj never heard the old saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." We could update and personalize that for him: "When in Dar Al Harb, do as the Dhimmi do." It's only polite.
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