Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Danish Candidate MP: «OK to Attack Danish Troops in Iraq»

Asmaa Abdol-HamidThe Danish-Palestinian politician Asmaa Abdol-Hamid caused quite a stir in the Danish media yesterday when she said in an interview with the tabloid newspaper B.T. that she supported the «resistance» movement in Iraq and had no problems with Danish troops being attacked. Asmaa Abdol-Hamid plans to run for the extreme-left Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) at the next elections for the Danish Parliament (Folketinget).

Asmaa Abdol-Hamid told B.T. that «she supports the Iraqi resistance movement against the occupation forces» and that «they have the right to live in a country where they can make their own decisions». She therefore does not want to distance herself from Iraqis using weapons against Danish forces in Iraq either. In a reaction to the controversy her first interview started, she maintained her support for the Iraqi resistance, and even went as far as to compare them to the Danish resistance movement against the German occupation during Second World War. She thinks resistance against a foreign occupation is not only legitimate but even a human right.

Naser Khader, the founder of the new conservative political party New Alliance (Ny Alliance) said in a reaction that Asmaa Abdol-Hamid is a confused young woman who has already said so many things and contradicted herself numerous times. He points out that she's completely wrong in this case, since the Iraqi government is legitimate and recognized by the United Nations, and therefore should be supported over the resistance movement. Other politicians from other parties agreed with Naser Khader.

Asmaa Abdol-Hamid was backed up by her own party, the Red-Green Alliance, with Frank Aaen, MP for that party, saying that in Iraq, combat against amongst others Danish soldiers is legitimate. He adds though that he's against terror in general, and assumes Asmaa Abdol-Hamid is too. The Danish imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen, who backs Asmaa Abdol-Hamid's candidacy for the Danish Parliament on the Red-Green Alliance's list, supports her too, saying he still thinks she'll make a good Danish MP. According to him, what she has said isn't controversial at all.

Asmaa Abdol-Hamid came to Denmark as a Palestinian refugee in 1986 together with her family. She is a social worker and made first national headlines when she refused to shake hands to a male colleague after she got elected as a deputy member of the Odense city council in 2005 for the Red-Green Alliance. She was later the spokesperson for 11 Muslim organizations acting against Jyllands-Posten in the famous cartoon controversy, and hosted in 2006 a TV show called Adam and Asmaa on public television together with journalist (and atheist) Adam Holm. That show caused a debate too since she wore a hijab, thereby being the first TV host on Danish television to do so. She has already announced that if she gets elected for the Danish Parliament, she'll wear the hijab in the Parliament too.

In the interview with B.T. she also said she has never had any boy-friend, but she has already said no to many men. She doesn't know how the perfect man for her should be like, but for her, the more important question is how she'll meet him – e.g. through «the traditional way where another family knows her family, and she can learn to know their son».

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hippocratic Oath and a Lot of Hypocrisy

Glasgow airportThere has been some debate in the media about the fact that many of the suspects involved in the car bombs in London and Glasgow last week were physicians, in particular with regard to the Hippocratic Oath. But does such an oath really matter for terrorists? And what's the Hippocratic Oath worth anyway, especially in the West?

Let's start with the terrorists: why wouldn't they plan or carry out a car bomb attack in Great-Britain, or Iraq for that matter, just because they're physicians who have taken the Hippocratic Oath? I'm a civil engineer, and I never got the impression at university that it would be OK for me to harm people as part of my job, on the contrary. Furthermore, the Hippocratic Oath never stopped the development of biological or chemical arms, even though I'm sure there were (and probably still are) a lot of medical doctors involved in that. Not to mention Josef Mengele, who, I'm sure, took the Hippocratic Oath too, just as well as Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda's No. 2, George Habash of the PLO and Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Hamas strongman in Gaza, as Thomas Wagner from Associated Press points out.

The fact that so many people are puzzled by the fact that many of the suspects were physicians who had sworn not to harm any people says more about the people who are puzzled than the suspects. It seems that some people just haven't got it yet, even after both 11 September 2001 in New York, 11 March 2004 in Madrid and 7 July 2005 in London. There's a war going on, and contrary to what some people in the media want us believe, it wasn't the West that started it. In fact, being a physician is just an easy ticket in if you want to enter the United Kingdom, and the following quote from The Sun sums it up quite well:
It was a perfect cover. Who could possibly suspect a doctor of wanting to inflict death and injury on innocent people?
My guess: the Israeli's could,and probably would too. Actually, it's a lesson they learned years ago, and maybe we should rather start learning from them instead of blaming them for almost everything that's going wrong in the Middle East.

Finally, about that Hippocratic Oath: how much is it still worth in the Western world anyway? The classical version explicitly bans both euthanasia and abortion, but references to it aren't even accepted any more as arguments in a «modern» debate about those two issues. In fact, in Belgium physicians are still allowed to refuse to perform abortion or euthanasia on moral grounds. That is, at least for the time being, because the previous, liberal government didn't really give the impression it appreciated those difficult physicians very much. And Marc Cosyns, the doctor who announced last week he was planning to perform euthanasia in an illegal way as to renew to debate, wasn't confronted with his Hippocratic Oath at all. If that's not in conflict with the Hippocratic Oath, why would killing infidels be?

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