Every festive season, we can rely on a trough of stories in the tabloid press about how religious minorities take offence at some aspect of majority culture and – because the pc-bullies who tend to such matters are terribly concerned about this – some object or tradition is snatched away, frequently at the behest of said belligerent minority group spoiling not only the holidays, but for a fight.
Scratching at the nerves more often than not is the humble piggy, the animal which apparently offends Muslims and Jews so much that we must all pretend it never evolved along with its barnyard companions from the primordial soup, or that whatever god that created it did so for uncharacteristically mischievous reasons which remain quite opaque to us squabbling mortals.
Today, The Sun served up the following.
BARMY shop bosses axed a tiny pig from a kids’ toy farm set – in case it upset Muslim and Jewish parents. An angry mum complained to the Early Learning Centre when she found the pig missing and was told it had been removed for “religious reasons”.
The mother, named only as Caroline, found there was no porker with the cow, sheep, chicken, horse and dog in the store’s HappyLand Goosefeather Farm.
There was an empty sty in the farm set she bought for her daughter’s first birthday – and a button that made an oinking noise when pressed.
But after writing to the ELC’s customer services she got an email reply admitting the pig had been removed in case it upset Muslim or Jewish parents. Both religions ban the eating of pork because they consider the pig an unclean animal.
The email said: “Previously the pig was part of the Goosefeather Farm. However due to customer feedback and religious reasons this is no longer part of the farm.”
It is obviously a remarkable story of idiocy, similar to last week’s tabloid gemabout a shop which refused to sell xmas crackers to a woman who had allowed her young daughter to carry the box for fear of being accused of supplying explosives to a minor.
Stories about the Muslims, Jews – or increasingly “militant secularists” – who stole Christmas can do a great deal of damage to inter-faith relations. But are they true? Are they just fabrications?
I don’t think they are. I’m fairly certain the email from Early Learning Centre must exist. But that does not mean the removal of pigs from a toy set was done at the behest of the majority of Jews or Muslims.
What we have here are two groups of dimwits. Firstly, the religious extremists who complain about things like piggy banks and the like – or the cab drivers who leave blind people with guide dogs standing on the curb. Secondly, we have the fools in P.R. who take these complaints seriously. They think they’re doing the right thing; they think they’re greasing the wheels of community cohesion, but, honestly, they’re too clumsy to notice the spanners falling from their pious overalls and clunking loudly into the works.
Anyone who is so obsessed with the contents of a mainstream toy farm set supplied by a mainstream high-street store should not be listened to. They’re obviously mad – as religious extremists are invariably are. We should not pay any attention to their irrational demands even when they start blowing themselves up. If we think that we can stop nutters trying to blow up our trains and planes by addressing their whirling vortex of grievance, we’re mistaken. If we think we can mend broken fences by removing toy pigs from the box, we’re just as misguided.
More importantly, communities should not be judged by their extremists. If there is a Muslim or Jewish person reading this post who appreciates the abbreviated plastic barn-yard, please do raise your hand. If there is a Muslim of Jewish person (assuming it wasn’t some racist mischief-maker lodging bogus complaints – and they do exist: only recently someone tried to fix an opinion poll to make it seem Jews supported the EDL.) who feels the aggrieved party speaks for them, please raise your hand.
Similarly, if there is a non-Muslim/Jewish person here who feels ELC’s customer services rep represents them, do also let us know.
It would be nice to know how many people are keen to both feed tabloid histrionics and to make the lives of Christians, Jews, Muslims and secularists (even ‘militant’ ones) just that more fraught and unpleasant.
Gene adds: The pig has been reinstated.
(Hat tip: davem)