This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Muslim Woman Assaults Photographer, Toronto Police Say It's OK

Muslim Woman Assaults Photographer, Toronto Police Say It's OK - Comments

Steve Hanson's Avatar Comment 1 by Steve Hanson

This reminds me of how, in the U.S., police have attacked photographers in the same manner, trying to claim its illegal to record what they are doing without their consent (even though they are in public).

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:16:58 UTC | #861049

Hellboy2's Avatar Comment 2 by Hellboy2

Yep. Slowly but surely the human rights of decent, law abiding citizens are being eroded by the religious loons. You have to ask what was it they were afraid you might capture on film.

Unfortunately, the response by the authorities is, yet again, another indication that religion trumps all calls of sanity. The 'law' in a lot of muslim occupied countries is now becoming utterly ridiculous in regards bending over backwards in accomodating religious rights. I despair sometimes at where it will all end....

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:21:11 UTC | #861050

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 3 by Atheist Mike

A friend linked me to this:

It happened in the same city. Apparently Toronto has some trouble with muslims.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:26:45 UTC | #861051

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 4 by Stephen of Wimbledon

This case demonstrates exactly why I, for a long time, supported the French ban on burkas (etc.).

It is imperative that we understand: Open face = open debate.

The woman in question is not just raising a question about civil liberties as they pertain to privacy and the human right to personal self expression.

She is also demonstrating an idealised case of free speech.

Christopher Hitchens, for one, has said this many times: Free speech is as much about ensuring people have the time and space to freely listen to voices that oppose them - as it is about ensuring that people can speak.

I recanted on my French position for the reason (as demonstrated in this case) that this principle also includes the right of citizens to hear the voice of the oppressed and downtrodden - in order to keep the peace, and the dialogue of freedom flowing.

However, this case also highlights that we live with those same propaganda expressions - the propaganda they are taught, and therefore express.

So does freedom of speech trump freedom of expression - including those reporting on freedom of speech?

When the weakest of the oppressed can feel enough righteous indignation to turn violent against those who would free them ... is legal sanction justified?

The French said yes.

I cannot decide.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:30:29 UTC | #861052

skiles1's Avatar Comment 5 by skiles1

This might've been a good time to invoke His holy name, Flying Spaghetti Monster, claiming it was your faith in Him which led you to take the photos. Because, what a crock of shit.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:32:56 UTC | #861053

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 6 by Neodarwinian

Canada is too close for comfort.

Will the muslim tail begin to wag the Canadian dog?

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:47:11 UTC | #861055

johnesmiller's Avatar Comment 7 by johnesmiller

Is anyone following up on this assault? I don't see why Islam thinks its special other than it is a totalitarian ideology that we seem to be appeasing.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:54:48 UTC | #861057

johnesmiller's Avatar Comment 8 by johnesmiller

The British Bill



Regulate the wearing of certain face coverings; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—


Regulation of face coverings


Subject to the exemptions in subsection (3), a person wearing a garment or

other object intended by the wearer as its primary purpose to obscure the face

in a public place shall be guilty of an offence.


For the purposes of this section, a “public place” is as defined in section 9(1) of


the Public Order Act 1936.


A person does not commit an offence under subsection (1) if the garment or

other object is worn—


pursuant to any legislative or regulatory provision;


as a necessary part of any activity directly related to a person’s




for reasons of health or safety;


for the purposes of a sporting activity;


for the purposes of art, leisure or entertainment; or


in a place of worship.



Any person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary

conviction, to a fine not exceeding Level 1 on the Standard Scale.


Removal of face coverings on private premises

Where members of the public are licensed to access private premises for the

purposes of the giving or receiving of goods or services, it shall not be an


offence for the owner of such premises or his agents—


to request that a person wearing a garment or other object intended to

obscure the face remove such garment or object; or

Bill 20


Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill



to request that a person refusing a request under subsection (a) leave

the premises.


Removal of face coverings in the course of provision or receipt of public



A person—



providing a public service in person to a member of the public; or


receiving a public service in person from a public official;

shall remove any garment or other object intended by the wearer as its primary

purpose to obscure the face unless such garment or other object is reasonably

required for reasons of health or safety.



For the purposes of this section—


a “public service” is any service provided to the public by or on behalf

of any public agency or public enterprise of a legislative, administrative

or judicial nature or in connection with public order or national

security; and



a “public official” is a person engaged in the provision of a public



Short title, commencement and extent


This Act may be cited as the Face Coverings (Regulation) Act 2011.


This Act comes into force on the day on which it is passed.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:58:38 UTC | #861058

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 9 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:59:14 UTC | #861059

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 10 by Atheist Mike

@comment 9 by James Prentice

Well she was yelling "We are muslims! You do not take pictures of us!". It's hard not to link this to muslim exceptionalism and appeasement.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:02:46 UTC | #861060

educationsaves's Avatar Comment 11 by educationsaves

Assult is assault. I believe the police may have been intimidated by the religious card being played just as he may be if the race card is played. For him it would be easier to pretend it was OK than to face a religious nut case uprising by arresting the woman. Scary when the police feel threatened by a bullying religion.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:04:14 UTC | #861061

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 12 by hemidemisemigod

The author is lucky this didn't happen in the UK. The police have been quite hostile towards photographers over the last couple of years:

Sections 43 & 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 are being used as an excuse to annoy photographers as they go about their hobby.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:08:31 UTC | #861062

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 13 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:10:06 UTC | #861064

johnesmiller's Avatar Comment 14 by johnesmiller

I think we should begin to head off the totalitarians now. How shall we get together?

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:13:49 UTC | #861065

Robert Howard's Avatar Comment 15 by Robert Howard

Oy, I hate it when this type of thread appears on RDnet as it always brings out the crazies. What were the mods thinking? I guarantee that by this time tomorrow there will be at least 150 comments, only a fraction of which will be intelligible and inoffensive. The count currently stands at 15...

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:14:11 UTC | #861066

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 16 by Zeuglodon

That person who punched the photographer should have been arrested like anybody else would have been. If people object that it is 'religious discrimination', it should be politely pointed out to them that the woman was not arrested because of her religious affiliations, but because she had, without adequate provocation, physically assaulted another person and threatened to damage their camera. It would have been religious discrimination not to arrest her.

If she did not like the photograph, she should have asked him politely if he would delete the picture, as she did not like having her photograph taken, instead of screaming at him.

That said, it is possible that this is a one-sided account and/or that he was rude or indifferent to her when this occurred (I cannot tell what he means when he said "I informed the lady I was in a public square in a democracy. I can actually take pictures of whomever I please." Could he have come across as belligerent?), but that still doesn't excuse her assault.

Comment 13 by James Prentice

Yeah Mike, I appreciate what you are saying but if she did shout that, what can one really do about it? This woman was quite obviously violently disposed, but I'm not going to make a universal out of it and say 'Canada's democracy is being undermined by violently undermined by non-photogenic Muslim women'. Look, of all the issues in the world associated with the cause of rationalism, this one is pretty futile, don't you agree? It's a matter for law enforcement to deal with these issues - the woman should have certainly be cautioned or even arrested if that corresponds to the law.

If the law is being suspended out of bias for religious opinion, even once, then it is a matter for this website to know about it. Law is not an institution that can be permanently divided from such matters as 'reason' or 'religion', especially secular law which refuses to give religion special status.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:15:13 UTC | #861067

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 17 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:21:26 UTC | #861068

rajah's Avatar Comment 18 by rajah

Does the first sentence of this article mean I can't take a picture of a person on the public street from the window of my private house? There is much more to this story than this quick recap and now that someone has opened the can of worms it needs a complete airing to explain EXACTLY what happened. What EXACTLY did the photographer do and what EXACTLY did the woman do? The police video might just help settle the brouhaha.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:21:35 UTC | #861069

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 19 by Vicktor

I can't understand why these "fundamentalist" Muslims want to settle down in Canada in the first place. It sounds like they would be happier in their own countries where everyone knows the "rules".

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:40:10 UTC | #861075

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 20 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:45:09 UTC | #861076

Daisy Skipper's Avatar Comment 21 by Daisy Skipper

Comment 9 by James Prentice

I heard David Menzies (of whom I am no fan) recount this story on the radio (he is unfortunately a regular contributor to a show I listen to) a couple of days after it occurred. He said that he just purchased the camera and was trying it out at Dundas Square . He implied that he did not photo the muslim group deliberately. And anyway, you should be able to take a picture in one of TO's busiest spots.

Having said that, Mr Menzies is an ultra conservative complainer. No doubt he was looking for something like this to happen.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:53:13 UTC | #861078

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 22 by Zeuglodon

I agree with your comments regarding the law, but I'm not going to make any assumptions or conclusions using conjecture based on a secondary source. If the police made special allowances to this woman, who allegedly committed an assault, based on her religious beliefs, then law enforcement must be held accountable. However, there are certain things about this person's story that are clearly facile, such as his insistence to take a photo of the woman, when she made it quite clear that she did not want to be photographed. The policeman possibly took this into consideration. There isn't enough information for anyone to apply this as a universal, though I suspect that this shall now be looked upon as a 'serious assault on Canada's democracy'. I have never heard another case like it.

I agree that the case seems too one-sided - I do wonder if his photographing her was deliberate incitement - and if it is the exception rather than the rule in Canada, all well and good. But if the deliberate assault is true, or even the less heinous attempt to damage his camera was true, then I think the police should have acted on it and, if not arrested her, then at least cautioned her too. But the way she was portrayed makes her look violent-tempered, and if this portrayal is accurate (some skepticism here), then I would have expected a corresponding action by the police to take the photographer's side, as her reaction seemed over the top.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:59:09 UTC | #861079

Sara12's Avatar Comment 23 by Sara12

Did he point out the police camera to the police and the woman? Would the police have been okay if the women had assaulted them over that camera? I didn't get the impression that he was stalking them. It's a public place. There could have been any number of people taking photos with their phones of whatever and these women might have been in them. Would they be allowed to assault all of them? And unless you wear a sign that says "please don't photograph me" how would someone know that a random person would take offense? It's absurd.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:59:16 UTC | #861080

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 24 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 23:12:31 UTC | #861082

Northman321's Avatar Comment 25 by Northman321

Yeah, I've heard this refrain before. Actually all too often, and always almost exactly the same story, though the characters changes a bit from time to time. There's even a template now:

The xenophobes always seem to find themselves the victims in these instances, and seem to find themselves in these terrible circumstances nearly every week despite nobody outside of their tightly-knit little hate community ever running into such problems. Sure, the targets change every now and again, from Muslims, to foreigners, to labour organizers, to French-Canadians, and pretty much any “other” who they feel threatens their privileged status. I'm not that impressed with yet another cry of wolf. It does bother me however, that so many here seem to share those bigoted views when their target is Muslims.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 23:19:43 UTC | #861083

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 26 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 23:20:07 UTC | #861084

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 27 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 23:24:15 UTC | #861085

Layla's Avatar Comment 28 by Layla

Sorry but unsolicited and unwelcome photography is something that I find really obnoxious behaviour and I question the idea that we should have a right to photograph whomever we please in circumstances where we're merely photographing for our personal pleasure and where the subject objects to being photographed.

If you're documenting something taking place or just taking shots of a general street scene without targetting specific individuals I think you are within your rights but if you're talking about targetting individual strangers going about their business who are telling you they do not wish to be photographed then I don't see why your desire to take their picture should trump their desire not to be photographed by you.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 23:26:08 UTC | #861086

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 29 by Vicktor

Comment 28 by Layla

If you're documenting something taking place or just taking shots of a general street scene without targetting specific individuals I think you are within your rights but if you're talking about targetting individual strangers going about their business who are telling you they do not wish to be photographed then I don't see why your desire to take their picture should trump their desire not to be photographed by you.

Chances are, at least one photograph would already have been taken by the time the photographer is informed that the person in question does not wish to be photographed. What then? Also, have you considered what the default position of most people is going to be regarding strange photographers taking photos of them in public? Of course, whoever is being photographed in this way and does not want to be does not have to pose and can always turn their head and stick their hand out to block the camera.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 23:34:55 UTC | #861088

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 30 by Sean_W

Thus proving once again that Muslim women can take of themselves. Perhaps it's time we all let them drive too?

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 23:36:32 UTC | #861089