Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘smoking’

Happy hookah fans

Posted by Richard on October 2, 2007

They're really tough on smoking in Vancouver, even prohibiting it on sidewalks. But they've adopted one exception to the harsh restrictions: hookah lounges. It would be culturally insensitive, after all, to ban "smoking while Muslim":

Vancouver's hookah-parlour owners are celebrating after winning an exemption Thursday from a proposed new bylaw that will ban smoking on most sidewalks in commercial districts, in bus shelters and even in taxis passing through Vancouver.

In giving the bylaw unanimous approval-in-principle, Vancouver city council members bowed to arguments that hookah lounges provide an important cultural space for the city's Muslims and granted them a temporary exemption.

Mind you, I object in principle to these draconian smoking bans, so I'm glad that hookah lounge owners remain free to run their businesses and exercise their property rights. But the Vancouver city council isn't belatedly and partially embracing the doctrine of natural rights here. It's practicing dhimmitude. It's furthering a growing trend in the Western world — the practice of bending over backwards to avoid offending Muslims.

Maybe it's craven cowardice. Maybe it's the self-loathing and loathing of their own culture and heritage that leads to the belief that the Other is more entitled to respect and accommodation than Us. Either way, it makes me want to loiter on the sidewalk in front of a Vancouver hookah lounge and smoke a cigarette.

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