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Rashi laptop

I guess that saving a life doesn't count where modesty is concerned

Posted on 2008.02.11 at 11:24
Current Music: Freddy Fender - She's About A Mover
This story really upset me for some reason. Female Muslim medical students in the UK are refusing to properly scrub and disinfect themselves because it is immodest to uncover one’s arms.
Obviously, Judaism has some similar rules about bodily modesty and what should be covered and uncovered, and I am not debating that here, but for us, all those rules go out the window under the principle of ‘pikuach nefesh’- saving lives. The fact that this is even a controversy is disturbing to me.
It put me in mind of this article in which Dan Savage discusses Islamophobia.


uberconfused at 2008-02-11 17:28 (UTC) (Link)
Why would you become a surgeon if you are unwilling to perform one of the basic *preparatory* maneuvers for doing the job?!
theservant at 2008-02-11 17:51 (UTC) (Link)
I guess what scares me most is that this is seen by some as a reasonably position.
jane_etrix at 2008-02-11 17:46 (UTC) (Link)
but for us, all those rules go out the window under the principle of ‘pikuach nefesh’- saving lives.

Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. There have been a number of instances recently wherein people, particularly women, have been physically attacked after being perceived as immodest by Haredim in Israel.
theservant at 2008-02-11 17:50 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, but they are halachically wrong in doing it.
jane_etrix at 2008-02-11 18:19 (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you, but they think they're defending halacha, and there's very little condemnation of these actions from Haredi religious authorities in Israel.

I agree with you completely that the story of these Muslim girls is very disturbing, but I don't think it's much different than extremist ideas about modesty which we see in Christianity and Judaism.
theservant at 2008-02-11 18:39 (UTC) (Link)
The difference is in the willingness to apply them at the cost of a real health hazard, and the idea that this is in fact the proper way to run a British hospital.
jane_etrix at 2008-02-11 18:47 (UTC) (Link)
I think assaulting people or throwing bleach at them is a real health hazard. I also agree that it's ridiculous to think allowing doctors to avoid scrubbing is a proper way to run a hospital.
theservant at 2008-02-11 20:11 (UTC) (Link)
Of course, I agree with you. I guess that it seems like the one is an instance of hooliganism being turned a blind eye at by authorities. I don't know of any serious halachic opinions which would justify or encourage that kind of behavior. But I know that it does happen, and that it isn't reprimanded as it should be.
lilchiva at 2008-02-11 19:23 (UTC) (Link)

But these women are not in Israel

I lived in a Muslim neighborhood for years and this is not Islam to me. I mean it's not a normative image of Islam as expressed in the West. I got to wonder, just what in the world is going on in Britain? What conditions there are causing this?

Edited at 2008-02-11 07:23 pm (UTC)
jane_etrix at 2008-02-12 06:30 (UTC) (Link)

Re: But these women are not in Israel

I don't think the Haredim assaulting people are doing it because they are in Israel, but the question you ask about the Muslims in the UK is a good one. I wish I knew the answer.
lilchiva at 2008-02-12 06:44 (UTC) (Link)

Re: But these women are not in Israel

You're right and I wasn't trying to suggest that Israel = Islamic violence. In the future, I will try to be a little more sensitive about my phrasing. My apologies.

Edited at 2008-02-12 06:45 am (UTC)
jane_etrix at 2008-02-12 06:55 (UTC) (Link)

Re: But these women are not in Israel

I think you're misunderstanding my initial comment- the Haredim are Jews.

But I didn't think you were suggesting Israel = Muslim (or Jewish) violence.
Release the Kraken!
delerium69 at 2008-02-11 18:05 (UTC) (Link)


As I recall from history, among other issues of ignorance, over-the-top modesty is what prevented proper medical care for centuries in the first place, .

And this doesn't make sense to me - why can't Muslim women just scrub up in a sex-segregated room and then have other women put on their surgical gloves? (And that would be regardless of the size of the glove. You need to kill the nasty bugs even if they're underneath surgical covering. Sheesh.)
lilchiva at 2008-02-11 19:29 (UTC) (Link)

Re: *eye-roll*

Maybe that's exactly what they are asking for? This article doesn't say that. Have the British really become so hostile to Islam that these types of actions are now reasonable seeming forms of protest? It seems like nearly every other day I am seeing reports of London's New Muslim. What I don't see, though, are reports of discrimination, harassment, and violence toward Muslims. I would think that would have to be happening too, right?
Release the Kraken!
delerium69 at 2008-02-11 22:51 (UTC) (Link)

Re: *eye-roll*

I would assume so, and it definitely would have helped if the article went much further.
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