Friday, April 21, 2006

Sit it Out

From the BBC, yesterday, news that facilities in a prison are being built so Muslim inmates do not have to face Mecca while sitting on the toilet.

The Home Office said two new toilet blocks are being installed as part of a refurbishment at Brixton jail in south London.

Faith leaders had told prison bosses it was unacceptable for Muslim inmates to face Mecca while using the toilet.

“The refurbishment has been carried out with due consideration for all faiths”, a Home Office spokeswoman said. “Following consultation with faith leaders within the prison, various small adjustments were made to ensure the faith issues of all prisoners are taken into account.”

Writing as one who travels extensively in the middle-east and who has driven around the “Christian by-pass” which defends Mecca from chance incursions by non-believers, I find this whole notion insane. In the region, I have not been aware of buildings being designed so that their toilets face in a particular compass direction. East is a very big place.

Are we suggesting then, that Saudia, the airline of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, should ensure at all times that on flights to the magic kingdom, it should never have the aircraft toilets pointing in the direction of the Moslem Holy Places?

Should all prisoners be issued with a GPS device to reassure them that they are not passing waste in a vaguely south-eastern direction? Have we gone completely barking mad in this country and should we be surprised that the British National Party is attracting more support?

As a passing note, The government will argue in Britain's highest court next week that foreign officials who commit torture abroad should be immune from civil action in the English courts.

Christopher Greenwood QC will argue for the British government, which has intervened in support of Saudi Arabian officials accused of detaining and torturing four Britons in Saudi jails. Why would we do this you might ask? Well, you may have heard that Britain's aerospace industry received a massive boost yesterday after the Government announced a deal worth an estimated £10bn to supply Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft to guess who..?


Thomas Crapper said...

If the Koran has instructions on the direction in which the faithful defecate and urinate then I don't see a problem in going through the motions of PC and obliging them. What fascinates me in this lavatorial PC is the problem of facing west on the throne. A common insult is to pass water facing the target of the insult but the use of the bottom is to turn away and present the rear. I hope the Prison Service has considered ensuring WCs are orientated N-S and not E-W.

Anonymous said...

And I am sure Simon will be able to enlighten us on whether True North or Magnetic North should be the starting point on this thorny problem, and whether as magnetic variation changes we will have to realign the loos every year or two?
Nothing is too much trouble to ensure the comfort of our Muslim citizens, whether they be convicted criminals or just on remand.