Friday, 16 September 2011

World Shocked: Pakistani-born Woman has Critical Opinion of Muslims

In a shocking expose in The Daily Mail, Pakistani-born (actually British India-born) Baroness Flather writes of how the benefits system is being cheated by polygamous Muslim families, delivering line-after-line of body blows to those who support a welfare state and confirming what those who read The Daily Mail have always known.

Course, there's a few small problems with her views (why else would I write about it?) The article's argument starts off with her sketching a hypothetical situation -
For example, a Pakistani man contracts a marriage in his native country, and then brings his wife to England to start a family. Because they have been married only under Islamic law, she isn’t legally registered by British authorities as his wife. Even so, they are able to claim child benefit for any children they have.

But the state handouts do not end there, for under Islamic Sharia law, polygamy is permissible. So a man can return to Pakistan, take another bride and then, in a repetition of the process, bring her to England where they also have children together — obtaining yet more money from the state.

Because such Islamic multiple-marriages are not recognised in Britain, the women are regarded by the welfare system as single mothers — and are therefore entitled to the full range of lone-parent payments.
.....and that's pretty much it. That's her argument on polygamous Muslims ripping the taxpayer off in full. Nothing more. Nada. Zip.

That this hypothetical situation contains many unfounded assumptions (that all Muslims believe in Sharia law/polygamy, that people are solely motivated by claiming benefits, that it would be easy for an unmarried (in the view of UK law) Pakistani woman to move to the UK) isn't the biggest problem with this view. The biggest problem is that it is assumed that because there is a hypothetical incentive in place people will actually do it and follow her line of reasoning; that a hypothetical argument adheres to reality.

Following from her hypothetical argument she moves on to hard empirical facts.
Figures are hard to obtain, but it’s thought there may be around 1,000 polygamous families living in the UK, costing taxpayers millions of pounds a year.
You read that right: all she does, it appears, is pull a statistic completely out of her arse. Also, at this point, we're clearly meant to ignore that the (made-up) statistic doesn't even cover what she's talking about and can't be linked to costing taxpayers. We're meant to ignore that polygamous families could support themselves without the welfare state and that polygamous families could not be Muslim. Instead, we're meant to just assume that the statistic links up with her hypothetical situation.

After throwing in an anecdote (see the line "A friend of mine") she's clearly feels that her point is well-established and so moves on to complaining about how her voice is being drowned out by political correctness and how, in line with her libertarian sentiments, the welfare system should work to limit the size of families. Eurgh.

What really gets me about this article, though (beyond the complete and utter lack of evidence backing it up) is the assumption that being a secular Pakistani-born person makes someone an authority on Muslim welfare dependency in Britain; that hers, because of where she was born, is the voice of truth. It is a crude attempt at an appeal to authority that would be akin to this entire post instead reading "British-born blogger says British newspaper, The Daily Mail, is full of lies and not fit to wrap chips in."

Course, I actually have evidence to back that up.

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