Breaking World Records, Glass Houses and Dumb Laws (Part-2)
Of late, scores of individuals and organisations have become masters at the art of throwing stones from the proverbial ‘glass houses.’ Prime amongst them are the various Islamophobes from across the globe – whether Muslim (in name), or otherwise – whose only agenda is to malign anything Islamic. While some of the rulings that come out of Muslim circles may seem weird or strange to a western(ised), or liberal, mind without much knowledge of Islam, some of the laws that exist in their literate and so-called civilised societies are no less worthy of ridicule, as A. P. AKHTER shows further in this concluding part of his two-part essay on the subject. The first instalment of this article was published in the January 2016 issue of Young Muslim Digest. The secular-minded among the Western Christian people may claim that even much of what is stated in their own Bibles do not make sense, precisely because they are religious, and which, they think, is a lot of nonsense anyway. Well, if that is the case, what about offering a logical explanation behind the following laws from the secular legislation of certain European nations: In California: -Bathhouses are against the law. -It is a misdemeanour to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale. -Women may not drive in a house coat. -No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour. -Peacocks have the right of way to cross any street, including driveways. -Nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool. -You are not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows. -A man can’t go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match. -It is prohibited to sleep in a parked vehicle. AND that, in Denmark: -An attempt to escape from prison is not illegal.However, if one is caught, he is required to serve out the remainder of his term. -One may not be charged for food at an inn unless that person, by his or her own opinion, is “full”. -Restaurants may not charge for water unless it is accompanied by another item such as ice or a lemon slice. -When driving, you must have someone in front of your car with a flag to warn horse drawn carriages that a motorcar is coming. -If a horse-drawn carriage is trying to pass a car and the horse becomes uneasy, the owner of the car is required to pull over and if necessary, cover the car. AND that, in Finland: – Taxi drivers must pay royalties if they play music in their cars forpaying-customers. AND that, in England: -With the exception of carrots, most goods may not be sold on Sunday. -London Hackney Carriages (taxis/cabs) must carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats. -It is illegal to be drunk in a licensed bar or pub. -It is illegal for a lady to eat chocolates on a public conveyance. -Any boy under the age of 10 may not see a naked mannequin. -A bed may not be hung out of a window. -No cows may be driven down the roadway between 10 AM and 7 PM unless there is prior approval from the Commissioner of Police. -Since 1313, MPs are not allowed to don armour in Parliament. -Any person found breaking a boiled egg at the sharp end will be sentenced to 24 hours in the village stock. AND that, in Scotland: -It is illegal to be a drunk while in possession of a cow. -If someone knocks on your door and requires the use of your residence, you must let them enter. -You may not fish on Sundays. AND that, in France: -It is illegal to kiss on railways in France. -No pig may be addressed as Napoleon by its owner. -Between the hours of 8AM and 8PM, 70% of the music in the radio must be by French composers. -It is illegal in Antibes to take photos of police officers or police vehicles, even if they are just in the background. -An ashtray is considered to be a deadly weapon. AND that, in Italy: -All gondolas in Venice, by law, must be painted black unless they belong to a high-ranking official. -A man may be arrested for wearing a skirt. -It is illegal to practice the profession of charlatanry. -Striking someone with a fist is considered a felony. AND that, in Ireland: – Any person who shall pretend or exercise to use any type of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or pretend knowledge in any occult or craft or science shall, for any such offence, suffer imprisonment at the time of one whole year and also shall be obliged to produce proof for his/her good behaviour. AND that, in Germany: -A pillow can be considered a “passive” weapon. -It is illegal for one’s car to run out of gas on a highway. -It is illegal to wear a mask when going on strike. AND that, in Switzerland: -If you forget your car-keys inside the car and you leave the car open, you will be punished. -Though it is illegal to produce, store, sell and trade absinth (special alcohol), it is legal to consume it. -Clothes may not be hung to dry on Sunday. -You may not wash your car on a Sunday. -It is considered an offence to mow your lawn on a Sunday, because it causes too much noise. -It is illegal to flush the toilet after 10 PM. -A man may not relieve himself while standing up, after 10 PM. AND that, in Greece: – All electronic games are banned. AND that, in Holland: -It is legal to smoke cannabis, buy it, or have less than five grams with you. -Prostitution is legal and prostitutes must pay taxes like any other business. AND that, in Norway: – You may not spray your female dog or cat. AND that, in Sweden: -While prostitution is legal, it is illegal to use the services of a prostitute. -You may only own half a meter down in the ground of any land you own. -It is illegal to repaint a house without a painting license and the government’s permission. AND that: Israel, the 51st adopted child-state of America – and the Europeans – are not far behind the Americans and Europeans when it comes to dumb laws. Try to figure out the logic behind these: In Israel: -Bicycles may not be ridden without a license. -If you have been maintaining an illegal radio station for five or more years, the station becomes legal. -It is against the law to feed animals in public places. -It is forbidden to bring bears to the beach. -Picking one’s nose on the Sabbath is illegal.
* From “Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings” (1996) by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).