Muslims win exception to smoking ban in Vancouver Updated

posted at 11:03 am on September 27, 2007 by Bryan

Multiculturalism for me but not for thee, even if thee art the majority.

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…

Hamid Mohammadian, operator of the Persian Teahouse on Davie Street, thanked council for the exemption.

“We are very happy because this is our culture. I have one customer, 75 years old, who said ‘I will have no other place to go if you close,’” he said.

Mohammadian brought two hookah pipes to show council. They included a 600-year-old model with a ceramic mosaic on the outside, fruit-flavoured tobacco, and charcoal to the meeting to show councillors what was at stake.

I’ve been to a hookah lounge or two, and it’s true that they’re little Middle East cultural centers. They’re also fun to hang out at once in a while. But so what? Why should they get an exemption based on some multi-culti argument? If we’re not careful, we’ll end up setting up parallel legal structures for Muslims and non-Muslims.

Mark Steyn, who drew my attention to this story, adds:

The state, in other words, is prepared to treat Muslims as free-born adults who can weigh the “cultural value” (ie, the pleasures) of smoking against the health risks. But not the rest of us.

Yup. The story notes that cigar rooms can continue operating until the final regulations are drafted, but what happens after that? Will they get a culture exemption? The crackheads seem to have one.

One disgruntled speaker, Angela Giannoulis, suggested sarcastically that she hoped the new bylaw would mean she wouldn’t have to put up with crack and crystal-meth smokers outside her family’s cigar-distribution business in Strathcona, while it forces her employees to go to dangerous alleys to smoke cigarettes and threatens to shut the cigar rooms for her customers.

But health-protection director Domenic Losito said he didn’t think so, since the bylaw is aimed at cigarette smoke.

Update: Meanwhile, Tennessee becomes a tobacco police state.

Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.

If only the feds would demonstrate such vigilance against the coyotes. I’m not the first to note the irony.

Rep. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, said he sees inconsistency in the enforcement program.

“This administration has been very willing to turn a blind eye to illegal aliens pouring into our state, yet, when a natural Tennessean brings a couple of cartons of smokes across the state line, they want to arrest them,” Campfield said.


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I wonder if CAIR will get right on this for discriminatory challenges.

Mcguyver on September 27, 2007 at 11:09 AM

what. a. bunch. of. crap.

wryteacher on September 27, 2007 at 11:09 AM

For this “pleasure”, they should pay extra in taxes! Bet they get a pass on that too!

But health-protection director Domenic Losito said he didn’t think so, since the bylaw is aimed at cigarette smoke.

Health-Protection Director? It this what we have to look forward to under Hilary Care?

Gimme a break….

JohnnyD on September 27, 2007 at 11:17 AM

OT: Goose Creek terror plot, finally wrote about in local Liberal rags http://www.charlotte.com/109/story/295179.html

interesting that they spoke in Arabic in back of cop car, being recorded secretly…now that its in the paper all future Jihadist in that sitution will know to keep quiet.

jp on September 27, 2007 at 11:18 AM

Only people can take their countries back. Expect nothing from politicians except less freedom and more taxes. People better wake up soon …

darwin on September 27, 2007 at 11:18 AM

Well call me Ishmael and buy me a ticket to Canada.

km on September 27, 2007 at 11:32 AM

we’ll end up setting up parallel legal structures for Muslims and non-Muslims.

Well that is the ultimate goal, isn’t it? Under Sharia law, all were not created equal.

Multiculturalism is hypocrisy, seeking to incorporate into free society a legal system that is inherently incompatible with a free society.

infidel4life on September 27, 2007 at 11:33 AM

it’s true. The pen is mightier than the sword. They don’t need to kill us. Just whine till they get their way on everything.

Ya know these blackberry keyboards need to be just a hair bigger.

boomer on September 27, 2007 at 11:34 AM

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…

Let’s get something straight: We have a culture too.
In the US and Canada, there’s an important social and cultural tradition of going to bars to watch games. In Canada, it’s predominantly hockey, as opposed to football here in the US. Regardless of the sport being watched, cigarette smoking is often part of this traditional social gathering…

forest on September 27, 2007 at 11:37 AM

During last night’s Dem debate, one topic of intense interest was the topic of cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke. (Those unimportant topics having to do with terrorism and war on terror were relegated to the final session requiring answers in 30 seconds or less).
Why in the world is a person’s choice to smoke cigarettes a concern of the President of the United States? Or the Vancouver City Council? The do-gooders have already started in on food fat content. Next it will be sugar, and so on until our food will be completely tasteless (which I suppose would be a good way to solve the “obesity” epidemic, because then we will limit our calorie intake).
The issue in this story, of course, is the different standards, different laws for Muslims and non-Muslims. In the name of “saving” us, our politicians are taking away our freedoms, ignoring the real threat to us from extremists and terrorists, all the while allowing a slow and pernicious trend toward different, more lenient standards and laws for that group of people from whom the terrorists arise. This is craziness. Sorry for the long rant.

reine.de.tout on September 27, 2007 at 11:39 AM

Dhimmitude: It’s the new black.

ZK on September 27, 2007 at 11:42 AM

All people are equal before the law, some are more equal than others.

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on September 27, 2007 at 11:50 AM

Looks like cooler “heads” prevailed. Or should I say, attached heads? I guess no fatwas for today.

roninacreage on September 27, 2007 at 12:08 PM

Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.

Last time I checked the Constitution says a person doesn’t need to pay import fees state to state. If the person is then selling them then they broke the law, but buying a bunch of cigarettes and taking them across/smuggling them isn’t a crime.

In fact, I would argue it is completely in tune with the Founding Fathers, seeing how a good many of them were smugglers to avoid taxes.

Tim Burton on September 27, 2007 at 12:15 PM

Yeeesh. More addle brained birkenstock leftist hypocrisy from the behavior fascists.

Oh. Look. The Rastafarians are knocking on the door. It’s a religion, donchano.

Guaranteed like flies to shtt.

locomotivebreath1901 on September 27, 2007 at 12:28 PM

Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

There was a report about a year ago in which terror financiers were buying large quantities of cigarettes in a low-tax state like North Carolina and then taking them to a high-tax state like Michigan to sell them. They were reportedly making millions in tax-free income used to finance terror operations overseas.

aunursa on September 27, 2007 at 12:29 PM

This cigarette-resell to finance terror groups has apparently been going on for many years.

aunursa on September 27, 2007 at 12:30 PM

Financing Hezbollah

aunursa on September 27, 2007 at 12:31 PM

I’m not a smoker….I’ve never taken so much as a puff of a cigarette; however, I don’t see why hookah culture is more important than western smoking culture. I’ve worked plenty of places where a “smoke break” was actually an opportunity to gather and chat. I worked at a restaurant in NY that has a cigar bar downstairs (one of 4, I think, cigar clubs in NYC to get an exemption from the smoking ban). I guarantee that when people are paying $50+ dollars for a cigar, it’s a cultural thing.

I don’t see why western multi-culti folks are all about celebrating any culture except our own.

JadeNYU on September 27, 2007 at 12:42 PM

Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.

This practice of stopping citizens from bringing cigaretts in from other states is totally un-Constitutional.

U.S. Constitution – Article 1, Section 9, clause 4

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

This shows clearly that Tennessee officials have no regard for the rights of their citizens or the U.S. Constitution itself. They are more than willing to turn a blind eye toward the rights of citizens in order to enhance tax revenue.

The Supreme Court has ruled time and time again that this type of practice by the states is not Constitutional. The Supreme Court has been perfectly consistent on this type of issue. The officials enforcing these stops in Tennessee know, or should know they are in direct violation of this particular Constitution restriction upon the states. If the Tennessee citizens have to take this to court to get it stopped, those officials that have knowingly violated their citizens rights should suffer under penalty of law. They know better or they should know better, either way they are liable.

Maxx on September 27, 2007 at 12:47 PM

Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

Maryland has been doing this for years. And you can expect them to increase their vigilence once the Md legislators raise double the taxes, which they plan to do.

JohnnyD on September 27, 2007 at 12:54 PM

Those Hookahs are nothing more than the original bottle toke, or as the drug parlance has it, BTs. Who’s to say they aren’t smoking hashish in them as they do in the arab world? Well, of course they are. That’s the point of the BT. But being a “cultural center”, no cops would dare raid a hookah parlor to arrest any muslim on drug possession charges.

I, for one, would like to welcome our new muslim overlords. And as an infidel, I would like to remind them that I can be useful in rounding up other infidels.

jihadwatcher on September 27, 2007 at 1:08 PM

Do they have “rape your brother’s wife parlours” too because that’s part of the culture?

Black Adam on September 27, 2007 at 1:08 PM

[Update: Meanwhile, Tennessee becomes a tobacco police state.]

I can rival that institutionalization of governmental extortion and the governmental habituation of the people as criminals. NYS has a line on their tax form requiring you to calculate the NYS sales tax you owe for things purchased out of state. The common read is that if you don’t put something in there, you’ll be audited.

Dusty on September 27, 2007 at 1:15 PM

Too infuriating! But not surprising for Vancouver.

Vancouver has (had?) drug injection sites where users could go to safely inject. There was also a test where hardcore heroin users would get three hits a day on the government if they were accepted into the program. The idea was that if the drugs were provided free, maybe the users wouldn’t have to steal or sell sex. This would give them time to get their lives together.

And my favourite, there was a group of people that would ‘help’ users crippled by the drugs. These people would inject the drugs for the person.

I’m sorry I don’t have the links. Some of you may think I’m making this up. But after all the insanity we read on a daily basis, can you really look at each of those ideas and not think there’s a bunch of liberals SOMEWHERE that thinks those are good ideas?

Canadian Infidel on September 27, 2007 at 1:22 PM

whoops .. should read “habituation of treating the people …”

Dusty on September 27, 2007 at 1:32 PM

I, for one, would like to welcome our new muslim overlords. And as an infidel, I would like to remind them that I can be useful in rounding up other infidels.

jihadwatcher on September 27, 2007 at 1:08 PM

You’re gonna need a new screen name, like InfidelWatcher. Hehee.

Califemme on September 27, 2007 at 1:41 PM

So in Canada, the fear of insulting Muslim, or rather the fear of violence, an exception for their “cultural activities” will be allowed.

Yet, the government will continue to regulate everyone else’s activities whether they like it or not.

Kini on September 27, 2007 at 1:47 PM

Do they have “rape your brother’s wife parlours” too because that’s part of the culture?

Black Adam on September 27, 2007 at 1:08 PM

Good point! What about “honor killing parlours”? Or “behead the infidel parlours”? All in the name of multi-culti folks! Every day we slide a little farther down this slope. Have we already passed the point of no return?

lan astaslem on September 27, 2007 at 2:18 PM

This whole thing about the special rights of muslims is starting to become digusting. Enough of the special treatment for these heathens.

On Tennessee’s smoking crackdown, Illinois has been doing the same thing for decades. Or trying to. It’s what people do when the assholes of state government become even greedier bast*rds than they normally are: They vote with their feet and buy out of state to avoid the higher state taxes.

When I shop on the Internet, I ONLY shop at online sites that do NOT remit “sales taxes” to Illinois, where I live.

Be advised, the states are trying very hard to get Congress to allow them to impose sales taxes on internet sales. Congress has so far resisted and there was a proposal to permanently ban the imposition of state sales taxes for internet sales. I hope it passes.

georgej on September 27, 2007 at 2:18 PM

lan astaslem on September 27, 2007 at 2:18 PM

Muslim Amusement Park: Six Flags Over Jihad

Featuring the “Don’t Behead Me Bro!” sword swinging gallery.

infidel4life on September 27, 2007 at 2:28 PM

This is absolutely ridiculous. I’m so glad that Muslims can have special rules even for something this unnecessary. “We like it, it’s fun,” is apparently a valid enough argument for Muslims to not have to follow the same rules as everyone else? Nice.

hollygolightly on September 27, 2007 at 2:45 PM

Baby steps to Sharia Law?

Kini on September 27, 2007 at 2:55 PM

I love hookahs! Nothing relaxes me like a hookah and the end of the day. Its about time that the western world accept hookahs, learning to live with them rather than persecuting those who use them.

Bill C on September 27, 2007 at 2:57 PM

Parallel laws are nothing new in Canada. The Charter is worded so that such things are the norm. If you can come up with an argument that includes racial or cultural discrimination, it’s free pass time.

If someone were to figure out if it was a cultural requirement for me to bring a hip flask of whiskey to work, based on my Scots-Irish heritage, I would be much obliged.

Krydor on September 27, 2007 at 3:09 PM

If there are no cigars hookah lounges in heaven Vancouver , I will not go go on another rampage.
- Mark Twain Mohammad

MB4 on September 27, 2007 at 3:16 PM

It’s no surprise to read that the Candadians have declared themselves to be a lesser class than their immigrant Muslims; aw, hell, it’s hilarious. I love it.

But Tennessee is a little closer to home. Isn’t this the state administration of Glenn Reynolds’s preferred candidate for President, Demorat Phil Bredesen? Great…

Jaibones on September 27, 2007 at 3:29 PM

I don’t think they’re necessarily accomodating muslims here. We have hookah bars in New York (despite a smoking ban) and 99% of the patrons are non-muslim. Then again, most of the patrons are liberal hippies.

Its Tommy on September 27, 2007 at 3:33 PM

bonghits 4 Jesus

The Race Card on September 27, 2007 at 6:14 PM

All tokers are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Better start saving up your Canadian money for the Jizyah payments, O’ ye in the Great White North, since this is the camel’s nose and you’re the tent.

profitsbeard on September 27, 2007 at 6:54 PM

I don’t know what the rules are in British Columbia regarding smoking in public buildings.

In Ontario, it’s against the law to smoke in most public buildings. Members of the Royal Canadian Legion (present and former members of our military) cannot smoke in their legion halls. What about our Canadian military culture?

Josephine on September 27, 2007 at 7:49 PM

Just as in the US, Canada is two nations. The urban elite, and everybody else. Unfortunately, it is the urban elite that decide the rules for our society.

But that’s okay, get away from the cities, and you get away from the muslims and their urban elite tools. I doubt the muslims will reach cottage country north of Barrie. The black flies would drive them crazy, none of them can’t fish, they’re afraid of water, and not a halal meat store for hundreds of miles. But lots of places to buy beer and back bacon. Essentially, muslim hell. It’s one thing to be a muslim in the big city amongst your liberal cohorts and the comforts and accommodations of of civilization, but venture out into the Great White North, and the moose alone would send them running.

jihadwatcher on September 27, 2007 at 8:11 PM

How about another tax out the wazoo on cigarettes? That is going to cure all of this I’m sure. As a smoker these stories really get me up in arms. I mean really really up in arms. Whatever…it’s just silly. Tax me so you can feel better about yourself.

kahall on September 27, 2007 at 9:33 PM

This is nuts,especially in Canada,JihadWatcher you are correct,but this continual bending over backwards for
muslims has got to stop.
We went through this crap when the Indians wanted to keep their head dress when they became Mounties and the only group to stand up was the vets legion.

canopfor on September 27, 2007 at 10:27 PM

Nothing like a 600 year old bong to bring back some hazy memories of the seventies!

Bradky on September 28, 2007 at 12:13 AM

Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

I’m told that the opportunity to rob legally was a large part of what kept Europe’s religious wars going. When seizure of estate was no longer permitted, people were suddenly much less interested in fighting about religion.

Kralizec on September 28, 2007 at 12:44 AM