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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments


Fort Wayne smokers, you need to change your tactics. Stop fighting City Council and trying to get exceptions to the smoking ban for bars or restaurants that spent thousands of dollars trying to comply with the earlier version of the ban. You need to: 1. Become a Muslim. 2. Organize all the other smoking Muslims you are able to meet or convert. 3. March on City Hall to demand your rights:

Okay, Muslim foot-baths in Kansas City airport, gender-segregated swimming sessions at French municipal pools, banning pork from Aussie hospital menus, no eating donuts for Belgian cops during Ramadan, no seeing-eye dogs or alcohol in Minneapolis taxi cabs, fine, fine, fine. Must be sensitive and all that.

But this is an amazing victory. In Vancouver, infidels can't smoke but Muslims can:

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...

[Emad Yacoub] said hookah lounges are essential for immigrants from hookah-smoking cultures, because it helps them deal with the depression common for newcomers and gives them places like they have at home.

(Hat tip to Mitch.)


Steve T.
Mon, 10/01/2007 - 7:32pm

Why is this even a controversy in 2007? Granted Fort Wayne runs 25 years behind the times in terms of attitudes toward cultural matters like the "benefits" of smoking, but surely we now know what intelligent adults must do to avoid early death....? N'est-ce pas?

J. Q. Taxpayer
Wed, 10/03/2007 - 8:08am

Certain businesses want a break but don't get it to allow smoking. OK, understood.

How is it three hospitals get a 100 foot rightaway after their property lines that is a no smoking zone? Special interest maybe? Keep in mind the Redi Meds, major clinics and so forth did not get this special benefit.

Oh, I understand. It just depends on which side you are on. It has nothing to do with equal treatment for all.

tim zank
Wed, 10/03/2007 - 10:40am

Steve T, the reason this is still a controversy in 2007 is because some of us still think the government has NO business butting in and regulating a perfectly legal activity on private property. Key word there being "legal".