By itself, this story is absurd, and even comical. If nothing else, at least it’s not public money for a change, unlike the squat toilet recently installed for the use of inmates at Canterbury Prison. But it is most noteworthy, of course, as part of a larger trend of self-congratulating, self-righteous, politically correct pandering to Muslims, and to the exclusion of other groups.
One would be remiss not to consider one other matter. Muhammad prescribed the use of an odd number of stones with which to clean up. If the mall is taking the extraordinary step of installing a culturally correct loo, will stones be complimentary, or will there be a Bring-Your-Own-Stones policy? Or would considering that still be too absurd?
“Shopping centre bosses approve ‘Asian squat toilets’ following cultural awareness course,” by James Tozer for the Daily Mail, July 18 (thanks to Basil):
For centuries, the great British loo has been a matter of envy to the rest of the world.
Thanks to the efforts of pioneers like the legendary Thomas Crapper, we have long since led the world in comfort and hygiene.
Now, however, that could be about to change.
For most of us, the squat toilet is nothing more than a staple of horror stories about old-fashioned French service stations or the exploits of adventurous backpackers in far-flung parts of India.
But this basic form of plumbing, also known as a Turkish toilet or Nile pan, could be coming to a shopping centre near you – and all in the name of cultural sensitivity.
From next week, shoppers in Rochdale who push open the cubicle door expecting the reassuring sight of a modern, clean lavatory could instead be faced with little more than a hole in the ground.
Bosses of the Greater Manchester town’s Exchange mall have installed two as part of an upgrade costing several thousand pounds after attending a cultural awareness course run by a local Muslim community activist.
A familiar sight in parts of the Middle East, and still sometimes seen in France and Italy, the toilets require users to squat above them, rather than sitting.
With one in ten of Rochdale’s population of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin, centre managers say they have been told some members of the local Asian community prefer them for cultural reasons.
The town hit the headlines during this year’s General Election campaign when pensioner Gillian Duffy was dismissed by Gordon Brown as a ‘bigoted woman’ when she voiced concern about immigration.
News of the introduction of squat toilets was met by disbelief, however.
‘This strikes me as a classic case of excessive pandering to a politically correct minority,’ said Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley.
‘We in Britain are rightly proud of our toilets, and the onus is on people who come to this country to appreciate them for what they are.
‘It’s absolutely ludicrous – Thomas Crapper would be turning in his grave!’
Proponents of what some campaigners call the natural posture toilet claim there are health benefits to squatting, rather than sitting.
Canterbury Prison recently installed one for foreign inmates as part of a Â£17,000 upgrade.
But they are regarded as unhygienic and backward in many parts of the world – infamously, a controversial sculpture briefly displayed at EU offices in Brussels last year lampooning member states depicted Bulgaria as a squat toilet.
Mike Bone, of the British Toilet Association, warned the washing facilities associated with squat toilets could pose a hygiene hazard.
‘We really don’t see a need for them,’ he said.
‘Space for public toilets in places like shopping centres is already at a premium, and if this is meant to cater for Muslims we would point out that the vast majority use normal toilets in their own homes.’