Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Let Them Eat Chips!

Peace, one and all...
I was listening to Radio 4 today. There was a brief debate on the issue of obesity and the NHS. In other words, one commentator was arguing that we should impose a kind of 'fat tax' on chronically obese people.
Whilst I think that it is important to promote responsible behaviour and participation in society, I think that this suggestion is a bit off of the wall, to say the least. The interviewee (whose name I didn't catch) said, in essence, that he objected to paying for other people's laziness and greed. 'I'm a responsible person and though I enjoy a bag of chips once in a while, I don't overindulge' he opined.
Ma sha Allah! What a deep insight into the problem! The other interviewee made the perfectly valid point that obesity often goes hand in hand with other issues such as poverty, lack of education and other such forms of social deprivation. 'What middle class drivel' was the objection. Again, a profound insight (not)!
Obesity is a complex issue and needs to be tackled sensitively and appropriately. Creating a kind of fat underclass isn't going to help. Whilst we're on the topic of greed, why don't we include the greed and over-consumption of our entire society: the kind of society in which footballers can earn £90,000 per week, and status is defined by how many things you can acquire.
Allah says in the Quran: al-hakum al-takathur, hatta zurtum al-maqabir... 'The mutual piling up of wealth diverts you, until you come to the graves...'. Now, that's the definitive answer to the problem.
Ma'as salama,
Abdur Rahman


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