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Sunday, October 15, 2006 

Veil rage and schools of segragation in Britain

I'd wanted to blog about this earlier, but my browser suffered a crash in between, so I was forced to put off what I'd wanted to do until now. Well, you've probably all heard about former foreign secretary Jack Straw's surprise criticism of the Islamic veil, sometimes also called a niqab, and the predictable Muslim rage that followed. Salman Rushdie, who once had to live underground when the Ayatollah threatened him, summed things up well when he said that veils suck. And the UK Times has a good op-ed by Saira Kahn about why Muslim women should be thanking Straw (also via Michelle Malkin):
The growing number of women veiling their faces in Britain is a sign of radicalisation. I was disturbed when, after my first year at university in 1988, I discovered to my surprise that some of my fellow students had turned very religious and had taken to wearing the jilbab (a long, flowing gown covering all the body except hands and face), which they had never worn before and which was not the dress code of their mothers. They had joined the college’s Islamic Society, which preached that women were not considered proper Muslims unless they adopted such strict dress codes. After that, I never really had anything in common with them.

It is an extreme practice. It is never right for a woman to hide behind a veil and shut herself off from people in the community. But it is particularly wrong in Britain, where it alien to the mainstream culture for someone to walk around wearing a mask. The veil restricts women, it stops them achieving their full potential in all areas of their life and it stops them communicating. It sends out a clear message: “I do not want to be part of your society.”

Some Muslim women say that it is their choice to wear it; I don’t agree. Why would any woman living in a tolerant country freely choose to wear such a restrictive garment? What these women are really saying is that they adopt the veil because they believe that they should have less freedom than men, and that if they did not wear the veil men would not be accountable for their uncontrollable urges — so women must cover-up so as not to tempt men. What kind of a message does that send to women?

But a lot of women are not free to choose. Girls as young as three or four are wearing the hijab to school — that is not a freely made choice. Girls under 16 should certainly not have to wear it to school. And behind the closed doors of some Muslim houses, women are told to wear the hijab and the veil. These are the girls that are hidden away, they are not allowed to go to universities, they have little choice in who they marry, in many cases they are kept down by the threat of violence.

So for women such as them it was absolutely right for Jack Straw to raise this issue. Nobody should feel threatened by his comments; after all, the debate about veils has been raging in the Islamic community for many years. To argue that non-Muslims have no right to discuss it merely reinforces the idea that Muslims are not part of a wider society. It also suggests, wrongly, that wearing the veil affects only Muslims. Non-Muslims have to deal with women wearing a veil, so why shouldn’t their feelings be taken into consideration? I would find it impossible to deal with any veiled woman because it goes so deeply against my own values and basic human instincts. How can you develop any kind of a social relationship with someone who has shut themselves away from the rest of the world?

And if we can’t have a debate about the veil without a vocal minority of Muslims crying “Islamophobia”, how will we face other issues, such as domestic violence, forced marriages, sexual abuse and child abuse that are rife in the Muslim community?
Well said. And it's not just wrong in Britain, it's also wrong in France, especially in France, which has even more problems with Islamofascism than Britain does. Robert Spencer's got a podcast on the subject on Hot Air too.

All this comes as I read a report in the Telegraph about how Tory member David Davis is starting to show some guts that David Cameron isn't by taking the Muslims to task for apartheid.
The Conservatives today accuse Muslim leaders of encouraging "voluntary apartheid" in Britain by shutting themselves away in closed societies and demanding protection from criticism.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, says that Britain risks social and religious divisions so profound that society's very foundations, such as the freedom of speech, will become "corroded" and that the perfect conditions for home-grown terrorism will be created.

His stark intervention, in an article for The Sunday Telegraph, represents a toughening of the Tory stance on the dangers of Islamic radicalism and follows calls from some leading ministers for Muslim women to remove their veils. It is also a departure from the "caring Conservatism" message laid out by David Cameron.

Mr Davis says he supports the stance on veils adopted by Jack Straw, the Commons Leader, but believes the wider issue is one of the "very unity of our nation".

"What Jack touched on was the fundamental issue of whether, in Britain, we are developing a divided society. Whether we are creating a series of closed societies within our open society. Whether we are inadvertently encouraging a kind of voluntary apartheid.

"At the starkest level, we may be creating conditions in the recesses of our society that foster home-grown terrorism."

Mr Davis's comments follow a series of events that highlight the reluctance among some Muslims to integrate fully into British society. Aishah Azmi, a 24-year-old teaching assistant, is taking legal action because her school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, asked her to remove her veil in front of children. Madani High School, an Islamic school in Leicester, is ordering its non-Muslim girls to wear headscarves.

An ICM poll this weekend showed 57 per cent of voters want Muslims to do more to fit in and 53 per cent agree with Mr Straw that the full veil creates a barrier between Muslim women and other people.
Davis is being attacked by Muslim groups, of course, and I should hope that he'll stand firm. That aside, what this we have here - British parents sending their children to Muslim schools? Oh, right, this is Britain, unfortunately. Big problem with Britain of course is that they went to such lengths in teaching prejudice over the past centuries, something that Melanie Phillips once spoke of (here's also her entry from last week discussing the veil rage) and this is the result.

Michelle Malkin points to another article from the NY Times about how Britain's government funds Muslim-only schools. Assuming that Britain wants to finally shape up, maybe they should stop wasting their citizens' hard earned tax pounds on these schools for hate and use them for better purposes like fighting terrorism. Howzabout that for a change, huh?

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