8 October, 2006

The Veil Debate!

Posted in My View On Politics, Utter Dribble at 4:19 pm by smileygirly

So I’m not jumping on the bandwagon but I wanted to give my opinions on this matter! Please don’t lynch me!

I guess all you can hear or see nowadays in the British media is some vilification towards Islam. The most recent being the debate about the comments that the House of Commons leader Jack Straw saying that he asks Muslim women visiting his constituency surgery to remove their face veils because he finds them a barrier to communication.

Imagine the mass outcry that this has caused, especially at a time when it seems that being a British Muslim is any excuse to be subjected to a barrage of abuse. At a time when the relations between Muslims and Non Muslims is tense and “Islamaphobia” is the topic of nearly every day, I ask myself, if this was the wisest career move that Straw has made.

I can understand where’s he coming from. It is difficult to communicate with ANY person whose face is obscured but blind people seem to cope do they not?

I’ve read numerous debates about where Muslims are outraged at being subjected to what apparently constitutes as “racism” and “hostility” towards Muslims and where people wouldn’t dream of asking Jewish people to remove their skull cap nor would they ask a nun to remove her habit.

What Straw said was that he asked those who came into his office to remove their scarf. These women have every right to object and say no.. Isn’t that due to the freedom of speech and civil right that is enforced in this country? The same way, is Straw not allowed to enforce his opinion?

From what I’ve read, and I’m generalising here because a few of my bestest friends are Muslim, it seems as though you can’t say a bad word against Islam for fear of being accused of Islamaphobia.

What happened to freedom of speech for those who aren’t Muslim?



  1. Oz said,

    Heya! *prepares the noose…i joke* 😛

    Firstly, I would say that I think Jack Straw knew what he was talking about, and knew exactly what reaction he would get. In a climate where Muslims are taken away from their homes at the first sign of “extremism” (i.e. wearing traditional Eastern clothing, beard, prayer cap) this comment was designed to polarise opinion for/against Muslims, and this isn’t helping anybody.

    Or is it? I read that Jack Straw is intending to run for the soon-to-be-vacant position of Deputy Prime Minister. This kind of rhetoric would appeal to the (now substantial) right-wing lobby within the Labour Party. So, this could indeed be the wisest career move Straw has made. 😉

    The comment itself is an indirect statement saying “I disapprove of the way you dress, please adhere to MY idea of clothing, so I can communicate with you in a manner that makes ME feel more comfortable”. Wow, what tolerance. Freedom of speech only works when combined with a certain level of common sense. Being able to communicate “without barriers” is a non-issue, and if Jack Straw needs to see someones face to make decisions, I question his ability as a diplomat. (I question it anyways, but thats another story for another time.)

    I’ll finish by quickly saying, that in a society where peoples opinions are validated by cosmetic appearance, maybe its better that you can get your opinion across on the basis of its merit, and not the way you look.


  2. Sam said,

    In religious point of view, when western Muslims complain this kind of things, it shows the lack of faith and personal sacrifice them willing to take behalf of their faith.

    If I choose not to eat for my faith, I have no right to complain about hunger.
    If I choose walk on fire for my faith, I have no right to complain about burn.
    If I choose walk naked for my faith, I have no right to complain about people laughing at me.
    That is my sacrifice for my religion and those have deeper religious values and lessons behind that.
    Talk about criticism, some people even got killed because of their religious believes and they did not complain about that. Some people even sacrifice their own only son for their faith and they did not complain about it.

    In political point of view,
    It is mutual respect. When Christiane Amanpour in Afganistan, she cover her head. Because that is the afghan culture and she must respect that.
    In western culture, humans look at each others faces when they talk to each other. Who ever live inside western culture, must respect that.

    Any Muslim must take out their headwear if they enter in to Buddhist template. Any Buddhist must cover their head if they enter in to Islamic Mosque.

    Yes. Muslim does not ask anyone else to take off their cloth. But they do ask others to cover there certain body parts when they visit to places where Muslims control law and order. No one complain about King Fahad gooz-bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud. Then why people complain Straw?

    Politically – Yes. A Polar Bear can live in Sri Lanka if he wants – but it will be very hard for the Polar Bear. Does Polar Bear have right to complain? Yes he does.
    But if he really wants to suit with the alien environment and not willing to shave some hair, he needs to live in North Pole – where he originated and well suited. Unfortunately Polar Bear do not have a religion to provide the moral support he needed in that sacrifice, but humans do.

  3. Fazli Sameer said,

    This is nothin new. Remember it was Churchill who asked “Who is this Half naked Fakir from the East”, when Ghandi went to London in a loincloth?

  4. What Straw said was politically naive but as in anything that involves religion, things have been taken out of context and blown out of proportion. Look, he is entitled to say what he wants. He has the right to do that. People can dislike what he says but if we’re going to see riots all over the world because of this just like we did after the cartoons and the Pope’s statement, then you wonder what happened. What happened to the most enlightened of the modern religions, the religion that was civilised when the Christian West was barbaric during the Crusades, the religion that gave so much to the world in the form of algebra, astronomy, mathematics etc at a time when any non-conformity with the Bible was considered heresy in the West. Let it be debated openly and resolved openly. It may seem that there’s Islamaphobia but the real problem in the UK at least is that it’s becoming a nanny state where no one wants to say anything for fear of being politically incorrent and offending the minorities. This, more than anything else, will contribute to the UK’s decline.

  5. Amy said,

    I think it is wrong to allow a group of people to seclude themselves from society by masking their face. The veil worn in public makes it clear that ‘they don’t to be part of society’. In view of the reasons for the veil being worn ‘men are pressumed to have no control over their sexual urges and women that don’t cover are pressumed to be without dignity’ i think it’s highly immorally and offensive to all men and women, when this garment is worn. It judges all men to be sex beasts and women without dignity. No one should be given the right to discriminate against men and women in public. Nor should they be allowed to cry racist when challenged about showing their face. Racism doesn’t come into it. Racism is a lever being used to further a right to wear a garment that is a religious symbol no less. Religious beliefs of this extremeness belong in the home or places of worship where they don’t infringe on the rights of others. In addition, the veil gives out mixed messages to different people, i asked a young boy why he thought the teacher hid her face when the man came in the classroom, he replied ‘the women had done something wrong and was scared of the man’. That insight from a 9 year old boy is shocking. That said, the actions of the veiled teacher teach young girls cover up its shameful to show ones body’, it also teaches that women are submissive and that men are to be feared. These are indoctrinations we don’t want to force onto children in schools. The veiling could also cause young boys to grow up resenting women as it tells them ‘you are not worthy to share my space’.
    As for the outcry in regard to jack straws request, a simple one that most of us never need to be asked ‘can i see your face’, i find it laughable that he was labelled as being racist. Eye tests require the face to be unveiled, so does dental treatment and operations? I take it that all veilers go without these things??? So are these people that offer these services also racist? I think not. When the racist card is played by veilers its nothing more than an attempt to get their own way. Where is my right to see who i am talking to? Racism has no place in this issue. This issus is about veilers wearing a uniform to identifiy their difference. I also perceive it as a display of their intolerance for people that are different to them. To allow a group of people to wear publically their beliefs over their head and face is intimidating, it also ensures they dont have to participate in society. The purpose of the veil is to cause a barrier, it does that with flying colours. I feel let down by the powers that be for allowing this divide to happen. Showing your face is respectful in uk. Helmets are removed out of respect, so are hoodies and hats. Why should a group of people be allowed to hide their face? No one elses difference offends me as they don’t hide their face and peer out from behind a veil. This is 2007, not 700. No one should be able to make others feel as if they are not worthy. Religion has too much importance in society and it’s all one sided. No one should have the right to wear a portable barrier to keep out those different to them. I do think human rights are being manipulated by veilers and that they have the upper hand. What about the rights of others that don’t hide their face? We have none. Only in the workplace can a female be prevented from veiling, as it’s sexually discriminating against men when they veil among them.
    Communication problems caused by veils are another matter. Voices are muffled under a cloth. I could go on about this issue but i think the video of the teacher on u-tube makes clear the difficulty in understanding what the teacher was saying. She too had trouble understanding the questions put to her.
    When veilers liken their right to veil to that of a surgeons, its laughable almost. Some other instances of masks worn are below: Bike riders helmet is worn to protect the head from injury should they crash.

    Surgeons or dentists’ surgical mask
    is worn to protect from blood splashes and to prevent infection. It’s also smaller and thinner and attaches around the ears. Its the surgeons/dentist duty to protect the patient and themselves from infection.

    Rugby and hockey players face mask and helmet is worn to protect from injury.

    Welder’s mask is worn for health and saftety reasons.

    Fencer’s mask is worn to protect from injury.
    Not veiling doesn’t cause the wearer health and safety issues. Veils are also not required for speech. If they were life saving, i would accept them. If the person had a skin allergy to daylight, no one would object as exposure to light can kill people with this condition.
    I think all religious dress symbols should be banned from the workplace and schools, so that no one can wear anything religious. That way the rule is fair. Schools are not there to accomadate religious requests, they are there to educate children. Religion belongs in the home and in places of worship. Until this loophole is tightened up, there will not be equality among men and women. France and Turkey imposed dressing curbs, why on earth can’t the UK. On a larger scale, how do we know who we are talking too? If we can’t see them….The veil is not a religious requirement in the quran and it’s not compulory in Islam, so why is it choice here? How does one know all those that wear it, do so by choice? Given that females would be scared to speak out against their forcer.

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