Would a burqa ban really be un-British?


By Blacklisted Dictator
July 3, 2010
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http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100045642/a-burqa-ban-would-be-...

A burqa ban would be un-British

By Ed West Religion : July 1st, 2010

Tory MP Phillip Hollobone has introduced a private member’s bill that will attempt to ban the burqa and the niqab in Britain.
His Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill will ban those two extreme forms of face covering, although, as he points out, not the hijab, khimar or chador. I’ll say one thing about multiculturalism – it’s certainly taught us a lot about women’s fashion.
Below are some excerpts of a speech he made to the House in March about the issue, which appears on ConservativeHome.
In my view and that of my constituents, the niqab and the burqa are oppressive dress codes that are regressive as regards the advancement of women in our society.
As I was sitting on the bench in the playground watching my children play on the slides, I thought to myself, “Here I am, in the middle of Kettering in the middle of England – a country that has been involved for centuries with spreading freedom and democracy throughout the world – and here’s a woman who, through her dress, is effectively saying that she does not want to have any normal human dialogue or interaction with anyone else. By covering her entire face, she is effectively saying that our society is so objectionable, even in the friendly, happy environment of a children’s playground, that we are not even allowed to cast a glance on her.” I find that offensive and I think it is time that the country did something about it…
The problem with that (preventing others from seeing a person’s face) is that it goes against the British way of life. Part of the joy of living in our country is that we pass people every day in the street, exchange a friendly greeting, wave, smile and say hello.
Of course, many of these women are forced to wear the burqa by their husband or their family. The resulting lack of interaction with everyone else means that many are unable to speak or learn English and so will never have any chance of becoming integrated into the British way of life.
Many of my constituents have contacted me to say that when they visit Muslim countries they respect the dress codes in those countries and wear appropriate headgear. The phrase that has been given to me time and again is, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This is Britain; we are not a Muslim country. Covering one’s face in public is strange, and to many people it is intimidating and offensive. I seriously think that a ban on wearing the niqab or the burqa in public should be considered.
I doubt many people in this neck of the internet woods will disagree with his analysis. In European culture the wearing of masks in everyday life is considered threatening and provocative, facial expressions and eye contact being so central to interaction.
And if the offended brigade reply that this is “aimed at one community”, it is because only one community adopt this extreme form of dress – and not even “one community”, but a small section of it. Most Muslim women would never consider wearing such clothes, and many Muslim countries ban them, as well as far less extreme forms of clothing.
But in England the peoples’ clothing has never been considered the state’s business before. London is a smorgasbord of offensively-clothed individuals, from obese clubbers in boob tubes to hoodies wearing those ridiculous caps with the tag still on, not to mention the various tribes of crusties who congregate around Camden Town.
Burqa-wearers seem essentially harmless in comparison. Many people find the excess show of flesh more offensive than the fashion for extreme prudery – and feel that the ubiquity of flesh and sex in the atmosphere doesn’t help Muslim men encourage their daughters to integrate.
So, as much as the sight of these outfits depress me, the law would be alien to us as a nation. Whatever we feel about the burqa, it’s none of the state’s business to dictate how a woman dresses, even if there are legitimate fears that she may have been pressured into it.

COMMENTS

Blacklisted Dictator

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 08:06

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"Whatever we feel about the burqa, it’s none of the state’s business to dictate how a woman dresses, even if there are legitimate fears that she may have been pressured into it."

But if there are legitimate fears, surely the burqa should be banned?


Blacklisted Dictator

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 08:10

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Blacklisted Dictator

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 08:17

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Since Stephen Pollard wants to have the right to occasionally wave his Israeli flag in public ( I would like to see the photos), he believes that the burqa should not be banned.

Presumably, when Stephen is no longer able to wave it, then the burqa can be banned?

http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/shock-horror-bungle-right#comments


Blacklisted Dictator

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 08:21

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Let us assume that Muslim men, one day decide that their wives should not be allowed to vote in UK elections. Would it be, oh so very British, to say that it has nothing to do with us?


Blacklisted Dictator

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 08:24

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Let us assume that Muslim men, one day decide that Muslim women should not be allowed to drive cars on our roads. Would it be, oh so very British, to say that it has nothing to do with us?


Blacklisted Dictator

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 08:35

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If Muslim dress-codes were never being enforced by the use of state torture, in numerous Islamic countries, then I would agree that the burqa should not be banned in the UK. However, since state torture is often used, then I consider that the burqa should be banned in The UK.


Blacklisted Dictator

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 09:26

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The UK's refusal to ban the burqa is actually an endorsement of the state torture that is used to enforce Muslim dress codes in many Islamic countries.

I have to conclude that if there are any British values left (which I doubt), then the burqa must be banned.


Joshua18

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 10:26

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Not bannning the burqua would be un-British. Nobody should be allowed to cover their face in public.


Blacklisted Dictator

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 12:08

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The freedom of expression argument is perverse since the burqa oppresses, rather than liberates, women.

However, I suggest that Chakrabarti (she heads "Liberty"), should be forced to wear the burqa, since she has argued against the ban.


Blacklisted Dictator

Sun, 07/04/2010 - 19:01

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French attempts to outlaw the burqa strike a blow for the rights of women.
By Christopher Hitchens May 10, 2010

The French legislators who seek to repudiate the wearing of the veil or the burqa—whether the garment covers "only" the face or the entire female body—are often described as seeking to impose a "ban." To the contrary, they are attempting to lift a ban: a ban on the right of women to choose their own dress, a ban on the right of women to disagree with male and clerical authority, and a ban on the right of all citizens to look one another in the face. The proposed law is in the best traditions of the French republic, which declares all citizens equal before the law and—no less important—equal in the face of one another.

On the door of my bank in Washington, D.C., is a printed notice politely requesting me to remove any form of facial concealment before I enter the premises. The notice doesn't bore me or weary me by explaining its reasoning: A person barging through those doors with any sort of mask would incur the right and proper presumption of guilt. This presumption should operate in the rest of society. I would indignantly refuse to have any dealings with a nurse or doctor or teacher who hid his or her face, let alone a tax inspector or customs official. Where would we be without sayings like "What have you got to hide?" or "You dare not show your face"?

Ah, but the particular and special demand to consider the veil and the burqa as an exemption applies only to women. And it also applies only to religious practice (and, unless we foolishly pretend otherwise, only to one religious practice). This at once tells you all you need to know: Society is being asked to abandon an immemorial tradition of equality and openness in order to gratify one faith, one faith that has a very questionable record in respect of females.
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Let me ask a simple question to the pseudoliberals who take a soft line on the veil and the burqa. What about the Ku Klux Klan? Notorious for its hooded style and its reactionary history, this gang is and always was dedicated to upholding Protestant and Anglo-Saxon purity. I do not deny the right of the KKK to take this faith-based view, which is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I might even go so far as to say that, at a rally protected by police, they could lawfully hide their nasty faces. But I am not going to have a hooded man or woman teach my children, or push their way into the bank ahead of me, or drive my taxi or bus, and there will never be a law that says I have to.
There are lesser objections to the covered face or the all-covering cloak. The latter has often been used by male criminals—not just religious terrorists but common thugs—to conceal themselves and make an escape. It has also been used to conceal horrible injuries inflicted on abused females. It is incompatible—because of its effect on peripheral vision—with activities such as driving a car or negotiating traffic. This removes it from the sphere of private decision-making and makes it a danger to others, as well as an offense to the ordinary democratic civility that depends on phrases like "Nice to see you."

It might be objected that in some Muslim societies women are not allowed to drive in the first place. But that would absolutely emphasize my second point. All the above criticisms would be valid if Muslim women were as passionately committed to wearing a burqa as a male Klansman is committed to donning a pointy-headed white shroud. But, in fact, we have no assurance that Muslim women put on the burqa or don the veil as a matter of their own choice. A huge amount of evidence goes the other way. Mothers, wives, and daughters have been threatened with acid in the face, or honor-killing, or vicious beating, if they do not adopt the humiliating outer clothing that is mandated by their menfolk. This is why, in many Muslim societies, such as Tunisia and Turkey, the shrouded look is illegal in government buildings, schools, and universities. Why should Europeans and Americans, seeking perhaps to accommodate Muslim immigrants, adopt the standard only of the most backward and primitive Muslim states? The burqa and the veil, surely, are the most aggressive sign of a refusal to integrate or accommodate. Even in Iran there is only a requirement for the covering of hair, and I defy anybody to find any authority in the Quran for the concealment of the face.
Not that it would matter in the least if the Quran said otherwise. Religion is the worst possible excuse for any exception to the common law. Mormons may not have polygamous marriage, female circumcision is a federal crime in this country, and in some states Christian Scientists face prosecution if they neglect their children by denying them medical care. Do we dare lecture the French for declaring simply that all citizens and residents, whatever their confessional allegiance, must be able to recognize one another in the clearest sense of that universal term?

So it's really quite simple. My right to see your face is the beginning of it, as is your right to see mine. Next but not least comes the right of women to show their faces, which easily trumps the right of their male relatives or their male imams to decide otherwise. The law must be decisively on the side of transparency. The French are striking a blow not just for liberty and equality and fraternity, but for sorority too.


Blacklisted Dictator

Sun, 07/04/2010 - 21:21

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Readers of my blog should be aware that comments might be closed at anytime by the authorities. As a result, it might be an idea if you comment whilst the opportunity still remains.

It feels as if I am blogging in Iran. Or in China.


Blacklisted Dictator

Sun, 07/04/2010 - 23:20

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Another reason NOT to take out a sub to The TImes...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/dominic_lawson/artic...

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