Integration or an abusive rejection of all our freedoms?

#1
HERE

”NY Times” said:
Muslims’ Veils Test Limits of Britain’s Tolerance
By JANE PERLEZ
Published: June 22, 2007
LONDON, June 16 — Increasingly, Muslim women in Britain take their children to school and run errands covered head to toe in flowing black gowns that allow only a slit for their eyes. On a Sunday afternoon in Hyde Park, groups of black-clad Muslim women relaxed on the green baize lawn among the in-line skaters and badminton players.

Their appearance, like little else, has unnerved other Britons, testing the limits of tolerance here and fueling the debate over the role of Muslims in British life.
Many veiled women say they are targets of abuse. Meanwhile, there are growing efforts to place legal curbs on the full-face Muslim veil, known as the niqab.
There have been numerous examples in the past year. A lawyer dressed in a niqab was told by an immigration judge that she could not represent a client because, he said, he could not hear her. A teacher wearing a niqab was dismissed from her school. A student who was barred from wearing a niqab took her case to the courts, and lost. In reaction, the British educational authorities are proposing a ban on the niqab in schools altogether.
A leading Labor Party politician, Jack Straw, scolded women last year for coming to see him in his district office in the niqab. Prime Minister Tony Blair has called the niqab a “mark of separation.”
David Sexton, a columnist for The Evening Standard, wrote recently that the niqab was an affront and that Britain had been “too deferential.”
“It says that all men are such brutes that if exposed to any more normally clothed women, they cannot be trusted to behave — and that all women who dress any more scantily like that are indecent,” Mr. Sexton wrote. “It’s abusive, a walking rejection of all our freedoms.”
Although the number of women wearing the niqab has increased in the past several years, only a tiny percentage of women among Britain’s two million Muslims cover themselves completely. It is impossible to say how many exactly.
Some who wear the niqab, particularly younger women who have taken it up recently, concede that it is a frontal expression of Islamic identity, which they have embraced since Sept. 11, 2001, as a form of rebellion against the policies of the Blair government in Iraq, and at home.
“For me it is not just a piece of clothing, it’s an act of faith, it’s solidarity,” said a 24-year-old program scheduler at a broadcasting company in London, who would allow only her last name, al-Shaikh, to be printed, saying she wanted to protect her privacy. “9/11 was a wake-up call for young Muslims,” she said.
At times she receives rude comments, including, Ms. Shaikh said, from a woman at her workplace who told her she had no right to be there. Ms. Shaikh says she plans to file a complaint.
When she is on the street, she often answers back. “A few weeks ago, a lady said, ‘I think you look crazy.’ I said, ‘How dare you go around telling people how to dress,’ and walked off. Sometimes I feel I have to reply. Islam does teach you that you must defend your religion.”
She started experimenting with the niqab at Brunel University in West London, a campus of intense Islamic activism. She hesitated at first because her mother saw it as a “form of extremism, which is understandable,” she said, adding that her mother has since come around.
Other Muslims find the practice objectionable, a step backward for a group that is under pressure after the terrorist attack on London’s transit system in July 2005.
“After the July 7 attacks, this is not the time to be antagonizing Britain by presenting Muslims as something sinister,” said Imran Ahmad, the author of “Unimagined,” an autobiography about growing up Muslim in Britain, and the leader of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. “The veil is so steeped in subjugation, I find it so offensive someone would want to create such barriers. It’s retrograde.”
Since South Asians started coming to Britain in large numbers in the 1960s, a small group of usually older, undereducated women have worn the niqab. It was most often seen as a sign of subjugation.
Many more Muslim women wear the head scarf, called the hijab, covering all or some of their hair. Unlike in France, Turkey and Tunisia, where students in state schools and civil servants are banned from covering their hair, in Britain, Muslim women can wear the head scarf, and indeed the niqab, almost anywhere, for now.
But that tolerance is slowly eroding. Even some who wear the niqab, like Faatema Mayata, a 24-year-old psychology and religious studies teacher, agreed there were limits.
“How can you teach when you are covering your face?” she said, sitting with a cup of tea in her living room in Blackburn, a northern English town, her niqab tucked away because she was within the confines of her home.
She has worn the niqab since she was 12, when she was sent by her parents to an all-girl boarding school. The niqab was not, as many Britons seemed to think, a sign of extremism, she said.
She condemned Britain’s involvement in Iraq, and she described the departure of Mr. Blair at the end of this month as “good riddance of bad rubbish.” But, she added, “there are many Muslims like this sitting at home having tea, and not taking any interest in jihad.”
The niqab, to her, is about identity. “If I dressed in a Western way I could be a Hindu, I could be anything,” she said. “This way I feel comfortable in my identity as a Muslim woman.”
No one else in her family wears the niqab. Her husband, Ibrahim Boodi, a social worker, was indifferent, she said. “If I took it off today, he wouldn’t care.”
She drives her old Alfa Romeo to the supermarket, and other drivers take no exception, she said. But when she is walking she is often stopped, she said. “People ask, ‘Why do you wear that?’ A lot of people assume I’m oppressed, that I don’t speak English. I don’t care. I’ve got a brain.”
Some British commentators have complained that mosques encourage women to wear the niqab, a practice they have said should be stopped.
At the East London Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the capital, the chief imam, Abdul Qayyum, studied in Saudi Arabia and is trained in the Wahhabi school of Islam. The community relations officer at the mosque, Ehsan Abdullah Hannan, said the imam’s daughter wore the niqab.
At Friday Prayer recently, the women were crowded into a small windowless room upstairs, away from the main hall for the men.
A handful of young women wore the niqab, and they spoke effusively about their reasons. “Wearing the niqab means you will get a good grade and go to paradise,” said Hodo Muse, 19, a Somali woman. “Every day people are giving me dirty looks for wearing it, but when you wear something for God you get a boost.”
One woman, Sajida Khaton, 24, interviewed as she sat discreetly in a Pizza Hut, said she did not wear the veil on the subway, a precaution her husband encourages for safety reasons. Sometimes, she said, she gets a kick out of the mocking.
“ ‘All right gorgeous,’ ” she said she had heard men say as she walked along the street. “I feel empowered,” she said. “They’d like to see, and they can’t.”
She often comes to the neighborhood restaurant along busy Whitechapel Road in East London for a slice or two, a habit, she said, that shows that even veiled women are well integrated into Britain’s daily life.
“I’m in Pizza Hut with my son,” said Ms. Khaton, nodding at her 4-year-old and speaking in a soft East London accent that bore no hint of her Bangladeshi heritage. “I was born here, I’ve never been to Bangladesh. I certainly don’t feel Bangladeshi. So when they say, ‘Go back home,’ where should I go?”
 
#4
Can feel your pain... we have quite a few folks emmigrating here who are attempting to recreate the society THEY JUST RAN FROM!
 
#6
Indeed. It always happens now that the PC brigade are so worried about defending the "rights" of foreign cultures (Note 1) that often the natives are left behind and completely ignored (Note 2)

Note 1 - By Foreign Culture, I mean a culture not associated with Britain i.e. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. I'm quite happy for these people to practice their culture and religion, however, I do not wish, in a Christian society with a christian culture, for these people to thrust their foreign culture unto us - We've already got one and we don't want another.

Note 2 - By Natives, i'm going to sound racist. But I basically mean someone who has a full British background - by which I do not simply mean "I was born here". I mean someone who can trace their family back at least to grandparents who lived here first.
 
#7
Well, you are being racist. What does the time span matter? Surely the only thing that matters is attitude and behaving as you should?

You could have someone who arrived last year and is perfectly integrated, but a suicide bomber who is third generation.
 
#8
Good point, clownbasher. Looking at it again,my comment was racist. Which is annoying because I have friends of different cultures/colours/creeds etc. I just get extremely annoyed by people who flee their countries for whatever reason but try to import their whole culture without a thought for the people who ALREADY live here, with our own culture.

So I withdraw my comment, it was racist.
 
#9
army-hopeful said:
Good point, clownbasher. Looking at it again,my comment was racist. Which is annoying because I have friends of different cultures/colours/creeds etc. I just get extremely annoyed by people who flee their countries for whatever reason but try to import their whole culture without a thought for the people who ALREADY live here, with our own culture.

So I withdraw my comment, it was racist.
Well, it's probably a bit harsh - I knew what you meant. You have the right point, which only an imbecile could dispute, but brown-ness, geographical origin, time of residence and to some extent religion don't need to matter as long as the person is able to understand your point.

We have however seen that certain groups are less disposed to making the adaptation we reasonably expect.
 
#10
Problem is really that it's not even like ALL muslims don't make the effort, or ALL hindus, etc. It's a minority. And that's just bloody awkward, because you can't identify those who are not integrating and those who are integrating but still wearing some of their cultural clothing, until the non-integrated one blows you up.

Obviously exagerrated, but the issue facing todays security services is bloody difficult.
 
#11
How do things work when veilled women need to identify themselves?

You can't wear a veil for passport photos. Do the immigration officers require veils to be lifted when the passport is being used to enter the UK?

What about using your season ticket on a bus or train? Season tickets come with a photo ID card. Do veiled women need to 'expose' themselves to the driver or conductor?

Not forgetting work places where you need to wear a photo ID. Not much point in that if your face is covered. Does MoD ban veils in the workplace?
 
#12
I aplologise for this - too many G+T's (how Kuffar of me!). If they wanna wear it, let 'em.

The problem is that it instantly creates a barrier between muslims - or those muslims that want to insist on the niqab - and everybody else.

Therefore, if they wanna wear it, let 'em do it in whatever country it is the normal practice. Although, I think the use of it has probably exploded in recent years as a youthful rebellion - type thing.

The solution would appear to be, therefore, not to care if they wear it. I'd stop short of pointing the finger and laughing as it would probably be inflammatory - albeit the narural reaction.

If I lived in a city whose normal custom was to walk around naked, naked I would be. Being clothed would make me feel just silly - religious convictions or not.

That's what the niqab is in the UK- silly. Perhaps in the ME it is less deserving of ridicule. End of.

Before I'm attacked for saying that a religious practice is ridiculous, if you are religious, look at the next few religions and tell me you find nothing ridiculous in their practices.

Catholicism. (forgiveness for any sins)
Islam (Sunni). (no music unless religious)
Sikhism. (wrap up your hair!)
Voodoo. ('nuff said)
Buddhism. (gaze on your navel...)
CoE (dusty....)
Judaism (you are impure if you don't cut off bits of your coc$)
Rastafarian (smoke lots of weed, worship an old Pres, and make your hair look silly) - Actually that one doesn't sound too bad! :eek:
 
#14
Hmm,

Perhaps I offended a few people with my last post?

Good effort, me! time for another G+T!

If your religion, and faith, is robust, you won't feel offended. If you're stuck in the middle ages, you should be fuming by now...
 
#16
A few points here...

There is no compulsion in the Islamic faith for women to wear the veil. (From memory) according to Surah 33 v 53 IT WAS ONLY THE WIVES OF THE PROPHET WHO HAD TO DO THIS AND NO ONE ELSE. Surah 24 v 31 is also of interest as it covers what women should wear. From memory, it says that:

" Women should maintain a modest and downcast gaze and reveal of their adornment only that which is obvious and they should draw their veils about their bosoms".

Muslims have attached specific meanings to this which goes along the lines of keep completely covered up from head to toe (including ankles and elbows) and wearing a head-scarf. However it seems to me that the language is deliberately opaque. "Dress and behave like a lady" is my own far looser interpretation, with the important qualification that the likes of Kate Moss and Paris Hilton do not fall within the definition of lady.

I think I should add that I am not religious myself, and certainly not Muslim.! If there is anyone from that faith reading this who wishes to correct me on my interpretation, I will listen respectfully to what they have to say.

Muslim dress code for women is just one of those conventions that has no basis in any sacred text. Let us not forget that branches of the Christian faith have formed their own unjustified rules as well. Celibate priests and male priests only in the Catholic faith are obvious examples. Some of the happy clappy/evangelical/Baptist crowd will not drink alcohol, even although Christ turned water into wine! So let's not feel too superior.

Having said all that I really do not like seeing women wearing burkas in Britain. Some of the poor cows are certainly being forced to do this by medieval menfolk with a 7th century mindset, and in quite a few instances the burka will be covering up evidence of physical abuse. If any woman is wearing the thing of her own volition she is saying:
1) You are a man and cannot be trusted.
2) I am Muslim, a superior being to you and I reject all British conventions and standards.

There is nothing to like here either way.

SLR (Not to be confused with SLR Boy).
 
#17
SelfLoadingRifle said:
If any woman is wearing the thing of her own volition she is saying:

1) You are a man and cannot be trusted.
2) I am Muslim, a superior being to you and I reject all British conventions and standards.

There is nothing to like here either way.
That's the impression I get as well.

Anyone seen the episode of stargate where the Ori dude is trying to convince the Prior not to level the village because the villagers won't share in the Ori faith?

"I did not worship diligently and learn the teachings of Origin only to see the faith I respect and believe in be turned into a hammer to strike people down"... :twisted:
 
B

blindfire

Guest
#18
clownbasher said:
Well, you are being racist. What does the time span matter? Surely the only thing that matters is attitude and behaving as you should?

You could have someone who arrived last year and is perfectly integrated, but a suicide bomber who is third generation.
I have to disagree He's not being racist its just reality.

I live in Germany and have had to adjust - if I went down the pub and only spoke english etc etc I'd soon be fcuked off - as it is now I've got some good friends who used to hate the brits but now are ok and regularly come to my house for beer :D :D they even like baked beans now :roll:

If you go to another land to live then you have to accept the way they do things.

Mind you some of the laws in Germany still wind me up :?
 
#19
I don't care. If some body wants to wear a naqub, so be it. If they want to cover themselves in bright orange cimpliine than thats ok too. The goth kids in town wear much worse clothing.
As long as they don't expect everyone to conform, I don't see the harm.

Some poeple will always want to seperate them selves and be different, its human nature. If a womans faith in her chossen God is so shakey that she feels the need to scream it from the roof tops then thats a problem for her to deal with.

I often find the most pious poeple are the ones who are the least sure of them sleves.
 
#20
bobath said:
I often find the most pious poeple are the ones who are the least sure of them sleves.
The words "doth protest too much" spring to mind,as do mental images of those people that are so secure in their sexuality that they feel the need to prove it at every given opportunity.

As said, who are they trying to convince?
 

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