Straw Calls on Muslim Women to Abandon the Veil

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Corlyss_D
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Straw Calls on Muslim Women to Abandon the Veil

Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Oct 07, 2006 1:41 am

Straw is backed by PM and Bishop over Muslim veil row
Last updated at 18:54pm on 6th October 2006

The Leader of the Commons received backing from senior figures including a Muslim peer and the Bishop of London.

And Tony Blair backed his right to speak his mind after Mr Straw stoked up the row by saying the veil was a barrier to good race relations.

Mr Straw's statement that Muslim women should not have to cover their faces brought fierce criticism from some Muslim groups. But Muslim peer Baroness Uddin said there was a need for a "measured debate" and that the nation should "also consider the status of Muslim women in this country".

The Baroness added: "I think it's about human rights on both sides - Jack's right to say and the women's right to wear what they please."

The Rt Rev Richard Chartres expressed his sympathy for Mr Straw's views but accepted it was "an explosive" issue not easily resolved. He also backed Mr Straw's assertion that wearing the veil was not required by the Koran.

Dr Chartres added: "I can understand why he has said it. My understanding is that the veil came from the habit of upper class Christian women in the Byzantine empire that has become a symbolic issue."

Jemima Khan, a convert to Islam and campaigner for Muslim women, said: "My belief also happens to be that covering the face is completely unnecessary in Islam. I have never read anywhere in the Koran that a woman is obliged to cover her face.

"That said, while the sight of a woman in a veil may be shocking to the average Westerner, there are many Muslim women who will argue that a skeletal 14-year-old on a catwalk is equally disturbing."

Mr Straw sparked the row yesterday when he said that he asks visitors to his constituency surgery to remove their veils because he feels uncomfortable talking to someone whose face he cannot see. His remarks triggered fury from some Islamic groups but today, far from backing down, Mr Straw went further by saying he would prefer it if Muslim women never covered up.

The former foreign secretary said he believed wearing veils, a traditional symbol of modesty, makes race relations more difficult. The debate surrounding Muslims and integration was further exacerbated in the row over a Muslim police officer who was excused guard duty at the Israeli embassy.

Mr Straw, whose Blackburn constituency has a high Asian population, said the increasing trend towards covering the face was "bound to make better, positive relations between the two communities more difficult".

Asked if he would rather the veils be discarded completely, he said today: "Yes. It needs to be made clear I am not talking about being prescriptive but, with all the caveats, yes, I would rather."

He told Radio 4's Today programme this morning: "You cannot force people where they live, that's a matter of choice and economics, but you can be concerned about the implications of separateness and I am."

Mr Straw wrote of his fears in a regular column for the Lancashire Telegraph. A meeting with a veiled woman had made him consider the "apparent incongruityî between her entirely English accent and UK education and the wearing of the veil.

"Above all, it was because I felt uncomfortable about talking to someone 'face to face' who I could not see," he wrote. "It was not the first time I had conducted an interview with someone in a full veil, but this particular encounter, though very polite and respectful on both sides, got me thinking."

Conservative policy director Oliver Letwin said it would be a "dangerous doctrine" to start telling people how to dress, while Liberal Democrat chairman Simon Hughes dubbed the remarks "insensitive and surprising".

The Labour MP for Dewsbury, Shahid Malik, said traditional dress was a big issue in his constituency. "We shouldn't shoot somebody for being honest," he told Newsnight. "What we've got to understand is that this is a two-way street: we need to increase understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims."

Dr Daud Abdullah, of the Muslim Council of Britain, also said he understood Mr Straw's views. "This (the veil) does cause some discomfort to non-Muslims. One can understand this," he said, adding that Muslim opinion was divided.

But Mr Straw came under fire from the Lancashire Council of Mosques which said he had "misunderstood" the issue and it was "deeply concerned" by his "very insensitive and unwise" statement. A spokesman said: "We fully support the right of Muslim women to choose to follow this precept of their faith in adopting the full veil, which causes no harm to anyone. It is their human right to do so. Many of these women find Mr Straw's comments offensive."

Zareen Roohi Ahmed, chief executive of the British Muslim Forum, warned that Mr Straw's comments risked opening the door to discrimination by employers. "My worry is that if someone in Jack Straw's position can get away with asking Muslim women to remove their veils, what is to stop employers, bus drivers or shopkeepers from applying the same kind of pressure?"

On the streets of Blackburn his comments were poorly received. Baksedha Khan, 34, accused him of using the issue to advance his bid for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party.

She asked: "Why is he making a big issue of this now? Does he have an ulterior motive? I think this is all about his political future and he is looking for publicity."

Labour Party colleagues, including Hazel Blears, gave their backing to Mr Straw, saying his request to constituents was "perfectly proper".

Downing Street made clear today that Mr Blair backs Mr Straw's right to speak out. Mr Blair's spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister believes that it's right that people should be able to have a discussion and express their personal views on issues such as this." She refused to reveal Mr Blair's views on the subject.

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Agnes Selby
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Muslim women.

Post by Agnes Selby » Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:11 am

I suppose it does not get too hot in England. Think of
the poor Muslim women in Australia; covered from
head to toe in 100 degree temperatures. Only their
eyes can be seen sweating.


Regards,
Agnes.
----------------

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Post by Ralph » Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:05 am

What nonsense.
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Post by Lilith » Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:54 am

Since this issue has come up (I never previously thought about it), I have concluded that I would/will refuse also to do business or speak to anyone with the veil. That shall be my little contribution to the cause. Of course, the opportunity may never present itself ........

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Post by Barry » Sat Oct 07, 2006 12:10 pm

Lilith wrote:Since this issue has come up (I never previously thought about it), I have concluded that I would/will refuse also to do business or speak to anyone with the veil. That shall be my little contribution to the cause. Of course, the opportunity may never present itself ........
I see African-American Muslim women every day who walk around Philly not only with a veil, but covered from head to toe in black, looking more like they belong in Saudi Arabia.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Oct 07, 2006 12:32 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Lilith wrote:Since this issue has come up (I never previously thought about it), I have concluded that I would/will refuse also to do business or speak to anyone with the veil. That shall be my little contribution to the cause. Of course, the opportunity may never present itself ........
I see African-American Muslim women every day who walk around Philly not only with a veil, but covered from head to toe in black, looking more like they belong in Saudi Arabia.
They're probably trying to avoid wolf whistles and the need to carry pepper spray. :roll:

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Post by Dennis Spath » Sat Oct 07, 2006 1:33 pm

Deja vu all over again! I recall quite vividly the shock of Catholic Nuns shedding their veils and habits, so reminiscent of Muslim dress, in the early 1970's. A scandal among Conservatives and Traditionalist in a snit over the changes wrought by Vatican II. The horror of it....pious women dedicated to the religous life being caught up in the madness of Women's Lib which so incensed Archie Bunker!!
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Post by Lark Ascending » Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:36 pm

Mr Straw made a perfectly reasonable request in asking that Muslim females remove their veils when visiting him at his constituency surgery - I for one would not like to be in a room with a stranger whose face was obscured by some sort of covering.
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Post by Ralph » Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:33 pm

Lilith wrote:Since this issue has come up (I never previously thought about it), I have concluded that I would/will refuse also to do business or speak to anyone with the veil. That shall be my little contribution to the cause. Of course, the opportunity may never present itself ........
*****

Would you refuse to do business with Hasidic Jews whose garb, especially men's, is far more set apart from conventional dress than is that of an American Muslim woman?
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Post by Lilith » Sat Oct 07, 2006 7:58 pm

No

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Post by paulb » Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:09 pm

Lilith wrote:Since this issue has come up (I never previously thought about it), I have concluded that I would/will refuse also to do business or speak to anyone with the veil. That shall be my little contribution to the cause. Of course, the opportunity may never present itself ........
No, in fact all of these , or at least most of these women behind the veil are weeping. They are in great sorrow for their lives of repressed feminity.
I think it was like the early 60's the italians came out with the bikini, and women's liberation had begun.
Actually I kinda miss the womens attitudes in the 60's. Women were really easy to deal with and relate to back then. Man those were the good old days. A guy could really get over on women pretty easy back then.

But like these muslim women haven't even stepped into the women's liberation. They are aware their american and european sisiters are living the good life. They can see it ahppening with the north Iranian women, with their fashion grab. Some of those cosmopolatian iranian women are really good looking.
Last edited by paulb on Sun Oct 08, 2006 9:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:51 pm

Ralph wrote:
Lilith wrote:Since this issue has come up (I never previously thought about it), I have concluded that I would/will refuse also to do business or speak to anyone with the veil. That shall be my little contribution to the cause. Of course, the opportunity may never present itself ........
*****

Would you refuse to do business with Hasidic Jews whose garb, especially men's, is far more set apart from conventional dress than is that of an American Muslim woman?
All people who do normal business behave in a normal fashion when they are doing so. The Old Order Amish are another good example. A veiled Muslilm woman, and I have seen them in Morocco, is not allowed even to talk to a man who is not her husband. It is a form of slavery, pure and simple. Strictly orthodox Jewish women also wear wigs because they are only allowed to show their real hair to their husbands. I am certain Ralph is well aware of this. That is not slavery, but one gets the point.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Barry
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Post by Barry » Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:14 pm

jbuck919 wrote: All people who do normal business behave in a normal fashion when they are doing so. The Old Order Amish are another good example. A veiled Muslilm woman, and I have seen them in Morocco, is not allowed even to talk to a man who is not her husband. It is a form of slavery, pure and simple....
Well-said. We have a number of Amish merchants in the Reading Terminal Market, one of the country's great indoor farmer's markets. They're always very friendly and easy to deal with.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by Dennis Spath » Mon Oct 09, 2006 2:52 pm

It is really quite interesting to observe the moralizers of the Religious Right, who proudly proclaim we are a Christian Nation, becoming incensed with the Muslim tradition of keeping their bodies covered much as Western Society long demanded....prior to the Volstead Act ushering in the era of Flappers and the Speakeasy. Let's face it folks, nothing moves merchandise and attracts audiences more effectively than sexual titulation. Legislating against sin in the U.S. didn't work in the 1920's and we only have to look to our Congress to see how well it is working now.
It's good to be back among friends from the past.

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