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Friday, 6 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Oct 06, 06:49 PM

veil1_203.jpgAn exploration of whether the cracks and tensions appearing in Britain are a result of multiculturalism.

Why are Muslim women covering themselves to all but their close family? And why was Jack Straw motivated to make his comments?

You can watch Kirsty's interview with two Muslim women on why they wear a veil here.

Comment on Friday’s programme here.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:49 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Dr Sibani Roy wrote:

In my view, multiculturism is not an evil in any society rather, is an inevitable agenda in today's global village. What is needed is a bit of give and take from all sides of the society to make a compromise.

I feel that some women are very stubborn to keep holding to their Burkha and vail. A scarf throwing (Benazir Butto style) over the head could be an amicable solution.

  • 2.
  • At 08:02 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Barbara Bell wrote:

Although I now live in Barbados, I formally worked in the Post Office around East Lancs, including some very "Asian" areas. The wearing of the veil created numerous problems, not least the verification of a woman's identity. The Quran merely advises that women should dress modestly, covering everything except face, hands and feet. it does not specify full purda. What dismayed me was that local "English" girls, who had married into Muslim families, were fully veiled. Had they "chosen" it or were their husbands & in-laws dictating it?
I agree with Jack Straw that the practice promotes separatism.

  • 3.
  • At 08:02 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Sarah Clayton wrote:

I am fed up with being PC.

So I am going to do the unthinkable, and actually tell you what I think. I suspect lots of other people feel the same way, but either cannot be bothered, or are too fed up with PC to care any more.

I am an aethiest.

I regard all religions as variants of "mumbo jumbo". Agreed, religions have their place in giving hope and comfort to those whose lives are hard. And giving social support to those in need. And in helping moral behaviour.

But at the end of the day, they are all based on superstition. There is probably no God, and the old books written centuries or millennia ago are - in most cases - pretty irrelevant.

Muslims seem to be a ludicroulsy thin skinned lot. Why are they SO touchy and over-sensitive about everything?

And why, oh wny, do we in Britian keep pandering to their over sensitivity, and giving it constant media coverage?

I appreciate that we are afraid that a minority of them might try and bomb us, but that is a tiny minority.

Please, Please stop giving these Muslims so much air time.

We live in Britain. 50 years ago, or whatever, nobody in Britain wore veils. That was our culture.

Now, lots of people have chosen, for better or worse, to come and live here. And now we have things like this veil business.

Surely if people decide, for their own advantage, to come and live here, they can respect our culture. We do not wear veils. Most of us do not like veils.

Can British people not stand up for their own culture, without being terrified of upsetting some Muslim of delicate sensibilities.

Got that off my chest.

Honestly, I mean no harm to anyone, and don't want to be in any way unkind to anyone, but it is almost getting to the stage when, if there is yet another programme on TV or radio on some aspect of Muslim life, I turn off.

Sarah

  • 4.
  • At 08:30 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Omar wrote:

The veil is an ancient custom traced to India and Persia; it was adopted by Arabia’s nomadic tribes, which enforced a strict code of female modesty and it is nothing to do with Islam. The veil given only passing mention by the Quran and there are more Biblical references to the veil. Islam asks women to cover their hair and not the face. Therefore, the people who advocate covering the face in the name of Islam are ignorant and badly informed in this great fate. The problem is that none of the Muslim scholars are willing nor brave to stand up and put an end to this debate. They are all scared of the backlash and in some Muslim countries the veil is a woman’s right issue just like the issue of banning women from driving or education etc.

  • 5.
  • At 08:58 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Ray Allan wrote:

First – as many Muslim women have said the Koran does not require women to cover their entire face and body, it is NOT a religious imperative.

Second – many of the Muslim women who today are completely covered were not so “religious” some year, or even a few months, back.

The affectation of the complete veil is, I believe, a political statement. It is on a par with the Rastafarians and dreadlocks, Hippies and their flowers, Skinheads and the hair, Neo fascists and their swastikas, and on and on.

In other parts of the world the complete covering has provided the means for women suicide bombers to carry their lethal devises in relative safety. Come to that who is to say that the person under the covering is always female!

  • 6.
  • At 10:32 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Alan wrote:

The veil is definitely a political statement; this is why the Turks have banned all head coverings in Parliament. They should know. You can’t ban the full-face veil outright, but it should be banned for drivers (on safety grounds) and municipal and government workers (on security grounds). It should also be banned for Parliamentarians on cultural grounds. There is something about full-face coverings in public that goes against the grain of our culture.

  • 7.
  • At 10:45 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Rob Davies wrote:

When oh when oh when will the BBC bite the bullet and generate a debate on a major reason why white people feel so insecure and threatened by Muslims? Time and again, the argument is put forward as one of a clash of cultures and religions between different population groups. But the fact is that many of us fear, rightly or wrongly, that the Muslim population is GROWING fast and that there are ever more mosques springing up throughout the country. That is making many of us, including me, feel enormously insecure and is contributing hugely to a sense of threat some feel. And is the BBC also willing to air a debate on so-called WHITE FLIGHT - the exodus of thousands of white people away from areas they perceive are turning ethnic. Why, for instance, do you think there is such a large move to the countryside? White people are worried that our country is becoming increasingly Islamicised and this element to the debate on multiculturalism needs to be included. I'm writing this as Newsnight is on air. Will this be touched upon? Somehow I doubt it.

  • 8.
  • At 10:45 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • andy horsfield wrote:

Is this country heading for civil war? If we let the current state of affairs carry on then yes. Why is it that if i went to the airport with a mask on with just my eyes showing i would be stopped but if i was muslim then i could wear a veil. The situation is unbelievable and if the English people continue to feel second class citizens in their own country then only the inevitable will happen.

  • 9.
  • At 10:47 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Sue Doughty wrote:

Please put subtitles on when people wearing a veil over their lips are talking so that I can lipread them?

  • 10.
  • At 10:47 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • charlie palmer wrote:

Why don't we have a programme about what the Muslim community thinks about what some of native society's women when they stagger around city centres drunk wearing short skirts, fighting and vomiting all over the place? I'd rather my teenage daughter wore a veil and stay sober than do that.

  • 11.
  • At 10:49 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Jerry Hart wrote:

Ah! So wearing the veil is about interacting with the wider community, not hiding from it, rejecting it, treating it with contempt!!!

OK - let's chat with some Muslim women ... but oops - no 'free association' allowed!

  • 12.
  • At 10:52 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Edward wrote:

I work with people with learning difficulties and I am quite sure that many of them would find these veils quite unfriendly. Communication by reading peoples faces is as important as verbal communication, and many adults with learning difficulties are adept at this but not so good with words. There are parts of the brain devoted to this form of communication, just as there are parts for the spoken word. There is a lesson here surely?

  • 13.
  • At 10:54 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Jill wrote:

This can be turned into a much broader argument - many women do not like the way men look at them or think about them. Women have still not gained full equality & the majority of heterosexual men mostly think of women in sexual terms. Dressing down is, in sexual terms, similar to wearing the veil - it says "Do not look at me purely a sexual object to gain your approval if I'm young & pretty or to face your scorn if I am not"

  • 14.
  • At 10:55 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • George Edwards wrote:

Another Newsnight interview with the contribution of a "moderate" Muslim whose position is, as ever, that Muslims can do what they like in our society and we have to put up with it. Every time these people appear and air these arrogant separatist views it gives massive support to those who regard current trends in Islam as a serious danger to our western liberal society.

Also unbelievable was the claim by the British born muslim women that this is either a choice. No one believes these women have any choice - they are simply articulate victims of an intoleant society.

  • 15.
  • At 10:56 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • k purbrick wrote:

I have no worries about religions except the veiled people. We welcome all religion but if we are in their homeland we would respect their customs i.e. women covering their heads. And if they choose to live in our homeland they respect ours and do not wear veils as we feel this is alien. The worst thing I have seen, working in a local supermarket, is a veiled woman (respecting her religion?) who was actually walking around shopping and was unashamedly stroking her husbands behind!

  • 16.
  • At 10:56 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

This is just stupid. Can no-one see the irony here?

Firstly I agree with jack straw. Secondly, why is this being classified as discrimination??? It's just his personal opinion. I dont see why this is racist... i think we're just losing the freedom of free speech.

Secondly, a non-muslim complains about something to do with some muslin-related thing and they get bad press. If the roles are reversed then this does not happen. It just seems like we're always wrong...

In essence, i dont see what all the hype is about.

  • 17.
  • At 10:57 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • nadir wrote:

i think this whole issue is about racism. the white power elite are happy with asians in their midsts if those asians don't dress differently or speak differently or if they are "too religious" but the moment one of them dare to look different or behave differently then the old racist beast is awakened. whenever the british go abroad to asian countries they rarely adapt to the asian way of life - do you think this is all going end up with some kind of protest bby muslims who will once again be portrayed by the media as "militant"? hmmm

  • 18.
  • At 10:59 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Luke wrote:

Why are be branded racist just because we feel uncomfortable about what someone wears or how they act. Minority groups are the most racist people out there. They are the ones that stick together and help eachother out and push out the white people, perhaps we should start to stick together more and make sure we aren't pushed around anymore by people that make us afraid to say what we feel about our country

  • 19.
  • At 10:59 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Pam Brown wrote:

It's worth remembering that motorcyclists are required to remove their helmets when entering a building so that CCTV cameras can see their face. Hoods were objected to on the same grounds.

  • 20.
  • At 10:59 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Charlie Palmer wrote:

Well some people don't like being approached by creepy guys and keeping a veil may help sometimes. Call it 'free association' or call it 'freedom from unwanted advances'.

  • 21.
  • At 11:00 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • John Creagh wrote:

During the height of the the 'Troubles' no section of the Irish community in Britain or the United Kingdom was given the oxygen of publicity that is being stirred around a diverse and small Muslim minority. The BBC is short of real news and is attempting to make news out of a constant stream of Muslim feelings on every sort of topic. Tonight's Newsnight programme panel on Muslim dress has been created to make opinions contrary to those of Muslims appear reactionary. Bordering on Reality TV, sorry.

  • 22.
  • At 11:02 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Paul Qureshi wrote:

When human beings talk to each other, as much is communicated by the face as by the words said. It is unfair for one party to be able to see the others facial expressions, and the other not. That simple fact is why people dislike talking to women who cover their faces, and no amount of education will ever change it.

Another point that someone on the program made is that Muslims don't want to live in ghettos. This isn't entirely true. In the enlightened west, religion is dying. For this reason, some Muslims prefer their children not to mix with atheists and Christians, for fear that it will weaken their faith and draw them away. Sadly, I have had first hand experience of this.

  • 23.
  • At 11:03 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Jane McInnes wrote:

One of the suggestions was that women wearing the veil should consider the effect of the veil on other people and recognise that others may feel uncomfortable.

If this is an equal society we should all follow this "rule" and consider the comfort or reaction of others.

I'm very uncomfortable with young girls exposing their belly to the point of indecency while working in cafes and serving me food. I look forward to this dress option being removed from acceptance in society.

  • 24.
  • At 11:05 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Quentin Goodman wrote:

Jack Straw feels uncomfortable in the presence of women who have the audacity to follow their culture and cover more of themselves than is the custom in HIS culture. And in HIS own country, too. How dare they?

Presumably his advice to the Queen should she ever again tour Africa will be that when confronted by bare breasted tribeswomen in THEIR own country, she should remove the royal bra in order to make the tribeswomen feel less uncomfortable?

  • 25.
  • At 11:06 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • David Rose wrote:

I am very disappointed by Kirsty's interview (a rare event). She missed the real issue which was noth that Jack Straw demanded that anyone uncover their faces - it was that he felt more comfortable if he could see their face. We use facial expression to judge how someone feels, if they are happy, sad, lying or earnest. It is well know that people cover their mouths when they are lying. If you cannot see someone's face it cuts a large hole in communication. Some people find it find it easier to talk on the phone; maybe some people can pick up hints from the voice alone, but for many the face speaks louder than words. Maybe Jack Straw, like me, needs that face-to-face experience to get to grips with other people. He did not suggest banning the practise and to perpetuate that interpretation, as Kirsty did in both interviews, missed the real point entirely.

  • 26.
  • At 11:08 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Chris Blake wrote:

well said sarah!! i hope some of these views go somewhere near our airtime!

  • 27.
  • At 11:08 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Timmy wrote:

I fail to see how comments against peoples free will to cover or expose their faces is any matter for political debate, by raising it as a potentially negative influence we only stand to widen any existing divide and highten xenophobic concern. Neither of which are desirable.

  • 28.
  • At 11:08 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Ahmed Hussain wrote:

I have been listening to much of this debate throughout the day, and have been , for want of a better word, been upset by much of the reaction by so-called representatives of the Muslim faith . Particularly, Ramadam radio in Blackburn.

The wearing of the veil is not a faith issue at all. It is cultural and/or traditional, and is steeped in the historical oppression of women as a figure free to exist outside of matriarchal discourse.

Those women who claim it is bourne out of choice are , victims of this process.

It may well give them confidence - as it does the 'hoodies' now banned from my shopping centre - but, being able to mask our identities is clearly not a 'freedom' available to all.

Furthermore, I completely understand how people feel unable to interact with those women in full veils. The Newsnight comment ' they can see you, but you can't see them' has some very serious implications for societies in terms of integration and attaining a multi-cultural or a cosmopolitan society ( as opposed to a ghettoized one).

I would go so far as to say that Jack Straw's comment is a welcome one that could just serve as the catalyst needed to bring about much needed change.

  • 29.
  • At 11:10 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • s farnell wrote:

the big issue on the veil is not religion or predjudice it is a well known fact since our ancestors and before even the development of speech it has been essential for any individual or group of individuals to see the socilogical and physical actions of a face in order to communicate and tell if a person is being truthfull by studying their facial actions within the conversation.
this is a very key part of efficient communication , this is taught in the armed forces for instance an officer aproaches a person with sunglasses and a bandanna on they would be unsuccessfull in conveying their intensions , however if the person sees the officers full face the communication sequence becomes more successfull.
humble appologies for any typos

  • 30.
  • At 11:11 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Steve (Croydon) wrote:

When the veil is worn by a person, it says to me this person is suppressed by their religion or family.

That they are a second class citizen in servitude to their male dominated religion.

That they are of no importance to our culture or their own culture, and must be hidden away, almost in shame, or as an apology for their presence in our midst.

They are hiding and must remain hidden because they are ashamed or shameful.

These thoughts, feelings, and opinions make me feel very uncomfortable, because of the strides that have been taken in women's rights in Europe, and maybe these thoughts and feelings stem from my western cultural up bringing.

But I find them equally valid, as are the rights of these women to wear the veil.

I am happy for women to continue to wear this item of clothing, provided they are happy for me to continue to feel they are repressed second class citizens.

I am glad this issue is being discussed.

Sorry if this offends!

  • 31.
  • At 11:14 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Isobel Lomas wrote:

Being able to see facial expression and lip patterns is an important part of human communication, particularly for the deaf and partially hearing. We have a partially hearing son who relies almost totally on lip reading. Also, as we get older and our hearing starts to deteriorate, we subconsciously rely more and more on lip reading. Are there no deaf or partially hearing muslims? Can it be right to deny these people their lifeline for communication?

  • 32.
  • At 11:15 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • m a phillips wrote:

The usual BBC balanced and representative panel taking part in this discussion! The only white female on the panel was not, I am sure, representative of the average female in this country. Why are the antagonists always white males? This devalues their objections which could appear to be sexist/sexual. Why does nobody dare to tell these women that in our culture we instinctively distrust people who are not'open faced'. This includes Jon Snow on his programme a couple of weeks ago. He made me cringe when he simpered to one woman that he would like to see her face. I have worked for years with Muslim women, none of whom covered their faces. This is a recently imported affectation which has increased since 9/11 and carries an implied threat.

  • 33.
  • At 11:21 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Steven Gregory wrote:

The various contributors made some interesting points whilst missing the essential one at the centre of the issue. What we are really witnessing is a systematic failure of the approach to racial equality over the last thirty years. Activists have wrongly insisted on defining integration in terms of groups not individuals and in so doing have actively promoted separatism. At the same time they have denounced any suggestion or requirement of individual assimilation as being inherently racist.

  • 34.
  • At 11:21 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Mr D A Stewart wrote:

Sarah Clayton, Here, Here!!
If the Quran preaches love, then the simplest thing to do is to open your arms to soften the blow...
I think Jack Straws comment has come at a tactical point, suggesting that, wearing the Burkha at this particular time in history shows blatant insensitivity and unsubtlety.
- Can you walk into a bank wearing one? - hmm...

  • 35.
  • At 11:28 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

The issue tonight was should people who cover their faces be required to expose them when amongst others? This is an interesting subject but why on earth was it confined to discussing Muslims? What is this obsession with Muslims? As a motorcyclist I can be refused petrol at a garage if I keep my helmet on; there are often notices in the entrances to buildings asking motorcyclists to remove their helmets before entering. This issue was never touched upon because you simply want to engage with Muslims all the time.
How about discussing why motorcyclists are subjected to far more overt pressures to reveal their faces than a few Muslims?
How about so-called "hoodies" - are they not subjected to the same social pressures to reveal their faces? Why is it socially acceptable to demand that motorcyclists and "hoodies" show their faces but when the pressure is turned on Muslims it becomes a major social issue?
Let’s get rational about this!

Dave

I've already made a comment on Muslim veils last night. But as for tonight's programme I think that Mr Mansoor was by far the most sensible commentator on the panel. The woman in the green headdress and face mask interviewed earlier looked utterly ridiculous.

  • 37.
  • At 11:35 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

I repeat again...just what is the end game!...........................
This government has taken the softly, softly approach to our Islamic population.. that in other ethnic groups wouldn't be tolerated. Now having realised they are losing their voters in droves, as shown in recent Council Elections , because of their unpopular immigration & faith policies?...do they now believe this is the way to recapture those "Essex Voters"et al??. There is a thread running through the aforesaid news (6/10/06)which is certainly not being lead or instigated by the media!!...So have the Cabinet given their blessing to a concerted clamp-down on ethnic(Muslims)...hitherto stated government policies & would Jack Straw have gone it alone?..I DON'T THINK SO!! The British public in the main have said for some years, that an ethnic group aka Muslims should not be allowed/encouraged to practice their customs of dress & other neo fanatical beliefs... we have been consistantly shot down by the New Labour pro multilaterals who have pandered to their every whim!............ BUT will Jack Straws utterances cause an uprising of BNP type actions?has he started something we will all regret!

  • 38.
  • At 11:35 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Thomas goodwin wrote:

I think the Muslim community are always poised to immediately respond to ANY "seeming" affront to their religion --- for instance --- Jack Straw's suggestion about the veil etc. as only the latest event , A subject sure to lead to many inches of newspaper space , and a frenzy of interviews on T.V.
I think the Islamamic community are very "Picky" ,on which they choose to be "outraged" about --- For instance --- Did I not hear ,last night ,on Question Time , Helen Bleasedale , assert that MUSLIM WOMEN'S voices be given the same weight as Muslim Men's ? -- Where is the OUTRAGEOUS Muslim voices now ? ? ? ?

  • 39.
  • At 11:37 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Rachel Lever wrote:

If this is a debate, it's very one-sided, otherwise it would/should have started out from a more balanced look at the way people conceal/flaunt their identities or body parts. While it's disconcerting if a woman veils everything except her eyes, what about people who hide their eyes behind heavy sunshades, which can be quite intimidating. Surely if this really was a debate, we could also nominate other things that make us feel uncomfortable, e.g. having builders in, who feel quite free to strip down to their hairy beer-bellies in one's home or bend over to reveal builders' bum creases. Maybe Muslim women would feel less got at in this "debate" if there was any suggestion of a quid pro quo: maybe a bit more modesty from us in return for a bit less modesty from them?

  • 40.
  • At 11:38 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • K Wilson wrote:

I have listened to the veiled woman on tonight`s programme. I don`t think she has taken into consideration the effect on the people who might see her in the street. As a man I feel insulted by her thought that men will look at her as a sex object if she didnt wear it.(It is likely that she would wear the headscarf anyway.) We dont go round looking at women in this way. The women wearing a veil look as if they are foreign.In fact I suspect some of the women wearing this garb that I have seen on rare visits to cities in the past from the rural area where I live seem to have been rather elderly;Perhaps that has changed now.It seems in some places our country looks like a foreign land.It is not a racist thing at all.If some people set themselves apart in this manner it must be understood that others will not wish to do otherwise than to leave them apart. I would feel embarrassed passing the time of day with someone in this fashion.It is their choice if they wish to wear these veils and I wouldnt wish to stop their choice but they must not expect what I would say is a normal relationship with the majority of people as we feel awkward with the practice.It is a put off which means don`t approach "me" in any way and nobody will.
I feel sorry for the woman in the green dress who apparently said that this was a racist thing and for the muslim man who thought that Jack Frost was calculating his vote.They just don`t understand the ordinary people.And what is more the ordinary people do not understand what would make a woman want to wear this type of garb.One does suspect cultural bullying but only because one cannot understand any other reason.
I have a further comment. In this country of recent years there has been a movement towards sex equality in many fields,that of work,pay,perhaps even household duties but if I went round the streets as a man with a mask on my face I would soon become an object of interest to the police.They would want to know by what reason I was doing this and would say that if I had done nothing wrong there would be no reason to hide my face and please take it off.(see the recent goings on about hoodies)

  • 41.
  • At 11:58 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • ray wrote:

Firstly I would like to say that the veil is the uniform of muslim fundementalism, as is growing a beard and wearing salwar kameez. I have an indian friend who is hindu, he is a person i like very much, all the time i have known him he has dressed in western clothes, but when he invited me to his wedding obviously the dress of him and his family was of his tradition. I on the other hand; with other work mates turned up in suits. There was no problem, because it was an occasion and both of us where wearing clothing that was traditional to each others cultures for such occasions.
My point is that to come and live in another culture you should try to fit in and respect that culture, unless you are specifically required by your religion, which is not the case with muslim women wearing the veil. Therefore how can it be interpreted as anything other than an expression of fundementalism.
Other than this argument i am astounded that an intelligent woman can not see the veil as opression of women and i am at a loss why the same women who would be up in arms at the slightest indication of sexism, support the right for these women to be opressed. After all the opression of women in victorian times that (rightly) these same women have fought against, can and was justified on exactly the same religeous grounds that is being used to support the veil, and further more if newsnight was around at the time i am sure that they could have interviewed plenty of women who would have said it was there religous right to be treated as the possession of there men folk, and not to be given the vote. We seem to forget that the bible dictates women should be looked upon as something which a man owns and that this whole women should dress modestly thing in which every culture has at sometime indulged in is about men blaming women for their desires.
Above all if my wife and i go to an islamic country we think nothing of altering our dress and behavior to so as not to offend the indiginous population and this is the case in just about every muslim country from turkey to pakistan. So why is it so wrong for us to expect the same courtesy.
The bottom line is multiculturalism equals seperateness and is therefore a hiding to nothing. What we should aim for is cultural cohesion where by people from imigrant countries bring and add to our culture but basically become british, as the black, indian and chinese immigrants have.


  • 42.
  • At 12:05 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Lynette Weekley wrote:

Not one of the contributors this evening pointed out the glaringly obvious fact that YOU CANNOT EXCHANGE A FRIENDLY SMILE WITH SOMEONE WEARING A VEIL; in our culture that is a disadvantage; it is how we share a friendly moment with strangers when occasion calls for a friendly reaction but not necessarily words.

  • 43.
  • At 12:08 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

1. VEIL DEBATE

Dissatisfied with tonight's discussion, felt it really did not get going but did demonstrated that a good party does rely on the guests.

2. INTERVIEW

First part was interesting interview with two veiled Muslim women (well the one who wore the veil for 15+ years did most of the talking) looked/sounded like a convert to me? was I wrong (only going by the eyebrows here). The comment about perhaps not wearing the veil at some point was interesting (from the quiet lass). The women who had worn it for 15+ years said perhaps she would take it off, when she was 65.

On the other side of the debate, trouble is one presumes that Muslim women pressured to wear the veil/ conditioned to wear the veil- are neither going to step forward or be willing to be interviewed, so you are left with the 'its my choice' candidates only, endorsing wearing it.

Newsnight could have brought in someone from Islamic Women's refuge/Women Rights groups etc to hear an opinion from the other side [1a] [1b] - Newsnight missed a trick here.

Other wise we are only presented with a sameo/PC/placid view/nothings wrong perception from the Muslim Communities, you do need to show the other side.

Every community/culture has problems (the Muslims never willingly air theirs) so in the interests of fairness & obtaining a rounded view, Newsnight should. Otherwise the debate &context will remain unbalanced.

3. PANEL

Very enlightening who Newsnight managed to dragged out on a wet windy night to White City.

Both entertaining & disappointing to watch Lindsey Graham (Stop The War Coalition) representing everything wrong with Liberal Left / Left forces. Atypical of those who are part of the STWC who tie in with Muslim groups. Serial protester Graham could have tattooed the term 'racism' on here forehead & saved time & just pointed there the amount of times she mentioned & alluded to it. Pretty sure she has a collection of historical 'STOP THE .....' banners under her bed (presuming she has one). Graham commentary was dated to current impasse & belonged to another age if not planet - wholly irrelevant. She seemed in terminal denial to what's actually happening.

Nigel Rivers (deputy leader of commons) gave adequate performance.

UKIP guy, was below par, did not make too many inroads, but made relevant point about working & the difficulty over having a career & working relationships is you can never show your face.

The Social Commentator guy made some good points, esp about the one these concerns reflected general opinion which already existed before Jack Straw commentary.

Favourite loaded speech with agenda was the female Muslims 'blogger'. Her colonial ref to Nigel Rivers particularly ironic, suggesting a 'little englander' view, when the viewpoint of Muslim Communities is wholly inward. Her ref to focusing on the 'people around you' for people who wore the veil, seemed to emphasise ghettoised insular nature of the people who wore the veil in these communities. Did not get any clue that she was talking about mainstream relationship to Muslim Communities, rather she focused on what was good for a Muslim women in their community & totally discounted how mainstream society related to these veiled women. She was very dismissive that a piece of cloth had any bearing on society & rather highlighted why several stories criticising Muslims have come out. Either she missed the point or deliberately framed her words to avoid the issue (the latter me thinks).

3. SUMMARY

When debating Muslim Communities any possibility NCA programs could source anything resembling critical viewpoint from within Muslim Communities to enable balanced debate (like women refuge).

Rather than re-enforcing 'everyone is against us' 'everyone does not understand us' victim standpoint of oh too many Muslim interviewees & commentators.

vikingar

SOURCES;

[1a] http://mwhl.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40&Itemid=2
[1b] http://www.napac.org.uk/survivors/support/groups/detail.asp?id=173

  • 44.
  • At 12:20 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Lynette Weekley #42

".... YOU CANNOT EXCHANGE A FRIENDLY SMILE WITH SOMEONE WEARING A VEIL"

Hear Hear .. or other expressions.

According to Kramer, "94% of our communication is nonverbal, Jerry" (Seinfeld, January 29, 1998)" [1]

A mask is a significant barrier to trust & communication [1]

vikingar

SOURCES:

[1] http://members.aol.com/nonverbal2/nvcom.htm

  • 45.
  • At 12:36 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Liam Coughlan wrote:

The BBC is the world's most international broadcaster, and we should expect a greater understanding of cultures and religions on the part of program producers and presenters. I have lived in 4 Muslim countries, and visited several others. In Uzbekistan in 2001 I saw just a handful of fully veiled women, In the muslim part of Bosnia, hardly any, and in Pakistan, in parts only. The program has hidden behind the veil of the real issues which were not addressed. When discussing Islam and Muslim issues, the BBC tends to categorise all Muslims as being the same. They are as different as Christian and other groups. We reserved Europeans are embarassed to see the exuberance and fanaticism with which some Christians practice their faith in the USA, and we have seen the demise of a few christian sects there. Muslims wonder why the IRA were not described as Catholic extremists, the same with Croatia's forces during the Balkans war, who were simply Croats. There are some evil people who hide within the Muslim community and use the veil of fear to disguise tribal practices of other countries such as forced marriages, wifebeating and enslavery and recruitment for terrorism. The same thing happened in Christian countries, such as Ireland, where the IRA were projected by the BBC as somehow representative of Irish people. In this sensitive debate, we should focus on policies, not personalities, criminals and not whole sections of the community who happen to be Muslim. Britain has become a home to millions of non-nationals, and rather than socially and economically isolate them, Britian should set and expect compliance with the same laws for all citizens, and work harder at eliminating the systemic poverty which breeds the fear that leads to the hatred that is racism.

  • 46.
  • At 12:47 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Timmy wrote:

Thorough agreement with quentin #24,. well said.

  • 47.
  • At 12:56 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • JPseudonym wrote:

Can someone explain why having an antipathy towards Muslims is regarded as racism by some people?

Last I heard there was no such thing as a Muslim race.

  • 48.
  • At 01:12 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Rajon wrote:

well in my view i think this issue of the 'veil' has been blown out of porportion. Its a choice made by many women and we should accept that, and if we dont accept that then we should really be coming up with better answers of why we object to it! most views iv read so-far doesnt really raise 'legitimate' concerns. For eg some say they feel unconfortable approaching veild women on the street! well thats silly because how many strangers(women) veiled or unveiled would actually approach and take notice of in a normal day out? and then there are some who say that the nikab should be banned, well if thats 'freedom' 'democracy' and choice then go for it. we should stop these silly arguments that in reality dont really effect us, nor should a womans dress sense hinder my or your own life in any way. either we stop this nonsense now or take it all the way, empty every womans wardrobe, create a universal uniform and impose it on society. that way everyone is treated in a just manner and we'd have no more problems of integration

  • 49.
  • At 01:13 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Thomas goodwin wrote:

A further comment on the purpose and the need for the "VEIL" by Muslims --- are Muslim men so "DEPRAVED " , that they will go into a sextual frenzy , at the very "SIGHT" of a bare ankle , or a uncovered face ?
I don't think so --- So what is the purpose of the "VEIL" and the other ordinances of correct "MUSLIM" female dress ? -- Can it be more to do with the supression of female "Rights" and the general recognition of an "INFERIOR" class -- I.E. "MUSLIM WOMEN" ? ? -- Why isn't there a discussion or debate on "THAT ISSUE" ? ? --- What say you --- SPOKES-MEN of ISLAM ? ?

  • 50.
  • At 03:39 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Beverly wrote:

Thanks to Jack Straw I for one am glad that there is a discussion taking place about the wearing of the veil (the Niqab – a.k.a the Burka) in Britain.

The Niqab is not a “must wear” for those Muslim women, those who wear it do so because they have chosen it. This point was made clear to me by a neighbour’s daughter who is also a Muslim (and have chosen not to wear anything on her head) and ‘confirm’ on your own BBC news report yesterday by a young Muslim girl being interviewed on the street in Jack Straws constituency. It’s the “RADICAL” women who have turned to wearing the Niqab in Britain.

10 years ago you would very rearly see someone wearing it on the street, but since 9/11 as they become more ‘radical’ and cut themselves off from the rest of the British society they have used it as a way to intimidate people. For me that all make sense, why else would women living in the WEST with ALL it’s freedoms chose to wear the Burka on a British street?

I was very concern when I heard the story about Jack Straw’s safety, because who is to say if young Muslim men are not dressing like that to avoid detection by the police? Who is to say that the person dressed all in black coming toward you or me in a shopping mall, supermarket, the bus or on the underground is a man or woman and does not have a bomb under their cloth’s.

This is where ‘public safety’ is at risk, and "PC" has gone too far. We the majority should stand up in ‘OUR’ country and say we DON’T want it here. The government should follow “TURKEY” a Muslim country and BAN the wearing of the veil (Niqab or Burka what ever you want to call it) in all public places including schools. It is the Muslim way of separatism and cannot be good in any society.

In the middle of the summer’s heat wave there they were all covered from head to toe with the eye slit that my poor old mother had to ask if they are not burning up under all that?

They complain that they are not being treated equally but how does this help their so call "cause" when they “chose” to live where they do, they dress how they do, and they cut themselves off from the rest of the British society as they do.

They do not try as all other immigrants who come to live here do, continue their culture at home “but” are BRITISH when they shut their front door behind then as they leave their home. What they are trying to do is to ‘force’ their religion on people in a nasty way but it’s not working, it’s only waking up the majority population of Britain and the West.

These radical Muslims forget that “we are not surrounded by them” (a minority religion in Britain) but they are surrounded by "us" the “Non Muslims” such as Hindus, Buddhist, Anglican, Catholics, Atheist and Jews, in other words the MAJORITY.

They should also remember that Britain is "NOT" a Muslim country, it is after all an Anglican with Catholic faith at it's roots society, something also Tony Blair and his government seems to have forgotten.

Back in the late 1960's, US psychologist Professor Albert Mehrabian (University of California, Los Angeles - at the time) conducted experiments designed to discover how people evaluate incoming messages in face-to-face communication. His results, subsequently confirmed by UK psychologist Michael Argyle, showed that in order to evaluate what people are saying to us - unless what they are saying is pure fact - involves their actual words, their vocal characteristics (tone, tempo, etc.) and their facial expressions and body language.

In terms of how we make decisions about what we think people really mean, when in doubt we put least reliance on their words (about 7%), quite a lot on their vocal characteristics (about 38%), and MOST (about 55%) on their facial expressions and body language.

When Mr Straw says he feels uncomfortable trying to communicate face-to-face with someone in a veil and voluminous garments he is saying nothing more than "I can't get up to 55% of the non-verbal signals I need in order to evaluate what this person is saying to me." That isn't prejudice, it's basic human psychology, regardless of race, creed, colour, religion or gender.
Without these signals it's like having a TELEPHONE conversation, even though you're in the same room as the person you're talking to!

Mehrabian first documented his findings in this article:

"Inference of attitudes from non-verbal communication in two channels," Mehrabian, A. and Ferris, R. (1967). The Journal of Counseling Psychology, No. 31. pp.248-52.

He subsequently wrote a book on the subject:

"Silent Messages", Mehrabian, A. (1971). Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc. Belmont, California.

Mehrabian's findings were supported by Professor Argyle's team as described in articles such as:

"The Communication of friendly and hostile attitudes by verbal and non-verbal signals," Argyle, M. Alkema, F. and Gilmour, R. (1970). European Journal of Social Psychology, 1, pp.385-402.

  • 52.
  • At 06:11 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Richard Gifford wrote:

There is great confusion around race, ethnicity, culture and religion that is leading to deep misunderstandings between us all. I’m sorry to say, the media, including Newsnight, are not helping.

Could I ask please, that you are as careful and precise as you can be when you use terms concerning people’s identity?

Race, ethnicity, culture and religion are all completely different things, although they are of course deeply connected.

Religion (faith) is probably the easiest to define, and I’m sure we all share a common understanding of what a religion is. Adults are more or less free to choose, change or reject their religion. Although statistically related to their geographic origin, there is no full correlation. So, the opposite of “Muslim” is not “white” as you used on Newsnight last night. Neither does “Arab” nor “Pakistani” equate to Muslim, although there is of course a statistical link. Neither are “British”, “white” and “Christian” anything like the same thing.

Race is not the same as ethnicity, nor skin colour and is an outdated concept that we should stop using. The Census categories, which are the closest we have to a national benchmark, are misleading and based on skin colour and outdated Victorian concepts of race as a genetic term, dangerously close to Nazi ideas of intrinsic superiority of particular groups. Ethnicity is difficult to describe, though Professors Steven and Hilary Rose (The Guardian, 9th April 2005) made a valiant attempt to sort out the confusion, writing “Race was past its ell-by date” and proposing the admittedly unwieldy term, “biogeographical ancestry”.

Culture also differs from religion and ethnicity. For example, people, especially women and girls, whose families originate from parts of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, paint henna patterns (Mehndi) on their hands for festivals and celebrations. It’s not a Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist tradition, it’s simply derived from a particular region. In my opinion, cultural differences within and between groups are probably the deepest but at the same time most complicated of all and Britain is no exception. There are “British cultures” not “a British culture” My cultural practices as a London born ex Christian humanist living in Kent are as different from a Yorkshire born Methodist living in Cornwall as they are from a Manchester born Pakistani Muslim living next door to me!

So please may I ask you to be extremely careful in these sensitive times, and even to lead the way, when placing people in groups:
· The opposite of “wearers of the veil” is “non-wearers of the veil” not non-Muslims, or white women or any such term. Not all Muslim women wear veils and the issues of “hoodies” in shopping centres that was raised recently, and of wearers of dark sunglasses to meetings are very similar to the current one of the veil.
· The opposite of “Muslims” is “non-Muslims” not Christians, or “white people” or “Europeans” etc.
· The opposite of “Asians” is “non-Asians” not or white people, or British people or even Europeans,
· The opposite of “white” is “non-white” not black or Asian or Muslim etc.
· It’s probably best to phase out all references to skin colour, as no one falls into a simple single group. For example, are South American and Moroccans Black or White? What about the child of a Nigerian and a Norwegian, or an Indian and a Greek? If we must use these horrible terms, we have to accept that the opposite of Black is non-Black, not White.
· There is no opposite to “British culture” as there is no such thing in the first place!

May I please suggest you revisit Steven and Hilary Rose, and draw up some guidelines for your presenters? The language that we all, and especially you, the media use, enables us to shape our cultural future, as is more important than those who scoff at “political correctness” realise.


I dont think Jack Straws comments are so unreasonable.
When you consider him doing his "Political Surgery's" on a Saturday morning have some sympathy not only for "Jack" but also his diplomatic protection officer hiding behind a screen a few feet away."Jack's Veil".
A "dark apparition, off-licence hoist, balaclava applicant seeking advice".
"Carry on girls",this is"NEW LABOUR",they dont listen to us so why should you to them?
Insecurity that's his message,next time he asks tell him "imagine I'm on the phone Jack" its no different.
Imagination plays funny tricks on people,we've all seen the consequence of New Labour policies "Dire".
Finely if "he or they" where diplomatic' they could always use one of those portable TV booths like the BBC use, enabling him tune-up to your interview cocooned in the safely of the New Labour bomb shelter.
Over and Out Geoff

  • 54.
  • At 09:05 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Tony wrote:

Responding (inelligibly perhaps) from BBC radio and official web comment: this 60yr white male absolutely non-racist did not see the programme. Brought up watching masked outlaws in Tv westerns, and lately walking hoody populated streets I feel uneasy when the nature and character of a person is deliberately concealed, and by implication their intentions, perhaps hostile towards me, are concealed. I can`t help asking what it is people have to hide when their expression is hidden. Fear is likely to make me less accepting, less helpful, less understanding - so in consequence I feel diminished by my own involuntary response. I support Jack Straw in opening debate. I am not a constituent.

  • 55.
  • At 09:42 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • chris wrote:

"A scarf throwing (Benazir Butto style) over the head could be an amicable solution."

I nioticed that it slowly slipped off Benizir during a newsnight interview a few weeks back !

Just to correct Richard Gifford in msg #52 who wrote:

"Adults are more or less free to choose, change or reject their religion."

He seems to be totally unaware that under Islamic teaching anyone who turns their back on Islam is subject to execution.

I would hesistate to say that any Muslim was 'more or less free' to reject Islam.

This was an instance in the last few months were a man in Afghanistan was sentenced to death for converting to Christianity

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4841334.stm

The BBC does little to explain about the potential horrors which can befall the apostates of Islam.

http://www.apostatesofislam.com/

  • 57.
  • At 09:54 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • chris wrote:

"We live in Britain 50 years ago, or what ever, nobody in Britain wore veils. That was our culture."

If you look at the documentary evidence of Mitchell and Kenyon's films (1900 - 1917 I think) women did ware shawls which they placed over their heads and almost all men wore hats or caps.

  • 58.
  • At 10:40 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • S.D. wrote:

It is time to face up to the truth that Britain is not a multi-cultural society but a multi-enthnic one. We are deluding ourselves if we do not accept this.

There is no integration into English society between the various foreign peoples. What we have is areas of ethnic races. In fact, can anyone tell me what is English culture any more?

I meet foreign students who have come here to learn English and tell me that they cannot find any English people in London to speak with and practice their English. All they find are areas of foreigners who hardly speak any English.

This veil debate proves their point but it goes further because it has become a case of Muslims and non-Muslims. It reminds me of Bush's threat of "with us or against us".

Bide by our laws and ways. It is easy to outwardly intergrate while retaining your identity inwardly. In this way you are part of the society you live in without compromising your own beliefs. If you cannot do this it means that you are unsure of your own identity or it is not strong enough to survive both ways. Either way, it says a lot about it.

Any form of attack like that shown by Muslims at every little comment they disagree with is a sign of weakness, ignorance and insecurity. Ignorance because they keep saying it is their faith that dictates the veil when in fact it does not. There is a psychological basis for their reaction. The truth never needs defending for it is built on solid ground and can withstand anyhting thrown at it. The reaction of Muslims at evey little wind that touches them showns the insecurity of both their own identity and that of their belief.

It is interesting to read comment 27 from Thursday's comments. I haven't seen anyone answer those questions yet. Do they reveal the truth?

The lady who said that she wears the veil so as not to be looked at as a sex object and be seen as who she is, must have a very high opinion of heself. She must be the most desirable woman on earth. On the other point, what the veil tells me is that she is insecure, afraid and unable to integrate. The veil is a wall between people, not a revelation as to the real person.

  • 59.
  • At 11:52 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Nicholas Hibler wrote:

Jack Straw has done a (belated) service in raising this topic. He has not proposed that wearing the veil or the headscarf should be banned but expressed his unease about the full veil and its implications. In my experience, this unease is widely shared. Debate and discussion have an impact on the "cultural climate" and on what is considered socially acceptable, or not.

Many of us would like the upshot of this debate to be an understanding that wearing the full veil in public is socially unacceptable (no, that is not the same as a legal ban !). We can then discuss the social acceptability of men with bare torsos using public transport in hot weather or young women (or men)lying blind drunk in the gutter on Friday nights. This is of the same order of things.

In the studio debate it was interesting to see once again the cosying up between hard leftists like Lindsey German and radical islamism. Her repeated references to anti-islamic "racism" were ludicrous as well as a naked effort to shut down debate. Islam like any religion or ideology is a set of beliefs or opinions. It is no more worthy of respect than liberalism, communism, christianity, nazism, scientology or Jedi-ism.

Interesting debate. Sparked of first by Jack Straw, then by Friday's Newsnight. Briefly:

The wearing of Islamic dress seems to have grown exponentially in "the West" these last few years. Britain is not the only country involved. Travel around Europe and see for yourself.

Orthodox Sikhs and Jews have worn clearly identifiable clothing for a very long time in Britain. (Ditto the Amish in the USA!) Few have complained. But their faces were uncovered.

I agree with posting 41 where the idea of reciprocity is broached. We have to conform when we travel to Islamic countries; we cannot build churches there. Why cannot immigrants to Britain get the message that they are, initially, guests, then citizens. But forcing an acceptance of their way of dress onto the indigenous population amounts to bullying.

The fact that the West is somewhat decadent and British teenagers are left to puke around city centres (posting 10) is the moral vacuum which immigrant Muslims think they are reacting against. But the cure is much wore than the sickness. British parents' lack of responsibility is no excuse for Brits to be dictated to by immigrants from a very different culture.

Skin colour is a red herring. Hindus and Sikhs have a darker skin than the average Brit. So do Sephardic Jews, many Jamaicans, etc. It is the way that Islam is being interpreted that worries people. Coupled with 9/11, Madrid, 7/7, Bali, violence in the Maghreb, Afghanistan, Palestine, Indonesia, Pakistan. The Ummah agenda is not something that Britain should embrace.

Integration on the street, with old-country ways of thinking in the home, is the first step. But the all-embracing nature of Islam makes integration of a deeper sort difficult. A sign of this is how many second (and third?) generation Muslims appear to speak with a "non-British" accent.

I live in the Netherlands, not Britain, but developments over here are similar. I have not yet seen women in burkas, but almost every time I go to the shops, there are women dressed in less complete versions of Muslim dress. A decade ago, you would almost never see such dress. Dutch people, especially after the knife-in-the-chest incident with film-maker Theo van Gogh, are becoming much less tolerant towards Muslims.

Muslims, who are mostly immigrants from failed states and chaotically and corruptly run countries, shouldn't push their luck too much in Europe.

  • 61.
  • At 12:30 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Simple wrote:

Reading comments on here and other discussion shows me how ignorance is manifest. If you want to know about Islam you ask an orthodox Muslim. An orthodox Muslim is he who preserves the early teachings of Islam manifested in the teachings of the Prophets companions (Radi’Allah-anh) and the founding Scholars of the four schools of thought. The women are required to wear the Niqab in certain realities this is required by the teachings of Islam. It is obvious as to why the media runs to certain personalities and individuals within the Muslim community. It just on going attempt to dilute Islam and turn it a religion of rituals and personal worship Allah the all mighty put it beautifully when He said They want to extinguish Allahs Light (with which Muhammad SAW has been sent - Islamic Monotheism) with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the Kafiroon (disbelievers) hate (it). (9:32)

You people should at least have courage to say that you have a problem with Islam rather than ‘beating around the bush’ and trying to change our belief of Islam. We don’t your interpretation or of those who you put forward.

Forgive me if I have offended anyone that is not my intention. Have nice day.

  • 62.
  • At 01:07 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • John Coombes wrote:

What has not been mentioned is Britains long history of accepting people from overseas. It began with Africans and all of the tensions we are currently experiencing with Muslims were experienced then.
Over time our black population has integrated but at a cost to our traditional way of life. We now have gun crime and drugs, both of which were frowned upon by our then criminal society - this was a "British" value.
We see what we perceive as repression in Muslim countries and I am sure are anxious that our developed and "open" society should not become equally repressed. The Birmingham "Sikh incident" is very worrying in repressing our traditional freedom of expresion through the arts which has to be equally respected and understood.

  • 63.
  • At 01:31 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Frank Hudson wrote:

To Richard Gifford @ 52 above.

All of what you say and more, is inextricably linked to, and unquestionably governed by, the fundamental tenets of the universal laws of existence: i.e. Balance, Time and Number.

Since 1997 I have tried hard, but unsuccessfully, to persuade media commentators to address the urgent and vital need for absolutely strict adherence to totally correct (top dictionary) definitions of all words used in matters associated with Race. The word 'racist' for example has been used and abused so much during the past nine years - and particularly during the period of the MacPherson Report - as to have become virtually drained of its correct literal definintion.
To find the answers as to why they don't want to do this, one needs to examine in depth the political agendas pervading various sections of the media, which can only be achieved by massaging the minds and the moods of the masses.

Unless and until this vexed question is resolved the finger-pointing, accusatory, inflammatory and utterly useless debates, for want of a better word, will continue; the consequences becoming more dire by the day.

  • 64.
  • At 04:50 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

I think there are two arguements here, there is the secularist, psychological arguement mentioned above and there is the somewhat more spiritual arguement.

The psycological arguement is that we all decide whether we like or trust someone depending on body language. This is true but it raises certain philosophical issues.

1. The issue of sexuality. Would Jack Straw as a man unconciously favour a pretty face?

2. The idea of women dressing modestly is presumably (a) The uniform effect, ie the issue of dress does not provoke competition amongst the women (b) It prevents men favouring women who look beautiful (c) It either celebrates women´s spirituality and ideas as oppose to their sexuality and expression or it prevents them from being their true self by removing the natural beauty competition between women (even if it´s not necessearialy to attract men just to look good in yourself).

3. I feel this is not just an issue of race but of gender. The veil was almost certainly invented by men. It is up to the women to choose whether they accept the arguements put forward to them (originally by men) or whether they feel more impowered by exactly the opposite

4. Is Jack Straws power to convince by mirroring the facial expressions of a woman erroded by the veil. I would say yes, I think it gives them an advantage in negotiation. Maybe it attacks right at the heart of new Labour rhetoric to deal with the man or woman rather than abstract ideas and arguements.

5. Therefore sure Jack Straw feels uncomfortable, he doesn´t normally lose and arguement when all the conditions are in his favour, but I think it shows his inadequacies as a politician, that he cannot deal with all the situations presented to him.

6. The arguement could be that Jack Straw does not have time to deal with these issues, he needs to know yesterday about what action needs to be taken, if any. Most normally and in true British managerial style he must convince these women, their ideas are welcome to be debated, but that anything other than what Jack Straw or Tony Blair ideas are not interesting. He can´t do this as well if he can´t mirror her body language.

It seems like bashing Muslims and Islam at every opportunity is the new PC.
And it is the new way to gain headlines and support.
Either people have the right to wear what they want, or they don’t.
You can’t criticize the lake of freedoms in other countries, with one breath and claim Women don’t have the right to choose to cover themselves with the other.

It is clear that Jack Straw is just a vial opportunist. He saw that Reid gained headlines by bashing Muslim parents for not spying on their Children and he wanted his share.
There will be an opening for deputy leader of the Labour party and the candidates are competing with each other to try and be the most right wing. You can’t get more right wing than bashing Muslim Ladies and blaming them for the racism that’s caused by headline grabbing opportunistic politicians pandering to the far right.

  • 66.
  • At 06:03 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Betsy Grey wrote:

I am just shocked - not a normal condition for me, it has to be said - that Jack Straw should raise this issue at such a sensitive time, and in this way (ie through a newspaper column). I think it is insensitive in the extreme. Of course we need open debate on all kinds of issues, but this was not the way to raise it and I feel it gives ready ammunition to the racists and extremists in our midst. I noticed that Kirsty had no problem at all communicating with the Muslim women she interviewed, despite being able to see only their eyes, and they gave a good account of themselves and their reasons for choosing to wear the veil. If Jack Straw can't communicate with, or feels 'uncomfortable' in the presence of, a Muslim woman dressed in this way, then I fear that's his problem and he should deal with it. A Muslim MP might feel a constituent wearing a cross presents a 'barrier to communication' but I wonder what the reaction would be if he asked him/her to remove it? Finally, how dare we question such a personal choice, and assume - as some do - that the veil is a sign of Muslim male oppression? If anything is guaranteed to make more Muslim women take to wearing the veil, it is surely this ill-time assault on their choice to do so.

  • 67.
  • At 07:01 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Betsy Grey #66

"A Muslim MP might feel a constituent wearing a cross presents a 'barrier to communication ...."

.... YES if they were also wearing a bag over their head with two eye holes cut out :)

vikingar

  • 68.
  • At 07:26 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

The wearing a veil in this manner, is not solely the demonstration of adherence to religious faith.

If its voluntary, it is also communicating a radical conformity to the more fundamentalists fringe & their ideals within the Islamic Faith.

If not voluntary, why should society not be allowed to comment on an example of repression against women in our progressive democratic society (talk to some Muslims Women Groups/Refuges) [1a] [1b]

In either case, given current examples of Islamic Intolerance (UK, Europe, World) people are understandably concerned & suspect that accompanying the radical dress of the wearer, behind the mask the wearer also holds more of the radical & fundamentalist views that have blighted our shores & cost the lives of so many around the world.

The issue of THE VEIL unfortunately demonstrates the total inability of British Muslim communities, to take any/all criticism of themselves and/or faith & reveals yet again the problems within this faith & how far many within their communities still have yet to travel to become accepted in The United Kingdom.

The world is sadly still full of places where religious intolerance rules - those who desire such 'taliban-esque' adherences can thankfully make use of modern transportation & live there.

vikingar

SOURCES;

[1a] http://mwhl.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40&Itemid=2
[1b] http://www.napac.org.uk/survivors/support/groups/detail.asp?id=173

  • 69.
  • At 09:46 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

I see the veil as nothing more as a tool for women Betsey Grey, it was probably conceived by men in the past, either to help women or to help men. Women either feel empowered by these traditions or opressed by them.

I do question our right as men to historically tell women to wear a veil and then tell them to take it off when it is clearly of political and psycological advantage to some women, regardless of religion and especially for our own advantage.

"Good Communication" in my opinion has in certain circles become to mean total domination, where people feel obliged to give ground to someone in charge just becuase they say they are hurt or insulted when really it´s just a political stunt. Politicans are great rapport builders and they want to make the conditions favorable for charming people into a deal. Jack Straw is an expert in how to manipulate the media, therefore ten to one he´s an expert in how to manipulate you!!! He can´t do that if he can´t read your psycological signals so when trying to do a deal with Jack Straw, I would advise anyone to WEAR A VEIL.

  • 70.
  • At 10:19 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Jack wrote:

Nobody has mentioned the health issue with regard to the wearing of the veil. We are all aware that for the healthy maintenance of our bones we require a certain amount of sunlight on our skin each year to promote the production of Vitamin D in our bodies. People who cover themselves from head to toe including the face are unable to do this and risk suffering from Rickets.

Jack Straw's comments have inspired debate and raised the profile of the views of Muslim women, which must be a good thing for them.

  • 71.
  • At 10:20 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

Is that not a fascinating culture? Is it not beautiful muslim culture. It must make flirting between two people much more interesting.

Man must try and win woman, but only the woman knows how physically beautiful she really is. The woman can see the man but however beautiful she is can only convince him with her words and voice. Think about that Mr Straw, it´s a facinating concept, beautiful, really beautiful, the man must love the woman purely on the basis of her brain!!!

And you can focus on whether you are truely suited to one another however more beautiful or powerful one person is than the other. It´s actually very intellectual and intelligent.

I find this 'little piece of cloth' deeply offensive.

It is a political statement which, to me, is as objectionable as a Nazi armband.

  • 73.
  • At 10:47 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • David Weston wrote:

That may be so, but most of the communication is not going to be about flirting, is it?

If the woman goes into a bank or shop, or goes to any form of service desk, the inability to see the effect of what you are saying is, at least, unhelpful

  • 74.
  • At 11:40 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

I think people who say that muslims are always complaining are missing the point. It is the government and the media who are constantly criticising and focusing on muslims. The reason they do that is to distract from their disastrous foreign policy and also creates a political atmosphere that will support the bombing of Iran, as many of the gullible islamophobic idiots will believe that they deserve it. I'm sure muslims have mostly become more religious in the last five years due to the Neocons bombing their countries and constantly pumping out anti-Islamic propaganda. That's bound to make them want to draw in and strengthen their culture.

  • 75.
  • At 11:42 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Nauzad wrote:

I'm and Indian and a non-muslim, and at the outset Ive always learnt to respect other peoples customs and traditions. I have no right to tell others what to wear or how to live, but I still write this since I have a right to have an opinion.

From the start of this debate Ive been wondering why despite having a much larger Muslim population Ive not seen as many Muslim women in veils in India (except in certain areas or cities). And the answer probably lies in the fact that no one forced them to take them off, and they themselves took the step to do so in order to integrate with the society.

And here are some other points to ponder:

1. On the programme one of your speakers mentioned the safety and empowerment the veil gives her, making her feel more confident of approaching the world. If thats so, why dont Muslim men wear veils too. All the reasons they give to justify themselves wearing the veil can also be given for the men.

2. And the veil does bring about discrimination against its wearers. Whether its overt or covert is another issue. Going back to my earlier point, you would normally see women wearing veils in economically backward areas of the country / cities. And people wearing them live their life within those areas. People dont shun them, but its difficult for them to get jobs unless they have their own businesses.

3. And the face has become an identity of a person in our societies. You relate to a person by their faces, be that on the television, student ID cards, drivers licenses etc. I would find it very difficult to recognise a friend on the street if everyone was clad in veils. And if I cant recognise a person easily, then how would I be able to build up a rapport and friendship with him / her?

On a lighter vein I can see a good deal of fun and confusion emerging by the veil:

a. I'd love to see a movie with a devout all-muslim caste...everyone in veils... and how would you know the villians from the heroines.. or who is saying what to whom. And would the religios say that to protect their modesty all actresses in movies should wear veils if they feel safer.

b. Its our good fortune that the Queen is not Muslim. Else all our stamps, coins and notes would have different coloured veils with eyes in them. (On the other hand if she were, then we would have saved a lot of money on her security (since she would have been unidentifiable) and the effort going in to put her bust on all the documents. After all, which ever queen came in (and whatever her age), the stamps, coins and notes could practically remain the same.

c. I'd like to goto a supermarket where all workers are veiled and asking one of them to help me out. Apart from feeling spooky, the veil would help the workers dissappear without a trace leaving customers stranded. (And if customers were veiled too, how would you differentiate the customers from the workers?).

d. Its good we didnt get the ID cards system in place. Else the all the veiled would be the same.

I guess it would have been better to have posted veiled comments, since I dont wear a veil and could be easily identified by anyone baying for my blood.

Cheers!!

  • 76.
  • At 12:36 AM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

I just believe in order to make a judgement on any culture be it Muslim or any other, you have to try and understand the Rhetoric of that culture.

In the same way you cannot understand a Bach chorale if you don´t understand exactly how HE conceived it which was not as a series of chords but as a series of four integral interlockling melodies you cannot fully comment on or understand a culture without attempting to understand why something like Sharia Law was originally conceived. Now, I´m no expert on this but you simply cannot say it´s a political statement without actually stepping outside the English male perspective analysing what the original arguements are or at least questioning the perspective of your own culutre towards veils.

You can gain a political advantage over men from wearing one but why did a man conceive such a thing if he was to be at a disadvantage? The answer is religion, faith, belief, purity these are the foundations and concepts on which our secular society is built and ideas we still play around with today.

I think muslim women can gain an advantage over Jack Straw with wearing one as I´ve pointed out but I don´t think muslim women wear them to be provocative. Are you religious JP psydonym? If you consider yourself to be christian do you know anything about your faith? Try and understand it from a point of view of faith. Let me know if you come up with anything new I´d be inerested to know.

  • 77.
  • At 02:25 AM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Thomas goodwin wrote:

Lets talk about religion(s) -- ALL religions, (without exception) depend on their excistance on "FAITH" -- not reason (Reason -- the very thing that defines us as "HUMAN" ) All the Prophets/ministers/ ayatollays/ popes/mullahs/Rabbis/ et al -- Know better than "YOU" as they are speaking from God/Allah/Brahma/ Jehovah/Bhudda/ Zeus / etc. --- Lets imagine a scenario . that they are "all" wrong ( after all they are giving different, and sometimes opposite,teachings --- They can't ALL be correct)
Just Imagine the "DAWNING" of the "truth" that the "Christian/Muslim/Hindu/ Sun-worshipper/ And especially the modern "SUICIDE BOMBER" etc will surely experience , a fraction of a second , after They has drawn Their last breath ! ! !

  • 78.
  • At 04:25 AM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Jay wrote:

I believe Jack Straw to be right on this occasion.

The British culture to some, seems to be transparent.
This transparency prevails because of two reasons. The first is the fact that the foundations of the British culture arent rooted within organised religion, and the second is the abscence of an "Eastern perceived" spiritual side.

There are many codes of conduct we adhere to within our society concerning introduction, communication and intergration. These codes are not written down or preached by a preacher, but are part of the collective pysche of our culture, and these aspects of our culture are just as important to the British male/female as the divine teachings are to the Muslim male/female.

Jack straw is part of the indigenous population that naturally progressed these codes of conduct, and as they have seemed to clash slighty with a foreign culture that has settled here, then I feel as though the foreign culture should be the one to respect the traditions of the indigenous culture by compromising, afterall, whilst travelling or settling within a Muslim country, all affairs, whether business or pleasure, are conducted on, and within, the traditions of that indigenous culture.
Why is it not the same when the scenario is reversed?

The British codes of conduct in question are practised on a daily basis throughout our society, (ironicly) alot of these codes of conduct involve the removal of headgear.
They hark back to an age when the hat and cap were a popular clothing accessory within the public world.
Once the wearer stepped out of the outdoor public environment and into a more interactive environment, the wearer removed his/her headgear to show equality, courtesy and openess to earn the trust of his/her counterpart.
We have many phrases and sayings to express our respect and distaste of human interaction involving headgear, bodily, and facial actions. These codes of conduct, the phrases, sayings and actions refer to, are deeply rooted within our culture, and if not practised, are simply seen as being rude.
But with the absence of a religious doctrine and spiritual side (or should I say not having an acknowledged spiritual side), once again the compromise is from the indigenous culture.

I personally think its time to step inside the British male/female perspective and out of the perspective that this island is just a piece of land inhabited by a robot like species with no culture, no traditions, no heritage and no "Eastern perceived" spiritual side.

And the reasons for the veil?

Going even deeper then the religious abhorrence of fornication and promiscuity, I feel the answer lies in that age old predjudice of mans inabillity to accept female sexuallity.

Nothing more, nothing less!

  • 79.
  • At 05:01 AM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Majmuaa wrote:

Despite the assertion by commentators (politicians, journalists, etc) that central to this debate should be the "veil-wearers'" views and explanation of their motivation , all we keep seeing and hearing are the same commentators over and over again. I wonder if , when these do eventually shut up, whether the women in question will appear to "enlighten" us. The odds are they will not, as by their very definition these women have adorned the Niqab... they have resolved to cherish seclusion (except in regards to thier immediate families and friends).
They are being accused of "sabotaging" all efforts (supposedly) made by the REST towards integration. I would just like to know what these are. Judged by the hostile reception I was getting when I used to visit pubs, by the anti-muslim schemes concocted by Home secretary after Home secretary, the anti-Muslim headlines for which ,arguably , there has been a constant demand by newspaper readers, the feeling of being "deselected" for promotion time and time again, because of being foreign and/or Muslim, by the prevailing "hooliganistic" attitude with which Muslims are treated here AND ABROAD (e.g. Iraq), it looks like the onus of integration is being put squarely on the practising Muslim. And who can explain to me the logic of a "non-reciprocal one-directional" integration? And let it be known that no one desires integration better than the practising Muslim... of course the issue is over values, and Islam orders the Muslim to respect others' values...

Practising women adopting the niqab may perhaps be explained by the theory of "self-preservation".... they do not feel wanted so they find a way to make sense to their existence... And they will not come forward to tell us what we have decided is the most important part of this debate. Therefore end of story.

Next issue perhaps: the Muslim Beard. Who knows?

  • 80.
  • At 09:45 AM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Robert wrote:

I look at it this way, in my town you cannot wear a hood in town, never mind kids causing problems I was wearing a hood on a duffel coat, yet the same day Muslims wore the full veil and nothing was said. People will say so what, well one law.

I am also getting really fed up with all the programson TV and MP's even bothering to talk about it, every day I hear about Muslims wanting this or that, or moan about the way they are treated.

I have a disability wheelchair user with a wife who is spina bifida, you want to know about being treated different try that for a few years.

  • 81.
  • At 11:14 AM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

Robert (post #88), it's not about "Muslims wanting this or that" - that's a perception created by the media parroting govt talking points. If the govt and media decided to constantly criticise Catholics or Sikhs (for instance, let's say all Catholics should use condoms or Sikhs should remove their turbans) and did it day in and day out, then of course the Catholics or Sikhs would complain, and we would all be getting annoyed about hearing about them.

It's all a distraction. It's the same technique used by the Republicans in America to distract and divide their populace - criticise a minority (e.g. homosexuals in the US). That way we overlook the real issues.

I once lived in an area with a substantial Moslem Pakistani minority. Peaceful, repectful people. The women wore headscarves and long clothes, spoke animatedly and seemed happy enough. During the Iraq-Iran War determined efforts were made to radicalise the area with fly posters and lamp post stickers. "Planet Islam" was one slogan that stuck in my mind.

I only ever then saw one woman wearing the all over black garment with narrow eye slit. Intriguingly I noticed she had 'Arabian Nights' style sandals on, but I ignored her as seemed to be her wish. One of my neighbours dressed in the full Taliban outfit, spoke no English and struggled to make his car work. His wife wore a headscarf. We were friendly, limited by no common language.

I have spoken to Pakistani women wearing loose headscarves and I think they are canny enough to have twigged that this concentrates ones attention on their eyes, frequently a most attractive feature.

The current rise in young Britsh born Pakistani women wearing the full apparel is political and cultural (there being no distinction between the two in Islam). Moslem spokesmen (note 'men') were quick to claim victimisation after July 2005, rightly or wrongly side stepping major issues thrown up by that event.

I think this veil phenomena will pass. The cause of why Moslems are in the news is essentially for two reasons: Oil and Israel. Meanwhile, Britain's many other successful minorities (the Chinese for example) might serve as examples of what can be achieved with goodwill.

Hugh Waldock in msg #76 wrote:

"Are you religious JP psydonym? If you consider yourself to be christian do you know anything about your faith? Try and understand it from a point of view of faith. Let me know if you come up with anything new I´d be inerested to know."

My religious beliefs are a personal matter, but is it entirely wrong to compare Islam with Christianity.

Christianity believes in the seperation of Church and State - according to Christ's teaching "give unto Caesar etc...". Islam does not accept such a division. It is not just a religion it is a prescription for a total way of life including governance and a judicial system.

As part of this Islamic belief system anyone who rejects it is subject to execution.

Islam sees the world divided into two components - dar al-Islam (the house of submission) and dar al-Harb (the house of war). The ultimate aim is the elimination of dar al-Harb.

I understand enough about Islam to see what it has in store for us.

  • 84.
  • At 12:20 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

Some of us are aethists, thats fine, some of us are Jewish, that´s cool, some of us are Muslim or German or French but isn´t that wonderful.

I think if we all lived totally how the Americans want us to life would be very very boring indeed. If I was a nationalist I would consider my political views to be the most important. Living in another culture though, with another language makes you really accept the limitations of an Anglo-Americancentric lifestyle

I DO believe most people have a heart, they are just ill informed about things, sure they meet people from other races, but do they know enough about them to really interact with them. I would like to see cultural identity lessons on the national curriculum. If people really understood the philosophy and mindset of different races there wouldn´t be a debate about veils or anything else, it´s the only way to save multi-culturalism, we need to take an involved rather than laissez faire approach.

Many people who consider themselves Christian don´t understand their religion any more, if they are ignorant about religion in general then no wonder they make nasty comments arising from the misunderstanding of others, or just trying to laugh things off.

  • 85.
  • At 12:41 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • martin wrote:

Well, i was going to write a whole lot, but reading al these posts says it all about 'easily offended' peaple. Blimey, if all i had got to worry about is getting offended feeling repressed then i envy them. More than a few people just need to get out more and stop drowning in self pity.
P.S Well said Sarah, i think you said what most people feel.

Islam lost power less than a century ago! It had downfalls in its history similar to the 20th Century! I think its cropping up from the source where it was paralysed!

Sara,PC is absolutely right as a Kurd who lives in the UK I FEEL obliged to respect the culture outdoors, but I have a house full of Kurdishness indoors!

But the issue is bigger than cultures and muliticulturalism! It is about a religion which used to rule the world! Superstitious or not!

Who wins, we all decide!

Taking a straw poll of what leading Labour ministers and other top people, say on this issue, I note things said in today's Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph. (8th October 2006)

The Times mentions that Hain and Prescott disagree with Straw, but that Harman points out that Muslim women are not represented at Westminster. That is surely significant - Muslim women MPs would have to argue the case for or against the burqa or nikaab in the House of Commons. The debate would be interesting. Article at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2393814,00.html

The Sunday Telegraph mentions a leaked Church of England document which points out that only 3% of British people are Muslims, and yet that Ruth Kelly's Commission on Cohesion and Integration doesn't have any CofE represetatives. Funny. The CofE report also mentions that the gap between the Muslim and other communities is widening, at the same time as it is being given preferential treatment with regard to multi-faith discussions. Makes you think. At: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/10/08/nfaith08.xml

By the way, talking of one, inclusive culture, does the spelling of some people in this discussion reflect the general standard of grammar and spelling of British people as a whole? We all make typos now and again, but if Britain is one community, this implies we speak and write (!) the same language.

  • 88.
  • At 02:30 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Ben James wrote:

This largely Media-driven 'controversy' of recent days over Jack Straw's soundbite-seeking comments about Muslim women and the veil is symptomatic of a much deeper anxiety among certain sections of our population over 'multi-culturalism', and the place of Islam in modern Britain. For many of these anxious people (as is clearly evidenced by some of the anti-Muslim sentiments expressed here), there is concern over whether it is truly possible to be a devout or radical Muslim, and also to be fully socially and culturally integrated into the mainstream of British society. Some of the concerns expressed here seem to border frankly on paranoia: no genuine 'debate' about the veil can take place when that debate is informed by anti-Muslim prejudices, ignorance and a clamour for illiberal intolerance. For some bloggers, the issue of the veil has merely provided a convenient pretext for them to vent their spleens by attacking the Muslim community, or the reality that we are a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Is it these realities which, deep down, they really have psychological unease about.

We all need to be calm and level-headed about all of this Media frenzy. We need to judge this issue within its proper proportions and perspective. Muslims in the UK number about 1.5 million out of a total population of about 60 million. Of that 1.5 million, the percentage of the Muslim community who choose to wear the veil is tiny, perhaps only as little as 3 - 5% in total. In other words, the overwhelming majority of the minority of people who are Muslim in this country DO NOT choose to wear the veil. The other valid point in terms of the need to calm down about this issue and view things in proper perspective is that out of the insignificant number of women who wear the veil, for virtually all of them it is THEIR CHOICE to do so. This is not Iran or Pakistan, where women who do not wear the hijab are attacked by the religious police, and even publically flogged. However deluded they might seem, most of the numerically insignificant number of women who wear the veil do so out of their own free choice. This right to express a free choice (even if rather abrupt and extreme) should be tolerated. If we genuinely live in a liberal democratic society, and not some socially authoritarian New Labour paradise, then we must learn to tolerate the right of this minority of women who choose out of their religious conviction to cover themselves up completely, apart from their eyes.

Jack Straw's cynical motives for generating this so-called 'debate' at this particular time are also highly questionable. He is about to make a bid for the deputy leadership of his party. He thus calculates that (like his possible leadership rival, John Reid) he can do no harm to his electoral prospects by tapping into that anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Sun/Daily Express-reading section of the population that has been very anxious about virtually everything radical in Islam since the ghastly events of '9/11' and '7/7'. Yet, he chooses to make his half-baked pronouncements on the veil at a time also when many Muslims have been anxious since '9/11' that their community is under seige, and that they are increasingly being scapegoated for all the social ills of modern British society. Jack Straw has not behaved like a responsible senior politician. Instead he has indulged crude populism at the expense of a soft, numerically insignificant target, in order to widen his electoral appeal.

There is a valid, and interesting, debate to be had about the acceptable limits of 'multi-culturalism', and, in this context, the place of radical Islam in a society that has been fashioned for centuries out of essentially Western, liberal democratic and Christian principles. But making cheap jibes at the expense of women who wear the veil in this country is not the way to conduct such a sensible or balanced debate. These soundbite politicians do more harm than good in the end, and their cheap populist comments do not do justice to the complexity of the issues that are involved in the debate about 'multi-culturalism'. Jack Straw's government has presided over a disgraceful failure to address the growing social, religious and ethnic fragmentation (even Apartheid) in the cities and towns of our country. From Mr. Straw, we need sensible, and fair, policies that seek to address this increasingly worrying social fragmentation, partucularly with bold initiatives in housing, education and immigration policy. We do not need cheap soundbites and false debates about women who wear the veil from the likes of Jack Straw.

Ben James in msg #88 has the mistaken belief that there are only about 1.5 million Muslims out of a total UK population of about 60 million.

Does he think the Muslim population has been static since the 2001 census? I can assure him that it has been growing extremely quickly.

Given that the Muslim population doubles every 10 years and we are half way to the next census, that level is likely to have gone up 50%. Add to that the number of failed asylum seekers who we cannot put a real figure on, many of whom have come from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kosovo, and a true figure could well be closer to 3 million, ie twice as many as we are led to believe. This estimate of 1.5m
sounds just as ridiculous as the government forecast of 13,000 new arrivals from Eastern Europe in 2004, when the true figure is over 600,000.

I often hear this 1.5m figure bandied about and it just sounds like lazy journalism. Or could it be a figure used to try and prevent us from being alarmed?

  • 90.
  • At 07:06 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

As ever interesting to note that the Left & too many of the illiberal Left only too quick to lecture & impose their view on mainstream society.

But hardly a critical bleep out of these self styled 'societal engineers' in respect of the communities that challenge & contradicts their flagship agenda (rights issues etc) & fails to integrate with British Society i.e. Muslim communities, who conscious failure to integrate, gives two fingers to our progressive norms & rejection of British Culture.

As to why the Left & the illiberal Left fail to do this can only be reasonably attributed to other agenda.

PSE NOTE: the minority of British Muslim who have made the effort to integrate - thanks - pse speak up & get the others to realise where they are living & how they are living - the UK is not "Islamistan".

Ours is not an attack on Islam per say, rather as to how certain cultural nuances are followed & adhered too within our shores (as often man interprets what they want, esp from historical religious scripture in relation to living in 21st Century).

In respect of Britain Muslim communities, ask an honest & practical question, should 98% of the UK's population be expected to be unquestionably shoe horned into accommodating every nuance of the 2% or should it be the other way around (esp when so much of this relates to non indigenous practices, that contradicts so much internationally agreed 'humanitarian rights').

When does a nuance/aspect of culture end up encouraging people to self-ghettoise, withdrawing into a cultural enclave.

THE VEIL is a political statement & symbol of perceived & actual repression of women within non indigenous sub cultures at odds to the society that have given them a home.

Given Britain's Muslim Communities are responsible for siring domestic terrorists (supporters & suicide variety, which they also export) to murder their fellow citizens, its rather ironic & terribly disappointing, they remain this prissy & thin skinned to this extent … one word DENIAL

In short, in the United Kingdom, why should we allow 3rd world oppressive practices to exist in our 1st world progressive democratic society

For those wishing to adhere to taliban-esque ilberal values - enjoy [1]

vikingar

SOURCES:


[1] http://www.visaplus.co.uk/

  • 91.
  • At 07:19 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref JPseudonym #89

Very valid post.

The UK's Muslim population, has grown from tens of thousands since 1960/70's to approx 1.6 million to date (plus the rest).

The rise in numbers of those within Britain's Muslim communities is a result of several factors:

1. immigration + other dependents
2. asylum seekers + other dependents
3. illegals
4. odd convert or two
4. rather a lot of sex *

* with/without veil one presumes :)

vikingar

  • 92.
  • At 09:27 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Hugh Waldock wrote:

Rather than having world war three let´s just stop, stop all this conflict, keep our heads down, learn about other races, stop putting people into boxes and labelling them like processed meat "one of the 1.6 million muslims. One of the 30 odd million white anglo saxons. A bloody Journalist. A peadophile teacher." At least let´s not accept the general interpretation of these labels but think about what they mean to us personally

It´s these labels and evil stories that create the most tension in the world. Think outside the box, think different, like no-one else in this world because a individual bias is much less damaging than out and out group predjudice. Descartes: Theory of Universal Doubt: Clever Man.

  • 93.
  • At 09:46 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • F.Hudson wrote:

Re 88 above:

"no genuine 'debate' about the veil can take place when that debate is informed by anti-Muslim prejudices, ignorance and a clamour for illiberal intolerance"
.....................................
Veils and Multi-culturalism aside, any attempt to hold a 'debate' either on this blog or anywhere else, on National matters of Race/Religion, affecting as they do a population of more than sixty million, would be not only futile, but an impossibility.

As no-one could be excluded from taking part in something so crucial, how in the name of sanity could the colossal input from millions (if they felt so inclined) be addressed - discussed/argued - questioned - receive responses etc?

Opinions voiced/discussed through e-mails to this blog - deviations, bad spelling, grammar, warts and all, have come from both 'pro' and 'anti' contributors in relation to a variety of points. The words "informed by anti Muslim prejudices" are therefore totally inappropriate: unless of course what was meant was that this 'discussion' isn't 'genuine' and is 'influenced' rather than 'informed' by anti Muslim prejudices, ignorance and a clamour for illiberal intolerance. In which case the word 'debate' goes out of the window anyway, for obvious reasons.

If liberal is the antithesis of illiberal then what would constitute a liberal intolerance?

  • 94.
  • At 10:09 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Jason wrote:

Although I may not consider myself an atheist, I agree totally with Sarah Clayton's comments (3).

Jack Straw's government has done more to destroy the long established culture of OUR country than any other. The veil is a step too far and we must all stand up and be counted.

Hooray. We've almost come full circle since Jack's political surgery on Saturday morning. When you analyse Jack's statements, he thought that watching facial expressions were important for contact between different people and that veils would detract from this.
He appears to be extending his own reticence in his surgery to suggesting that the veil has an impact on society as a whole, which is a completely different matter. This enlightenment that Jack so desires can hardly be considered reasonable when for such as David Blunkett, who is an ex minister who was blind, this need to see the full face would not apply, but who at the time of his appointment had the full confidence of Tony Blair. So perhaps this may throw some light as to why Tony Blair would not get involved in the discussion.
What I find extremely difficult is the business of equality and diversity. I understand Jack's desires but in a diverse society those with different standards than himself should be allowed to dress of their own choosing, not like some poshed up bimbos on the catwalk.
Finally, I think Jack should give some thought to Gordon Brown's speech to the Labour Party Conference, where he described being brought up in a moral compass. Perhaps there are more than myself who share the view that we could do with an early return to this environment when you consider all the carry-on's there have been under Tony Blair's leadership, and who feel that seeing a form of moral correctness being undertaken by Govenrment Ministers would bring some form of togetherness for all communities, including the Muslims.
Geoff Featherstone.

  • 96.
  • At 12:15 AM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Sabrina wrote:

I totally disagree with Jack Straws comments on muslim women who wear a veil,that they would find it difficult to communicate with the wider society. My neighbours are muslims and they wear the veil and i have no problem with it, they are very freindly with me and my partner,and with the other neighbours too, they can communicate with us has fine, when my partner is not around they take off their veil and when my partner is present they keep it on and thats not a problem for my partner he respects their wishes. After Jack Straws views we had a long discussion with them, i asked them, if their veil was a cultural thing or a religious requirement and their answer was its a religious requirement, it has been mentioned in their Quran and their Hadiths that they should cover themselves up, but some muslims are very ignorant on this issue, saying it is not mentioned in the Quran, because they choose not to fellow this requirement. I was told that they don't cover their faces infront of their materal and paternal male side of their family because they can't marry them. I just can't believe we have made a big fuss out this issue of veiling, my muslim neighbours are very freindly and caring, because of their ramadhan they have been sending us food and too the other neighbours to, i think Jack needs to visit my side of the town, too see how wrong he his. Instead of us mourning that the muslim women don't communicate, why don't we communicate with them first.

It seems to have escaped most commentators notice that the adoption of the veil in Muslim areas of Britain has only become commonplace since 9/11.

To my mind this shows some degree of solidarity with the 'magnificent 19'.

Mr Waldock seems to be rather obsessed with understanding other people's cultures.

Wouldn't be nice if some understanding and appreciation of our own culture was encouraged, especially among our own indigenous population who appear to have developed a sense of self loathing for our own history and traditions.

Why should I be forced to learn everyone else's history and sensitivities apart from, as Mohammed Siddique Khan would say, 'my own people'?

  • 99.
  • At 09:16 AM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Tracey M. Taylor wrote:

The covering of the face whether by veil, hooded sweatshirt, motorcycle helmet, mask, stockings or whatever, is NOT acceptable when communicating face to face with someone, or generally in everyday life. Full stop, end of story.

  • 100.
  • At 10:35 AM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Josephine Thalbach wrote:

I see mr moderator that my comment sent yesterday afternoon did not pass your 'moderate' barrier and has been simply censored. It's fantastic how in our'free speech' society some people can openly burn the british flag, go down the street in mass with placards saying outrageous things like'we'll killyou all' 'butcher the infidels' and so on. But if I call this kind of people 'ugly' and 'sinister'suddenly that's not pc enough.
Just sickening.

  • 101.
  • At 11:23 AM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • irfan wrote:

i say we should respect them women who wear them and to not throw false accusation at them just because they wearing something which people dont like. we should respect each and others religon.

  • 102.
  • At 12:36 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Jashesh wrote:

I think that people should wear what they want!!!

  • 103.
  • At 02:22 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Several woolly types on this blog STILL deny the scope & cause of our domestic Islamic impasse.

Perhaps they have forgotten two sets of actual terrorist bombings in the UK during 2005, besides several alleged bombing attempts (under trial).

All caused by & sourced from a non indigenous community with a dated culture increasingly at odds not only to the UK but other progressive democratic societies, which have given them a home, but whose peaceful co-existence they now threaten.

What threat besides actual domestic terrorist atrocities? listen to British Muslims opinions - & decide for yourselves [1a] [1b] [1c]

The woolly types still believe the failed status quo is doable - it is not.

They touted & imposed multiculturalism & denied debate about culture, race & religion & the total impact of so many foreign nationals since 1960'/1970's on British Society.

Some British Muslims have integrated (thanks) but unfortunately the majority have not.

Why do such woolly types believe we are now going to listen to them, since they got it so fundamentally wrong, in so many areas.

Britain's Muslim communities they have had 30-40 years to integrate & assimilate (some have) but the majority have not & purposely so.

Instead they have self ghettoised themselves into cultural enclaves.

Of which THE VEIL is a both a sign of political expression & oppression (depending on situation of wearer).

Domestically, we will not address Islamic Extremists by 'killing them with kindness'.

Hearts & Minds - yes

Carrot & Stick * - yes

* time for the latter by government & society in an appropriate manner befitting of our cuture.

vikingar

SOURCES:

[1a] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/02/19/nsharia19.xml
[1b] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2254764,00.html
[1c] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/5110364.stm

  • 104.
  • At 03:09 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • CIA wrote:

Vikingar (103)

I didn’t know if you’d make it, but I’m glad you escaped from that Conspiracy Theory thread. Personally I think that the whole thread was generated by government automated talk-bots to keep clear thinkers like yourself tied-up and out of the important issue threads, such as this. Keep up the good work.

  • 105.
  • At 04:47 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • June Gibson wrote:

I did send a comment but it has not been posted. I don't think it was any less "moderate" than many I have read through. Come to think of it my comments are never posted, so no surprise there, then.

  • 106.
  • At 06:16 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • June Gibson wrote:

I'm sorry, my comment was posted after all. It was on Peter Barron's blog, which asked for views on the same subject. I'll stand in the corner for a bit.
Further thoughts on the wearing of veils: I suspect a campaign by younger,educated Muslim women to wear the full rig, even if they haven't been made to do so. The wearing of the veil is definitely becoming more evident in my area, following many first wearing just the headscarf. It is a political challenge. I wonder who put them up to it, and whether they realise what dangerous ground they are on? I say that because some of the Muslim spokeswomen on TV (Newsnight and elsewhere)sometimes had that hint of surpressed laughter about them, a "look at me, aren't I naughty, people are taking notice" demeanour. They know it is offensive and yet they choose to do it. There are even more offensive Muslim cultural practices for the UK indigenous people to swallow. No doubt demands about those will be next.

  • 107.
  • At 08:29 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • JPseudonym wrote:

I can't help noticing some comments from people claiming that we have freedom of expression in this country, so that people should be free to express themselves through their choice of clothing.

Would these same people allow me freedom of expression to mock someone's ideology?

I think we know what the answer is. Freedom of expression is fine for one group, but must be restricted for others in case it offends.

  • 108.
  • At 10:34 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Frank Hudson wrote:

Odd that no-one has mentioned today's headline in The Times - "Suspect in terror hunt used veil to evade arrest".
For obvious reasons the suspect, being male, was entirely covered from head to foot under a burqa and it begs the question - to what extent law breakers, both male and female and from any background for that matter, might have been using the garment in their covert activities and for how long?

Also on the front page, Shahid Malik, Labour MP for Dewsbury is quoted as saying "There have been hundreds of cases where robberies have been committed by men wearing women's stockings on their heads - but no one is talking about banning stockings".
Even the simplest of brains couldn't fail to see where and why the logic of that analogy is hopelessly flawed.

An article on p21 (Comments) by a Muslim woman, Saira Khan, headed "Why Muslim women should thank Straw" is very well worth the read.

  • 109.
  • At 10:59 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Mo wrote:

The current sorry state of affairs regarding "freedom of speech" is demonstrated by certain recent events.

An 82-year-old heckler at a Labour conference last year was detained under the Terrorism Act. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4292440.stm] What threat did he pose?

Meanwhile, after the Danish cartoon incident, protesters in London burned western flags and called for "death" and "beheading" for the "infidels", but nobody was arrested during the event, and only a handful of light fines were subsequently handed out. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_4670000/newsid_4676300/4676372.stm]

What is going on here?
Why are there double standards?

  • 110.
  • At 11:42 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Jacqui wrote:

Re comment"An exploration of whether the cracks and tensions appearing in Britain are a result of multiculturalism" -
They Are a result of allowing multifaiths - I agree we are letting other cultures boss us around, we dont have our own identity anymore, we cant even let our Queen speak from the Bible in her speech, we are no longer a Nation of our own, we need to stand up for our culture not submit to everyone elses - it is their choice but should not be forced upon us. We are getting weaker! Who are we now?

  • 111.
  • At 12:34 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • anarchosurfer wrote:

I was a Punk, my philosophy is I should be able to dress how I like, so should everyone else. If women want to wear a viel thats up to them. If they don't I will support their right not to. If the veil is an issue it is a womens issue, Jack Straw has no right to single out a very vulnerable and small minority,who are possibly more oppressed than most and then oppress them further for Political means.

I feel I have to point out religous fundamentalism is not the same as terrorism. Many Christian sects can be considered fundamentalist. Many evangelists see themselves as religious fundamentalists. Britain and the rest of Christian Europe have a long history of religious intolernce and persecution, from the murder of Jews in York in the 14th Century, to the Persecution of Catholics and Protestents during the reformation, to Catholics in Northan Ireland only getting the vote in 1969, to today were Catholics cannot accede to the Throne. Now it is Muslims who are the brunt of British religious tolerence. The rest of Western Europe were worse, The 30years war in Germany was particularily deadly, but France, Holland and Belgium also had religious wars and persecutions. Lets not forget the Religiously consented destruction and colonisation of the Americas, and the religious sanctioning of the slave trade, which said Black people never had souls so they weren't really people. The same attitude as the BNP and the other White Supremasists have towards non white people today.

Muslims seem to get blamed for everything these days. It feels like all Muslims are being blamed for 911. While everyone is pointing our fingers at them the Governments both in the US and UK are eroding our rights and freedoms in the name of freedom and the War on Terror. A war the American Government started. It was also us that attacked Iraq and Afghanistan, they never attacked us. It is Tony Blairs fault we have been attacked, not the Muslim community. I am an Atheist and I often feel that there is a Crusade against Islam from what I see and hear around me. What then might an angry young Muslim man feel and do. There are plenty of angry young men in this country of all races and religions who kill people for many reasons, sometimes just for fun.

I also note that many of the posts have all the hallmarks of the Neo fascists I regularily argue with on the internet.

Certain phrases such as "claims I never used to be racist/PC", arguments about a mythical white exodus, the intimation that Muslims, non whites are somehow insidious and not quite right, the pretence at being reasonable but saying the opposite are all themes used by them regularily on the internet. Another favorite phrase they use is "the British Public" to try to legitemise their bigotry. You see the same tactics on their web sites. When not Seig Heiling and calling themselves Viking or Wolff or some other nonesence. Vikingar and CIA are clearly white supemacists. You'll find them on Storm Front and other Neo Nazi sites. They are using your site to spread their lies. Another favorite of Nick Griffin's is to state people are "waking up" to immigration, muslims or whatever.

Another favorite is making authoritive claims with no substantiation. Many of the claims about Islam and Veils are clearly made up, how do these people know, I doubt if they have read the Quaran. It is claer the Nazi's are using public forums such as this and are bombarding them with lies. Some are barely able to string a sentence together, but others are a bit cleverer, the language is the same, I'd check the IP addresses if I was you, it's likly they are mulitiple mailings with different names.

I recently spent the weekend in Blackburn, it is a divided town. There are meny people trying to unite the communities, however that is not what I witnessed. The presence of the BNP in the town is a real problem. Jack Sraws comments, designed I think to further his political career, have further divided the town and have added to the lies and misrepresentation of muslims in our society. Muslims are being made into scapegoats.

In the seventies and eightees we were told the Irish were evil and all Terrorists, now it's Muslims. I often feel like I've fallen through a time warp and am in 1930's Britain, I keep expecting Mosely's Black Shirts to come marching around the corner, and instead of the papers attacking, Muslims or Asylum seekers or some other none white person I keep expecting to read stories calling for the sending back of the Jews to Germany. Don't forget British newspapers like the Hitler loving Daily Mail were opposed to Jewish refugees at the same time as Germany's Jews were being rounded up in Ghetto's and were having all there property stolen by the Nazi's. Are we behaving in the same way now. Are we the next Nazi's? If you want to know the truth about the BNP and their allies check out Searchlight.

  • 112.
  • At 08:37 AM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Mo wrote:

I belong to the religion of balaclava-ism. My religion dictates that I must wear a balaclava over my head when outdoors. I feel persecuted by the government, who are being racist when they forbid me to visit my High Street shops wearing a balaclava. Especially my local jewellers.

In my own country of balaclava-stan I can wear balaclavas. Maybe I should move back there.

  • 113.
  • At 12:35 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref anarchosurfer wrote #111

"I was a Punk, my philosophy is I should be able to dress how I like, so should everyone else. If women want to wear a view that's up to them"

So if a member of the Klu Klux Klan wanted to wear the hood? is that simply a fashion choice, a personal choice or a manifestation of other beliefs communicated via headdress.

Are you saying we can/cannot divorce a means of dress from the beliefs held by the wearer.

Word Play: VEIL = EVIL

vikingar

It's always interesting reading posts from "useful fools" (#111) who are aiding and abetting the Islamification of Britain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1qmFEujEtk

Maybe they could do with listening to people like Wafa Sultan, who I believe has no connection at all with the BNP but will tell us a great deal about Islam

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wPglHZQf-0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKhrPJMRYpo

It's a pity that Newsnight only ever invites all the usual crowd of Muslim women like Salma Yaqoob or Sayeeda Warsi, who have no real understanding of what it is like living in Muslim society. Wafa Sultan has far more gravitas, and not being a politician gives her a degree of credibility which you don't get from the others.

  • 115.
  • At 03:04 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Frank Hudson wrote:

Re 111 above.
.............

A prolonged declamatory outpouring loaded with sweeping generalisations, merely to substantiate the eleven-worded second sentence, which would have been sufficient in itself.

  • 116.
  • At 08:21 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • anarchosurfer wrote:

Viki. It's Ku Kluk Klan, not Klu Klux Klan. The Klan wear their hoods to hide there faces when terrorising and murdering people. Muslim women wear the veil as a symbol of their belief and possibly it makes them feel secure as well.

Are you trying to justify the Klan or denounce Veils?

The Klan is an organistaion that stands for the oppression of others, like the BNP it physically attacks and intimidates it's oponents. If you don't believe me just look at Red Watch for proof. There are names and addresses of those who oppose the BNP. Two young lads from Cumbria had there names and addresses posted on Red Watch by the BNP for organising a meeting about the BNP. They keep recieving death threats this amounts to child abuse do you condone that. On Red Watch there are photographs of those attacked by BNP supporters, the latest is the Trade Union activist from Merseyside.

Those of you who think the BNP is a normal political organisation should visit Red Watch. If you want the facts about the BNP check out the Searchlight site. Griffin's past is fascinating, he really is a nasty piece of work. He also went to Prison for Inciting Racial Hatered and stating that the Holocaust was a Hoax. He is a fan of Adolph Hitler and considers him a Hero and British Pilots and Soldiers as War Criminals.

Remember the London Nail Bomber who murdered Black People and Gay People in order to start a race war, he was a BNP member.

I am defending the rights of people to peacefully practice their beliefs and as well as the womens right not to be oppressed by men.

Britain is not being Islamifide, (that's not a real word, surely) you are trying to stir up fear with lies. I am an atheist but I believe that peoples beliefs should be respected, unless like the BNP and Al Queda they seek to oppress others. If the 98% of the population that aren't Muslim wish to convert to Islam that is up to them, but I think it's highly unlikely.

Unlike the Klan, Muslim women do not oppress others, nor murder Black People and Civil Rights Activists. Remember your friends the Klan are also pro slavery and also like the BNP and the other Neo Fascists are white supremasists. There is no colour bar on becoming a Muslim. A black person cannot join the Ku (not Klu) Klux Klan. What a stupid name. Muslim women wear veils not to hide their faces as they have something to hide but because they feel it is modest.

Blackburn is a divided community due to BNP activity. Jack Straw's ill judged attack is unhelpful and only helps to legitimise the BNP's lies. The BNP attack Muslims as they cannot legally attack people because of their race.

What next, will John Prescott complain that Judges should not cover their hair with stupid wigs, will Tess Jowell denounce the wearer's of old School ties as they have an unfair advantage over her. Will the horse Guards have to stop wearing their funny hats and those Bearskins hide the eyes, you can't see what they are thinking.

There is a saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul, the eyes are a good indication what someone is thinking, should sunglasses be banned as they hide the eyes.

Those of you who think veils somehow make people different should go to Hyde Park on a sunny day, there you will see Veiled women playing with their children and sailing on the Serpentine, just like everyone else. The veil is not their problem but it may be yours.

This is just another attack on Muslim's in order to paint them as somehow wrong and possibly evil, they are being used as scapegoats in the War on Terror.

Balaclava religion person you are just being stupid and immature this is an adult argument, your argument is pointless as it is not real, nor is it drawing a parallel. It's childish and immature.


Oh and GOD=DOG, SANTA=SATAN, VEIL=LIVE, VEILS=ELVIS=LIVES what does this mean is God a Dog, is Santa Satan and do veils mean Elvis lives. Ah I get it now you are saying that Osama Bin Laden is Elvis, ELVIS=EVILS. Is the Ipod advert a coded Al Queda message?

Peace, Love and Equality

  • 117.
  • At 11:04 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref anarchosurfer #116

CAVEAT - given you’re an alleged self declared 'ex-punk' & presumably anarchist (name) mindful of where you are coming on this issue - also have to presume your not a Muslim radical yourself :)

"Blackburn is a divided community due to BNP activity"

No, Blackburn & increasingly other areas are divided because of the consequences of inept 'right on' multiculturalism imposed on society for the last 30-40 years by the left & liberal left & woolly minority, a vocal & active minority in local politics & agencies [1]

The mainstream political parties are playing catch-up, hence the ongoing debate ref culture & society, early days (belated but welcome).

Meantime, up to now the lack of debate, allowed the far right to gain ground amongst the same social groups the liberal left are always banging on about protecting, giving opportunity too & raising from 'poverty' etc.

Personally speaking the BNP are bunch of idiots, but are proving a useful stalking horse in respect of a debate about British Culture & Society.

"This is just another attack on Muslim's in order to paint them as somehow wrong and possibly evil, they are being used as scapegoats in the War on Terror"

No, its a long overdue healthy debate about the changing nature of British Society & why the majority of 2%+ of the population (non indigenous) are cultural enclaves in physically self imposed ghettoes & divorced from the rest of society.

The divorce & parallel existence [1] between British Muslim communities (2%) & British Society (98%) has been taking place for 30-40 years, not just since 911 (that has only made the division more clear for society to see).

vikingar

SOURCES:

[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4270010.stm

  • 118.
  • At 01:07 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Jay wrote:

Why do the definitions of our liberal concepts suddenly take on different interpretations when applied to foreign cultures.

Why does Racism become religious difference?

Why does Sexism become cultural traditions?

Why does Sexual Freedom become illegitimate sin?

With the change in interpretation of the definition, does this imply that the the British based culture should know better?

If this is the implication, then doesent that also imply that the foreign cultures dont know any better, which in a sense, implys that they are less developed?

Not my opinion, but that is the only reason I can see for the change in concepts to suit different cultures.

Other reasons appreciated!

  • 119.
  • At 01:48 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Mo wrote:

To anarchosurfer-

Most of these veiled women live in completely isolated Muslim communities within our cities. They never even interact with white people. Mind you, it's not very easy to strike up a conversation with someone who's face is almost entirely covered.

Muslim women who dress in more sensible clothing are, in my opinion, more integrated into society. I find it much easier to converse and relate to them. They also have normal jobs, understand western female rights, and have white friends.

Multiculturalism does not work. It emphasises people's differences, and therefore encourages people to stick with their own kind. This creates ghettoes in our cities. Do you think this is a good idea? Maybe you do, but I don't.

Because multiculturalism reminds everyone about how different they are, this is what sows the seeds of racism. We need to remind everyone on the values of being British. This will help cohesion between communities.

Turkey, a predominantly MUSLIM country, has banned veils in public places. The country believes it gives power and credence to extremist movements. Do you think you have a greater understanding of Islamic extremism than the government of Turkey?

  • 120.
  • At 01:54 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • sarfraz wrote:

I respect the views of those who have a problem with the veil if it is based on experience. However most people who have contributed to the site seem to have opinions not based on facts of real life experience. Having feelings of not being able to communicate or feeling threatened without ever having interaction is a dangerous way to assess the validity of other peoples views..it was interesting to note that Ruth kelly held similar misgivings to those stated on this site about why women wear veils until she took the time to speak to these strange beings and found that it was indeed herself who was out of step. She believes as i do that if some chose to dress in a particular way then its their choice.If they don't have a problem why should you? Simple.

  • 121.
  • At 02:48 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • anarchosurfer wrote:

I am far more than an ex punk, I mentioned that as I also had people trying to force me to conform. I resisted and while not a punk still do not conform.

No Vicky. Blackburn and other areas are divided because of the BNP and NF, this was a finding of an investigation carried out by the UN into the Burnley riots, they also blamed mainstream polititians (think about that Mr Straw) and the media especially the Daily Heil er Mail.

The Tories have dominated British politics for the last 100 years they have run this country for the best part of that time. It is racists like you that divide communities you talk of racial supremacy, race wars and Hitler worship. The last person called Viking that I argued with ended his/her posts with a Seig Heil.

You are showing your true Neo Fascist colours, you do not want people to live together in peace. One of your comrades, who calls himself e10 states that mixing races is wrong as that person becomes "only human" you are very sick people and you are trying to poison the minds of the British Public. You can threaten us and attack us but we will oppose you every inch of the way.

I live in a multi cultural area, there are no problems or divisions we all get on well. I love all human beings and value them as individuals. Don't believe the hype all Muslims are different just like everyone else.

Currently the press go on about Muslim extremists, yet what about Ian Paisley, what a nutter. It was after hearing him on the news that I realised I needed to question everything. I was ten years old and thought he must be one of those IRA people I'd heard about. It was when I realised he was supposedly on "our" side that I realised we are not allways the good guys and to question everything. I suppose thats why I am not a racist as I realise there is more to the world than stereotypes. Other people have the right to be different. You must also question why someone tells you things. I have no political axe to grind I am not after anyones vote, the BNP are after your vote and will play to your insecurities, ignorance of other cultures and unfounded fears. The white supremasists do want to divide up the world into racial groups and want controlled breeding, they are mad.

Vikingar tells you things as he is a member of the BNP (he pretends not to be anyway) or another white supremasist group and wants to stir up racial hatered, they really do worship Hitler, check out their web sites if you don't believe me. I on the other hand believe we are all equal I spend my life making the world a better place to live, I really do, and I succeed. I kick the Governments ass all the time and get paid for it too. (I'd do it for free, but keep that to yourself)

There is no parallel existence between muslims in Britain and everyone else, it is only in our minds that there are barriers. Please be aware the Fascists, yes the BNP are Fascists, attack Muslims as the anti racism laws stop them attacking any other group.

There are a number of very successful Muslim owned businesses where I live they employ people from all parts of the local community. The white supremasists who have posted live in all white areas, those are the areas where there is racism not the multi cultural ones.

I know lots of older immigrants, they have all worked hard and paid there taxes, from what I see their children are an important asset to this country too. I live the multi cultural life.

Immigrants do not willingly live in ghetto's, they are forced to. I have noticed that as immigrants become better off they move to more affluent arears.

Vicky how are 2% of the population a majority? Vicky you may be a tool of Tony Blair and George Bush I am not.

Your previous posts complained that it was unfair that the Ku Klux Klan (which you spelt wrong) should not be allowed to wear masks when some Muslim women wear veils, your previous posts are all designed to stir up hatered against Muslims, 99.9% of which have never hurt anyone.

I've just read some of your earlier posts what is a societal engineer? Isn't it a phrase Nick Griffin coined? You generalise and accuse anyone who opposes you of being left wing or liberal as though tollerence, cooperation and understanding are crimes.

Please be honest about your political stance, don't try to pretend you are not a racist, are you ashamed or something? There are posts on here I don't agree with but then they are not trying to stir up hatered. Remember it was Socialists who gave us the NHS and Fascists who gave us Concentration Camps. I know where your argument leads.

I find it worrying that Twentyfirst Century British society still demonises women, I thought Whitch hunts were consigned to the Dark Ages. Will we see the reintroduction of Ducking stools to assertain whether someone is Muslim or not. I also find it bizare that intolerent people will condemn all Muslims as being intolerent. I also find it amazing the number of experts on Islam who have posted on this blog, I was not aware that the British Public were so informed, especially when you consider that many of the same people made Islamaphobic statements. Where do they get their information, somehow I don't think it's from the Quran.

As my friend who is an ex racist says we need to learn to live together as we live on one small ball of rock falling through space.

Peace, Love and Unity

  • 122.
  • At 06:34 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref anarchosurfer #121

You revealing attempts to 'associate' anyone who challenges your fantasy notions about society with the far right - are typical dated tactics of certain pressure groups.

The left & liberal left have been clearly left behind on this issue.

Time for 'liberal conservatives' to regain the upper hand :)

British Mainstream society has long long been centre to centre right - not bloody left or extremist or fringe.

vikingar

  • 123.
  • At 12:39 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Lactantius Jr (aka Barry Holroyd) wrote:

if my comment is accepted for publication, please post it over my pseudonym Lactantius Jr. thank you


Lots has been said asking why Muslim women wear the niqab (full face-veil)with most saying it is to protect and preserve the woman's modesty, but is this really why, no it isn't to protect women at all, it's to protect men, listen to what Muslim scholar Dr.Mohammad Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti says:-

"Allah, the most high, decreed that the woman should be veiled. He did so in protecting the chastity of the men who might see her, and not in protection of the chastity of the woman from the eyes of those who look at her."

Ela kul Fataten Tu'min be-Allah, Mu'asasat ar_Risalah, Beirut, 1987, Eighth edition, page 98


  • 124.
  • At 12:56 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Aaron Turner wrote:

I'm appalled we're even having this conversation. If these ladies choose to wear a veil in public because they feel more comfortable doing so as a result of their own personal beliefs then the rest of us should have the grace and tolerance to accept this as a tiny part of our modern society. End of discussion.

  • 125.
  • At 08:20 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Aaron Turner #124

"I'm appalled we're even having this conversation"

There is nothing like free speech & certain 'woolly types' have for too long laid claim to exclusivity over societal issues - 'but times are achanging'.

Sounds like your one of those who isstill trying to tout the very failed & discredited notion of 'multiculturalism' an ever encroaching & dominate concept ref the debate & policy about society, for the last 30+ years in the UK.

Q. where has 'multiculturalism' got us?

ANS. non indigenous domestic religious based terrorism & intolerance, emanating & supported by elements within new communities, such given a home by the very society now under attack from these radical & extremist elements.

'Multiculturalism' NO - however, the UK is of many cultures & British Mainstream society & culture is the dominant norm with numerous common shared values.

Those who wish to exist outside British society such do so at the risk of greater marginalisation e.g. British Muslims communities.

Those who have over 30+ years have self ghettoised into sub-cultural enclaves, the consequence of which at worst directly threatens society (domestic & international terrorism) & at best undermines the very society which has given numerous non indigenous groups a home, should be VERY MINDFUL of their rather precarious position.

Rather best to integrate & assimilate - like some have already in these communities (acknowledged & welcomed) but not the majority.

Good to see the political & media debate has started to reflect the long held cultural concerns of British Mainstream society - well over due.

So 'Aaron Turner' not only will the conversation continue, just await the very tangible impact & actions from new policy & ideas which will come forth, from most quarters.

How about getting onboard & make a positive contribution to overhauling the failed status quo, rather than staying in denial & trying to tout what has so clearly failed.

If not, you will be joining the ranks of far too many in Britain's Muslim communities & many elements of the Left & Liberal left, who will be excluded from these changes & will loose even more influence over events.

The 'cultural gene' is most definitely out of the bottle.

vikingar

  • 126.
  • At 02:08 AM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • anarchosurfer wrote:

If a multicultural society does not work, why then is Vikingar quoting a person who's parents were recent immigrants?

I followed the link that vikingar posted to the BBC story were the CRE attacked multiculturism and was surprised at the comments made by a person who is part of that multi cultural society. Multiculturism isn't about people living completely seperatly, it is about different cultures living together, something vikingar appears to be calling for. The CRE seem to have missed the point it is poverty that creates Ghetto's.

The comment the BBC made that as people become more affluent they move to other areas was conveniently omitted by vikingar. I had made the same point myself, based on personal experience. Vikingar and it seems CRE are attempting to mislead the British public and make out that immigrrant communities are a problem.

The main reason communities become isolated is poverty. Whole areas of cities are written off because of this, not just areas with large numbers of immigrants. In Blackburn BNP supporters hold the poor white communities in the same contempt as the poor non-white communities. It is poverty, not culture that disenfranchises people.

Culturally most of us are completely cut off from the Royal Family, none of us can aspire to be part of them or be treated equally by them. Immigrant communities can aspire to be a part of vikingar's mainstream society while still retaining their own identity. I'm sure vikingar a person who values their own cultural identity would not begrudge anyone having their own identity while being British.

Vikingar says multiculturism has brought us nothing but terrorism, to my knowledge until last year no immigrants have ever carried out terrorist attacks. The 7/7 bombers were fairly intergrated, one worked as a classroom assistant. Most of those arrested as potential terrorists have not even been charged with anything. It is poverty and racism that keeps communities divided. I get on well with members of all communities.

It appears your comments are designed to stir up mistrust and hatered. At no point have you offered any practical solutions. You condemn all muslims because of the acts of eight people. There are other people like Abu Hamza, the Daily Mails favorite Muslim, but they are a tiny minority.

What has multiculturism done for us? I'll tell you. For starters it's diversified our eating habits, it's introduced new music, It's brought lots of people to the country eager to make something of themselves, it's brought in new tax payers, it's diversified the Gene pool, It's brought new religions, it's introduced new philisophical ideas. Many Doctors and Nurses come from these communities. It creates jobs and contributes to the wealth of the country. In some of the poorest areas it brings in an influx of people. It helps to sustain areas were people are moving out to more affluent arrears, many of the immigrant communities are vibrant and businesses both indiginous and those serving the immigrant community thrive. Immigrants take a part in all areas of British life including being MP's unfortunatly due to racism they are often excluded. Thanks to immigration there are more tax payers. In the future we will need them to help pay our pensions.

I find it funny that a person who values their own cultural identity would seek to deny others the same right.

All the Muslims and other immigrants I know want to be part of our society. They cannot understand why a country they admire should hate them.

When Jewish emigrees first arrived here in the Early part of the Century they were forced into Ghetto's and faced racist attacks. The same that was said of them is said of Muslims, they have thrived and play an important part in our society, yet still retain their own cultural identity. Churches have become Synegogues, which in turn have become Mosques, thats multiculturism in action.

I know many people who live in all white areas who feel completely disenfranchised from society, many have never had a proper job and do not aspire to one. This is not because they are lazy but because they live in Ghetto's and are denied the opportunities afforded to the rest of society. They are no different to the immigrant communities who are also often ghettoised.

You say a multicultural society has failed yet Britain has been a multicultural society for at least two thousand years since the Roman Invasion.

I allways worry about people who claim to represent mainstream society, and speak for a mythical silent majority. It's funny how many use white supremasist type code names. Other favorite Nazi code names are Greek and Roman type names.

You seek to stereotype and mislead people. You make postings and put up links to support your views yet they are irrelevent. The Muslim Womens support group while interesting had nothing to do with veils. It did show they face the same problems as all women and therefore share a common cultural bond.

Immigrants aspire to the same standards of living and consumerables as most British people. Most Muslims seem to embrace capitalism and the consumer society. You only have to go down Oxford Street to see the vast number of Muslim women out shopping till they drop, with and without veils.

What do you mean by assimilate do you mean they should stop being muslims?

You accuse muslims of threatening our society through terrorism, you blame British Muslims for the acts of Foreign terrorists and make unspecified threats adainst them. I beleive you are a member of the BNP. You skirt about your feelings towards muslims and other immigrant communities you imply that something will happen to them if they don't conform to your idea of Britishness.

What are you doing to help the people you condemn feel a part of society. It appears your only real complaint is that since 911 a tiny minority of Muslims have been sucked into terrorism and political extremism but thats just the same as the white British Society. Look at the Nazi's and the other White Supremasists, they are a tiny minority who have commited acts of terrorism and are political extremists. You say you fear that Muslims will take over our society as I've said unlikely, I fear the White supremasists like the BNP will take over society, unlikely too but I think a much bigger danger and they are far more divisive as they seek to divide society for their own political goals. I have argued with BNP members who have screamed at me in the street they want a third world war against Islam. Who is really dividing our country?

I think you are saying the BNP will be formulting new policies at their upcoming conference, I take it thats what you mean.

It's funny that not one poster has admitted neing a BNP member but then again a favorite tactic is to pretend to be just a normal not very political person.

England is multicultural, the recent news items of the Cornish musicians who have recorded popular songs in Cornish, a Celtic tongue is testement to this diversity.

Peace, Love and Equality.

  • 127.
  • At 12:04 PM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • JPseudonym wrote:

anarchosurfer (msg #126) writes:

"You say a multicultural society has failed yet Britain has been a multicultural society for at least two thousand years since the Roman Invasion."

This is a common fallacy put about by lefties.

Roman Britain was not a multicultural society. Roman culture reigned supreme.

Multiculturalism started when Ray Honeyford was suspended by Bradford Council's education department for insisting on a single curriculum for all his pupils. He would not accept that Muslim girls should be excused swimming lessons for 'cultural reasons'.

Multiculturalism means that all cultures are to be deemed as equally worthy as our host culture.

This position was always untenable but there has been a pretence that it could be made to work. Now even high priests of multiculturalism like Trevor Phillips are admitting that it has become a disaster.

It was always a poisonous concept ripe for exploitation by groups wanting to show how different they were from the rest of us, and they have used it to force us to 'celebrate' difference. The result of this 'celebration of diversity' is increasing divisivness characterised by the sudden emergence of 'British Hinduism' because Hindus suddenly feel they are getting left behind by Muslims forging their own identity.

How long will it be before we see Muslim/Hindu riots like this on the streets of Britain?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4651619.stm

  • 128.
  • At 07:15 PM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • anarchosurfer wrote:

I'm sorry Mr Pseudo but under the Roman's Britain was not completely Romanised, althought in large parts Romanisation was carried out by force. The Briish beliefs and customs were absorbed into the Roman system.

After the Romans left various waves of people came into the country including the Angles and Saxons, unfortunatly unlike the more recent immigrants these came here forcibly not peacefully. They were followed by the Vikings, who at first were raiders and invaders before they settled down and intergrated. These immigrants brought in their own customs and had to learn to live alongside the Celtic peoples who already lived in Britain.

After the Viking invasion, the Normans invaded. From that time immigrants arrived at various times from Europe, many with belief systems different to those of the indigenous population, they settled here and became part of British culture. Jewish people have lived here since the time of Cromwell they have a very different belief system and culture to the majority Christian population and practice their own beliefs, like Muslim immigrants do know.

I'm afraid what I said is not a common falacy put about by lefties it is my own personal take on British History. But I see as you cannot argue against it or offer facts to disprove it you merely dismiss it.

Scotland was not Romanisised nor was Ireland. The Romans absorbed other cultures and the beliefs and customs of other peoples into their own culture and vice versa. One reason for the longevity of the Roman Empire was their tolerence towards the belief systems of the peoples they conquered. Many modern Christian traditions and festivals owe there origins to the individual beliefs of many parts of the Roman Empire.

Multiculturism is a term that has a wide range of meaning. Your meaning is akin to apartheid. Of course all cultures are equally important to each other, that is why in Wales they use two languages English and Welsh, this works very well. In Scotland there are people who Speak Gallic as well as English. This is also multiculturism.

You and Trevor Phillips may say having other cultures in the country is wrong, I say it is not. As the BBC has shown as people become more affluent they move out of the Ghetto's they are forced into. Had the CRE carried out a wider ranging survey they would have found it is not only ethnic minorities that live in Ghetto's. Multi culturism obviously works as I live in an area with many cultures, we get on well and respect each others belief systems. There are things we don't agree on but then again I have far more in common with Muslims than I do with white supremesists, should we therefore suppress white supreamesists? You and many other peopled posted on the site making out that your only problem with Muslims was the wearing of veils, you now say your problem is with all Muslims and now you are attacking Hindu's. You only attack people of other religions because you cannot attack those of other races openly.

The same arguments have been used by racists against every group of immigrants. Enoch Powell said much the same thing about Afro Carribean immigrants. It's allways the same arguments, the names and terminology may change but ultimately the argument boils down to the same thing.

I personally feel the CRE to be ineffective and if it was a competent agency we would not be experiencing the increase in Racism we are seeing today. As I said it is not only Muslims that live in Ghettos, poor white people also live in Ghetto's. In northen Ireland Catholics have long experienced apartheid and segregation. Does this mean that all Northern Irish Catholics living in Catholic enclaves should be expelled from the country or be forced to become Protestents?

You make sweeping statements such as "the position was allways untenable" yet I live and work alongside Muslims with no problem at all.

I don't remember anyone saying Trevor Phillips was a high priest of anything. You may say that. He does show however that immigrants can make a success of themselves despite the barriers they face, this is also the case for every immigrant in Britain. The longer Muslims live here the more they will be assimilted into our society. Islamic Beliefs and Customs vary from country to country, just as Christianity does.

You go on about Muslim and Hindu riots in India, that is another country with it's own complex history. There are similarities with the Catholic and Protestent problems in northern Ireland, intollerence and hatered will not stop these things happening but cooperation and understanding will.

It is groups such as the BNP who are dividing Britain not the mix of ideas and lifestyles. I accept other ideas and beliefs as long as they do not try to impose their will on me. If they want to do things differently that is up to them. This is what multiculturism is about. If I go into a Muslim house I take my shoes off. British Muslims do not try to impose their belief systems on me so I don't think I should impose mine on them. As human beings we have lots of common ground.

It would be easy to replace the word Muslim with Catholic, Mormon, Jehovas Witness, Church of England, Jewish, Hindu, Atheist Communist, Anarchist, Socialist etc. All have different cultural ideas and beliefs.

You make lots of sweeping statements but offer no facts. When I was in school boys and girls had seperate games and swimming lessons especially in secondary school. I don't think it is appropriate for men to take teenage girls for swimming lessons anyway. I see no problem with a female teacher taking a female swimming class. There are many groups and organisations solely for women. There are also groups and organisations solely for men, the Masons and the Catholic priesthood spring to mind. You don't seem bothered by them, I take it's because they are predominately white and are not Muslims or immigrants. There are women only Gyms. So the wishes of the Muslim community aren't that strange or different.

Why is treating all cultures and beliefs as equal untenable, which cultures are superior to others?

It is intolerence that divides communities, religious intolerence has divided Britain in the past, we need to learn from past mistakes and accept thet we are ALL different.

Mulims do not need to forge their own identities they already have their own identities.

Peace, Love and Equality.

RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS OF ALL PERSUASIONS?

I would say that the debate continues, except that both sides now seem deaf to anything said by the other.

In this context, I was struck by the unfortunate, albeit accidental, choice of Ruth Kelly to handle the latest developments. She is, of course, a member of the notorious Catholic secret society Opus Dei! Maybe she can put aside her own religious prejudices but will the Muslims trust her?

Indeed, this highlighted for me an important difference in the current debates. The talk is of integration versus multi-culturism. This used to be very relevant, where for instance the Afro-Caribbean community seemed to need to understand its own roots in order to gain the confidence to take on our local culture. To a lesser extent the same was true of the Indian community, especially where Hinduism is essentially pacifist in nature.

The new problem is that the essence of the Muslim community is not its culture but is its religion. Worse still, that religion is – literally – a crusading religion; as in theory is our own Judeo-Christian one – where the worst excesses have taken the best part of two millennia to work themselves out!

Multi-culturism is, therefore, irrelevant. The debate should recognize that the real clash – at least seen from the Muslim side, is between religions not cultures.

Thus, while Ruth Kelly may be able to tame her Opus Dei leanings, the Muslim Council of Britain cannot lose their religious zeal. It is not as if she is negotiating with a coalition of local residents. Instead she is negotiating with the equivalent of the papacy – with all the religious baggage that would imply.

We urgently need to redefine, therefore, what the real debate is about. Human rights are not at issue. Our very souls are, though, or so the Muslims seem to believe!

  • 130.
  • At 10:07 AM on 16 Oct 2006,
  • junaid ali wrote:

this is a disgrace and if it doesn't come of the site im not going to be happy because this is racism

  • 131.
  • At 10:08 AM on 16 Oct 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I think this is a disgrace and the people saying this are very bad indeed.

  • 132.
  • At 10:11 AM on 16 Oct 2006,
  • ATIF wrote:

i think dis is a discrac to da comunity N i wnt dis to cum of da site NW

I THINK THAT THE WHOLE ISSUE WAS SUMMED UP BY SARAH CLAYTON NO 3. I TOO AM AN ATHEIST AND AGREE WITH HER THAT THESE RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS ARE THE SCOURGE OF THE EARTH WHY SHOULD PEOPLE WHO DON'T BELIEVE IN THESE RELIGIOUS FAIRY STORIES HAVE TO SUFFER FROM ALL THE TROUBLES THESE PEOPLE CAUSE..I BELIEVE ALL RELIGIOUS TEACHING SHOULD BE BANNED IN SCHOOLS IN BRITAIN AND THAT IN BRITAIN OUR CULTURE SHOULD BE OBSERVED . IN ISLAMIC COUNTRIES WE WOULD HAVE TO LIVE BY THEIR RULES.ASK ANYONE WHO HAS LIVED IN THE MIDDLE EAST. AS TO COVERING THE FACE ,DOES IT MEAN THEY ARE ASHAMED TO BE SEEN .SICK AND TIRED OF HEARING OF MUSLIMS EVERY DAY IN THE PAPERS AND ON T.V.LET US HAVE SOME GOOD BRITISH HEADLINES FOR A CHANGE. R.ALLEN.

  • 134.
  • At 07:01 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • mike wrote:

come to canada if britain is being to mean.

woooord

  • 135.
  • At 07:09 PM on 21 Nov 2006,
  • mike wrote:

being to secure leads to insecurity, therefor everyone in britain and other country like america just need to chill and say good morning to everybody no matter where there origins lie.

chill

>mike,

  • 136.
  • At 03:58 PM on 12 Dec 2006,
  • Jasmine Khan wrote:

I grew up in Malaysia and to me, it was truly multicultural because all races and religions were equally represented in daily society, media, etc. I think the UK has a long way to go in becoming truly multicultural. Need to start with trusting other races and religions and for everyone to join in and celebrate non Christian festivals too, rather than just Christmas. We could also have national holidays for Eid, Deevali, Chinese New Year, etc. instead of having meaningless Bank holidays. Small steps like these would start to make us more integrated and multicultural and for the ethnic minorities to feel recognised instead of rejected. I think it would also reduce terrorism.

  • 137.
  • At 11:32 PM on 30 Apr 2007,
  • riyah wrote:

"live and let live" i believe in this bcause everyone does what they have to in their daily routines who are we to judge anyone but ourselves we should all focus on what we do how we treat others no matter what race/religion anyone is
u give respect to get respect. treat others the way we want to be treated.
our beliefs will go with us no matter where we are or where we go. there will be haters (like i am seeing most of you guys are in here) then there will ppl who are going to accept u for the way u are no matter wat.

  • 138.
  • At 01:23 PM on 03 Jun 2007,
  • saffron wrote:

Does Sue Doughty have subtitles on her radio as she cannot see the face of the person speaking? LOL.

Let them do what they want, it's a free country.

We needed them to help the country get back on its feet after the war,that's why we allowed them to move here right from the start:

Immigrants have moved to live in the British Isles from Africa and the Asian subcontinent for at least 500 years. However, the demographics of Britain only really began to shift after World War II, when the British government encouraged immigration from Commonwealth countries to help resuscitate a war-devastated Britain. In 1951, the population in Britain of people of African, Afro-Caribbean and Asian descent was estimated to be 74,500; by 1962 it was 500,000.

and lets face it, most of them are very hard workers. Look at your average all night indian takeaway or the average corner shop owned by an Asian. They have more to offer than we realise, and there are a lot of improvements to our culture with them here. I couldnt live without a curry on a staurday night!

Thank you!
My homepage | Please visit

  • 140.
  • At 10:00 AM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Almi wrote:


Regarding the earlier conversation concerning the veil issue... i think whoever wishes to wear a veil should be allowed to because it is that person's personal preferance, much like choosing one's own clothes...Aniwae it is between that person and god and for no one else to judge.
I dont think that is a hindrance in society an any way. I live in a multi cultural society where some people wear the veil, come cover their heads, some dress revealingly. It seems perfectly fine to me, and should not be such an issue.

  • 141.
  • At 04:48 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Marinda wrote:

Hi everybody,
I live in Johannesburg, South Africa, grew up Christian and I have online friends all over the world...India, Canada, Florida, Egypt, etc, and guess what...everybody has such a wrong impression of the Muslims, My online Muslim friends are great people, I also have Muslim friends at work and they are so cool. If you truly in your heart believe in Allah and the whole Islam religion, then you do not ever do any harm to anybody, you live for love, peace and a believe that every human being is equal. I find it disgusting that the whole world, because of lack of knowledge, crucify the Muslim community and their Islam Religion because of Bin Laden and his actions. He is not truely Muslim, he hides behind his religion to use it as excuse for the terrible acts he's doing. Let's live and let live...how is all this war ever gonna stop if everybody critise their fellow human's all the time? Let's rather stand together, Christians, Islam, or whatever beliefs you have, and together, get rid of all the terrorists and people that's cruel...and leave alone the veils, or prostitutes with their mini skirts, or people covered in tattoos, or whatever issues you have...let it go...come on now!

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