Talk about Newsnight

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Thursday, 5 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Oct 06, 07:01 PM

straw_203.jpgJack Straw causes controversy by asking Muslim women if they would remove their veils when visiting his constituency surgery; the “wonder drug” for treating blindness that still hasn’t been licensed to treat eye disease; the J Curve; and Nicaragua.

Comment on Thursday’s programme here.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 10:41 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Kat Masters wrote:

If I'm asked to remove a hoodie or motorcycle helmet i why should Muslim women get away with hiding themselves..can they not be robbers or shoplifters too???

  • 2.
  • At 10:42 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Richie wrote:

I think Jack staw has a fair comment. I find the whole idea of women having to cover up therefaces so they don't tempt men disturbing!

I don't understand why muslim women put up with this?

  • 3.
  • At 10:43 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • John wrote:

Why am I hearing the statement "Muslims and non Muslims" over and over again tonight? What about Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists etc ?

Why is society only concerned about "Muslims and Non Mulsims"? It seems to me that the Muslims community appears to take a very Them and us' standpoint. Who is it that really needs to look in the mirror?

  • 4.
  • At 10:44 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • M.Gregory wrote:

When these Muslim women enter this country,what happens when they pass through customs with their veil ? surely their passport photo must be checked, have there been similar complaints about this, I doubt it,but their attitude and protests seem to change once they're in !

  • 5.
  • At 10:44 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Dave Walker wrote:

Aren't christians discriminated against when they're forced to cover up in other countries? If muslime want to live with their rules in this country, christians should be able to live with their rules in muslim countries. Can you ever see this happening?

  • 6.
  • At 10:48 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Amie wrote:

I agree with Jack Straw. This day and age young people are not allowed into certain shopping centres wearing hoodies or caps that hide their faces, why then, should Muslim women be allowed to walk around freely, effectively hiding their identity?

  • 7.
  • At 10:56 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Dr Mughal wrote:

I would not ask people to remove their tongue rings or to cover their swastika tatoos before seeing them in my clinic.

Muslim or otherwise, they are to be represented by Mr. Straw (whose wages they pay) in whatever dress they like. If Mr. Straw does not like that, perhaps he should step down and do another job.

  • 8.
  • At 11:01 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Michele David wrote:

I am delighted that Jack Staw's comments have sparked some well overdue debate about gender inequality in the muslim community. As a feminist this is (rightly or wrongly) at the core of my concern about Islam and I feel strongly that regarless of religion that womens rights must both respected and enforced by law. I believe that robust debate of this subject will give muslim women's groups a more public profile and act as a means of drawing alliances between non muslim feminists and muslim women. Get the issues and concerns from both sides out in the open.

  • 9.
  • At 11:01 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • sabina ahmed wrote:

I was quite surprised to hear the muslim lady say that jack straw should have addressed the issue of women not being allowed in mosques. Can you imagine the furore this will cause? Straw meddling in religion and so forth. Either as muslims we solve our own problems or we should hand over them to the government.we cant do both.

  • 10.
  • At 11:03 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • tom wrote:

My wife was attacked by a person in a burkha and veil, having her cash card stolen in the process. It could have been a young man. If muslim ladies don't wish to be seen why not just use the phone to spead to Jack Straw?
Why are clubs prosecuted for not allowing women in but Mosques are not?

  • 11.
  • At 11:03 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • H Marph wrote:

It is extraordinary that BBC made this issue headline news, and paraded 'god knows who' to defend full veil. The fact is that full veil is not one of Islam’s duties but Hijab. Jack Straw is absolutely right on this issue. Full veil is a growing trend and often scares children, intimidate modern Muslims and above all increases segregation.

  • 12.
  • At 11:10 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • sue Mellor wrote:

Why did you interview a Muslim woman from wherever. why not interview a modern muslim woman from Blackburn?? I have lived and worked alongside Muslims in Blackburn and I have a great respect for their culture and beliefs . However as a human being I prefer to share the human(and primate) behaviour of being able to interpret and share facial expressions during a conversation!
Good for Jack Straw for opening up this dialogue - let EVERYONE express their points of view.

  • 13.
  • At 11:13 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • shahnaj wrote:

Do you really think that by taking off muslim women's veil, we will be reducing islamic radicalisation, separateness and hatred of 'the other'. so much for women's rights! After years of campaigning for women making our own decisions about what we wear, how we live and how we assert our identity, now we seem to be going backwards. rather than addressing the real issues such as women's freedom of choice and expression in different communities,we have gone back to a stage where MEN are telling women what they should wear. If muslim men in the UK are guilty of pressuring their women to wear the veil (for which we have no reliable statistical evidence) then Jack Straw and his supporters are equally guilty of pressuring women to dress 'appropriately'. I urge all of you reading this not to further alienate muslim women like myself by disregarding the symbolic meaning of the veil. with peace.

  • 14.
  • At 11:16 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Angela Russell wrote:

I wonder if Jack Straw has a hearing difficulty,as at times his body language suggests this may be the case. Because if he lip reads as I do it could be very stressful to communicate with a person who insists on covering their lips and in fact discriminates against deaf people.I was disappointed that this issue was not raised on tonight's programme.

  • 15.
  • At 11:26 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Daud R. Matthews wrote:

Christians are mandated to cover their hair see The Head Covering: What Saith the Scriptures by Timothy Nelson, as are Jewish women, although most now wear wigs - does Jack Straw ask Jewish women to remove their wigs?
If they choose not to cover their hair that doesn't mean the religion has changed only that the person is not following the religion.
In fact in one place in the Quran the Muslims holy book, we are told the best dress is that of Taqwa, which may be translated as consciousness of God. So, when buying their designer clothes Muslims should be conscious of God. Let me read the following and comment later:
The author says, Perhaps there may be, in the minds of some readers, the feeling that the subject of the women’s head covering is of little importance. Are we at liberty to reduce any matter on which God has spoken to such a level? If God has inspired His servant to present a full discussion of this issue, and has preserved that discussion for succeeding generations, it is our solemn obligation to attend, to listen and to obey. Failure to manifest such a response will affirm that we have indeed inbibed the spirit of this age, being as those who “have cast away the law of the Lord [of Hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” Isaiah 5:24. From such folly, May God preserve us]. This is the back cover of The Head Covering.

Why can't the Muslim women be left alone, to follow their religion?

P.S. Wasn't there a survey done and some 25% of respondents said the women’s dress invited sexual attacks.

  • 16.
  • At 11:28 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Ben wrote:

Are all muslims outraged at the drop of a hat (or veil) or is it just the ones that want to be on the telly?

If we want full community integration than there has to be effort on both sides. If we went to see a politician in a muslim country and he asked us to remove our shoes, would we be outraged? Would you be straight down to the TV station to complain about your British right to wear your shoes wherever you please (if you did would they show it, BBC?)

For women who wear the veil: if your husband makes you, get a new husband. If you do it because you feel it 'protects you from the male gaze' then get a grip. Believe or not a man can talk to you without lusting over you - we're getting quite civilised these days. If it's because you think it pleases god i wouldn't worry about it - if there is one i doubt he'll be too worried if anyone sees your chin

  • 17.
  • At 11:28 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Stephen O Nuallain wrote:

i'm amazed at the bias shown in the piece on nicaragua...the reference relating to US sponsored terrorism in the guise of the Contra's as a 'civil war' and to the Contra's as 'rebels' couldn't be further from accepted fact. There was also a determied attempt to imply that Venezuela was directly interfering in the elections, but absolutely no clear proof was given bar the opinion of the US ambassador. i genuinely expected better from newsnight....

  • 18.
  • At 11:33 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • Mr D A Stewart wrote:

I wonder why people don't think that the British have a "culture" and "identity".. Is it just because we don't force it down their throats?

  • 19.
  • At 11:39 PM on 05 Oct 2006,
  • SM wrote:

in reply to daud matthews - head covering yes fine, face covering NO. We as humans need facial expression to communicate.

The black hooded covering that some of these Muslim women wear might be suitable for desert conditions, to keep off the sun and the sand. But it isn't necessary in Britain and really does look rather peculiar.

Muslim women nowadays seem to be wearing it as a political statement, certainly not as a necessity of either their religion or the climate. The fixation of the media on Muslim "issues" is probably making things worse - highlighting and magnifying all the little grievances of some extremist minority sects and giving publicity to their cause.

  • 21.
  • At 01:36 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Bell wrote:

I am an ethnic Chinese female, basically, I would talk to anyone who would speak to me when I was in university, but no Muslim girls would not talk to me. Personally, I agree with Jack Straw that I find it disconcerting when I cannot see the face of the person whom I am talking to. I remember once I was asked to take off my sunglasses before the shopkeeper would serve me. Why are the Muslims allowed to get away with whatever they like? They are even allowed to justify killing innocent people simply because they do not like what is happening thousands of miles away. Is it because they shout louder and kick harder and therefore we are afraid of them?

  • 22.
  • At 03:41 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Razaul wrote:

All of this media coverage of 'Muslim' issues would suggest to people that there are worrying racial problems in the communities between Muslims and non-Muslims. However, as a young Muslim male professional, working and socialising with predominantly Anglo-Saxon people, I have yet to encounter any problems, misunderstandings, conflicts or hostilities, due to my religion, from my white (and non-white) colleagues and friends. The media's portrayal of the current situation is grossly exaggerated and not at all a reflection of reality. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country live and work in peace and are not subjected to any sort of discrimination. I think it is about time the media started to acknowledge and promote this obvious fact instead of always concentrating on negative experiences and views of certain individuals.

  • 23.
  • At 07:28 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Beverly wrote:

Jack Straw is 100% right. When you talk to a person there is a face to face interaction, a smile, a frown or even anger on a person’s face is how we communicate (a blind person will feel your face to find out what you look like).

If you cannot see the other person’s face (but they can see yours) what is that? When you go to Muslim countries you “have” to follow their laws and customs.

Muslims living in Britain should assimilate like everyone else who come to live in the country and raise their children accordingly with “respect” for the British culture. The Muslim population living in Britain has created a country within a country, and therefore does not feel that there is “a need” to live like everyone else, they just do what they want and everyone else in Britain have to be "sensitive" to their needs in case “you hurt their feelings”.

The Muslims just follow their own laws (yes laws - Shire law) and customs of where they came from and want nothing to do with the British culture. Tony Blair’s and most of the government have failed to realize what’s really going on around them. There is no "When in Rome do as the Roman do" here, for the past 10 years or so it has become "our way" or else they cry racism.

  • 24.
  • At 07:42 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

The veil has/is been lifted on the Islamic Lifestyle,highligted on 3 counts: Dress:Race:Discrimination.
It surely cannot be that suddenly JS has concluded that he cannot converse with Muslim women under VEILED faces!... or POLICE duties that are that are normally settled in house are suddenly Front page News on the Sun.... Or reported violence & threatening intimidation to white residents & retaliation petrol bombings at Windsor .ALL IN A DAY!!
The government has taken the softly, softly approach to Muslims.. that in other ethnic groups wouldn't be tolerated. Now, have they discovered they are losing their voters in droves as shown in recent Council Elections et al is because of their unpopular? immigration & faith policies? they now believe this is the way to recapture those "Essex Voters"??. There is a thread running through the aforesaid news 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(Muslim) protocols...would Jack Straw have gone it alone?..I DON'T THINK SO!!What is their next move?

  • 25.
  • At 09:51 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • ian wrote:

Re: Straws comments.It may have been the "big" story but I would have preferred if Newsnight had given it less prominance. We will be hearing all about this from every outlet and good as it was I don't think the interview told us anything new. In Scotland we did not get last nights report on Daniel Ortaga which sounds like it might have been something we would not get from any other Tv news outlet. I can always watch it on a computer but I would prefer to see it in better quality on my television. Before immediately going for the apparent big story don't forget we in Scotland don't see the second half of the programme and miss out on many quality reports. Studio discussions I can take or leave


The Human Rights Act, so despised by the Tories, is best presented in this context as a practical framework for multi-culturism. As such it, indeed, works reasonably well for most of our citizens. We should, most of us now accept, all have the same rights. This has been a great advance for our particular civilization.

The problem comes from the extremists on both sides. It has long been the case that a few whites, often the poor white trash (albeit led by a very few middle-class eccentrics), have demonized anyone of a different colour or religion. In recent years, however, this has been more than matched on the other side by those few who just as fervently swear allegiance not to this country but to other nations; usually Pakistan. They insist that they are not British, let alone English, but foreigners in a foreign country.

The primary paradox in the latter case is that – sheltering behind the admirable intentions of the Human Rights Act – these small minorities have simultaneously proclaimed their right to be as different as they can be whilst claiming their right to be treated exactly the same as everyone else. To the majority this looks remarkably like being able to both have their cake and to eat it. Indeed, there is a degree of naivety involved; their persecution complex inevitably leads to persecution – no matter how much we would wish to avoid this.

This problem is most evident in their clothing. It is difficult to tell apart Protestants from Roman Catholics, or from most Jews. Hindus and Sikkhs have long since learned to moderate their dress codes. But some Muslims have suddenly taken up the most extreme versions of dress, seemingly as some sort of challenge to the rest – or perhaps to assert their different identity (in a foreign land?). Are there limits to this, as Jack Straw seems to be saying?

In this context, the BNP are banned from the more overt displays of racism, Sikkhs no longer carry their traditional daggers and naturists – surely the most original form of all – are arrested if they parade through the streets in all the glory of their nudity! Even hoodies, though hugged by David Cameron, are dissuaded from parading their uniform too openly in town centres; and bikers are, understandably, asked to remove their helmets in banks!

So what about the Burqa? It is just about the most offensive statement Muslim women can make. With little or no support from the Koran, and promoted as a key export of the Taliban, it offends against all the hard fought tenets of women’s liberation. In the modern age of global terror it provides the ideal camouflage for its operatives; anyone, even a man with a large arsenal, could be hidden under it. Above all it stridently challenges all around to accept the different identity of the wearer; much as the ‘V’ sign given by the archers at Agincourt became a more general mark of disrespect towards others.

So, taking into the human rights – of all, what should we do? It is a dilemma which encapsulates so much of the modern world where the old Third World is now rapidly outgrowing the old First World in money and power; and soon may be able to force its wishes on us as we once did on our colonies.

  • 27.
  • At 10:16 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • D Petrie wrote:

Why do Muslims always come out all guns blazing when something is said that they don't agree with? Go to any Muslim country and wear a cross and see what happens. Their reactions to anything said about them has prompted me to bring to light three facts from the Koran. I am not putting forward any opinion or faith, nor am I criticising Islam, just facts which raise questions for me and for which I seek answers. So far, Muslims have been avoiding answering me. Why? Do they deal with sensitive truths?

1. One verse from the Koran, Sura (chapter) 46 "Al-Ahqaf" verses 9, struck me. In this Mohammed says of himself: "I am not a new Messenger to come, nor do I know what is to be done to me or you." If Muslims accept that Mohammed speaks the truth, then they must accept that he is not a prophet. If this statement is not true, then Mohammed is lying and again he is not from God. Either way doesn't this show that he is not a prophet? What is their faith, and so much killing, based on?

2. Another very important point from the Koran is this: Mohammed and the Muslims are supposed to ask Christians whether the revelation of Mohammed is from God or not. The Koran actually contains many verses which speak highly of the Bible and advises Muslims to learn from Jews and Christians: "And if thou (Muhammad) are in doubt concerning that which we reveal to you, then question those who read the Scripture that was before you (i.e. the Bible)." Sura (chapter) 10.95. And, "0 you people of the Book! You are not grounded upon anything until you observe the Taurat (Torah) and the Injil (Gospel), and that which has been revealed unto you from your Lord." Sura 5.68." So Muslims are commanded to follow the Gospels.
So why is there this bitter hostility today? Aggression and persecution of an alternative view are often a sign that the aggressor is insecure in his own position. Is this the case with Islam? A brief look at certain facts about its origins suggests that it is.

3. Muslims say that the Bible has been changed. (If Christians say the same about the Koran what will happen?) The question is: Has it been changed before or after the birth of Mohammed? If before, why does God tell Mohammed to learn from the Bible? And why doesn't God tell him that it is corrupt? If after, where is the original to base this statement on? There is no such book in existence. So have all the thousands of Bibles throughout the world through the centuries been collected and destroyed and replaced by the corrupted one? In my research there has been no changes in the Bible but I think that it is a convenient way to cover the discrepancies in the Koran.

As I said, I am not attacking but seeking answers to genuine questions. Are Muslims prepared to face these or will these be blindly attacked as blasphemy?

May I also quote one of Mohammed's early biographers, Ibn Hisham, who says about Mohammed that he converted the people of Mecca to Islam by force because they would not accept him as a prophet. Does this ring a bell? It is not an attack but quoting existing documents - even from the Arab world.
Why is it ok for them to blaspheme against the God of the Christians, denying openly His divinity and calling Him a prophet but is not ok to say anything about Mohammed?
Why won't any Muslim answer me these questions?

  • 28.
  • At 11:24 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • chris wrote:

8 - why have we not heard more from the feminists ?

14 - interesting point - like to know about that

  • 29.
  • At 11:29 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • F. Hudson wrote:

As Straw can now only speak (a la Blair) by constantly flapping his hands about, then he should agree to cover them by either sitting on them or wearing mittens when holding discussions with veiled women: in that way neither party would be disadvantaged in terms of interpretation of gist via body language/ facial expression.
Alternatively he could take to wearing a Balaclava during such interviews and increase his interviews output enormously in the bargain; by having several of his minions to stand in for him without the interviewee knowing. After all, he's only got their word for it that they are who they say they are - come on, fair's fair!

There's a thought - How does Blunkett go on when 'faced' with this problem one wonders?

  • 30.
  • At 11:36 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • tony wrote:

Personally, I have no objection to Muslim wearing veils, but only if they do not shield their face.
If the veil covers teir whole face with the eyes only showing, I have extremely difficulty talking to them, and I just do not approach them simply because their face is shielded.

I agree that veils do restrict facial exchanges as it is essential for conversation and for understanding human expressions.

Perhaps it is their religion, but surely human communication is essential for establishing some sort of cohesion in any community, regardless of faith.

Shielding some-one's face can be quite damaging to the human psyche:

1) You cannot see their facial expressions - happiness / sadness / anger / disgust / confusion / fear / agreement etc etc.
2) When you talk, you restrict the passage through which speech is conveyed and this may get lost through transmission.

3) What if they are hiding something? or not?

The ambiguity cannot be resolved unless their face is not covered.

  • 31.
  • At 11:45 AM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Lynda wrote:

I think its wrong for anyone to walk about wearing a mask - its threatening and not acceptable in our culture. It should be banned at once. Other cultures are welcome in our country but they must fit in with our values rather than dictating to us.

  • 32.
  • At 12:15 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

I see some Muslim groups have branded Mr Straws comments 'offensive and disturbing'. Have they ever stopped to consider how 'offensive and disturbing' we Western Christians find their masks? Hiding one's face in public is regarded as rude and suspicious in our culture - we suspect the wearer is up to no good. But do we get any respect for this long-held view from Muslims? No they just carry on. We British have shown much acceptance of Muslims -Time for a little respect to go the other way.

  • 33.
  • At 12:18 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Tony G wrote:

To Dr Mughal - you mention tongue rings and tatoos, but you've completely missed the point - this is about hiding one's face, regarded as a very disturbing and ill-mannered practice in this country. It is also linked with crime. The masking of one's face not be allowed by anyone of any faith. Why is the British public expected to show respect to the Muslim culture when they show such scant regard to ours? Off with the masks, I say.

  • 34.
  • At 01:26 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Jason wrote:

It is not often I find myself in total agreement with Jack Straw.

We should differentiate between people covering their heads from completely covering their faces. As the issue is the face and wearing a mask to concele identity rather than covering the hair, which I think most people would accept.

Those of us who find people wearing a veil to hide their faces are expected to keep quiet for fear of offending THEM (but of course are not expected to do the same for those who wear hoodies, motor cycle helmets, balaclava etc) but they are not asked to respect the MAJORITY view. Most people in the area I live think of these women as unintelligent and assume they will not speak English as their behaviour is so alien and that means that they will be treated as second class citizens compared to other people, including moderate Muslim women. Is this the impact they want?

It is under Jack Straw's government that we have seen a huge increase in the number of women dressing in this way. Is that because they have allowed wholesale immigration or because a percentage of Muslim women have become more extreme? The government has however encouraged it.

I was enraged at the suggestion from the government that identity cards may not include the photograph of Muslim women who choose to wear a veil for fear of upsetting them. So I have to carry an ID card whether I want one or not, despite the fact that I am no terrorist and have (& will) never committed identity fraud but a minority will have some of the new restrictions waived. I was interested in M Gregory's question (post 4) about passports because perhaps we have already introduced these arrangements for passports and why there has been no outcry from Muslim women going through passport control.

John writes at post 3 that the Muslim community should look in the mirror. So what would they see? They would see a veil over the face! If covered by a veil, what is the real face of Islam? Is it the one that hates the west? Is it the one that thinks the UK should be under Sharia law? Is it the one that can refuse entry to women in Mosques without fear of prosecution while other male-only organisations are taken to court?

As D A Stewart (18) suggests (but doesn't quite say), OUR culture is being replaced by a multi-cultural mess (actually it's more accurate to say we are being bullied into giving it up... winterfest instead of christmas being a prime example) and it is Jack Straw and his government who has pushed it forward... a government I supported in 1997 but no more.

This is a Christian (or athiest!) country and those who don't want to abide by our culture should live elsewhere but then as Abu Izzadeen said on the Today Programme Allah created the world and he can live wherever he want and implement Sharia Law. Perhaps it is the Christian majority who should leave?

I cannot speak for Great Britain. In the USA, there used to be a respect for individual rights and choices. Now even Independents are being persecuted.

  • 36.
  • At 03:40 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Anne Wotana Kaye wrote:

The Dervishes demand that their male members wear burkas which cover the whole body and also the face, with just a small mesh through which the man can see. Observing the men in the UK going around with torn jeans, exposing knee caps and worse, and the cleavage from low-slung trousers, modesty should be reinstated and men should be compelled to wear a burka style robe at all times.

  • 37.
  • At 04:05 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Jack Straw & Muslim issue - 'the veil'

A welcome belated foray into such issues by a leading member of the government.

Also a significant change in tone & approach by the beeb (ref 10 o'clock news on Thursday 5th October 2006).

Q. could it be that even liberal left / left have cottoned on to the extent of the failure of multiculturalism, esp in relation to British Muslim Communities?

Has the imposed one view 'race/culture' consensus forced onto the masses by idealists since 1960's has been seen for what it is, unattainable idealism dreamed up by the liberal left about how people should behave rather than how people actually behave.

When in Rome :)


  • 38.
  • At 04:57 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:


People adhere to dress codes/choices, due to:

- fashion
- religion
- peer pressure
- statement (personal/political)
- conditioned (from early childhood)
- other
- combo of above

To the extent that people dress up & walk around in public wearing a mask is this in essence a submissive stance.

Muslims viewpoint? [1]

Non/Muslims view perhaps of such adherence [2a] [2b]

Either way is S&M 'halal' because wearing a mask in public (for permanent citizens/residents rather than visitors) is rather bemusing given the signals it gives off.

"According to Kramer, "94% of our communication is nonverbal, Jerry" (Seinfeld, January 29, 1998)" - a veil is a big barrier [3]

The 'veil' can rightly be viewed as a barrier between Muslims (2%) & non Muslims (98%) & another demonstratable sign of the failure of intergration & assimilation between Britains Muslim Communites & mainstream British society.

It can be argued that the wearer of the veil does not care about the impact/message of this adherence to those outside their community/circle - which is pretty anti-social.

In effect is the veil a strong self imposed symbol of 'self ghettoisation' a form of voluntary 'yellow star' to mark the wearer out intentionally.

Q. of the percentage of British Muslim women who wear the veil:

- how many actually speak/write in English?
- how many work?
- how many have jobs outside their communities?


Q. do any Muslims find the 'veil' intimidating and/or restrictive?

Observation: wonder if someone out of choice tried working in a office wearing dark sunglasses & refused to shake peoples hand - argue that would alienate those around you also.

Same too the veil = self imposed submission & rather anti social to those around you :(




  • 39.
  • At 05:34 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Lyndon wrote:

I find veils and the like quite freightning and distrustful. Its not a choice but feels like a built in part of my makeup.

These coverings, are to the detriment of Muslim women and they need to realise it. Men run religions, not gods. Unlike many of the countries of Muslim origin this is a free country. Be free!

  • 40.
  • At 05:48 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Sandra /sedgwick wrote:

I feel that we are a christian society and that our grandmothers fought for our rights as women. These women who cover their faces and bodies should frankly not be living in a free society. If they are beaten up by their men who will see.
At school, they should be made to swim,play netball and gym in their long robes and veils to make them see how stupid they are. It is nothing to do with their faith but the fact that that they either want to make a statement by looking different or are under the thumbs of the men in their society. Often the grandma's do not wear the habib and their grand-daughters do.

  • 41.
  • At 06:01 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Linda wrote:

If all English woman started to cover up their faces which hides your identity, and said they had all joined some sort of religious sect, going in and out of shops, banks etc, I am sure something would be said and done to stop this.

Cameras have been put in place to make the areas safer so that the authorities can see who are causing problems, it there faces are hidden this is not possible.

When people from other religions are coming to England to stay and live then they should expect to abide by the rules of the land, within reason, if we go to other Countries we have to abide by thier rules, so what's the difference?

I have no objection to people wearing what they feel comfortable in, we are all free people, but if they are covering their identity then they should not complain if they are refused entry in certain places.

  • 42.
  • At 06:09 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Mike Thomas wrote:

Like many I find the emphasis on Islam in the news bordering on the paranoic. What most concerns me however is the absence of any coherent and comprehensive definition of the "British culture" some complain is being supplanted. It seems the weak-limbed, bleeding heart liberals among us are prepared to concede more and more to this intrusive and increasingly insidious, creeping Islamicisation ('Muslim areas', a Muslim parliament, petitions to have sharia law in the home)without any idea of what we are losing, while those who protest have only a vague idea of what they think they are defending.

The UK is a culture whose laws are based on the Judeo-Christian code, our traditions, whilst multi-cultural in many ways are, nevertheless, Christian in their foundations. We, albeit often unconsciously, hold to a firmly Christian outlook on how our culture should 'work', including Christian views on charity, justice, mercy, hope and freedoms.

Islam, make no mistake, aims to supplant all this with sharia law that would rob our people of all that is familair in how we live, think about ourselves and about others. Perhaps we need to think at least as much about what we need to protect as we do about what Islam is attempting to introduce across our country and in our neighbourhoods.

  • 43.
  • At 06:20 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • fred jones wrote:

Although still relatively serious, hasn't this situation been overblown?

Didn't Mr Straw simply ask women to remove their veils when visiting him in his surgery? surely this is a far cry from wanting to see veils removed in a general sense - quite a different matter.

If, as some say (to borrow a bbc phrase), wearing the veil is a matter of choice (as opposed to a religious obligation), surely being asked to remove it in certain circumstances can hardly be construed as a reprehensible attack on one's freedom of choice of religion?

If so, I wager many of us are attacked in this way in some situation or other every day!

  • 44.
  • At 06:28 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Sonia Jacks wrote:

I strongly agree with the views of Jack Straw about women wearing the veil. I'm grateful that he has had the courage to express these views and I wish number 10 had not immediately distanced itself from them. There is an inequality in any communication with a woman wearing the veil since they can see and read my face but I cannot see theirs. It also seems to make the statement that this woman wants to be different and separate to everyone else in a much more significant way than say, having a nose ring. If wearing the veil is about religious freedom then why don't all Muslim women do so and why does it seem to be more associated with extremist forms of Islam. If it is a cultural issue then there are other customs, such as female circumcision, used in some Muslim countries, which are not allowed here. Personally I feel very uncomfortable when I meet a woman wearing the veil and I was really shocked recently when I met a woman wearing a metal mask over her face.

  • 45.
  • At 06:35 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Tom J wrote:

Where have the rest of the posts gone? There were hundreds!

  • 46.
  • At 06:39 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Dr Sibani Roy wrote:

I am a Hinhu Indian living in the UK since last 25 years. I am a great believer and campaigner of an integrated society. At the same time I also belive in preserving culture of people's own root.

This is what I personally do:

I worship Hindu Daities every mornings and evenings at home. Eat Indian food, watch Indian movies and listen Indian songs. I wear Indian dress while visit relatives and Indian friends.

But when I am out for work or socialising with local people, I wear western cloth, eat western food, celebtate Christmas festival, attend memorial and funeral services, watch Western movies and listen to western music. In fact, I have more Indigenous white friends than Indians.

I believe in that well known proverb "While you are in Rome, behave like a Roman" . Integration is the best way forward to combat racial hatred, that is my personal view.

  • 47.
  • At 06:42 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Jason wrote:

The reason, Fred (43), that this has been overblown is because someone has had the courage to say something that Muslim extremists do not like. Normally, we shy away from anything that might potentially be perceived as an attack on that religion.

If it had been any other community, who would have questioned this? Jack Straw admitted to asking non-Muslim women to remove their hat and gloves, it would not have made the news. Have we ever heard of an outcry because western women are asked to cover up when in a Muslim country?

  • 48.
  • At 06:53 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Jason wrote:

What kind of metal mask Sonia? (44)

  • 49.
  • At 07:16 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • David Hackett wrote:

We have always, in this country been tolerant and fair minded, but there are certain basic principals which must be observed by all if the majority of the population are to continue with their traditional, tolerant attitudes, especially towards any minority group, be they religious or otherwise.
Of paramount importance is that all are bound by and subject to the laws of this country, whatever their religious convictions.

There must also be mutual respect together with a general observance of this country's traditions, so that the majority are not caused offence by the minority.

The British are, traditionally, reasonable people and I am sure that most do not feel it reasonable to walk about with the face covered. How can such persons hiding behind a veil, mask or Balaclava be identified should it be necessary so to do during a criminal investigation, for example?

Jack Straw's attitude is entirely reasonable, albeit surprising, coming from a representative of a political party responsible for introducing the garbage that is political correctness.

  • 50.
  • At 08:50 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:


This is not a debate that will or should go away.

Its been a long time coming.

Some people will not like the language or issues being raised here on in.


Given the rise in foreign nationals, there has been 40+ years for our society to have tackled issues of race & identify & culture etc - should 90% of the population be expected to be shoe horned into accommodating every nuance of the 10% or should it be the other way around?

However, such discussions were prevented, by an ever encroaching tide of 'right on' / PC ideas from vested interests of pressure groups & the PC/Race Industry.

A small minority (left & liberal left) have sought to impose a one view fits all view - this has been PROVED to be nothing more than idealism & is wholly wrong (one presumes the liberal left have been SHAMED into silence on the issues of human, civil, gender, lifestyle rights issues in Muslim countries & communities or do they have other AGENDA).

When you look across the issues of ethnic minorities & the growth of such in the UK [1] people (the 90% 'non minorities' majority) do have the right to comment on which groups in their view have integrated & assimilated into mainstream society & which groups make positive/negative impact into society, covert & overt [2]

For far too long, minorities have been placed beyond criticism, because of initial fears about racism. These communities have grown & developed without the necessary critical gaze of mainstream society, a unnatural situation which prevented a healthy & balanced society developing.

The Liberal Left & Left had for so long acted as they defence, they became unable to act as the prosecution (in this respect, but it did not stop them in many other areas).

Some minorities have responded well, whilst others have not.


The VEIL is one simple tangible symbol of failure.

Britain's Muslim Communities have come under the microscope primarily because they have a dubious distinction - the source of domestic terrorism from a non indigenous population (also exported it).

By comparison, Britain's Indian/Asian Communities have steadily integrated, the change is organic & its largely working. Also when did we last see an overt anti-social beep from Britain's Chinese community (though people smuggling & triads hardly positive).

But Muslim Communities are steadfastly refusing to integrate - it’s a conscious decision - the majority of society have a right to comment.

The actual activity too many of Britain's Muslim Communities are engaging in meatime, is extresmism & radical views [3a] [3b] [3c]*

* we do have a right to ask why their religion (Islam) is so open to manipulative abuse, radicalism & extremism.

On Channel 4, Dr Beckford (black academic) went to examine issues of Britain's Muslim communities. In a northern town the main Muslim community was made up of relatives from two villages in Pakistan, a very real & tangible 'ghetto' self defined (encouraging arranged marriages from abroad). One father who had been here for 30+ years could not speak the language & was looking forward to his son (approx 12) marrying a bride from Pakistan, who was obviously 'conditioned' to accepting this idea. The continuation of such practices do not aid integration, they only encourages ghettoisation & looks to preserve differences [4]

In this particular example, the answer is pretty simple, if such people wish to:

- follow cultural practices from Pakistan
- speak exclusively Urdu (national language of Pakistan)
- marry brides/grooms direct & fresh from Pakistan
- live exclusively with people from Pakistan.

The answer is pretty simple - please emigrate to Pakistan.

This is The United Kingdom, we respect others cultural practices (the humanitarian ones) in their country of origin, but its not welcome here, when the sum total of such practices is detrimental for British society.


Too many in Britain's Muslim Communities are behaving abnormally (not like the rest in compariable matters) they are unable to take any criticism, period. Being 'thin skinned' would be an understatement - GROW UP.

They seek to justify any/all actions on a interpretation of their religion, with far too many prostituting Islam for their own political gain.

If they claim some special right to comment & empathise for Muslims around the world (when it suits them) don't be surprised if by return the rest of the population judge these communities as the single entity.

But if many in Britain's Muslim Communities insist on being treated like SPECIAL NEEDS they will continue to be viewed as SPECIAL NEEDS.

The same route which enabled these emergent communities into the country (ports & planes) are also open for people who wish to live their religious dreams in countries far more accommodating to these ideas. It will be interesting to see how many will enjoy the same level of rights which the radicals bemoan in the UK.

In the UK (historically & still very much a Christian Society, beyond bums in pews) - 98% of the population (non Muslims) are not obliged to accept without criticism or review or action, any/all sub cultural practices & demands amongst 2% of the population (Muslims) - a fact they should be ever mindful of.

PSE NOTE : there are notable expectations & unsung peoples, British Muslims who have made the effort & speak up e.g. [5]. But as they are in the minority they should be applauded & supported, hopefully they can enter the debate & help others to change & reform.

Meantime, on the political front, if anyone is looking too appropriate blame - look to the Liberal Left & Left, they prevented a debate & now we are having to face & deal with ALL these issues, simultaneously.

This cultural impasse could have been avoided :(

The UK - love it or leave it



[3c] [

  • 51.
  • At 10:07 PM on 06 Oct 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

A very strange way your reporter did her story on Avastin and AMD. Why did she not say if the ten-times more expensive version labeled as being for AMD is licensed, or being considered for licensing here? How could she - medically unqualified - contradict her consultant interviewees and assert that the use was "quite a risk" simply because Avastin has not gone through separate tests and licensing for optical use here, when it is widely used in many countries, has high success, and no reported problems? What risk at all is added by that?

The "elephant on the table", as in most stories on new drugs and their costs, is how drug companies are being helped by the drug regulation system that is supposed to be there primarily to facilitate healthcare, and by the higher administration of the NHS, which is supposed to spend money to the best effect for patients, to charge prices quite unrelated to their costs and so make huge profits directly drained from NHS funds. At the same time as making out that patients and doctors are being unreasonable in wanting rapid access to effective new treatments - particularly cruel in the case of AMD where even a few days' delay can mean permanent loss of sight, and the drug wanted is a tenth of the price.

Why wasn't she asking why the NHS's huge purchasing power isn't used to rapidly access treatments proven effective elsewhere at fair prices based on the maker's true and reasonable costs, and why the licensing system can be misused so?

And what on earth was with Jonathan Beale reporting Ortego's candidacy? Why was he implying that Sandanistas having, over many years, exchanged military fatigues for casual clothes and baseball caps, and now holding meetings in hotels just as most political parties do in Europe, was something to be sneered at? Would he say the same about South Africa's ANC, the Chinese government, or even Israel's? And does he really believe that US trade offers / threats are simply benevolent? Nice that he got the present US Ambassador to Nicaragua on film saying that the US has no regrets for the Iran-Contra affair though, but a shame he didn't ask anything more on that. I hope he would follow up if he got US ambassadors in nearby countries to admit to running destabilisation, coups, death squads and genocides.

  • 52.
  • At 02:03 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

Jason wrote (48): "What kind of metal mask Sonia? (44)"

I would guess Sonia saw one of the type that is fairly commonly to be seen in parts of London frequented by diplomatic families and wealthy visitors. A mask made of plates and coins and chains filling the only gap in total black gowns. It can look pretty scary, or even, to be frank, rather disgustingly dehumanising to a western woman's eyes. But I imagine the wearers, if they have chosen that mode of dress, feel it demonstrates wealth. The fact that several women are usually all wearing the same might however indicate it isn't the individual's choice. I've searched the Web very thoroughly in the last hour and can find no picture at all, so I presume it isn't something anyone is that proud of. The nearest I could find was a lose, fashion interpretation, displaying far more skin, from a Lebanese designer shown, without the usual clothing.

  • 53.
  • At 03:16 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Pete wrote:

Dave Walker said:
Aren't christians discriminated against when they're forced to cover up in other countries?

Great, now a move closer towards a regime like Saudi Arabia is seen as 'progress'.

Grow up and accept people for what they are, not how they look.

In general, most of the anti-veil posts I've read are an outward sign of the poster's bigotry.

In the 1970's punk were vilified for their outrageous dress. There was a 'ghetto-isation' of several sub-cultures because people were intimidated by how people looked. This terror of punks seems ridiculous nowadays.

I used to see these women more along the lines of dressing to shock rather than a threat to my way of life. So it was interesting to hear the women on tonight's programme saying it was for them a way of asserting their personal identity and building confidence. Not a million miles away from the experience of those spikey-haired and muliply-pierced pariahs of 30 years ago.

When this whole sorry episode is played out we will all accept another way of dress as nothing exceptional. It can't come a moment too soon.

  • 54.
  • At 10:23 AM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

Christians, muslims, jews are all enemies, thinking about it. They just dont admit it. They are always fighting, complaining, moaning. After all, they follow different rules.

This recent event about the veil is just another point that religions DONT GET ALONG!

"I believe in one thing, you believe in another
I believe that the Earth was 6000 years old, but you might think the Earth is about a million years old.
I dont agree with you, so I want to attack your beliefs."

This religious divide is harming the Earth in unprecedented levels - I am right, you are wrong.

Look at the evidence!
The pope's remarks about the Muslim culture was sure enough demoralising. The clergy's exaggerated paedophilia is also quite worrying.
Extremist Muslims reacting to the depiction of Mohammed was also indicative of tensions, which was perhaps the point the Pope was trying to make as somewhat ironic, based on the reactions in some Muslim countries.

Recently, the veil has sparked increasing tensions, only to magnify existing ones. The veils covering the face is over-the-top, ridiculous and difficult, in the context of COMMUNICATION.

Its like talking to a brick wall, where the expressions on the wall is non-existent.

I cant see her smile, laugh, feel sad, whichever she is feeling, I certainly cannot see that.

If its a mark of respect, there is not a trace of respect in speaking to someone whose face is entirely covered up.

I am attacking the very idea of covering up their face.

Is this in defiance of communication, or in defance to the religion? Surely religion depends on communication.

  • 55.
  • At 05:01 PM on 07 Oct 2006,
  • A. Howlett wrote:

This is not about modes of dress or even religious symbols, it is about the hiding of one's face. In our Western culture it is regarded as rude and shifty to hide the face. We are always asked to respect other cultures, so let's have a little respect for ours. Would Muslims be happy for you to wear your shoes into a Mosque? No, and we aren't happy with this face-hiding.

  • 56.
  • At 09:05 AM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Robert wrote:

Why is it the same people have many comments on this site while others are never put up. I see the same name sometimes five or six times making comments, while I have tried numerous times to have something printed.

Or perhaps due to my disablity I am seen as poor at perhaps explaining my thoughs, I doubt it, perhaps it is well I'll keep that to myself hate to be banned.

  • 57.
  • At 06:43 PM on 08 Oct 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

The news agenda is so easily led by govt talking points - it's amazing. There are more important things going on in the world. If the govt stopped going on about muslims 24/7 maybe they would have to answer a few questions about their failed policies.

  • 58.
  • At 03:40 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • M Munday wrote:

Completely agree with Jack Straw's view on the veil wearers.

They have put up this veil barrier because they do not want to have anything to do with anybody outside their circle.
They have no intention of assimilating into our culture.

  • 59.
  • At 11:34 PM on 12 Oct 2006,
  • Jane Barnett wrote:

All Mr Straw did was to raise a question. The question was merely whether women who wear a veil that covers the face etc. etc. Race, Religion was NOT used. So Example 1:A poor woman whose face is covered with bandages due to exposure to a severe fire and Example 2: Any women who wear large sunglasses for either fashionable or medical reasons. Comment 2. The situation which covers many areas was questioned by a person - male or female - to merely express a fact that it is easier to talk to faces which can be seen. Common sense?Question: What is the difference between an Eastern Muslim woman allowed into a Western Christian country where her husband has gained employment AND a Western Christian woman allowed into an Eastern Muslim country where her husband has gained employment?

I have been thinking about the issue (as have most Britons) particularly this week. The controversy surrounding the teacher who was sacked because she refused to unveil, became the centre of discussion between my partner and self. His immediate reaction was that it was racist for a Muslim to be sacked for not conforming to our dress codes, my immediate reaction was the same until I thought about it for a little while longer. I am a teacher and I know how difficult a job it is to manage and engage children, especially in a climate in which teachers are professionally deemed to be competent or not partly based on their success incorporating different learning techniques in the classroom. Teachers are obliged to cater for kinesthetic, (physical) visual and auditory learners-a teacher wearing a veil covering her face would simply not be able to cater for the average British child's ability to concentrate. Whether this is right or wrong and whether teachers should be progressing technically, relying more on visual aids like smart boards and entertaining tricks for our ever growing tv culture dependent children (and adults) is another matter. 

It seems to me that Britain is being bullied and being asked to subjugate her own customs in an attempt to uphold the democracy that our people who for the main part believe in so passionately. 

The simple fact is certain beliefs do make it difficult for certain individuals to assimilate totally to our society, people should have the right to live apart but in peace and as the British lady mentioned in the post above we would be expected to conform to the cultures of other countries when visiting or living abroad.

Try out the new form of biagra from some new reseller named after the cheap biagra online easy

  • 62.
  • At 01:39 PM on 27 Oct 2006,
  • anon wrote:

The veil issue has given yet another voice to a bigotry and racism that is an ever present cancer within British Society, how many people have visited Muslim countries to know the facts, all assumptions are based upon countries such Saudi Arabia or Iran which make the headlines for all the wrong reasons. It is unbelievable that with the tourist trade to Turkey,Egypt, Tunisia, Dubai, Morrocco, Malaysia, etc, etc, the woeful ignorance that continues to stereotype muslims.Why do peoples comments talk about muslims 'coming here?' The vast majority were born here and did not 'arrive'from elsewhere, yet we are always presented as the outsiders? In such debates.
Where did white muslim converts come from?
There is no law, as far as I am aware, that says veils are banned in Britain, so when did it become unlawful? In the vast majority of muslim countries non muslims go about their daily life unhindered or imposed upon. Finally if seeing the face is so important, should all people with impaired vision be banned from jobs that deal with the public? I think not. When was the last time women wearing the veil were involved in violent, abusive, anti social, racist beahviour at a football match or eleswhere that leaves many decent people to afraid to participate. Get the facts people dont be ignorant, integartion is a two way process.

  • 63.
  • At 11:43 PM on 30 Oct 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref anon #62

"The veil issue has given yet another voice to a bigotry and racism that is an ever present cancer within British Society, how many people have visited Muslim countries to know the facts ... "

What … as opposed to relating those people from minority communities in this country who adhere too non indigenous cultural practices in The United Kingdom within self ghettoise cultural enclaves.

The United Kingdom is not universally bigoted & racist, its not a cancer, it’s a symptom of human nature.

Has not 30-40+ years exposure to millions of other people from different parts of the world in this country .. not taught you that … the ultimate take-away experience.

All societies & cultures have the capacity for bigotry & racism: Muslims v Hindu; Indian v Pakistani; Afro Caribbean v Black African; Serb v Kosovian etc.

btw - living here but treating British Citizenship as a flag of convenience is not the same as being British. They do it with shipping & some do it with nationality.

"There is no law, as far as I am aware, that says veils are banned in Britain, so when did it become unlawful? In the vast majority of Muslim countries non Muslims go about their daily life unhindered or imposed upon"

What … as opposed to Muslim countries who have banned it & other countries ref headscarf & veil [1]

Cultural norms & shared values are not all explicitly written into law.



More or less nothing seems important. So it goes. Oh well. It's not important. That's how it is.

I haven't gotten anything done today. My life's been dull today, but shrug. I can't be bothered with anything recently, but oh well. I've just been sitting around doing nothing. What can I say? So it goes.

  • 66.
  • At 10:14 PM on 20 Feb 2007,
  • zara wrote:

i think that the veil is beautiful and if you or anyone try to ban it and make the muslim women have to take it off, we will protest day and night to make sure the ban is lifted

The community should provide adequate programs to help juvenile delinquents

The government should be persuaded to pay for all healthcare

I've just been letting everything wash over me recently. So it goes. What can I say?

My life's been pretty dull lately, but I guess it doesn't bother me. I haven't been up to anything recently. Maybe tomorrow. I've pretty much been doing nothing worth mentioning. I haven't gotten much done these days. Pretty much nothing seems worth thinking about.

  • 71.
  • At 09:54 PM on 26 Mar 2007,
  • rose wrote:


Live with your lover before getting married

  • 73.
  • At 07:11 PM on 15 Jul 2007,
  • ss wrote:

i am a muslim and i do not see these peoples PROBLEM with women wearing a hijab muslims are not allowed to steal and a woman wearing a headscarf is religious so she obviously wouldnt commit a sin.its called being DEDICATED TO ONES RELIGION!!and i do not see what peoples problem are if women have to cover there faces these people do not no the first thing about islam. but they go ahead and make catty remarks about it. DO NOT SAY RUDE THINGS ABOUT MY RELIGION IF YOU DONT NO THE FIRST THING ABOUT IT. HAVE A FEW LESSONS ON IT THEN SAY WHAT YOU WANT!THIS IS JUST THE MEDIA MAKING MUSLIMS TO BE BAD AND GIVING US MUSLIMS A HARD TIME AND A BAD NAME FOR OURSELVES!DO YOU BELIEVE EVERTHING THE MEDIA TELLS YOU JUST BECAUSE ONE SINGLE MUSLIN MAKES A MISTAKE , THAT MAKES THE REST OF US BAD!ITS CALLED BEING PREJUDICE!" no muslims are given chances now and we are all seen as thE same thing TERRORISTS! i think its bad that these muslims go around blowing up tube stations and say they do in the name of islam its dreadful. and islam means peace by the way so they do not do it in the name of islam but it does not mean the rest of us are terrorists. the minute you see a group of women walking in hijabs there terrorists! well let me tell you something and i am not being racist i am just describing. A british white man rape's a young girl does that make every single british white man a rapist no it doesnt so why dont you try looking at it from muslims point of view and how it feels for them! thankyou

Women are not, are fairly portrayed in the media

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