Sunday, October 3, 2010


What is it with extremist Muslims? If there were ever a group hell bent on scoring own goals, they seem to have won the prize for it.

Islamic schools have introduced uniform policies which force girls to wear the burka or a full headscarf and veil known as the niqab.
Moderate followers of Islam said yesterday that enforcement of the veil was a "dangerous precedent" and that children attending such schools were being "brainwashed".
The Sunday Telegraph has established that three UK institutions have introduced a compulsory veil policy when girls are walking to or from school. They are:
  • Madani Girls' School in east London;
  • Jamea Al Kauthar in Lancaster;
  • Jameah Girls' Academy in Leicester.
All three are independent, fee-paying, single-sex schools for girls aged 11 to 18. Critics warned that the spectacle of burka-clad pupils entering and leaving the schools at the start and end of the day could damage relations between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
Ed Husain, co-director of Quilliam, the counter-extremist think-tank, said: "It is absurd that schools are enforcing this outdated ritual – one that which sends out a damaging message that Muslims do not want to fully partake in British society.
"Although it is not the government's job to dictate how its citizens dress, it should nonetheless ensure that such schools are not bankrolled or subsidised by the British taxpayer."
He added: "The enforcing of the niqab on young girls is not a mainstream Islamic practice – either in Britain or in most Muslim-majority countries.
"It is a desert practice which belongs to another century and another world."
Now, Ed Husain has it right in that it's not the governments job to dictate what people wear. However wearing something so unsuitable for British climate is surely a health and safety matter. Covering yourself from head to foot in a northern climate leaves you open to a serious risk of vitamin D deficiency. There's also the danger of (as usual) preventing integration with the mainstream as a whole, though this is something that a lot of Muslims seem to think is fine anyway, even though it stirs up trouble sooner or later.
There are those out there who believe that Muslims are being set up (as were the Jews in Nazi Germany) to be the scapegoats for any and all problems that the nation faces, it might be so, I certainly wouldn't put it past higher "Righteous" thinking. But unlike the Jews in Nazi Germany, the Muslims themselves do themselves no favours whatsoever by refusing to conform. Demonstrating against the returning troops from Afghanistan doesn't help. Being involved in the notorious grooming of young girls into prostitution doesn't help. Marrying your cousins in Pakistan and bringing them over here doesn't help.
They may be being set up as the fall guys, but judging from what they get up too, they aren't just walking into a trap, they are running at it full tilt in certain instances.

5 annotations:

Anonymous said...

Until a few years ago I worked in Oman.A civilised country which I enjoyed.The thing is that men basically have to buy wives,which is normal in many Arab countries(not an islamic thing,it predates Islam)By the time they can afford a wife,especially a young one they can be quite old.Therefore they do not want some young buck coming along and enticing her away.the easiest way to do this is to ensure that no one knows what she looks like.Nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with the fact that Islam is just these customs fixed in stone by Muhammid,by claiming that these were thefinal unchangeable words of god.Which is why there can not be a moderate muslim who remains a muslim.

JuliaM said...

"Now, Ed Husain has it right in that it's not the governments job to dictate what people wear. However wearing something so unsuitable for British climate is surely a health and safety matter. Covering yourself from head to foot in a northern climate leaves you open to a serious risk of vitamin D deficiency."

Do we really want to go down that route? Government-mandated clothing for health reasons? Because I guarantee, it won't be burkha'd-up schoolgirls that they come down on, but middle-class parents who are too fond of the sunscreen...

Look, if these parents disagree with the school uniform rules, it's in their hands to challenge and change it. And if they agree, it's up to them to bear any consequences. Such as all normal people regarding them as backward savages.

Quiet_Man said...

I'm not advocating going down that route, just pointing out a serious problem with making people (women) dress that way.
If people want to be backward savages that's their choice, however if the school is to become publicly funded, then surely I (via the government) have a right to a say?

Anonymous said...

I'm against uniforms in school. I believe that people should have the freedom to wear (within reason) what they wish. (I guess I'm saying that they should cover their sexual organs and their bum cracks.)

I think people might be guided a little into what is suitable. Tarting up school uniform is dangerous because it sends out a (usually) wrong message to some middle aged men, whose fantasy that is. But apart from a little guidance in that kind of direction, I believe in freedom of choice.

However private schools seem to have the right to impose very strict uniforms on their pupils. Belonging to another age is certainly correct as far as the burka is concerned. I imagine that the parents could always have the girls educated through the state system if they have an objection to this. After all that is another freedom of choice that they have.

Talking of belonging to another century, does Eton still make their boys wear frock coats and round stiff collars?

Woman on a Raft said...

I thought the point was that these are private fee-paying independent schools? There might be the issue of whether they are state-funded directly or obliquely via charitable status but even that is different to the political issue of the correct limit of the state's power.

The snag is, it's not just a wonky religion. We've got a fair number of those, including the Plymouth Brethren with their separatist schools. Providing they all conform to the civil law and criminal law, there isn't an issue.

This is something different and the burkah is only a symptom of it. It is a competitor ideology. Just making a fuss about the symbol is ineffective; you either resist the ideology properly and start to refuse entry to those who hold it, or you take some stronger steps to strengthen the state's own CoE brand and assert its primacy, making it clear that an ideology can exist but it can take its turn like every other Druid, Buddhist, Jewish, what-have-you person of faith.

This, btw, is the benefit of having an established church; like a top-dog it will prevent the others making incursons and starting a fight.