Can We Rise Above the Veil of Misinformation About Muslims?

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When it comes to Muslim-related issues we, in Britain, do things differently. We do not ban the full-face face veil (niqab) which is worn by some Muslim women – unlike in France and Belgium. And we do not ban mosque minarets unlike in Switzerland.

However, we sometimes have a nasty habit of 'over-cooking the egg' when it comes to dealing with Muslim-related issues. Sections of our media and political elites can initiate free-fall discussions that focus disproportionately on our Muslim citizens and their lifestyles; they often create a national hype and debate that can go on and on until something else comes up.

One of them is the face veil.

The first debate on this in recent years was initiated by none other than Labour's senior 'Muslim-friendly' politician Jack Straw. In October 2006 he wrote in his local newspaper, the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, that he would prefer Muslim women not to wear veils at his Blackburn constituency surgeries. His comments got widespread national publicity. In 2010, Jack Straw publicly apologised over his 2006 comments.

Very recently the face veil issue has again gripped our national media. It started last week when the Birmingham Metropolitan College decided to ban Muslim veils in the campus. But students accused the college of racial and religious discrimination; the NUS Black Students' Campaign came up with 9,000 online signatures against the college decision and, ultimately, the college backed down. With this and a continuing court case involving a veiled Muslim woman, the debate has now gone viral in the media world.

Written By: Muhammad Abdul Bari
continue to source article at huffingtonpost.co.uk

57 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #2 by prabo.bhil:

      Where is the modesty of genitally mutilating, honor killing, halal-eating, pedophile Mahound admiring muslim men? Why don’t muslim men wear burqa – the black garbage bag?

      I visit London this summer on a hot day. Sweat was dripping down my back even though I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I noticed a Muslim man dressed in similar clothing. His wife, on the other hand, was in full burqa; I felt awful for her. This was not a singular incident. I noticed many many women in full burqas throughout the city. The author commented that about the small population — I don’t think so.

      • In reply to #22 by QuestioningKat:
        >

        His wife, on the other hand, was in full burqa; I felt awful for her.

        … as opposed to my week in Paris, where it was very hot, and I saw no full burqas and only a handful of headscarves.

        • In reply to #30 by GPWC:

          In reply to #22 by QuestioningKat:

          His wife, on the other hand, was in full burqa; I felt awful for her.

          … as opposed to my week in Paris, where it was very hot, and I saw no full burqas and only a handful of headscarves.

          The French burqa ban works!

          As for the women whose husbands insist no other man may see their face, well, I’m sure their houses and apartments have air conditioning.

          Probably.

          Maybe.

          Who cares anyway? Out of sight is out of mind.

        • In reply to #30 by GPWC:

          In reply to #22 by QuestioningKat:

          His wife, on the other hand, was in full burqa; I felt awful for her.

          … as opposed to my week in Paris, where it was very hot, and I saw no full burqas and only a handful of headscarves.

          Yes, I had the same experience.

          • In reply to #45 by QuestioningKat:

            In reply to #30 by GPWC:

            In reply to #22 by QuestioningKat:
            >
            Yes, I had the same experience.

            Did you enjoy Down House, by the way?

  1. “Dress is our external symbol and in public life one has to care about our collective security; we have to look after our own as well as others’ safety.”

    Wow. No, I don’t have to care bout the collective security of Muslims. I worry about the collective security of all people. For as concealing as her burqa is, her slip is showing. This is a tribal “Us and Them” piece.

  2. Nothing to see here other than classic No True Scotsman bait and switch moves.

    “That debate will continue, but it must be done and led by Muslim women, who freely decide to wear, or not wear the niqab or hijab.”
    As if women universally freely get to debate this under islam

    “None within my extended or immediate family wears the face veil. My own view is that it is a woman’s choice according to her understanding of religion, public modesty and human dignity.”

    None within my family either and this is an argument? How about standing on a street corner in Medina with a megaphone proclaiming Your Own View?

    What did Dr. Mohamed do his doctorate in, Islamic Theology? The inanity of this article is the sort of thing that sets accomodationists hearts all aflutter.

  3. Sorry – slightly off-topic, but the article brings up the “Burka Ban” in France. This “ban” is often misrepresented, because, actually, what is banned in France is the wearing of face coverings in public. This includes balaclavas, motorcycle helmets and, indeed, Burkas. There are exceptions (for example – obviously – wearing a motorcycle helmet while actually on a motorbike, carnival masks, etc.). Now the law “may” have been targeting Burkas, but it isn’t a “Burka ban”.

    Incidentally, the wearing of religious symbols in public schools is also banned – crosses, Hijab, pasta strainers and so forth.

    As far as the “Burka debate” in the UK is concerned, I have mixed feelings about banning them. However, at a personal level, I would refuse to deal with a doctor or nurse wearing one – likewise shop assistant, waiter, etc, because the garment makes me feel suspicious of the person inside. But that’s just me.

    I think they look silly, so perhaps a better approach would simply be to laugh at them.

    Macha

  4. This article did little to ‘rise above the veil of misinformation’ of Islam and hijab. What information do I need to NOT think that it is an archaic practice with an ugly history, engaged in by a tiny minority of people in Britain. As a private practice, like wearing a turban, it should be tolerated in public space, but in professional interactions — courts, hospitals, the classroom, the office — it should be banned. Not because it is a religious symbol, but because it conceals identity and prevents personal interaction. It is in the same category as a bag on the head.

  5. I love to travel and learn about other cultures and religions but I whether I go to Iran or India or Japan I will respect the local customs that I am required to respect. I don’t demand the right to walk around topless in my shorts in muslim or hindu countries (you wouldn’t want to see that anyway, trust me).
    In the UK we have a tradition of free speech. In fact it’s a right to free speech. If we have to curb that right to please any one minority religion/ culture then that is wrong. Especially if we are then threatened with violence.

  6. What is this “veil of misinformation about Muslims”? Did he even give one example of a false statement about Muslims that is often asserted? Just about the only possible one, given what he discussed, is “What Muslim women wear isn’t all their choice”. Well, if he denies the truth of that it’s he who is veiled in misinformation. Also, many misconceptions about Islam make it seem better than it is, not worse.

  7. Abdul Bari is just another in the endless line of Islamic smoke-and-mirrors apologists. We have heard all this ad nauseam.
    No Muslim (apparently) has ever heard the expression “When in Rome…”. Thin end of the wedge, anyone?

    Thinking people will not be taken in by his bunk. To hell with religion :-)) and Islam in particular

  8. The woman in that picture is being selfish in the extreme. It’s as if she’s trying to divert attention away from her child and on to herself.

    Not, have you noticed how beautiful my child is, but, have you noticed I’m a Muslim? Religion taking precedence over motherhood perhaps?

    Children watch their mother’s face extremely closely for obvious reasons, from which it follows that if her face is covered the child is deprived of that fundamental need to monitor her emotions. It is instead to a degree isolated from her when it’s in need her constant attention and support.

    I struggle to think of anything really worthwhile about organized religion, it’s all quick fixes and shallow flimsy stuff; it lacks substance, and in the final analysis meaning.

    It seems to me that it’s basically a means of controlling people by intimidating them. After all, Islam is the Arabic word for submit, and in churches religious individuals will unthinkingly follow the instructions of who ever’s presiding or, of their own volition begin behaving strangely, by for instance kneeling down and talking to themselves; I find that embarrassing.

    • In reply to #12 by Stafford Gordon:

      Children watch their mother’s face extremely closely for obvious reasons,

      Wow, I couldn’t agree with you more. I find this image quite disturbing. The baby is bare-head, feet and hands, and she’s wearing full head gear, gloves and a coat. Isn’t this baby rather unprotected from the cold? If it isn’t cold, isn’t this baby rather unprotected from an idiot mother? Makes me wonder if Islamic (middle-eastern) men are insensitive and lack empathy because they too seldom get to see their mothers’ faces as they should in the presence of other people. Children always take their cues from caregivers. Often when I see news footage of middle-eastern mothers with their children they don’t seem to make eye contact with each other and seem, well, miserable. Who wouldn’t be, I guess?

      • In reply to #41 by ShesTheBeth:

        In reply to #12 by Stafford Gordon:

        Wow, I couldn’t agree with you more. I find this image quite disturbing. The baby is bare-head, feet and hands, and she’s wearing full head gear, gloves and a coat. Isn’t this baby rather unprotected from the cold?

        I don’t think the clothing this child’s mother is wearing has anything to do with the local climate.

        If it isn’t cold, isn’t this baby rather unprotected from an idiot mother?

        This is Syria, not Budleigh Salterton. Why do you assume the idiot mother as you call her has any say in what she’s wearing?

        Makes me wonder if Islamic (middle-eastern) men are insensitive and lack empathy because they too seldom get to see their mothers’ faces as they should in the presence of other people.

        That’s called begging the question, hon. It takes it as read that Islamic (middle-eastern) men are insensitive and unempathetic.

        The chick in the photograph won’t cover up at all times; only when she’s outside the family home. The child will see her face all the time. You might as well say that young children whose mothers go out to work are at risk of becoming psychopaths.

        Often when I see news footage of middle-eastern mothers with their children they don’t seem to make eye contact with each other and seem, well, miserable. Who wouldn’t be, I guess?

        Well, that’s that then. This clip shows pretty conclusively that Bigfoot exists.

        Often when I see news footage of a Western mother with her child, the sprog will be bitching, crying or generally making a nuisance of itself. Sometimes it’s just half asleep. This is what children who aren’t enrolled in stage school do: they’re themselves; they aren’t faking it for TV.

  9. Yes, let us lift that veil—

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/22/us-kenya-attack-idUSBRE98K03V20130922https://www.google.co.uk/search?

    q=boko+haram+attacks&newwindow=1&es_sm=91&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=IDRNUoDlKMmctQbs2oHYCQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDYQsAQ&biw=1401&bih=779&dpr=1

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/10/01/327045/alqaeda-claims-iraq-deadly-attacks/

    Just a tiny sample of the good works of the Religion of Peace in the name of its Prophet (Peace be upon him!)
    We must also include 22,000 similar since 911 worldwide. Then Abdul Bari will say “Muslims decry this as much as
    non-Muslims” Odd- where are the screams of protest, the street marches by these peace loving followers of Muhammad?

    Deafening silence………..

  10. Freedom of choice??? – Or just claimed freedom to ignore laws and regulations and then play the martyr?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24360100

    A Muslim free school accused of imposing strict Islamic practices, such as segregated classrooms, has closed following an inspection by Ofsted.

    Unnamed female staff members have also claimed they were forced to conform to a strict dress code including wearing a head scarf or hijab – whether or not they were Muslim.

  11. “That debate will continue, but it must be done and led by Muslim women, who freely decide to wear, or not wear the niqab or hijab.”

    This was the crowning statement for me. Very well Mr Bari, since you insist on rising above misinformation, let’s put in the key point you missed out:

    The issue of the veil in many cases is that many Muslim women DO NOT HAVE the freedom to decide to wear, or not to wear the niqab or hijab and this is one of the main objections – that it is a symbol of oppression and misogyny. If you want to get around this, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERITIVE that the Muslim community as a whole – including imams, clerics and Sharia lawyers – universally agree that in Britain at least that the choice to wear, or not to wear, the niqab or hijab is the woman’s choice and the woman’s choice alone. And that anyone who would condemn a woman for showing her face or hair, whether verbally or from the threats of honour killings, receives that same condemnation and ostracism back at them twice as hard in their communities.

    When that happens Mr Bari, when the veil really is an option of personal choice according preference, just as when I choose to wear, or not to wear a coat depending on the whether with absolutely no judgment or stigma one way or the other. When that happens, and only when that happens will we shut up about it.

    I suspect you will be waiting a while…

  12. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if on investigation it came to light that Jack Straw apologized because he realized he was liable to lose votes.

    Oh, what a cynic I’m becoming.

    Apropos of the defeaning silence from rank and file Muslims about the atrocities committed in their name, could it be that they feel too intimidated to speak out?

    • In reply to #16 by Stafford Gordon:

      Apropos of the defeaning silence from rank and file Muslims about the atrocities committed in their name, could it be that they feel too intimidated to speak out?

      Undoubtedly. But an omelette won’t be made without the eggs getting broken.

      The civil rights movement, the suffragette movement and the gay rights movement all spring to mind.

      Of course the of level intimidation from Islam is well understood, perhaps that is the sobering factor. Or maybe there is just no stomach with Muslims to speak out against the mad mullahs and the holy scriptures.

  13. Random thoughts:

    I see that some of the killers at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi entered the centre disguised as women wearing burqas.

    In my town teenagers wearing hoodies are not allowed into shopping centres.

    Sometimes people go into pubs wearing motorcycle helmets with the visors down. Such people usually carry guns and shoot down rival gangsters inside. In most places though, I think this is illegal.

    People who apply to join the police force are immediately turned down if they insist on wearing a turban, a burqa or anything that is not standard police issue. Ditto for the military.

    In my office, motor-cycle couriers are not even allowed past the door unless they first remove their helmets.

    And if a teacher tries to teach kids in my local school with a bag over her head, the parents would demand she be sacked. Cruelty to children, including psychological cruelty, is against the law.

    • In reply to #18 by Dubhlinneach:

      Random thoughts:

      And if a teacher tries to teach kids in my local school with a bag over her head, the parents would demand she be sacked. ….

      I see what you did there. Not sure if intended but funny nonetheless.

      Every mention of this antisocial medieval practice of the living mummification of human beings should pull back the curtain on it without sparing ridicule.

      “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people” it could once often be heard said. In one of the more perverse manifestations of cognitive dissonance we now find women, under the banner of feminism no less, defending as “self expression” the wearing of paraphernalia symbolizing servitude to the most actively misogynistic religion today.

      Feminism sure ain’t what it used to be.

    • In reply to #18 by Dubhlinneach:

      Sometimes people go into pubs wearing motorcycle helmets with the visors down. Such people usually carry guns and shoot down rival gangsters inside. In most places though, I think this is illegal.

      I think shooting people in pubs is illegal in all places, even if they are gangsters.

      People who apply to join the police force are immediately turned down if they insist on wearing a turban, a burqa or anything that is not standard police issue. Ditto for the military.

      I don’t know where you’re from, but this isn’t the case in the UK:

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) rdf richard

      And if a teacher tries to teach kids in my local school with a bag over her head, the parents would demand she be sacked.

      Thank God for braying mobs of ignoramuses. I would hope the school sent them away with a flea in their ear and a reminder not to be so intolerant.

  14. How can we have a sensible debate when just this week, after barely a year in operation, the government closed down one of the first Muslim free schools .

    Opposed in the first place by the local community and teaching unions, the school rapidly degenerated into obliging (white, non-Muslim) teachers to wear the veil in front of pupils, and forced (veiled) female students to sit at the back of the class, segregated from males. The head and deputy head, after less than a year in post, resigned in protest.

    At the time of writing I have not heard or read a single word of condemnation of this school’s conduct from any Muslim.

    So don’t give me any bollocks about wearing the veil being a free choice, because self-evidently it is not.

  15. Women have had a hell of a lot to put up with down the ages and up to the present age.Demonized, vilified, put to death as witches,having been tortured first.Remember the “scold’s bridle’, that infamous instrument used to curb the tongue of a nagging woman?There was “suttee’, the horrible fate of the Indian widow.Acid throwing, rapine,the list goes on…

    Now, I am not suggesting for one moment that wearing a veil is on par with the above mentioned atrocities,but really,no man is compelled to conform to a particular dress-code,why should women ? And even more puzzlingly,why would they? If it is about making a point there are better ways to do that rather than putting on the veil of subservience.

  16. Is it a Muslim woman’s choice to wear shorts and a short sleeved shirt on a hot day in public? Would she be allowed to do this without any reprecussions? Would anyone enforce Sharia law on her? Would anyone secretly be condemning me if I were to be wearing shorts and a short sleeved shirt on a hot day in public?

  17. I have no issue with the burqa. So long as the burqa isn’t being forced on the person wearing it and it is removed when required (court, driver’s license or any legitimate need for identification), just as I have no issue with the balaclava. Though, the balaclava is usually only worn when it is cold or during a crime; you rarely see one during summer. Has France outlawed the balaclava? If not, why not?

    • In reply to #24 by aquilacane:

      I have no issue with the burqa. So long as the burqa isn’t being forced on the person wearing it and it is removed when required (court, driver’s license or any legitimate need for identification), just as I have no issue with the balaclava.Though, the balaclava is usually only worn when it is cold or during a crime; you rarely see one during summer. Has France outlawed the balaclava? If not, why not?

      France has outlawed all forms of face-covering in public – balaclavas, crash helmets, Burkas, etc.

  18. Perhaps we could accommodate burkha enthusiasts by saying “Women who want to wear them must be accompanied by an adult male member of her household, also wearing identical dress.” The men get to wear local clothing (jeans and t-shirts) so they can blend in easily, but the women cannot since they are hidden from view…. that goes against equality of the sexes, a major feature of western societies.

  19. Just some random remarks:

    A veil is actually a makeshift harem: a solution for women who for some reason or other have to go out but don’t think they should be going out. It is also a sign that the woman is placed under the man – this is true also for Christianity and the reason why Catholic women had to cover their head in church, and the reason why women meeting the pope always have some handkerchief on their head (mostly black lace). A woman who has chosen unfreedom by definition cannot make a free choice afterwards – when she dresses up on the next day, putting on the veil won’t be a free decision of a free person anymore…

    Also, a woman who’s been wearing the veil for some time has been out of the job market for some time. So she fincancially depends from her husband and family. Which means that after some time under the veil she is de facto not free anymore to decide if she wants to wear the veil or not…

    The Swiss people were very aware what exactly minarets are when they voted to ban them: they are not necessary for praying but they are signs of power, and that was what the Swiss won’t have (the outcome of the vote was due to leftists and liberals being able to differentiate between mosques and minarets). There is no special difficulty in building a mosques, there have been mosques around for decades, and the muslims are free to pray in them.

    • In reply to #28 by LI:

      Just some random remarks:

      .The Swiss people were very aware what exactly minarets are when they voted to ban them: they are not necessary for praying but they are signs of power, and that was what the Swiss won’t have (the outcome of the vote was due to leftists and liberals being able to differentiate between mosques and minarets).

      A rare moment of insight not so common of late in lefty circles when Islam is the topic. One of the truly splendid features of Swiss style democracy is how close it comes to direct democracy – where referendums on issues are allowed the last word as opposed to representatives who often vote crapping on the people they’re supposed to represent as happened in the German parliament regarding the circumcision issue.

  20. I propose a new, gender-equality-based veil system for all religions: all those too ugly to be seen in public – male/female – must wear a veil at all times when shopping. Makes as much sense as all these other rules.

  21. Isn’t this sad?…Someone with the authority and power to make positive change in their own society takes the wrong road as this person has done:

    Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari is the Chair of East London Mosque Trust and former Secretary General of Muslim Council of Britain (2006-10).

    In the face of substantial animosity and disapproval from their fellow citizens here in the West, (and in their countries of origin) and this person, Adul Bari, squanders his in group authority to end an outward sign of oppression and misogyny. All the guy had to say to the public in general and to his own fellow Muslims was that the Koran DOES NOT advocate, recommend or require any version of the outer garments known as hijab, burka, niqab, etc. and that in the interest of Muslim women, the Muslim community and the country in general, it is in everyone’s best interest to dispose of these archaic garments and move the community forward with a spirit of progressive, egalitarian thought and behavior.

    There is not one single thing said in that statement that is haram according to the Koran. The leadership who don’t make this statement and waffle and wiggle around on issues like this one declare their position by default: We are separate, better than you, and have a huge political chip on our shoulders and want to demonstrate it loud and clear. Therefore, we refuse to assimilate.

    Bob Marley says: Set your captives free.

    • In reply to #35 by LaurieB:

      “There is not one single thing said in that statement that is haram according to the Koran. The leadership who don’t make this statement and waffle and wiggle around on issues like this one declare their position by default: We are separate, better than you, and have a huge political chip on our shoulders and want to demonstrate it loud and clear. Therefore, we refuse to assimilate.”

      Unfortunately there is no Muslim “leadership”. The MCB is a completely ineffectual talking shop, held in the utmost contempt by many Muslims. Islam does not have a Pope. It is a motley collection of opposing sects, and even within each sect a “moderate” imam will often contradict a “radical” one. So individual Muslims just pick whichever club they like best and declare everyone else an idiot.

      It’s like saying the Westboro Baptist Church, or for that matter a Trappist monastery, represents Christianity.

      • In reply to #39 by Stevehill:

        Unfortunately there is no Muslim “leadership”.

        There’s plenty of leadership to accomplish the task if they really had any intension of trying to make a change for the better. Al Azhar in Egypt and the Saudi clerics for the Sunnis and the Ayatollas and other high clerics for the Shia will do very nicely indeed. On a lower level there are also certain charismatic imaams, sheiks and a number of blabbering blowhards who attract the attention of the general public and manage to present some progressive (relatively) ideas for change that usually involve some very creative interpretation of Koranic verse and Haddith.

        Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking. All the creative interpretation in the world can’t make that book palatable to any of us. But I’m watching this trend with some interest. What I see is that although some of the clerical blowhards who manage to put forth a creative interpretation are considered to be wacky by their followers, it has the result of producing discussion and debate amongst the common Muslims. This is a good thing.

        A few months ago I witnessed a discussion between several Shia Muslims and a couple of Sunnis where the ideas of a Muslim woman television personality were brought up. All of the Muslim women were enthusiastic about her “feminist” ideas but the Sunni men scoffed at her and said she was an apostate. The Shia in the crowd all claimed their superiority over Sunnis when it comes to entertaining novel interpretations that lead to modernization. The Sunnis were made to appear like archaic dinosaurs in the group.

        Interesting to note is that there were a number of children and young people present who witnessed adults of Shia and Sunni perspective, and one American Atheist who participated in a heated but civilized discussion of religious ideas without killing each other and when it was fizzled out we all had a BBQ together and are still friends at the end of it all. The important point here is that there is no shortage of mumbling and grumbling in the ranks.

        What we have going on is a trickle down effect but it’s not coming from the top. It’s coming from the middle and I’m not sure how far down it’s reaching. I understand why you think there’s no Muslim leadership. It’s because they’re holed up in their marble palaces while the simple Muslim in the street suffers the consequences of corruption, lack of education, no healthcare and isolation from the West.

        Think about Algeria in the 90′s, Egypt now and certain developments in Syria. It was the many brave ordinary citizens who fought against the FIS in Algeria, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and it’s moderate Muslims now in Syria who are resisting the influx of Islamists in their fight against Assad. People who make comments “where are the moderates?” need to open their eyes and start talking to those moderates and listening to what they’re up against. Read Karima Bennoune’s new book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, for an inspiring explanation of exactly what Muslim moderates have accomplished in Algeria, Pakistan, Tunisia and Egypt. It’s the powers that be who don’t want progressive change. It’s the beards in high places who could be easing their followers into modernity who are failing their own people on a massive scale as they hide away in lives of seclusion and luxury.

  22. Message to the mods, re comment 29:

    I think I’m just going to stop posting images altogether as I evidently can’t seem to get it right to you guys’ satisfaction.

    I’ll just link to them from now on. I do wonder why the site has this facility if its use is largely verboten. I’m sure you have your reasons.

  23. From the article quoting M. A. Bari: Dress is our external symbol and in public life one has to care about our collective security; we have to look after our own as well as others’ safety. For a religious person one’s inner spirituality is as, if not more, important as external manifestation.”

    What a bunch of wooly double talk! Why Is my “inner spirituality” which is manifested in the desire to run around naked in public denied to me by everyone else, and especially his “keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” club?

    Does he also not see the “blasphemy” perpetuated by his club by suggesting the work and creations of his “god” are imperfect and must be covered up? But only the females! jcw

  24. Misinformation about the Qur’an is disseminated by Muslims themselves. Many claim there to be things contained in their holy book that aren’t. There are no predictions or prophesies of matters scientific. Whether or not there was at one time Islamic science isn’t something I’m qualified to comment on and would like to be informed about.

    Misinformation is the stock in trade of blind faithers. Just outside our town there’s an organisation calling itself Faith Works, which teaches children about the virgin birth, angels, miracles, and the ressurection; incidentally, almost every morning when I wake up I have a ressurection; I call it my morning glory.

    The poor mites have got to divest themselves of all that tripe before they can lead full and happy lives, or avoid embarrassing their friends and relatives for the rest of there puff!

      • In reply to #48 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #47 by Free Speech:

        What misinformation? Rise above the veil? Really? How about simply ripping the veil off?

        That does happen:

        Swedish women don headscarves after assault on Muslim;

        ‘Climate of Islamophobia’: Two attackers rip veil off French girl;

        French girl attempts suicide af…

        Hi Katy – I realise you think you are taking a higher moral position by advocating the right of a woman (or man, presumably) to wear a veil, and that by banning it we erode personal freedom plus we send out a message of intolerance. But I disagree (though I could be wrong). Firstly, there is no such thing as pure personal freedom. There are already loads of laws that forbid people doing things including appearing nude in public if it causes distress. Whilst, there are no formal laws on dress, society binds you and me and virtually everyone else in society to “looking normal”. For me the veil lies outside that, and the people doing it, know this very well. The point of the veil is not religious or cultural – it is political statement, and a loud one at that.

        Secondly, how do you know that you wouldn’t increase personal freedom by banning the veil as I suspect that most veil wearers (especially in the West) are wearing them against their personal will.

        By the way, if you went to a country where there were no rules about wearing veils, but all women wore them, would you wear one to respect local tradition or not?

        • In reply to #47 by Free Speech:

          What misinformation? Rise above the veil? Really? How about simply ripping the veil off?

          What you risk having happen is that one of our eager in house veil and Islam apologists will willfully (although there is a possibility that they are truly not aware of the difference between figurative and literal language) misrepresent your words in a literal interpretation in order to portray you as a hooligan.

          Oops, too late, looks like it’s already happened.

        • In reply to #50 by GPWC:

          The point of the veil is not religious or cultural – it is political statement, and a loud one at that.

          So should political statements be censored/legislated against by the state?

          • In reply to #54 by bob_e_s:

            In reply to #50 by GPWC:

            The point of the veil is not religious or cultural – it is political statement, and a loud one at that.

            So should political statements be censored/legislated against by the state?

            No they should not. Nor should they be **veiled behind the pretense*** that they are religious in order to curry special protected exceptional status.

            *an example of figurative language.

          • In reply to #54 by bob_e_s:

            >

            So should political statements be censored/legislated against by the state?

            Well, it’s all a question of degree. Should we ban political statements – of course, not. But there is already a type of censorship involved through the norms of common decency. For me the veil, as a political statement, steps over the line in so many ways. I would follow the French example.

        • In reply to #50 by GPWC:

          In reply to #48 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #47 by Free Speech:

          Hi Katy – I realise you think you are taking a higher moral position by advocating the right of a woman (or man, presumably) to wear a veil, and that by banning it we erode personal freedom plus we send out a message of intolerance. But I disagree (though I could be wrong).

          “But I disagree (though I could be wrong).”

          And that right there is the The Answer To Life The Universe And Everything. Even in that warm seductive glow that the hubris of being so obviously correct can generate you are willing and ready to be compelled by evidence and reason to
          withdraw from your position, aye, turn 180° degrees on it. Now if that were the case with our religious, superstitious, and woo worshiping friends this website and all those like it could close or just switch to pure science or topics we should really be dedicating ourselves to instead of having to waste so much time and effort battling excrudesences of (wo)man’s credulity.

    • In reply to #47 by Free Speech:

      What misinformation? Rise above the veil? Really? How about simply ripping the veil off?

      What you risk having happen is that one of our eager in house veil and Islam apologists will willfully (although there is a possibility that they are truly not aware of the difference between figurative and literal language) misrepresent your words in a literal interpretation in order to portray you as a hooligan.

      Oops, too late, looks like it’s already happened.

  25. In reply to #52 by godsbuster:

    In reply to #47 by Free Speech:

    What misinformation? Rise above the veil? Really? How about simply ripping the veil off?

    What you risk having happen is that one of our eager in house veil and Islam apologists will willfully (although there is a possibility that they are truly not aware of the d…

    Your comments make me smile, godsbuster.

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