07 October 2006

I'd prefer Jack Straw to wear a sack over his head.

Of course I'm too polite to say this outloud. Nuff said!

8 comments:

  1. So you support the oppression of women then? Doesn't sound very progressive....

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  2. Terry Perkins9/10/06 5:03 pm

    If I walked in to your workplace wear a balaclava with a cross on it, would you not ask me to remove it. I'm a Christian, and I wouldn't be offended if you did. It is usually the opressed or indoctrinated that need to hide themselves. Veils are not the only way of expressing their faith. Is the standard head garment not enough.
    Besides, all Jack Straw did was request her to take it off. Say what you like, the Bhurka is a sign of opression.

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  3. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am no friend of religion. My point on this however has nothing to do with religion.

    Although Jack Straw is genuine in his concern, he is also very rude to criticise someone's dress sense in this way. That is all I am saying. Of course he is entitled to his opinion but I wouldn't tell Jack Straw how to dress and he is arrogant for thinking he can tell somebody else how to.

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  4. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am no friend of religion. My point on this however has nothing to do with religion.

    You are however, an authoritarian of the first order (as, ironically is Mr Straw). In this particular case you are supporting the freedom of a group of people in authority (a patriarchal minority of Muslim men) to infringe the liberty of another group of people (Muslim women unlucky enough to be born, or later come, under their influence). Why does this not surprise me?

    Although Jack Straw is genuine in his concern, he is also very rude to criticise someone's dress sense in this way. That is all I am saying. Of course he is entitled to his opinion but I wouldn't tell Jack Straw how to dress and he is arrogant for thinking he can tell somebody else how to.

    I have honestly never heard this debate couched in terms of fashion. How odd...

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  5. eben, sorry for the slow comeback on this comment.

    I understand that 'some' muslim women are pressured to wear these things and that is wrong. But Jack Straw (and others - the Daily Express wants them banned) is pressuring these women not to wear them and that is wrong too. That is all I am saying.

    From what I can see these women have come to their own decision, their mothers don't wear the veil, so I don't see where this pressure you talk of has come from.

    If you are going to criticise veil wearers in this way, shouldn't we also criticise a patriarchal culture that drives hordes of young women to wear skimpy clothes on a weekend?

    My mom finds Goths and Punks discomfiting, should we ban their dress sense as well? Would Jack Straw ask a rocker to cut his hair because his fringe is covering his face? Where would it end? And you have the cheek to call me an authoritarian?

    The truth is you only support the freedoms you like and want to interfere in more areas of people's lives than I ever would. Thatcher talked of freedom (just like you do) but the truth was oppression, she poked into aspects of people's lives that is no business of the government. Her government became increasingly centralised and dictatorial.

    Minorities in this country are experiencing freedoms like never before because of this Labour government. Think of the oppressive attitude to gays during the Tory years compared to gay marriage and equalised age of consent, look at access rights for the disabled, look at how the Tories now have to talk of social exclusion and equal opportunity for all. I have never felt freer walking the streets of this country. Oppressing people for how they dress is going back to Tory oppression.

    As long as what someone wears is not overly offensive or dangerous it should be allowed in the workplace and what they wear in their freetime is up to them.

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  6. From what I can see these women have come to their own decision, their mothers don't wear the veil, so I don't see where this pressure you talk of has come from.

    If you honestly believe that the majority of people who choose to wear veils do so of their own volition, and that the attitude to women which wearing a veil embodies is a wholesome one, I suppose that's your problem.

    My mom finds Goths and Punks discomfiting, should we ban their dress sense as well? Would Jack Straw ask a rocker to cut his hair because his fringe is covering his face?

    No, but it is Mr Straw's right to refuse to meet a constituent who is, say, naked, or otherwise dressed in a manner that he finds offensive.

    Society defines a fairly broad range of dress to be generally inoffensive, and a somewhat narrower range to be inoffensive for official occasions (attending court, meeting with one's MP). Requiring people to hew to these standards is no great imposition.

    And you have the cheek to call me an authoritarian?

    Well, you support ID cards in principle, advocate confiscating the private property of organisations who disagree with the government and, judging by your most recent (libellous) post about the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, support the war on drugs. So yes, you're authoritarian.

    Oppressing people for how they dress is going back to Tory oppression.

    Nobody here is suggesting that we ban wearing the veil in public places. We are merely talking about my right to refuse to interact with someone who is dressed in a manner that I deem offensive.

    As long as what someone wears is not overly offensive or dangerous it should be allowed in the workplace and what they wear in their freetime is up to them.

    It is an employer's right to decide what is offensive. Many employers require their staff to wear suits; I understand that many strip clubs require their staff to remove their clothes. British Airways prohibit their staff from overt displays of religious allegiance.

    Why do you insist on interfering in this private interaction between employers and employees?

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  7. eben: "If you honestly believe that the majority of people who choose to wear veils do so of their own volition"

    Well these particular women are arguing just that and I have no reason to disbelieve them.

    "No, but it is Mr Straw's right to refuse to meet a constituent who is, say, naked, or otherwise dressed in a manner that he finds offensive."

    This is an outrageous statement. So you would support an MP that discriminates against someone because of the way they dress?

    There is nothing that contravenes public decency laws in wearing a niqab, to compare it to being naked is obviously ridiculous and you know it.

    "judging by your most recent (libellous) post about the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, support the war on drugs."

    All drugs should be legal. Sweden is more liberal than us and they have ID cards. ID cards are just technology, they are only authoritarian if you have a authoritarian government which any reasonable person (even Peter Tatchell) will admit we don't have. It is an insult to our past and to people fighting oppression in countries that are authoritarian to suggest otherwise.

    "It is an employer's right to decide what is offensive."

    It was clear at the interview that this woman would cover her face in the presence of men (did they not realise this when she requested not to be interviewed by men). There was nothing in this woman's contract to say she shouldn't wear a niqab. I say let the woman teach, if she proves inadequate as a teacher then sack her, not before. I think she is stupid to wear a niqub and that this would distract pupils from learning, but she may compensate for this by being a better teacher in other ways.

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  8. i find it bizarre how people are arguing that muslim veil wearers are damaging community cohesion and participation in society. firstly, a very small proportion of Muslim women wear the veil - I live in Whitechapel, an area with is nearly 50% Muslim, and you only see perhaps 3 or 4 women wearing the veil each day amongst thousands of women. secondly, the Muslim teacher who was sacked for wearing the veil was working at a Catholic school (an obvious example of cohesion in my mind) and the fact that veil wearing women were going to see Jack Straw, their local MP, highlights that they are certainly are participating in their community.
    Regardless of whether you agree with the veil or not it really shouldn't have become such a prominent national issue.

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