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Wearing the burqa in our streets is a hostile act: the French are right to ban it

Our refusal to do the same has nothing to do with toleration: we just don’t have the political courage

By on Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A woman wearing a burqa walks past St Silas the Martyr Anglo-Catholic church in Kentish Town, London (Anthony Devlin/PA)

A woman wearing a burqa walks past St Silas the Martyr Anglo-Catholic church in Kentish Town, London (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Whatever one thinks of the French legislation, now in force, to ban the wearing of the burqa and the niqab in public places, it seems to be generally supposed that there is a very clear and overwhelming case for our own view. I think that there is in fact a particularly strong case in favour of allowing the wearing of the burqa in public places. But I think there is an even stronger case for banning it.

First, the case in favour. This is a country which prides itself, not always justifiably, on its tolerance. As Catholics, we should be particularly grateful that anti-Catholic intolerance is weaker than it was (though as we saw during the Pope’s visit, the new tolerance is not universal). Catholics ought to be tolerant of other minorities, because of our own awareness of the consequences to us when the old intolerance re-emerges, as it does from time to time. If you doubt that, talk to any Catholic who has unsuccessfully tried to adopt a child, though Christians from other backgrounds have also had the door slammed in their faces.

There are also the obvious recurrent cases in which the wearing of the cross has been forbidden by employers: earlier this week, a driver was stopped by his (Marxist) employer from putting his palm cross on his dashboard. But most anti-Catholic/anti-Christian intolerance in this country is hidden and subtle. The banning of the burqa in France has been blatant and, to some, offensive. The fact that 82 per cent of the French are in favour of it simply shows how hostile to religion the French are. So, as Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith put it earlier this week, “If anyone should start a campaign to restrict the way Muslims dress in this country, then the Catholic Church should be vocal in its opposition.”

That’s the case – a very strong one – for the avoidance of government legislation forbidding the wearing of this (or any) form of religious clothing, and it’s one we should be particularly aware of as Catholics. As Fr Lucie-Smith points out, “historically such legislation has often been aimed at the Catholic Church. Clerical dress is still illegal, for example, in Mexico, thanks to the anti-Catholic laws passed under president Plutarco Elías Calles.” It’s also illegal in constitutionally “secular” Turkey, of course, though wearing the burqa is not.

I think that though this is indeed a strong case, the case against the burqa is even stronger. It isn’t, so far as the burqa itself is concerned, the inevitable Catholic view (as we shall see). The real case for the banning of the burqa isn’t in fact a religious one, and there are many Muslims who insist that the wearing of this garment has no Koranic or other religious justification, that its origins are cultural, and that it should therefore be resisted here precisely on social and cultural grounds.

The very strong arguments against this uniquely unattractive garment are cultural, too. First, its wearing is an instrument, encouraged by Islamist extremists, aimed at helping to prevent the integration of the Muslim community into mainstream British society. Allison Pearson, in a persuasive piece in this week’s Sunday Telegraph, quotes the website of a mosque in the East Midlands, next door to which is a private girls’ secondary school, an offshoot of the mosque. From the age of 11, the niqab is a compulsory part of school uniform. She quotes the following, by “Muhammad the Agony Uncle”: “There should be no imitation of the Kuffar (non-believers) because “whosoever imitates a nation is among them”.

“A Muslim woman,” Allison Pearson continues, “is allowed to dress like a British slapper in the home, if it pleases her husband, but if the intention is to imitate Kuffars – that’s creatures like you and me with our brazenly exposed wrists – then it’s forbidden. According to Mr Muhammad, if a Muslim woman starts copying the style of the country she lives in then she will soon be part of it – and we can’t have that, can we? No man is an island entire of itself, said the poet. A beautiful sentiment, but the women of this mosque and its girls’ academy seem to be instructed, quite specifically, to be an island, separated from the mainland where the rest of us live.” So that’s the first part of the case against the burqa and the niqab: that the wearing of them in public is part of a separationist Islamist (not Islamic, there’s nothing Islamic about it) political campaign, which is already causing, in mainstream British society, precisely that hostility to the Moslem community which radical Islamists want. These are the bitter fruits of “multiculturalism” as it has actually developed: separatism and mistrust.

To be a society at all, we need to be able to see each other. That’s the beginning of any communication between individuals. As Charles Moore argues in this week’s Spectator: “The justification for banning the burqa and the niqab in France surely has nothing to do with the French ‘separation of Church and State’. If it is justified … it is solely because the veil hides identity. Common citizenship involves trust, and trust cannot exist where one cannot see people’s faces in public. Obviously there can be necessary functional reasons for concealment – surgical masks, beekeepers’ helmets, extremes of cold – but concealment in normal circumstances in an open society amounts to a hostile act.” [my italics].

“The truth is”, as Stuart Reid argues in the paper this week, “that we have a right to know to whom we are speaking and, in the name of national and personal security, a right to be able to identify (perhaps in a police line-up) the woman with a bulging shopping bag and a hidden face who is sitting opposite us in the Tube. These rights trump the right to religious freedom.”

Except that it isn’t even religious freedom we’re taking about. It’s the freedom to live in a state of cultural apartheid from the rest of us, a state precisely of “separate development”: it’s the right for these women implicitly to declare every time they walk in our streets “I may be walking among you, but I will never be part of you: I reject your entire culture and everything you stand for”. It is, indeed, a hostile act, and the French are right to ban it. In this country we never will, because we will never summon up the necessary political courage; we will congratulate ourselves on our tolerance and back away. Well, so much the worse for us. We will all now have to live among the bitter consequences.

  • Quareitur

    Finally some sense – at someone at the Catholic Herald can call a spade a spade

  • Ancient Briton

    Christians must stand up and be counted to counteract phoney Islamophobia claims. Women, Christians and Jews are not inferior so let not are silence condemn us. http://ancientbritonpetros.blogspot.com/2011/04/bystanders.html

  • Bet

    I am amazed at the gall of men who feel they have the right to express such comments about what a woman chooses to wear! “A hostile act”? To whom by whom? Oh such vitriol – from men. As a woman it really doesnt bother me in the slightest what a Muslim woman chooses to wear.

    It bothers me that my British “culture” forcefeeds me and my children images of slappers like Lady Gaga and Rhianna on a daily basis. But Im sure men would be the first to call me “intolerant” for expressing an opinion in this way.

    France’s decision is not only racist its sexist. If a woman wants to respect her religion in this way – let her. Is she really a security risk or is this just an excuse to incite more irrational phobic attitudes to Muslim culture?
    I dont remember the 9/11 bombers being dressed in burqas do you? Furthermore I was taught by a nun and I no one would have dared to question her choice of dress. This Catholic hypocrisy is very disappointing. For God sake stand up for women as our own culture goes down the toilet!

  • http://linenonthehedgerow.blogspot.com R Collinsassoc

    Excellent article. The burka is rapidly becoming symbolic of Islamic opposition to the culture of the west. Ban it now before it becomes an issue of mammoth proportions.
    After all, one has to dress in accord with Muslim sensitivity in Saudi or many other Muslim countries so why should they object to conforming to our standards.

  • ms catholic state

    I would rather Islamic immigration was banned…..not the burka.

  • Bwaj

    I find your attitude disgusting. It is Islamic hardliners who would blow us to pieces who force women to wear women to wear the niqab and hijab.

  • Bwaj

    I would rather both.

  • Ratbag

    At least you could see the nun’s face!!!!!

    Western culture (not alone British) shoves images of scantily clad ladies and gentlemen in front of our faces on a regular basis… this has been happening since the 1960′s! Blame the permissive society for letting the whole thing snowball! Mary Whitehouse predicted this and she was mocked and vilified!

    It is not a new phenomenon – however, it does not mean to say we have to tolerate it!

    There are a few magazines advertised on the telly which make my eyes roll and my belly laugh… who gives a monkey’s pudding what Katie Jordan Scantily Clad Price gets up to in her hunt for a taylor’s dummy or which z list celeb has lost a lot of weight thanks to an enema using a garden hosepipe and a bucket of Flash? Get a flying-figroll life!!!!! Just ignore the mag shelves and stick to quality reading!

    Do you remember the case of a prospective terrorist being caught on camera dressed in a burqa? His gait gave him away! Also, that thieves have dressed in burqas to carry out robberies to avoid being identified on CCTV!

    I remember MP Jack Straw making the screaming headlines because he asked one of his constituents to remove the veil from her face so that he could understand what she was saying – he’s got a hearing problem!

    In the Koran, modesty in dress is just as important to its faith as the Roman Catholic faith. Did you know that ‘immodest’ clothing for both men and women constitutes as sin?

    Headscarves are fine – women wore (and some still wear) mantillas and hats to Mass. At synagogue, women and men wear headgear; it’s the same for those who go to the mosque.

    We are all required to dress MODESTLY… not go to extremes.

  • Stewart Griffin

    “It bothers me that my British “culture” forcefeeds me and my children images of slappers like Lady Gaga and Rhianna on a daily basis. But Im sure men would be the first to call me “intolerant” for expressing an opinion in this way.”

    It was female led feminism that insisted that women should be free to explore their sexuality fully and without restraint. This is one of the consequences.

    Oh look: “I am amazed at the gall of men who feel they have the right to express such comments about what a woman chooses to wear!”

    You moan about women looking like ‘slappers’ and that men call you ‘intolerant’ for shaming them, but in the preceding paragraph complain that men have no right to an opinion on female dress. Perhaps if men were not attacked when they ask for female modesty (how dare they tell women what to wear!) they would be more inclined to help you.

    “If a woman wants to respect her religion in this way – let her…For God sake stand up for women as our own culture goes down the toilet!”

    Women must not wear the skimpy clothes that offend you, but their right to express themselves when they wear things that do not bother you, but do bother others, must be respected. Your cultural war against scantily clad women is acceptable, but complaints about a foreign culture being imported are wrong. Is it one rule for you, but another for those who disagree with you?

  • Ezra

    Pope Benedict would appear to disagree. Does Dr Oddie consider himself more Catholic than the Pope? That way lies the funny farm.

  • http://madaboutmahound.blogspot.com/ Gary Rumain

    An excellent article. The burka must be banned throughout the West. Along with the koranimals’ terrorist training manual – the koran.

  • http://madaboutmahound.blogspot.com/ Gary Rumain

    You appear not to understand why the sharmutas insist on wearing burkas in the West but not in their own countries.

    P.S. Men don’t wear burkas – unless they are up to no good.

  • Rabodetoro99

    how dare you catholc fasists call a womon a slapper your no differant from moslem fasicts but we will never let you go back to murdering anybody you find to have differant views to you
    p.s what is the popes problem with gays maybe a phycholgist could work it out [in 2 minutes
    yours rabo

  • Anonymous

    Does Dr Oddie consider himself more Catholic than the Pope? Almost certainly.

  • http://profiles.google.com/scott.nani Mariana & Scott MacDowall

    Your latter arguments don’t outweigh the first half, though thank you for giving post sides of the debate.

    It would be sad day if the law of England is used to dictate dress, even though people inevitably abuse freedom. Banning things should always be done as an absolute last-ditch measure.

    Catholicism doesn’t work without freedom. We need it, we must give it and put up with the negative-effects.

    There is right to be on guard against Islam, just as there is against secularism, but banning the burqa won’t make Britain a Christian country again. It wasn’t our laws that made us a Christian nation in the past – but our hearts, and our hearts influenced the law.

    We must be careful not to lose hope in God’s providence for the Christians in England, or to assume people in a burqa act from evil motives.

  • Ratbag

    John Simpson wore a burqa… in the name of journalism!

  • Bet

    I do not need your help or your approval.

    Im not waging a war against scantily clad women, merely raising a point that men say there is one rule for such women -freedom, and another for women wearing a burqa, and that it is men who are making BOTH rules.

    Women in burqas are not trying to force non muslims to dress like them. Scroll to Gary Rumain’s comment about banning the Koran and you will see that burqas are a non issue, more an excuse for ignorant people to vent their agression against an imaginary “them”.

  • Ezra

    Nice people your blog is attracting, Dr Oddie.

  • Stewart Griffin

    “I do not need your help or your approval.”

    Good, your not going to get it.

    Your previous comment:
    “It bothers me that my British “culture” forcefeeds me and my children images of slappers like Lady Gaga and Rhianna on a daily basis”

    Your latest comment:
    “Im not waging a war against scantily clad women”

    You use insulting language, ‘slappers’, to describe scantily clad women and further claim that images of such women ‘bothers’ you, but now claim you are not against them.

    “there is one rule for such women -freedom, and another for women wearing a burqa, and that it is men who are making BOTH rules”

    As already pointed out, it was feminists who led the charge to sexually ‘liberate’ women. This female led movement is what has led to women wearing next to nothing on your television everyday.

    Also, in the French national assembly the lone opposed vote to the burqa ban was by Daniel Garrigue, a man. In the French senate the lone vote against the Burqa ban was by Louis Giscard d’Estaing, a man. Let’s not forget that the leading anti-muslim French politician is Marine Le Pen, a women.

    Still, I believe the burqa ban has been neither a particularly male nor female initiative. Rather, the fight is between those who oppose multiculturalism and those who support it. Both groups feature men and women.

  • Phillip Turnbull

    Bet, Come here and live here in Muslim Indonesia with me and see if your views are the same a year from now. Mr Oddie’s comments are 100% correct. The woman wearing a burgq is wearing it because she does not believe that that woman are equal to me; she does not believe that anyone has the right to convert out of ISlam and believes if they do they should be severely punished – even with death; she does not believe that Catholics or any christians have a right to freedon of worship in Muslim territory (which is anywhere they live and their mosque’s call to prayer can be heard); she does not believe in democracy. That’s why she is wearing the burqua.
    It has no place in secuar democratic countries. It is an affront – and a public proclamation that the wearer – and usually her husband and relatives – despise the culture they are living in.
    The bitter cosnsequences of all this are already well established amongst you.
    ps. Today is good Friday. Not 10 minutes from where I am writing this – the police have just removed a 150lb bomb outside a Catholic Church which later today will be packed with people, supposedly guaranteed freedom of religion under the Indonesian constitution. There are 20,000 police on security duty in Jakarta alone this weekend, protecting churches. Why is this necessary?
    Ask your lady friend in the burqua. Of course – she wont answer you. You are a ‘kafir’ – an infidel.

  • Oconnor17

    Sometimes rules have to become laws because people flaunt the rules.
    To reverse the position, women or indeed men could stand outside churches or mosques in bikinis. But we don’t because we socially understand that this is against the rules of our society. We know this rule with no need of law. If we had those girls in bikinis telling us we had to wear them, or they wore them for their religion…. well we’d laugh!
    The use of the niqab does exactly that but by covering rather than exposing. It shouts that anyone not like them be will be condemned.
    The rules say that we dress as we want as the circumstance dictates. Only when the niqab or the bikini must be worn always then a threat to choice occurs and we have to we have to pass a law.

  • Dcruz

    They wil have their but my comments will not be put on the site.God knows why???

  • Dorothy Cummings McLean

    Men aren’t allowed to say what they find a hostile act? As a woman I find the burkha and niqaab extremely insulting, both to society at large and to men. They suggest that ordinary Western men are somehow gripped with lust simply by looking at a woman’s face, seeing not a human being but a mere tripwire of desire. Frankly, the misogynist, misanthropist assumptions behind nomadic Saudi dress makes me feel squeamish about the male relations of women who wear it. Do they see me and other “uncovered” women as fellow citizens or as easy meat?

    To dislike the niqaab is no more “racist” than to dislike SS uniforms in leather shops. Both garbs flirt with or celebrate ideologies offensive and frightening to those who love ordinary, decent friendliness between all members of society. Many Muslim women want nothing to do with the niqaab. I have met many intelligent, friendly and pious Muslim women who do not as much as cover their hair in public, except on cold days.

    The French law, I understands, bans not merely such offensive, separatist clothing but all face coverings. This is also, I believe, the law in Germany. I recall seeing one young German female convert in Frankfurt; her face was a circle within her modified–so legal–Islamic dress. She was talking earnestly and amiably with a Catholic priest-professor. With her face showing, she was obviously a part of the conversation, obviously a part of society, and obviously a human being, socially equal to the man to whom she was speaking, not a hidden female presence behind a black bag.

    Incidentally, I wear long skirts, boots, hats, and my hair tucked up in a bun. On most days, I am showing as much skin as the average Muslim woman in hijab. There is no need to go to the extremes of desert fashion to look modest.

  • Dorothy Cummings McLean

    I’m sure he considers himself more British than the Pope. Almost certainly.

  • Anonymous

    When Muslim men stop adopting the baseball cap, t-shirt and jeans and grow long beards, when I see the woman walking alongside the man and not two paces behind then I might – might – accept the argument for full coverage.
    The Muslim women who front in the media for the freedom of choice to disappear are, in the main, educated and articulate. We hear nothing from the majority of the women covered from head to foot because they have been obliterated as sentient human beings in the public sphere.
    In a roundabout way Bet is right. It is about control of one human being over another and one can see the attraction of having half the population deeply subservient to the other – were one a certain type of man.
    However, where I part company with Bet is in the ‘woman as victim’ argument. This simply does not obtain in western culture – and it’s culture we are talking about, not religious observance.
    The most enthusiastic proselytisers of letting it all hang out have been women; women in the media, and who are largely middle-aged, educated and articulate, whose consistent message to other women and girls over the last three decades is to be ‘sexy’, ie to dress in a way that engenders indiscriminate desire. Women, more than anyone, have been the cheerleaders for the sexual objectification of women in western culture. Having said that, no one forces women to dress provocatively.
    There are, of course, claims that full coverage causes myriad serious health problems through lack of Vitamin D manufactured by exposure to sunlight, but they are not comprehensively proven.

  • andrew

    Along with the Koran (which has undergone many changes over the centuries), the Hadiths and the Sira form part of Islam’s core texts. Hadiths are said to be transmissions of Mohamad’s words, actions, teachings and silences by those of his Companions and wives or those who knew these people. The Sira is Mohamad’s biography as recounted by his Moslem biographers. The Hadiths have great importance and relevance because they number in the thousands and are a major source of Islamic doctrines and practices and also help to explain and enlarge upon the Koran. The most reliable and respected Hadiths are those compiled by two imams, Bukhari and Muslim, each of whom rejected thousands of suspect writings/oral accounts. Therefore, when discussing any topic to do with Islam, it is essential to know what the Hadiths say and not merely to rely on the Koran.

    There are two passages in the Koran, as other commenters have noted, which call for modesty in dress for both male and female. However, it is the Hadiths which explain this by Mohamad’s statement that the female is in essence an aw’rat (“a shameful orifice”), that her body comprises many ‘shameful orifices’ which must be covered until death covers her permanently, and his order that females must be covered and not seen by any except husbands, male relatives, children and eunuchs. His order (of ‘veiling’ or ‘screening’) comes from his career as a warlord in which he and his army of followers captured females, killed their male relatives, and then divided the females as ‘spoils’ or ‘war booty’ (Sura 8 of the Koran is so titled). Those females, forced to wed Moslems, were to be covered, veiled, screened, while those left visible were to be treated as sex slaves.

    After describing the killing of all male adult members of a tribe, and the ‘gifting’ of the widow of the chieftain to Mohamad by his men, this Hadith describes the wedding feast and her ‘screening’:

    “Narrated Anas,
    The Prophet stayed for three days at a place between Khaibar and Medina and there he consummated his marriage with Safiya bint Huyay. I invited the Muslims to a banquet which included neither meat nor bread. The Prophet ordered for the leather dining sheets to be spread, and then dates, dried yoghurt and butter were provided over it, and that was the {banquet of the Prophet}. The Muslims asked whether Safiya would be considered as his wife or as a slave girl of what his right hand possessed. Then they said, ‘If the Prophet screens her from the people, then she is the Prophet’s wife but if he does not screen her, then she is a slave girl.’ So when the Prophet proceeded, he made a place for her {on the camel} and screened her from the people. ” (Sahih Bukhari 7.62.89)

    Many other Hadiths, including those recounted by his child bride, Aisha, recount the order to veil or screen entirely from view all the females (‘the believing women’), as the acknowledgment of the above view of females and that females, of all ages, are the property of males.These screened/veiled females were only permitted out in public for needs of nature or for duties to do with being wives/mothers.

    In Islam, according to the Koran and supporting Hadiths, females do not enjoy the same legal, social or religious rights as those of males and the Sharia (the ‘way’/’path’ in Islam as well as its laws) is thus premised on the inherent inequality in Islam that is held to exist between Muslim males and females, Muslims and all non-Muslims, and free people and the enslaved. Thus, the ‘veil’ or face mask is a statement of this inequality and, by the inference it poses to ‘unveiled’ or ‘unscreened’ females, a very real danger to their safety and freedoms (which is why an imam in Australia described unveiled, non-Muslim females to his Muslim male congregation as “uncovered meat.”.

  • Athanasiusi

    I completely agree with William Oddie’s article. Wearing the burqua /niqab is an advertisement for Islam. They are doing their utmost to propagate their religion. Islam is the most intolerant “religion” in the world, this is an undeniable fact.
    This hostility towards muslims has been brought about by themselves. They have nobody but themselves to blame. They have consistently nurtured a culture of fear in the West, of which many of them are proud and the moderates who speak out, but very softly, benefit from this. The moderate voice of Islam is very muted. If it were to be vociferous, strong and resolute I’d be the first to applaud. But with the exception of a mere handful it’s ambivalent.
    I find this attitude of acceptance naive and simplistic. “Everything is fine – what’s all the fuss about- live and let live. ” Wait until they start introducing Sharia Law and chopping off people’s hands, flagellations , stoning etc.

  • Alban

    This is all very well, but perhaps Rome ought to insist that all clergy wear their clerical collars when out in public to show that they are not ashamed to indicate that they are Christian. What is the matter with many Catholic priests? Are they in fear of being assaulted if they wear a clerical collar?

  • Profideboostore

    Whatever one may think of the burqa, the Moslem women are an example to the Christian ones by the way how they dress. I’d rather see banned the progressive bikini kind of dress.

  • http://alcuin-constant.blogspot.com/ Alcuin

    The larger issue at hand is the slow Islamic takeover of Britain and all of Europe. Why is this happening? Because the churches are feminized. They emasculate their men. In fact, most masculine men stay away from church. This emasculation of men has spread into wider society. Inside the church, sissy men and pushy women. And outside the church, feminists/western women (all western women are feminists) have aimed to destroy the church. The irony there is that feminists have destroyed the churches and ended up with Islamic cliterodectomies. Should have been happy with the gentleman’s patriarchy we had.

  • http://alcuin-constant.blogspot.com/ Alcuin

    Speaking of head coverings, why did Catholic women decide to stop covering their heads at Mass? I don’t know of any document that changed things. Perhaps men should one day just show up at Mass with their hats on.

    Women took their head coverings off, female religious became Marxist and angry at everything, women have gotten closer and closer to the altar at Mass. Maybe instead of some Anglicans joining us, we should join them since we don’t seem to believe in anything anymore except politically correct nonsense and whatever placates the latest female demand.

    Religion should make men more masculine and women more feminine. This isn’t happening in the Catholic Church, nor in any other church. I think that we should begin to follow the Muslim practice of separating males and females. We should also offer many more all-boys schools than we do at present so that we can get away from all the p.c. and feminizing crap.

    Come and visit my blog at http://alcuin-constant.blogspot.com/ to see a better perspective. The Muslims are the least of our problems. This silly article about burkas is more feminist smokescreening.

  • W Oddie

    I wish I knew.

  • W Oddie

    Silly, silly, silly. This isn’t a question which involves any understanding of basic Catholic doctrine. It’s a matter of how we each understand the six o’clock news. When the pope speaks about the faith of the Church, there would have to be very unusual circumstances indeed to justify any Catholic not to accept his guidance: I can’t see MYSELF ever doing it.

  • W Oddie

    You’re sure on what grounds exactly? Another utterly foolish post. see above.

  • W Oddie

    No I don’t. See below.

  • Marie

    I was listening to an American journalist (I forgot her name) who either used to live in Turkey or still does, and she made an interesting observation about this Islamic practice of covering women with the hajib/burqa. She noted that in “secular” Muslim countries such as Turkey that this practice is never simply about devout Muslim women observing a particular dress code but also involves an element of coercion towards other women to observe the dress code as well. This is the practice of Islam — it’s never about only Muslims following Islamic rules/customs but also coercing non-Muslims into following them as well. This has been very evident in countries like Nigeria where Christians have been forced to comply with Sharia law.

  • Bwaj

    Four Myths about the Crusades
    By Paul F. Crawford

  • lapaya

    Dear Bet, your slip is showing. The crux of your whole argument is that burqa wearing is, …”what a woman chooses to wear!” Well, you seem to know very little about the male mentality of ,ahem, manly Moslem men: woman is some”thing” owned by her father or husband in Islamist societies. And, boy, don’t they love to keep things that way in their European households as well! No Bet, Moslem women, in many families, don’t choose to wear burqas; they just let it be worn.

  • Anonymous

    When a moter cycle driver goes into the petrole station the law states he must remove his helmit. How is france racist? Nothing in this law pertains to race.  The bourka/nikab is a mask. Why they wear it is not relavent to the effects. It is the flag of Islamisim. Read the book “Now They Call Me Infidel” 

  • Djhsidfhs

    the creater of this website does not have a clue about islam so therfore should have no say about it, how can you comment on something if you know nothing about it.

  • Anonymous

    the burka and the baseball bat spring to mind

  • Jon

    me too. I’m really upset by the whole thing. England is essentially a Christian country (albeit more by culture and tradition than by religion), immigrants from countries with cultures and religions that are totally alien to us should be forced to conform to our ways. In addition, being Jewish I am all too aware of the new wave of antisemitism brought to this country by Islamists, seeing the niqab on the streets of London unnerves and unsettles me.

  • Jon

    @690a38be84292ce343c708f2c9f03bcd:disqus  and Iapaya, yes and the argument that it’s womens “choice” to wear a niqab holds no water. I’ve heard countless times (from women as well) that it’s womens choice to take part in the most degrading types of pornography (degrading to women that is). What people see as their own “choice” is often not their own choice at all but a result of social pressue, ideology and/or simply misguided beliefs.

  • http://twitter.com/brianbeddowes Brian Beddowes

    What a pathetically pompous article. Rather than going on about political courage to ban the Burka why don’t you have the courage to just say you don’t like muslims. Rather than eluding to it with your lazy comparisons and tenuous reasons. And before you all say “We’re not racist we jus…” believe me you are exactly that. Don’t forget “all men are equal” and for most you i’m afraid that means muslims too.

  • Joe Bradley

    Would the Brits be as tolerant of folks wearing black ninja costumes and ski masks in public?