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Does it matter if women wear the veil?

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Cultural differences should always be celebrated but let's hear your opinions, does it matter if a woman wears a veil? Should it be her decision or society's?

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      14.02.2009 18:36
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      veil? why?

      Something we have been studying in religious education.. My class have been asked their oppinion on whether the women of society(any society) should have to wear a veil because of their religion.

      In some religions Women have to wear the veil because they aren't allowed to show any skin only eyes but that is only a law to their country not ours, so if they come to the UK they shouldn't wear one, If we go to their country we are expected to wear a veil out of respect so why can't they respect our wishes? If we don't wear one they prance on and on about respect, But when they come to our country they don't abide by our laws.

      It is The womens choice if they wear a veil or not many have gone on protest about it but they WANT to wear one, they say it gets them more respect off men...in their counrty yes it may, But it might not in our country.

      I don't really think it matters if a woman should wear a veil or not its just the respect side of thing that boggles me

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        27.01.2008 19:32
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        Its England, Not Aghanistan!

        I have a problem with these women who wear the full veil, when all you can see is their eyes. I don't object to them covering their hair, its now different to a hat, or bandana. So that to me it a-okay.

        But, these full veil things where you only see there eyes are intimidating. It is like a balaclava or a mask and I feel very uncomfortable with them.

        I want to know what they have to hide? It is offensive to me as an English woman walking on an English street and feeling intimidated by these women with their masks on. I could not go to Afghanistan (or somewhere similar) and where my jeans and vest tops (despite the heat over there) because I'd be arrested and possibly killed for it. So why are we expected to roll over and accept them coming to our countrys and going against the grain of our cultures??

        If a person walked into my betting shop wearing a mask or balaclava I'd press my panic alarm, because logic dictates that 'hey, he has his face covered so is probably about to rob me' right?? Yet these women have their faces covered all the time - in our banks, our post offices, our airports, etc. etc. and we do not bat an eyelid.

        I almost feel like it is an invasion and we aren't noticing. Please don't mistake what I am saying for prejudice or anything similar. I am not at all prejudice, and I respect their culture (well, some of it anyway). I do not blame the womenfor wearing the veil. Thy are doing it a) because they have to, b) because they are allowed to and possibly c) because they are afraid not to??(!).

        No, I blame us as a country and our leaders for allowing it. Why can't all of the Muslim ladies in England who wish to wear their veils just wear them on their hair? That is all the Koran asks of them, so they aren't going against Allah or anything, and then we will all be happy.

        Also, I would like to point out that, as a multicultural Britain, we should all be making an effort to integrate with eachother right? Well by hiding your face and making yourself scary and different, your not going to do that. British people are going to take offense, and shun you. It seems, these women want to benefit from our laws, and benefit from the safety net we provide here, yet they aren't prepared to meet us half way. It's like, OK love, you come to my country, have free nhs treatment for you and your kids, claim a few benefits, allow our laws to protect you, but dont worry about learning our language or making the effort to fit in. Continue having the best of all of your worlds, having your cake and eating it. Us british will sit here and just nod politely?? RIDICULOUS!!!!!

        If a Muslim who wears the full veil is reading this review, please explain why/if you choose to? And what problems you have come up against because of it? Thanks.

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          01.05.2007 00:53
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          don't wear it

          Veil is a piece of cloth worn mostly by women over the head and only certain followers of Islam use it on their women to cover their entire bodies except the eyes.

          Veil was worn by Assyrian and Persian elite Christians and Jewish faiths have veils covering the head. Most worrying and dangerous aspect of veil practice is when women wear it to hide their faces.

          Personally it doesn't bother me when a woman is walking on a road with her face hidden. Problem I have is what goes on behind the scenes. Will there be more Muslims betraying their country in the future like the five jailed for life yesterday for planning a mass killing spree using bombs.

          Veil could be a good indicator of dangers we face from fanatics living amongst our midst. It is the fanatical Muslims who hate the rest of the society and want to impose their way of life and religion on all of us.

          Veil is a problem in integration of the society. Some people find it difficult to let go of their past or adopt our values. They will do anything to cling onto the past.

          I stress that if a woman wants to wear a veil she should be allowed to do so as long as it is her choice 100% and not men in her family, it becomes a problem when it becomes a symbol of defiance.

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            24.04.2007 23:37

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            why should it be worn

            I presume this category was started during media furore after Jack Straws comments and a rather famous veil case where a Muslim woman said she was setting example and defending Muslim women's right to wear a burqa (veil).

            My review will be about Muslim burga because I don't envisage anyone else wearing it unless they had a medical or mental problem.

            Some extremist Muslims believe that their wives, daughters or daughter in laws require protection from male society. The ladies in question could be very pretty, they could attract a suitor, not allowed in Islam. A bigger question is can burqa stop a randy woman. She can use it to hide her identity and get up to all sorts of saucy stuff.

            Burqa is banned in some Muslim countries.

            I am certain that some women are forced to wear a burqa and some have to do it to keep family happy and some will do it to stand by their belief.

            I find Burqa very offensive, I think it is oppressive. Wearing it in summer creates problems of smelly nature because it stops air going in and heat absorbed by the cloth creates a cauldron of smell, sweat and unpleasantness that most people won't put up with.

            Another question is why not Men hide themselves as well. This question should be asked by Muslim women when they are forced to hide their face.

            A veil is OK to wear as long as it only covers body parts or the head. Face should always be visible. No matter what any person or religion demands. I don't think any religion demands face hiding I have seen Muslim scholars saying this much.

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            19.12.2006 11:14
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            Let the3m wear it

            It doesn't matter if a woman wears a veil.

            Nobody tells me what to wear why should I pass judgement on what others should wear?

            Cultural, religious or fashionable, whichever of these influences a woman to wear a veil, it should be respected by all.

            I was very annoyed by Jack Straws stance on this issue. Blair had hundreds of British armed forces killed in Iraq. Straw didn't oppose him. It was very convenient for him to attack women who number less than 5000.

            I believe these women can wear the veil, because it is their right to wear it, if someone doesn't like it, it is their problem.
            Anyway veils are probably the most efficient insulators, winter months could be harsh, I wonder if there are veils for men too.

            I recognise the fact that veils are banned in two Muslim countries. That is done to keep some of the people out of mainstream society in those countries. Does Jack Straw wants the same here?
            I think Jack Straw should be voted out of parliament. That will in way put fear in his replacement and maybe the new person will deal with the real issues.

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              28.10.2006 15:40
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              Need to think about both sides.

              I find it extremely saddening that our country has come to such a point where a group of law-abiding people are being victimised and the way they CHOOSE to live their lives is questioned and pointed at.

              The amount of viciousness and anger that surfaced was truly shocking as the public responded to the media. It told me alot about the people of Britain. Some responses were heartening when I saw that not all had been blinded by the ridiculous cries of extreme protestors that the veil should be banned.

              Sorry about the rant! But my view is simply that we have always been a tolerant soceity, and we have proudly upheld this example up for the rest of the world no matter what they were doing. Our country is rich with the vibrant and various cultures.

              But the actions of the tiniest proportion of people have coloured of how the entire Muslim community is perceived, until everything they do is scrutinised and questioned, wheras no other religion is hardly ever mentioned daily in the newspapers!

              I have heard some people say that the veil is a political symbol which frankly I find preposterous! Up till now the view was that the veil was enforced and a symbol of oppression. But as it became evident that almost all the Niqabis in Britain did it out of choice, as we saw that even White converts and those of other cultures to Islam, chose to veil themselves, a different reason had to be sought. Political statement.

              There is nothing political about the veil. It is a level of spirituality that some women feel they are ready for, a commitment they want to take. It in no way hinders them to lead a normal life. I have seen leading proffessionals who wera the Niqab: from teachers to doctors of neuroscience, from pharmacists to opticians.

              I see it as no different to other exprssions of faith like the Sikh turban, the nuns uniform, or the orange clothing of Buddhists, or the skullcaps of Jewish people: I have respect for each and everyone of these people and in fact admire the strength of their faith!

              Some have argued that they feel uncomfortable walking down the street and not beeing able to decipher the expression of a Niqabi. Firstly, how many times do we consciously try to seek out the gaze of a stranger on the high street, and communicate with them? In fact, most of us would admit to try to avoid catching anyones gaze, let alone try communicate via expressions.

              Secondly, is that reason enough to ban the Niqab?!

              And thirdly, I can tell you from personal experience that you can have a very productive conversation with a Niqabi. The tone of voice, the eyes easily convey the emotins of the woman.

              I am sorry if i have unintentionally offended anyone, but I just had to join in with the debate!

              Thank you for reading.

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                25.10.2006 16:57
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                Muslim women deserve all the scrutiny that comes their way. It is outrageous that they are allowed to wear such garments which completely alienate them from society.

                It is very difficult to converse with somebody that only shows two eyes, as facial expressions cannot be seen nor interpreted. Not to mention the risks that is processes. I mean you can’t even tell if it’s a male or female under there. This is a perfect platform for terrorists and fraudsters to misuse the veil.

                I can understand that the garment is religious; but how on earth can they expect to be accepted in society when one cannot see their faces.

                This is after all a British, Christian country; people should be willing to adapt to this culture and be willing to take offence when they fail to adapt. There is a big difference between practising your religion in a sensible manner and trying to erratically change the British lifestyle to suit your religion and needs.

                When people from a white, British background visit certain Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia it is forbidden for women to not wear the veil, if they do not choose to cover their faces, they will inevitably be abused for it.

                So why are Muslim women so special they can dictate the law in this country as well as their own?

                In conclusion Muslim women should be forbidden to wear such veil that covers their whole face and mould into the British community. If they don’t like it they should go somewhere else.

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                  25.10.2006 10:03
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                  there is no real problem here, just sensationalism

                  Well I guess you knew I’d have to put my two pennies worth in sooner or later with such a hot topic as this. I was going to leave this one alone but after reading so many, in my opinion, misinformed, blinkered and right wing view points, I thought it was my duty to put up a more balanced argument. There have been a few well-argued reviews and they know who they are, but by and large many seem like they were written by ex-members of the Einsatzgruppen, so clutching a biography of Wat Tyler in one hand and a portrait of Tony Benn in the other I will leap into the fray. I’ll warn you now, it could be a bit of a long-winded rant, and you know what I’m like. Before getting down to the whole central theme of the wearing of veils and Muslim culture in a wider sense, the one thing that many of the previous discussions seem to pivot on is a very “us and them” view of the debate. Us, being taken to mean I suppose, white Anglo Saxon Protestant British and them presumable Asian Muslims, but lets look at the two parties involved.

                  Us and Them – Part One – The British.

                  So who are the British, well that’s easy, isn’t it? Well not really no. Britishness is an elusive quality really, it has its uses when a place like the Falkland Islands are under attack and we need a unifying theme to get behind, but go to Scotland and Northern Ireland and the whole idea of Britishness seems as popular as Robert Kilroy Silk So lets try to define whom this British person that so many people claim to be so proud of being really is. Well, go back just over two thousand years and we find a country made up of the mixed remnants of various waves of migrants from central Europe, the last of whom we know today as the Celts. We like the idea of Celts, the fierce tribal ancients who stood up to the might of Rome. They had a rich culture, striking artwork, proud ideals and a quick temper and some impressive moustaches. With the Roman invasion, or should we say assimilation, the gates opened to new stock, not so much to a race of Italians but as their troops were levied from all over the know world a massive mix of races enter the melting pot. There were Germanic legionaries in Colchester, there were Middle Eastern cavalry on Hadrian’s Wall, there were Spanish troops in York and many of theses settled and raised families after their military service was over. After the collapse of the Roman system new settlers arrived from Northern Germany and Jutland, a group that we remember as the Anglo Saxons, never a unified people, not to begin with at least, a mix of tribes as diverse as a Dutchman from a Dane from a Pole. In 1066 the Normans arrive and take over the country, basically fourth generation Danish Vikings who had been ruling Normandy, who add their chaotic genetic make to the mix. As the Middle Ages move on even more mixing takes place French merchants, Dutch religious refugees, Flemish traders all go into the mix and with the expansion of British Colonialism we have people from all over the globe becoming part of the British make up. So when you try to define yourself as British, unless your family lived up a tree for the past 50 generation then quite frankly genetically, historically and culturally you’re a bloody mess, a mongrel nation of the highest order.

                  If you analyse peoples so called patriotism it seems to fall a bit sort anyway. “I love my country I do, well not Scotland or Wales obviously and I don’t like northerners, but the rest I love. Except the Midlands it’s all a bit poor there, and they’re all thick in the West Country and inbred in East Anglia, but London I love. Well not North London obviously its full of wide boys, but South of the river, you can’t fault it, well not the east end, and all the Jewish bits, my street I love my street, well not them at number 22….” Patriotism in this country has always seemed to be more about bashing foreign countries rather than being proud of our own. After all its our national duty to hate the French ist it?

                  Us and Them – Part Two – Behind the Veil

                  So as we are talking about the wearing of veils, lets try to define whom it is we are discussing here. The problem with the whole them and us argument that so many people resort to is that where as Britain is a defined geographical place, the other camp is less easy to define. Islam sets out dress codes for both men and women, loose fitting garments for both, a long skirt and scarf for women, the Hijab. Although many people have used quotes directly from the Koran to help form their argument, they are missing the point somewhat. In the Bible Adam and Eve are portrayed wearing fig leaves in the Garden of Eden, but would anyone seriously advocate that. The wearing of such clothing is not a dress code as such; it is a statement of devotion and an overall attitude, an extension of their religious practice, the Halal. Remembering that Islam is a faith and not a place means that there are many Islamic identities and interpretations amongst its diverse make up of peoples and some are therefore culturally more strictly enforced. Some will wear an open face scarf; others will wear a more full face covering with just the eyes showing. There are differences of interpretation within the broader framework. But isn’t that the same with any religion, Catholicism is always seen as more strict in its Christian application than Protestantism for example and the same holds true within Islam. The “them” argument is also difficult to uphold considering that the women in question may be second or third generation British Asians who rightly regard Britain as their homeland. They may have been born here, they make a home here, they work here, they pay taxes here, they vote here. So British by any definition.


                  The idea of the Hijab being an attitude reflected in a dress sense is echoed in other religions. Although largely died out now, Jewish women up until the nineteenth century would cover their heads as a symbol of pious observance and some of the stricter Hasidic sects still use wigs for this very purpose.

                  In the Christian tradition St Paul had some interesting things to say about the covering of heads.

                  "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head - it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head" (I Corinthians 11:3-10).

                  Bet that sits fairly uncomfortably with some of you and it walks all over the argument that Christianity doesn’t make some strict observances on anyone wishing to take it strictly by the book. And if you argue that it’s an out dated requirement and open to modern re-evaluation then surely Islam is allowed to undertake its own interpretations of its codes and laws. So it would seem that the idea of covering the head through religious devotion appears in all Abrahamic traditions, whether people chose to observe it to the letter is a different issue, the fact remains that according to all three “religions of the book” there is a strong tradition of head covering and Islam though the centre of the debate at the moment is by know means alone in this.


                  Everyone is someone else’s weirdo.

                  So what are we objecting to here with the wearing of veils. They don’t look like the rest of us, is that it? Well nor do I half the time, my wardrobe seems be made up of a combination of Mad Max leathers and Lord Byron silk shirts, does that mean that because the rest of you have different dress sense, I should get the bling out and Chav up. If it’s the dress code then where else are we going to draw the line of common acceptability, Goths, Punks, people who mix checks and stripes, people who were pink, tweed jackets. Surely on a purely dress code, its everyone’s given right to be able to undertake what the Americans call “the pursuit of happiness” and that includes what they wear, be it for religious, practical, fashion or what ever reason.

                  Religious Tolerance.

                  So assuming we all agree that we want to live in a society where there is no fashion police and you can where what ever you want, meaning that everyone else can wear what they want too, where does that leave us. Many people have argued that being a country that is Anglican it is in poor taste for people to wear clothes that represent so adamantly an anti establishment view. Well considering that Sunday attendance amongst Church of England worshipers is now around 1 million, a sixtieth of the population I would say that there isn’t actually much support for the official religion of this country. There has always been a wide range of diversity amongst the Christian Church anyway even to the point of long internal disputes, assassinations and war, so who are we to advocate our brand of religion when it seems no more safe and stable than any other. Cultural mixing and religious evolution are ongoing factors in any country and the mixing of Islam and other eastern views with western doctrine is nothing new. One of the accusations that helped close down the Knights Templar on that fateful Friday the Thirteenth in 1314 was the charge that they had become too influenced by Arabic thought and learning, still you can blame the introduction of algebra to the west on them, and the European numbering system, and astronomy, chemistry and much more. The other religious military order of the day, the Knights Hospitillars gave us…. wait for it, the St Johns Ambulance, I know which one I would be most impressed by.

                  We don’t seem to object to Sikhs wearing turbans, Hasidic Jews in big hats and ringlets, Krishna devotees in their colourful garments handing out vegan food, so why are we getting so wound up about the covering of a women’s face. People have previously levelled the argument that you can’t wear crucifixes in Muslim countries. There are a few things to say on this. Firstly, statistically you are probably not one of the one-in-sixty that actually goes to church so why are you bothered? The second point is that this is actually wrong. In the stricter countries, such as Saudi Arabia this may be the case, but I went to a Coptic Christian service in Egypt just for the experience and it was very openly Christian, which is hardly surprising as the Copts make up nine out of fifty seven million of the population.

                  I also find the argument that if you can’t wear a cross in Mecca then you can’t wear a Hijab in Leicester to be childish. Saudi Arabia is a long way away, why continually compare us to a country that bears little resemblance to use. What is so wrong with being able to say that we like the fact that we are more tolerant of other cultures than some of our neighbours, otherwise everything spirals down to the lowest common denominator. So if we have broken down the argument that being religious is hardly a requirement for being British, apologies for the one in sixty but you know what I mean, and that religious and cultural interaction have brought some useful advances to this country and that we like the idea that we are free to dress how we like. Where do we go now? Although I don’t see it as even remotely related as others have covered the following point with great passion, if not eloquence, we should proceed to the whole security issue.

                  Take cover, that woman is wearing a veil, she might explode.

                  The so called “war on terror” is being used as a lever for any policy the government wants to enforce, such as security cards and arming the police, when the real reason for its efforts is actually because war makes money, especially if you have shares in Haliburton and Abram’s, makers of the US number one battle tank (Bush, Cheney etc). In the wake of 9/11 and the London Bombings the whole Muslim identity has been put under the microscope, but how representative of the Muslim faith were the perpetrators. Well probably about as representative as the IRA are of the Catholic Church. Just because a group with a grudge against western foreign policy happen to be Muslims does that mean that they are pursuing a religious cause, of course not. We don’t call Basque separatists Christian Fanatics so why do we assume that Middle Eastern anarchists are acting out of religious fervour. Its just easier to believe that there is a religious crusades taking place, after all George Bush thinks so, and remember the man with his finger on the button is a fundamentalist himself, he believes in Adam and Eve and the world being 6000 years old, but he’s our deluded psycho killer so that’s alright I guess. Are veiled women any more of a security risk that anyone else. Well no veiled women ever dropped a bomb on Japan, no veiled women ever invaded another country against strong public and legal opinion, no veiled women ever shot Kennedy, okay a bit flippant but to be honest if you are going to commit a crime wearing a floor length burka and head scarf is hardly inconspicuous. Terrorism has always been in existence, when the Tartars first fired heads of dead soldiers over the walls of the Black Sea ports, when the Mongols made an example of a city through total annihilation, that was terrorism, its always been there and I suspect nobody was saying “ban the wearing of veils and everything will be alright” So what are we left with, an irrational media frenzy to sell papers, well the Daily Jackboot…err…Mail at least and a few small class room incidents that would had have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t Muslim women at the centre. In six months time it will all have blown over, the Labour Party will be worrying about the change of leadership, the Tories will be worried about their continues non-electability and Bush will still be kicking the crap out of the Middle East, and all eyes will be on I’m a Celebrity or some such drivel and we can all forget this was ever an issue. Mind you if they ever strike oil in Bradford!!!

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                    23.10.2006 15:05
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                    I wonder what Muslim countries would do if visiting Christians flaunted thier faith so obviously!

                    The veil. Bit of a hot potato just lately, isn’t it? I wasn’t at all sure whether I should write in this category, having the wonderful talent of being able to put both feet in my mouth and still offend someone, but today something happened which leaves me with something to get off my chest.

                    I live in Birmingham, which is ethnically diverse and has always had a very small minority of women who wear the veil. Typically these were older Asian ladies who, from their appearance, one could tell they were particularly devout Muslims. Birmingham’s answer to the growing migrant population is to segregate them; so the city is pretty fairly divided into majority white, black and Asian areas with very little interaction between the three. Therefore these veiled women would rarely be seen outside their immediate community and a person could literally go a lifetime without seeing a woman in the veil. I’m talking the 80’s here, when I was finding my feet at around 11 or 12. We lived in a predominantly white area, but I had friends who lived in Aston (very much a Muslim domain) and this is really the only reason I ever encountered such women. I’d say in those days a white person from an upper class area would never enter such places in the city (ha!) and probably thought no-one in ‘our fine country’ would ever be wearing a veil.

                    Anyway, today I bumped into a woman who I’ve known for years but haven’t seen in quite a while. I say bumped into, what I really did was step aside in the shop so she could pass and she said ‘Chris?’ – it took me a while to recognise her as my mini skirt and wonderbra wearing mate has now taken to wearing a full niqab! She wasn’t wearing the full black veil; she had on one of those which sort of wrapped around her chin and mouth, and it got me thinking about this whole issue on a more personal level.

                    Why do women choose to wear a veil? I think that’s the number one question. I can understand Muslim women wanting to cover their bodies because, for those who are devout, their religion dictates this aspect of the lives. I’ve read up a little bit about the veil since the media furore broke, and the repeated argument against it is that there’s no specific mention of the veil having to be worn in any of the credible Muslim texts. This draws my mind to the ever present worry of fanaticism.

                    Does anyone remember when we realised Bin Laden probably wasn’t, after all, in Afghanistan? We’d bombed the sh*te out of them and had to fix on something else to defend the West’s actions – that something else being the inhumane treatment of Afghans by the Taliban. One thing our Western media was very quick to pick up on was the absolute rule that women must wear the full burkha, that awful head to toe blue thing which a woman could be stoned for not wearing in the presence of a person other than her husband. We were up in arms about this barbarity; there were protest marches against the burkha and prominent Birmingham Muslim women were appearing on local news berating the wearing of a burkha.

                    What’s the veil, if not a more trendy looking burka? It doesn’t even seem to be a Muslim thing anymore either; it’s an Asian Muslim thing. We have a small African community in East Birmingham in which most people follow the Muslim faith. They have their mosques (oddly not nearly as elaborate as the mosques within the Asian community), their Halal foodstores and restaurants but you will not see a veil. The women cover their hair and wear long, loose African garments, which is all that’s asked of them in their Koran.

                    There is an area of Birmingham which seems to have a lot of veil wearing women, and on an utterly shallow level it’s actually quite surreal walking among them. It’s one of those things; when I see a single woman wearing the veil I don’t really bat an eyelid anymore, but it really is quite intimidating when you realise you’re the only woman in a certain Asian supermarket who isn’t wearing one! And the one thing I *do* notice in these circumstances is the fact a lot of these women are very young. The other thing I notice is that a few of these very young veil wearers are actually white, but that’s a whole new discussion.

                    Why are these teenage Asian girls wearing this hideous garment? Blimey, if that’s a girls fashion these days I’m glad I’m 30! Seriously, most of them seem to be going for the sexy eyes look with their smoky eyeshadow and pencil so I think I can safely say it’s not a modesty thing. So why? I’m at a loss on that one, but so many more women seem to be taking to the veil than ever before that I can only think (in my probably small mind) that it’s ‘the look’ they’re going for.

                    Does it matter if Muslim women wear the veil? That’s the heading of the category, so I’ll answer the question. Yes, I think it does matter that so many Muslim women are choosing to wear the veil in the UK. What everyone seems to be forgetting is the fact that despite how many different cultures come and live here, we are a Christian country and our religion should be shown the respect that we show others. It’s bad for inter-racial relations and simply serves to isolate a certain section of the community.

                    It could also be dangerous. Terrorism is the number one concern, of course. I wonder how easily a man could dress in niqab and waltz onto a tube? Would anyone really bat an eyelid at a woman in the veil walking into a crowded cinema? But there are other dangers. People are getting a bit annoyed over the veil row. I’m not sure it’s a big enough issue yet, but when two widely different cultures clash they really clash. Eventually there will be an ‘incident’ and the veil will become an inflammatory concern. It will only take one drunk thug to think he’s a Nazi and it could cause a large scale race riot.

                    From what I’ve seen on TV, women who wear the veil are concerned about the retributions they will undoubtedly receive if and when such an incident occurs. And I hate to say it, but they probably will be the ones who will be persecuted if this whole situation escalates in the near future. They’re being slowly turned into an embodiment of what we believe a terrorists wife or mother would look like. This is, obviously, not on but these women are merely fanning the flames by continuing to wear the veil when so many thousands of non-Muslim people are trying to tell them how offensive they find it.

                    In a free society such as ours, I of course have sympathy for the women who want to live a peaceful life while wearing the veil. But I do wonder how many of the women I see wearing one choose this lifestyle themselves, and how many are pressured into it by over zealous husbands and fathers.

                    I sincerely hope I haven’t offended anyone with this review, I’ve deliberated over every word and if offence has been caused I apologise and categorically say none was intended.

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                      22.10.2006 20:30
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                      Who cares

                      The question, according to dooyoo, is: Does it matter if women wear the veil?
                      And the answer is: Not to me, it doesn't.

                      Personally, I couldn't give a toss if someone wants to hide their face, for whatever reason. Unless, of course, I'm carrying a large wad of cash (as if), and they're carrying a dangerous weapon...are there any other types of weapons?

                      This current debate seems to me to be more about dodging the real issues rather than what a woman chooses to wear. I can't believe that Tony Bliar has jumped into the debate - hasn't he got more important things to worry about? Y'now, like a war or two (still just the two, isn't it?).

                      Still, the debate is here so here's my tuppence worth.

                      I know next to nothing about the customs of the Muslim faith, or any faith for that matter. All religions seem equally nonsensical to me. Why anyone would want to wear a replica of an execution device, as in a crucifix, is strange. Wearing a turban and not cutting your hair seems a weird way to celebrate your faith. Cows being sacred animals in a country which often has famine problems is a bit of an oxymoron, and don't even get me started on circumcising wee boys...or young females for that matter.
                      So, hiding behind a veil, when you think about it, doesn't sound any stranger than any other weird religious custom. If, indeed, it IS a religious custom rather than a form of
                      subjugation.

                      If a muslim woman chooses to cover her face with a veil, then I don't see a problem with it. Obviously there are exceptions. Teaching children is the most obvious, and
                      topical, but I would have difficulty in some other walks of life dealing with a veiled person (we can only assume that it actuall IS a woman behind the veil). Sometimes communication is about more than words, or even eye contact. This is why we sometimes have so much difficulty expressing ourselves online and resort to using emoticons etc. Sarcasm is probably the most difficult, and there's not even an emoticon for that! How can you communicate effectively in a face-to-face situation with your face hidden? It's like disguising your voice when talking on the telephone.

                      There are also legal and safety considerations. I can't believe it's in the public's best interest for a woman wearing a veil to be driving a car. I may be wrong, and I certainly don't have any experience of wearing one, but surely a veil would impair vision and maybe even restrict head movement.

                      Talking about public safety, if the present mob in Downing St get their way, we minions will have to fork out £100 or so for the privilege of carrying an ID card. If that's such a necessity, why would we allow anyone to cover their face and so, in effect, walk about wearing a disguise. And before anyone mentions it, that also applies beards, or hoods, dark glasses etc.

                      Its all a farce.

                      Probably the whole thorny issue has more to do with a backlash against the political correctness gone mad that this country has suffered over recent years. Now it's
                      apparently verging on racism to comment on people's religious foibles. Which is strange really, as last time I looked, religion and race were different things altogether.

                      I don't get it.

                      I don't know the reasons for wearing a veil (does anyone?).
                      As far as I'm aware, nothing is mentioned in the Koran about it. Of course, there's many things taken out of context from the Christian 'good book' as well.
                      It seems it's more to do with conserving a woman's modesty and protecting her from the lustful intentions of men. If I have any problem with the veil, this is probably it. I object, as a man, the implication that unless her modesty is covered, the likes of me will turn into a slabbering, raving fiend ready to leap on and rape the first woman who flashes some flesh at me. HA!
                      Don't worry girls, most of you are in very little danger of that happening! I know, I know. I can't speak for the whole male species, and a sizable number do little to give any other impression other than being knuckle-dragging neanderthals, but implying that all males are like that is akin to suggesting all muslims are suicide bombers.

                      Also, we have the integration argument. Our tolerant, liberal society. I'm afraid that doesn't wash with me. We're not a liberal, tolerant society, we're just more liberal and tolerant than many others (allegedly). Isn't it still a fact that the heir apparent of this country cannot marry a catholic? Very liberal and tolerant.

                      I think that if you go to live in another country, it's your duty to assimilate into that society. I'm not saying we should all turn into clones, diversity is a good thing, I just wonder why someone who came from a country which was strictly Islamic, would even want to live in an immoral backwater like the UK. If your culture was so great, why'd you leave?

                      Anyway, I'm heading off topic.

                      My view is that women wearing a veil is no big deal, with certain provisions that have already been discussed, but if the indigenous population of this country want to moan about it, object to it, or even scoff at it, then 'deal with it'.

                      Tolerance cuts both ways.

                      If I have to be tolerant of other people's race, religion, sexual preference or whatever, then they have to be tolerant as well and respect the customs of this country - the issue of Christmas cards being offensive to non-christians springs to mind.

                      The bottom line? If you want to walk about with a bag on your head, fine. But if I want to suggest that the Muslim faith is pure tosh and utter claptrap, then that's got to be fine as well, hasn't it? Not that I would, mind you, I wouldn't want to be the next Salman Rushdie. I also wouldn't single out Islam over any other faith - I doubt it's responsible for any more atrocities then the rest.

                      Anyway, if nothing else, the current furore might have some positive benefits. If it means that we can discuss these sorts of issues rather than be frightened of offending any particular group then surely that's a good thing. And I don't expect any veil wearers will complain about being the centre of attention. After all, they're hardly going for the incognito look.
                      For me, it just shows religion and religious beliefs in
                      their proper context. Irrelevant.



                      ©proxam2006

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                        22.10.2006 17:04
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                        Overview of the Veil Issue

                        I’ve been gripped on Saturday nights recently but found myself wondering why, exactly. The thing is, whilst millions have been tuned into the X-Factor and a subsequent dose of Ant and Dec, I’ve been following the new series on Channel 4 called *“Hitler’s Holocaust”. It’s yet another documentary about the Nazi’s Final Solution; yet another set of revelations as to just how evil the Nazi regime really was. I’m not sure why I watch it bearing in mind I already have a fair idea as to how Hitler’s attempt to wipe out all of the Jews in Europe mapped out but the programme-makers continue to find further, previously undiscovered, atrocities and the watching audience continues to gasp in horror. And yet debates in the current climate flare up about Muslim women wearing veils. It’s a strange old world and one where I question myself for watching such documentaries and berate myself for not being more interested in the struggle for integration in this country, at least as far as the intricacies of religious dress wear is concerned.

                        Jack Straw, the Leader of the House of Commons, started the debate by making it known that he preferred women that wore the niqab (a full veil covering the whole head apart from the eyes) to remove it when seeing him in his surgery. His comments were subsequently supported by Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality. The fact is that many people, including Muslims, feel that the all-encompassing niqab is repressive to women. Others feel that to ask a woman to remove a veil is an encroachment of their individual human rights. In a liberal society based on democracy then it becomes one of those issues that teeters on the fence of common sense. In the spirit of true democracy then the solution should be provided by the decision of the majority. The reality today is that the voice of the minority is more powerful than it has ever been and issues like this have a habit of becoming blown out of all proportion.

                        An issue closely allied to Jack Straw’s comments is the teaching of young children while wearing a niqab. The impact on children is a concern and the rights of the children themselves should take precedence over the individual rights of a woman wearing a veil. Perhaps not so clear cut is what happens when the teacher/assistant is not in front of a class in which case where the teacher or classroom assistant is willing to remove her niqab if no adult males are present then maybe the school should attempt to accommodate her wishes without jeopardizing the interests of the children concerned. This was not endorsed when a recent court case involving the rights of a teaching assistant wearing a face veil in a school in Tewksbury went to appeal and the school assistant lost.

                        My limited understanding (for which I apologise) of the wearing of veils extends to it being a rite of modesty amongst Muslim woman and a way of deflecting any sexual intentions from the male population. This mainly affects single, unmarried women but varies greatly from country to country and from community to community. I understand it’s even banned in Turkey and Tunisia although other countries like Afghanistan see it as almost obligatory.

                        To add fuel to these already burning fires, Nyamko Sabuni, 37, has caused a storm as Sweden’s new integration and equality minister by arguing that all girls should be checked for evidence of female circumcision; arranged marriages should be criminalised; religious schools should receive no state funding; and immigrants should learn Swedish and find a job. Supporters of the centre-right government that came to power last month believe that her bold rejection of cultural diversity may make her a force for change across Europe. Her critics are calling her a hardliner and even an Islamophobe. Apparently, Sabuni believes all immigrants must try to become proficient in Swedish and argues for a total ban on veils being worn by girls under the age of consent, which is 15 in Sweden. She is quoted as saying “Nowhere in the Koran does it state that a child should wear a veil; it stops them being children. By putting a veil on a girl you are immediately saying to the outside world that she is sexually mature and has to be covered. It’s wrong.” Interestingly, Sabuni is, herself an immigrant, born in Burundi. Consequently, Muslim groups in Sweden are organising a petition to have her removed from government.

                        Of course, this recent fracas comes not long after the vilification of Pope Benedict XVI who, speaking in Germany, quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things. As a result, Pakistan summoned the Vatican's ambassador to express regret over the remarks, as parliament passed a resolution condemning the comments. Not only that: The head of the Muslim Brotherhood said the remarks "aroused the anger of the whole Islamic world", Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya condemned the Pope's comments, in Iraq, the comments were criticised at Friday prayers by followers of radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference said it regretted the Pope's remarks.

                        When you ponder on the tinder box nature of the current state of play with the Muslim community, you can’t help but speculate on how much is down to the continuing integration of people into the country and how much is linked with the sad state of affairs in Iraq. We know that the 7/7 Bombings were as a direct result, we know that the British troops would like to come home and we know that there are those within our community that would support further radical actions within these shores. Personally, I find myself wondering why it is that I never hear about outrages committed against the Hindu community or the Buddhists or anybody else apart from the Muslims. I conclude that it simply has to be all part of the bigger problem in the Middle East and I worry that the combined US-UK approach to what borders on colonialism in the Middle East is no longer appropriate in this day and age where communication makes the world a very small place and the legality of acts like the invasion of Iraq are questioned more than they’ve ever been.

                        Today’s news carries quotes from the head of the Commission For Racial Equality – Trevor Philips – that the current debate may spiral into racial violence if tolerance isn’t achieved on both sides of the debate. With racial attacks reportedly up 600% since the 7/7 London Tube Bombings, the feeling is that it wouldn’t take much to spark fresh violence. Writing in The Sunday Times today, he refers to the infamous, police beating of Rodney King that was captured on film and led to race riots in Los Angeles 15 years ago. With a phrase that makes me think of Jack Nicholson’s Joker in the Tim Burton, Batman movie, Rodney King is credited with asking “Why can’t we just get along?” Maybe that question sums up the whole episode.

                        It’s 61 years since the end of the Second World War and the ensuing Nuremberg Trials that brought some of the Nazis to book for their war crimes; crimes so heinous they beggar belief. For anyone that’s caught up in the veil wearing debate and rates it as a ten on their Richter Scale of nationalistic abhorrence then I would encourage you to watch the series on Channel 4 on Saturday nights. It may provide you with some context; it may even make you realise where issues like this can ultimately lead. Whichever it is, remember we are a liberal nation that prides itself on its democracy and Human Rights record. Also, remember what could happen if ever we let this change.

                        Thanks for the read (and for any of the previous 299) and be sure to let me know *your* thoughts.

                        Mara.

                        *I tape and watch X-Factor and Ant and Dec to watch later *grin*

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                          22.10.2006 11:32
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                          You do as you want but don't expect me to do the same!

                          The way Dooyoo asks this question is not really asking about the rights and wrongs of this issue but it asks if it really matters either way. It doesn’t ask the writer to decide the issue, which I think is a good thing.

                          In my view it doesn’t matter to me personally. I really don’t care if a woman wishes to wear a veil, a burkha, or anything else. This is a free country and if we are just talking about clothing and what is acceptable, anything goes. I see some really awful and almost offensive sights on the street in my home town every day of the week but I don’t have a problem with this.

                          There are bikers, Goths, hippies, tramps in smelly rags, chavs (there lies another story), young women in clothing that is obviously two sizes too small and only just covers their modesty (or what would be their modesty if they had any), young men in the hot weather wearing nothing but short shorts that leave nothing to the imagination as they run up steps, etc, but does it matter? NO, I would say.

                          On that basis wearing a veil, or not, doesn’t matter either.

                          However, if I was a Muslim woman who WANTED to wear the veil because of my beliefs it would matter to me if I was prevented from wearing it, or reviled for doing so. This is part of the Muslim religion and culture and if that’s what I believe, then I should be allowed to observe it.

                          Both sides of this argument are totally valid but the big problem is that ideas from western culture and belief cross over with Muslim culture and create frictions. As a non-Muslim I believe that I should be able to wear what I want and that other people should have the same rights.

                          So, if a woman wishes to wear the veil she should be free to do so.

                          However, we are not a Muslim country and although we should respect the rights of these people, they should respect our culture. In Britain, our culture is more open. We consider that if a person hides their face, there is something to be wary of. Take the recent fuss about teenagers in hoodies and the archetype bank robber with an SAS mask on. Hiding the face in our society gives rise to suspicion, founded or not.

                          In my opinion, although it doesn’t matter what these women wear and they should be respected for their beliefs, they should also respect our culture and remember that we are not a strict Muslim country, and that people here may not understand them properly. If they want to live in a strict Muslim country then Britain is not the place for them.

                          Respect works both ways!!

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                            22.10.2006 03:47
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                            I'm having a laugh

                            All women should be forced to wear the veil everywhere in the world.
                            Why do I say this, because it cures many problems.
                            First of all its a money saver because your wife won't need any make up or an expensive hairdo.
                            No other men will know what she looks like after all.
                            No more botox or face lifts required either.
                            I figure that if we get all the women in the world to wear veils after a while we won't know if we have got a good looking wife or not. So from that point of view it won't really matter what she looks like. Which really is a good thing.
                            Another advantage is if there are too many women around your house its easier to arrange a marriage to get rid of one of them. After all the prospective husband won't be embarrassed to be seen in public with her even if she has a full beard and no teeth.
                            Women won't be as concerned whether they look as good as each other either.
                            Any women who can cook and clean and have children will do very nicely.
                            For this reason I suggest we don't let women go to public places unless they are covered from head to foot in one of those nun type outfits that I've seen being worn.
                            That's another advantage, no more designer clothes. One set of cover alls in the wash and the other she can wear. I think that its got to be cheaper to manufacture all womens clothes in one style and one size fits.
                            I am feeling really cheerful thinking about this.
                            I'm fed up of having to tell my wife that she looks good to me as she is.
                            I've told her she doesn't need cosmetic surgery or liposuction or any other treatments for her appearance but, she just won't listen to me.
                            So I figure that if we can make it law so all women have to keep all their flesh covered then that solves my problem and the problems of many others around the world. This cosmetic surgery thing is very pricey you know.
                            There are benefits to be had for men and women alike here.
                            One example is we can turn the heating down and save on energy bills.
                            This could help to reduce the effects of global warming.
                            Most women feel cold when men think its too hot so we are onto a winner here also.
                            At the moment my wife won't put a jumper on if she's cold but she'll turn the heating up full so then I'm too hot. Well if I get her to wear all that gear, problem solved.
                            If she's hot she can open some windows and I will put a jumper on.
                            I also find that whenever my wife starts moaning the look on her face adds to the displeasure for me and I won't have to look at that so often. I won't have to look at my mother in law either.

                            So what's the harm come on men lets get together and make all the women in the world wear the veil.

                            I wonder how much property costs in Afghanistan, maybe if I tell the wife were buying a place in the sun she'll go for the idea.

                            On a serious note:
                            Can anybody honestly think of any good reason why men or women should hide their faces from the same species. We are all the same animals under the skin. For most people your religion is what your parents told you was true. I like logical thinking. Respect you parents beliefs but use your own intelligence to work it out. Modern people have the advantage of better education and the freedom to speak their views aloud.
                            I say throw the veils away and work towards sexual equality and a world of peace & harmony.

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                              21.10.2006 15:30
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                              I don't want a police state

                              As far as I was taught by my moslem family members and friends' both men and women in Islam should dress modestly. This means that no one should go around with their flab hanging out and wear skin-tight clothes.

                              The decision to wear a niqab (face veil), hijab (scarf covering hair) or to not cover the head at all is up to the individual woman in this country, and is due to their own personal interpretation of Islam. This is along with this country's principles which allow people freedom of expression.

                              I personally don't care if someone wears a niquab as long as they don't affect anyone else by their way of life. I personally find lots of what people do in the name of religion stupid and that includes nearly all the main faiths in this country.

                              I also think if you tell an adult over 18 in this country that they can't wear something which they interpret their religion requires which actually doesn't harm anyone else, then you are sliding down the slipery slope to a police state. Next you will be saying to lots of men that they have to be clean shaven because their long bushy beards makes it hard to identify them. (If you have every seen someone after they shaved off a very big beard you will understand what I mean.)

                              All the people I have spoken to personally who are unhappy about niquab-wearing women have been brought up in an area where there are no non-white people so why they say they can cope with people being different in reality they cannot. (I've exprienced and watched this in everyday life.) They are also surprised when I point out to them that certain people are muslim or are likely to have had a muslim upbringing, because due to the hysteria caused by the media they don't realise that most muslims are non-political and lots of women don't even wear a hijab.

                              I also don't know how you can give this any stars.

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                                21.10.2006 01:00
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                                I'm against full-face veil, clothing is up to the individual. No hats, no hoodies, no face-veil.

                                I think there are a lot of people who choose to sit out on this debate. I do not wish to stay in that pen and so I wish to offer my thoughts.

                                I think it is great that our nation accepts a great diversity of religions and respects their idealogies within. We also live in a nation where free speech is accepted throughout.

                                However, I believe that this allowance is being fully taken for granted and it has got to the point where it is no longer freedom of speech and freedom of rights but a public offering of minorities who wish to demand their rights and freedoms up to the point of enforcing their views and activites on others. And because there is no real ruling on what is and what is not accepted within the bounds of 'freedom' this means that the law is forever changing, and is it the english people who have the power in deciding what goes and what doesn't? no not really, because by the time a law has been passed, disagreed on and voted out by the british, it is far too late and a whole subclass of laws to suit the new law have been generated. In short, and apologies if I have not made myself too clear, I don't think the british people really have a say in whether our freedom can be exploited or not - it seems to happen all too fast.

                                But to the point in question. should it matter if women wear the veil or not?
                                In short, yes it does, or course it matters. We live in a society where we accept what people believe in and welcome them into our societies (at least we are bound to do so by law and order). But when a religious belief is taken to the ridiculous and when what is sensible and practical is rubbished and replaced by a hardline belief that isn't even part of the said religion, why should there not be reason to go against the grain?
                                If I was trying to understand someone who had covered thier face, would it not be sensible to remove it? That is the bottom line, and instead of sense coming into play, we argue that a religion is more righteous than what is sensible. Did the god/gods/deities that be not give us faces to be seen, to be recognised with and be identified by? And where in Islam does it even suggest that a women's face should be covered up all but the eyes? If someone wants to take a belief to the max then they should expect backlash from the mainstream public. If I was to cut off my nose and appear on a beauty advert how would that affect the product line? Similarly if one is an english teacher and comes in dressed in a religious robe that goes against mainstream dress and speaks with a face that is covered up to children, why is it a suprise that there is a sudden disliking towards the teaching methods.

                                I don't know, I'm really just ranting to encourage others to think about this and be more open about the issue. I'm not trying to create hate or offend anyone and if you become offended by my own thoughts then are you not supressing my right of free speech? Argue back by all means, lets just shed some more light on this topic.

                                In summary the face is a tool of communication, to cover it up goes against what most people use as a means to understand each other. I believe it was only a few years ago I saw an advert on the tele about a peace-keeping operation with military forces speaking to an african (?) and all was heated until the american took off his sunglasses. I think we shoud all take note of that advert and consider ourselves if we are falling into the same trap.

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