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Rivers Of Blood

by | 6th, October 2006

“TAKE OFF YOUR VEIL, STRAW TELLS MUSLIM WOMEN.”

That’s the Mail’s front page, and it’s a theme taken up by all the other papers.

Of course, Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, never puts things in such bald terms. Nor does he eye a Muslim woman in his Blackburn constituency surgery and leer: “Get Yer Veil Off.”

His message is that he feels “uncomfortable” when talking to someone whose face he cannot see. “In our society, we are able to relate to strangers by being able to read their faces,” says Straw. “If you can’t read their faces that does provide some separation.”

And, predictably, this has not been well met by all. Reaction in the papers alone is between race “tension” (Star), a “race row” (Mail) and all out “fury” (Express).

And then the Sun hears from Hamid Quereshi, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques. “This is not helpful and has the potential to cause anger,” says he.

And… But there’s nothing more. Where’s the rant and the promises that Straw will get what’s coming to him? Tsk! With Tottenham Taliban Omar Bakri our of the country and one-eyed-two hooks, purple people eater Abu Hamza in jail, Britain’s Muslim community seems horribly short of raving lunatics.

But not to worry. Just as we’re about to discover if in the spirit of inter-faith alliance someone like Ian Paisley or Mel Gibson can stand in as the religious firebrand, or the Sun can get Bakri on the phone, Dr Daud Abdullah arrives.

He’s a member of the Muslim Council of Great Britain. He’ll give us some juicy stuff. “The veil does cause some discomfort to non-Muslims,” says he, “one can understand that.”

He goes on: “Muslim scholars in the community are divided over whether a woman should cover her face.”

This is interesting. Rather than cause a row, might it be argued that Mr Straw has opened a dialogue with the Muslim community?

It is not only some non-Muslims who feel the veil is a barrier to communication and understanding but some of them too. We are not so different after all.

And perhaps one day Muslim women will remove their veils and be just as expressive as Western women. So Anne Robinson, what do you think of Jack Straw’s stance on Iraq? What about you, Cher? Or you, Joan Rivers…



Posted: 6th, October 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink