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To ban or not to ban? And what to ban?
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Still not really understanding about the personal volition thing then?
I would really hate to see the burka or niqab banned. We actually need to see more and more groups of these "Dementors" and "Ring Wraiths" pushing their prams through our streets - so that the general public at last wakes up and votes BNP.
If I ever doubt the wisdom of giving my vote to the BNP, I only need to walk through Blackburn market, see all the women there in their black "hate-masks" and I very quickly realise that there's really no alternative.
Come on Simon, are you really saying that all the tens of millions of women who wear some sort of Islamic clothing are forced to do so? That they are so weak that they cannot come to a descision themselves?
Are Muslim women a homogenous mass? Or are they people, some of whom can choose to wear the veil while others are coerced?
We need to ban niqab and burka before it's too late. Why is it so hard to understand that we have the right to see a person's face? If you are brainwashed to the extent to believe that your hair is too sexy, cover it, but when it comes to your face, masking it is scary for the rest of us. And how comes you refuse to uncover your face but you can still live and earn "dirty" money in a country that allows alcohol, gambling and same sex marriage? If Canada will not ban it now, other things will come. The list is long and they are successfully working on it. Wake up Canada.
Another point that as far as I have seen has not been mentioned is that, regardless of a law preventing women from wearing burkhas, within certain strict families it will still not be socially acceptable. Thus it could have the effect of forcing women to remain inside their homes, effectively making them like prisoners. Although it is all well and good arguing from the 'feminist' point of view, in truth this law could have far more damaging results for the women who are expected to cover their heads due to the cultures they belong to. What would be more effective would be to look at why they are expected to cover their heads, and try and teach a more liberal outlook that expresses why it is acceptable for religion to progress with the times... perhaps in this day and age when women are regarded with much more respect in so many cultures the burkha is not essential.
Do the burka-bearers or niqab-wearers every speak up for themselves? I have the feeling there's a 'mouth-closed-shop' here.
Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.