Sunday, June 26 2016

UKIP advocates banning the burqa and niqab

 The papers are awash with the UK Independence Party’s announcement at the weekend that it will ban the burqa and niqab in the UK: Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Star, The Times and the BBC).

Nigel Farage (pictured), former UKIP leader and current MEP Leader in the European parliament, told the BBC Politics programme:

"If I wanted to go into a bank wearing a motorcycle helmet, I couldn't. And it's not acceptable to wear a balaclava on the Tube or bus systems. Most large shopping centres even forbid hoodies because these tops disguise the wearer. The muslim veils are no different in having that effect but UKIP believes that security issues aside, they are also a symbol of a divided Britain.

"They are part of a cultural, not religious, garment. There is no requirement in the Koran to wear a veil, only to dress modestly. UKIP believes that the wearers are prevented from full assimilation into our way of life because of the feelings of unease they give rise to in the rest of the population.'

"UKIP doesn't believe in the multicultural separation that Islamic extremists wish to pursue through the gradual imposition of Sharia law. We believe in single British culture and values shared by all British people.

"After all, this is Britain and our way of life is to get along with each other. In a liberal democracy, it is not for a small minority to impose their way of life on a majority.”

And Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the new leader of UKIP, said yesterday: “We are taking expert advice on how we could do it. It makes sense to ban the burka — or anything which conceals a woman’s face — in public buildings. But we want to make it possible to ban them in private buildings. It isn’t right that you can’t see someone’s face in an airport.”

“We are not Muslim bashing, but this is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy.”

The announcement is outrageous in its presumptions and shocking in its consequences.

The argument that the practice is ‘cultural’ and not ‘religious’ is a common ploy used to undermine the grounds on which Muslim women defend their right to adopt the niqab and burqa. By deeming it cultural, not religious, the inference is that British culture trumps native cultures and so Muslim women should discard this particular ‘cultural’ practice.

The claim is entirely specious given that the niqab and burqa are worn by women whose reading of Qur’anic text on ‘modest dress’ and understanding of following the examples set by the wives of the Prophet (saw) leads them to adopt this attire. It is totally a religious issue and a matter of defending a Muslim woman’s right to freedom of religion and dress.

In stating that ‘There is no requirement in the Koran to wear a veil, only to dress modestly,’ are Farage and Lord Pearson advancing the right to interpret the Qur’an for Muslims and determine how ‘modest dress’ is to be defined? Are they experts in Islamic exegesis and law to be in a position to define the edicts of Islam?

As The Times editorial on Saturday observes:

‘The Times had not hitherto realised that Nigel Farage was an authority on such matters, or that the party leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who was visited by God when on the operating table in 1977, thereby gained not only his Christian faith but also a mastery of the Koran. This newly acquired scholarship notwithstanding, the religious insights of politicians are entirely irrelevant when judging the right of British citizens to dress as they wish.’

UKIP’s xenophobia is masked with its apparent concern for equality of opportunity. Farage said that:

‘…wearers are prevented from full assimilation into our way of life because of the feelings of unease they give rise to in the rest of the population’.

Which is a strange statement to say the least. It would suggest Muslim women are not held back from being full members of society of their own accord but because others hold them at a distance for ‘feelings of unease’.

Is it UKIP’s contention then to introduce legislation banning other forms of attire because they too generate ‘feelings of unease’ in sections of the population?

A less xenophobic party and politician would tackle the sentiments that cause feelings of unease than try and crack a nut with a sledgehammer and blanketly ban pieces of clothing, thus pandering to prejudice.

Farage’s remark that “UKIP doesn't believe in the multicultural separation that Islamic extremists wish to pursue through the gradual imposition of Sharia law,” and confusing this with the choice Muslim women make in adopting the burqa or niqab is typical of the sort of alarmism we’ve come to expect from those disposed to playing out the ‘Eurabia’ thesis, viewing a Muslim woman’s freedom of religion and dress as tantamount to a Muslim takeover of native cultures.

Both Farage and Lord Pearson expound the fundamental qualities of our culture that, in their view, ought to preclude the right of Muslim women to dress as they choose. Farage said, “In a liberal democracy, it is not for a small minority to impose their way of life on a majority,” and Lord Pearson adds, “this [niqab/burqa] is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy.”

Leaving aside the fact that Muslim women are not ‘imposing’ anything on anyone, Farage and Lord Pearson’s crafting of a democratic defence is disingenuous in the extreme. Liberal democracies are defined, among other things, by the protections accorded in their constitutions to minority groups protecting them against the ‘tyranny of the majority’. And contrary to what Lord Pearson claims, the niqab and burqa are precisely compatible with ‘values of freedom and democracy’, including the right to freedom of religion, and all that it entails in terms of religious dress.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2010 19:12


0 #2 hijabRima 2010-02-11 05:49
women are not forced to wear the hijab. it is mensioned in the Quran that we have to wear it, its not cultural. women choose to wear it.
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-1 #1 UKIP Veil IssueM M U 2010-01-20 19:16
UKIP claims the adherants to the veil have no religious basis. Perhaps they should do more research. I have copied a statement below which is essential.

Women Wear the Veil because it says so in the Quran

2:09pm Tuesday 14th July 2009

By Asian Image reporter »
because_it_says_so_i n_Quran/

Those who wear the veil are doing it for religious NOT cultural reasons says a Muslim organisation.

The Lancashire Council of Mosques today released a statement which included a passage from the Quran which they said would clarify the issue after recent debates.

The statement is signed by 50 local scholars and community representatives. .

It reads ‘Lancashire Council of Mosques would like to provide guidance and clarification, in order to dispel the stereotypes and myths that exist, and promote greater understanding, security and cohesion.

‘Islam places great emphasis on dressing modestly. The Almighty says in the Holy Qur’aan, “O Prophet! Ask…(believing) women…to draw their cloaks (Jilbâb) all over their bodies” (33:59).

‘One of the great wisdoms of the Islamic faith is the ability for Muslims to differ in their interpretation whilst remaining adherent to the same central tenets of the faith. Many Muslims believe the veil to be an integral part of their faith.

‘A particular and legitimate interpretation of Jilbâb referred to in the cited Quranic verse, is to cover and conceal the whole body (including the face) in such a way that the figure of the body does not show.

‘The practice of female companions covering their faces is also supported in various prophetic traditions.

For the women who choose to wear the veil it is most definitely an Islamic and religious matter that is grounded in the Holy Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) and not merely a cultural issue, as some commentators would have.”

The statement goes on to say women who wear the veil should not be vilified for their actions.

It added, ‘It is important to note that the women who choose to wear the veil are normal human beings; individuals in their own right, as well as mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, colleagues and much more.

‘They are law-abiding and peaceful individuals who love their faith and are loyal citizens of our country. 'For these women, the wearing of the veil actually allows them to play a fulfilling and active role in the community, something they would otherwise find more difficult ‘The veil is an intensely personal choice for many Muslim women who consider this to be an important tenet of their faith. 'Just as it is completely unjustified to coerce women to wear the veil, it would be wholly wrong to curb their religious freedoms. 'Similarly the use of language that may encourage prejudice against, and persecution of, women who choose to wear the veil is tantamount to the incitement of religious hatred, and serves to spread discord and disunity between our communities.

‘The wearing of the veil is a key expression and means of adhering to the Islamic faith, and, we thereby request all to take this into account and respect the choice of women who choose to adopt this dress code.’

The Signatories are: 1. Mrs. Bano Murtaja - Strategic Director for Women, Lancashire Council of Mosques. 2.Maulana Nasrullah Anwar - Director, Lancashire Council of Mosques. 3. Mrs. Shireen Mangera-Badat - Deputy Headteacher, Masjid-e-Saliheen, Preston. 4.Mr. Abdul Hamid Qureshi - Chairman, Masjid Ibrahim, Burnley. 5.Mrs. Latifa Patel - Senior Administrator, Lancashire Council of Mosques.

6.Mr. Mustafa Desai - Governor, Islamiya School, Blackburn. 7.Maulana Ahmed Sidat - Chairman, Jame Masjid, Blackburn. 8.Mrs. Maria Ahmed - Lancashire KeyWorker, HHUGS (Helping Households Under Great Stress). 9.Mufti Abdul Hamid Patel - Principal, Tauheedul Islam Girls High School, Blackburn. 10.Mrs. Faatima Patel - Principal, Madrasah Islamiyah Islamic Studies Faculty, Blackburn.

11.Mufti Vasiyyullah Bhayat - Chaplain, University of Central Lancashire, Preston. 12.Cllr Salim Mulla - Treasurer, Ethnic Minority Development Association, Blackburn. 13.Mrs. Shamima Adam - Sisters Programmes Co-ordinator, Masjid-e- Anisul Islam, Blackburn. 14.Mufti Mohammad Ali Falahi - Senior Imam, Masjid-e- Anisul Islam, Blackburn. 15.Maulana Hanif Dudhwala - Executive Member, Madrasah Anisul Islam, Blackburn.

16.Mrs. Shahin Karmali - Director of Women’s Department, Madrasah Anisul Islam, Blackburn. 17.Cllr Taalib Shamsuddin - St George's Ward, Preston. 18.Mrs. Fatima Patel - Parenting Consultant. Lancashire Council of Mosques. 19.Maulana Yusuf Shabbir - Vice Chair, Blackburn Muslim Association. 20.Mrs. Nasimbanu Patel - Programmes Co-ordinator, Blackburn Muslim Association, Blackburn.

21.Maulana Rafiq Sufi - Principal, Muslim Youth Centre, Blackburn. 22.Miss Safeeyah Raja - Head of Senior Girls Department - Muslim Youth Centre, Blackburn. 23.Mrs. Ruwaida Ibrahim - Senior Teacher, Masjid e Falah, Preston. 24.Mrs. Kulsum Ahmed - Pastoral Director, Masjid Mumineen, Blackburn. 25.Maulana Mohammed Farook Kazi - Chair, Al-Ansaar Welfare & Education, Preston.

26.Mrs Safia Khatoon - RTB Coordinator, Lancashire Council of Mosques. 27.Maulana Mohammed Tayyab Sidat - Director, Inter Madrassah Organisation. 28.Mufti Abdul Haq - Head Teacher, Idara Rawdhatul Uloom, Blackburn. 29.Mrs. Fatima Rawat - Deputy Head Teacher, Masjid Bilaal, Blackburn.

30.Mrs. Fatima Salim - Executive Director for Women and Youth, Jamia Masjid, Blackburn. 31.Maulana Sajid Irshad - Imam, Masjid Farooqe Azam, Burnley. 32.Mr. Saleem Seedat - Co-Chair, Connect Blackburn. 33.Mrs. Farhana Asrar - Executive Member, Anwaarul Shabab, Blackburn. 34.Mrs. Nurjaha Mustak - Counseling Therapist, Blackburn. 35.Maulana Elyas Desai - Senior Imam, Maahadus Shuhada Mosque, Preston.

36.Mufti Ashraf Sidat – Principal, Madrassa Noorul Islam, Blackburn. 37.Mrs. Hajra Umar, Curriculum Director, Masjid -e- Irfan, Blackburn. 38.Maulana Imtiaz Kamal - Imam, Masjid-e-Saliheen, Preston. 39.Mufti Javid Pathan - Principal, Preston Muslim Girls High School. 40.Miss Khadija Nakhuda - Secretary, Sisters4Sisters, Preston.

41.Mrs. Atika Ahmed - Co-ordinator Sister’s Group, Madrasah Hidayatul Islam, Blackburn. 42.Mrs. Shakera Patel - Head of Womens Group, Hidayatul Banat, Blackburn. 43.Maulana Adbulmaajid Momaya – Imam, Masjid e Hidayah, Blackburn. 44.Mr. Kamruddin Kothia - Vice President, Masjid e Tauheedul Islam, Blackburn. 45.Mufti Adam Ismail - Imam, Masjid Quwwatul Islam, Preston.

46.Mrs. Khadija Valimulla - Designer, Al-Muzzammil, Blackburn. 47.Mrs Hajra Desai - Vice-chair, Sisters4Sisters, Preston. 48.Maulana Zia - Deputy Head Teacher, Al-Asr Primary School, Blackburn. 49.Mrs. Sajida Patel, Assistant Principal, Masjid Taleemul Islam, Blackburn. 50.Mrs. Sana Ismail – Head of Counselling Support, Tauheedul Islam Girls High School, Blackburn.
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