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Straw Asks Muslims To Remove Veil

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Straw asks Muslims to remove veil

 

Muslim women in the UK who wear full veils make "better, positive relations" between communities "more difficult", Commons leader Jack Straw has said.

 

Concealing a face was "a visible statement of separation and of difference", the Blackburn MP told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph.

 

He said he now asks women who have meetings with him to remove their veils so they can truly talk "face-to-face".

 

"My concerns could be misplaced, but I think there is an issue here," he said.

 

The Blackburn MP, who was home secretary from 1997 to 2001 and foreign secretary until 2005, said: "The value of a meeting, as opposed to a letter or phone call, is so that you can - almost literally - see what the other person means, and not just hear what they say.

 

"My point to these ladies and to the community is that this is an issue that needs to be discussed.

 

"Because in our society, we are able to relate to particularly strangers, by being able to read their faces and if you can't read their faces that does provide some separation."

 

Mr Straw said his constituents had so far always agreed to lift their veil when he has asked.

 

He said he had thought about the issue "a lot" and conceded his concerns "could be misplaced" - but he went on to say that he thought "there is an issue here".

 

 

I often feel threatend by men who wear suits, so would Mr Straw kindly remove his suit so I can be more comfortable?

 

What a load of gobbledygook!

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PropellerAds
This is stupid. It's a woman's choice not his.
ah you know some people are really ignorant so what can you do??

 

Although i do see his point of view because in western culture, speaking face to face shows frankness and its normal and its not considered "whatever" else as in Islam so yah i see his point but still i think its silly for him to suggest that muslim women do this.. it aint happening!

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Peace,

 

Maybe I'm being culturally insular here but I entirely see his point. I feel tremendously uncomfortable around other people if I cannot see their face. You can say that's my problem - deal with it - but that is not the issue here. I imagine practically every single non-Muslim person in Britain feels uncomfortable if they have to talk to somebody wearing covering over their face. It doesn't matter whether it's a 6 foot ogre wearing a balaclava or a harmless 4 foot tall Saudi housewife wearing the niqab. (correct term?)

 

Fair enough wear the hijab, you can see the face of the person you're speaking to and as far as I'm aware it's what Islam requires for the purposes of modesty. I don't see how it can be Islamically virtuous to travel around in a garment which makes your neighbours feel uncomfortable when there is an acceptable alternative in the hijab.

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Greetings,

 

Consider all the ways you read facial expression into your conversations. The raised eyebrow, the grin, the grimace, the tensing of cheeks and outthrust chin, the glare, the furrowed forehead, the laugh wrinkles ... these are things we become accustomed to reading when speaking to another face to face. I remember a girlfriend who would not speak to me unless I pulled off my sunglasses. What in one culture may be a sign of modesty can easily be seen in another as an attempt to hide one's true feelings. With that in mind, it is easy to see that one who deliberately hides their face in a conversation can be seen as someone who is attempting to be dishonest. It's a natural reaction.

 

As ever, Jesse

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Guest amani

note to self- dont bother talking to mr. straw

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:D

 

Britain's "Skinhead" culture is a barrier to progressive community relations.

 

The sinister undertones of a skinhead in boots are an affront to liberal values in a democratic society. I fully expect Jack Straw to join me in forcing these fascists to grow their hair, or otherwise dress suitably to express their freedoms.

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Peace,

 

Maybe I'm being culturally insular here but I entirely see his point. I feel tremendously uncomfortable around other people if I cannot see their face. You can say that's my problem - deal with it - but that is not the issue here. I imagine practically every single non-Muslim person in Britain feels uncomfortable if they have to talk to somebody wearing covering over their face. It doesn't matter whether it's a 6 foot ogre wearing a balaclava or a harmless 4 foot tall Saudi housewife wearing the niqab. (correct term?)

 

Fair enough wear the hijab, you can see the face of the person you're speaking to and as far as I'm aware it's what Islam requires for the purposes of modesty. I don't see how it can be Islamically virtuous to travel around in a garment which makes your neighbours feel uncomfortable when there is an acceptable alternative in the hijab.

 

taliban feel uncomfortable when talking to un vieled women, so they want all of them to waer it, so why west shout?

Eoin, seriously , if people like you start thinking like this than its really scare me.

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My understanding is that Mr.straw has been accused of discrimination for asking women to remove their veils when he is consulting in his surgery.That is why it's in the news.The original poster made no mention of this.

Mr.Straw did not say that he would not speak to a woman in a veil.It is the woman's right to say no.The conversation would have to be conducted with both parties understanding that the veil makes Mr.Straw uncomfortable.At least he's honest enough to say so.

I suspect that Mr.Straw would not speak to me if I wore a paper bag over my head though!

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The Blackburn MP says the veil is a "visible statement of separation and of difference"

 

His thoughts are quite clear, even if your understanding is not.

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:D

 

Blackburn is a really strange town. The Muslim community have established themselves, with populated Masjids and Madrassahs :D and less fitnah than you'll see in Birmingham/London.

 

Exactly why it's so difficult to imagine some of them voting for Jack Straw. The same Jack who was pushing for war with Iraq, and then the continued occupation and now his broader campaign against Islam. Some are so misguided as to physically fight for him!

 

Supposed "Muslim community leaders" run his campaigns to keep him in power. The things people do for mortal favours.

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Peace ifti,

 

taliban feel uncomfortable when talking to un vieled women, so they want all of them to waer it, so why west shout? Eoin, seriously , if people like you start thinking like this than its really scare me.

 

I'm just being honest, I feel dreadfully uncomfortable if I have to speak to somebody and cannot see their face. I would also agree with taoists friend that it is rude to wear sunglasses when you're talking to someone. (Granted that doesn't represent much of a problem in Scotland.) I have no problem with people walking around covered however they please, I'm not launching some sort of attack on peoples freedoms nor would I support any moves to make women take the thing off. I just think that if I were a Muslim woman I'd take it into consideration that if I was walking into Tesco's to buy the weekly shopping that wearing a veil over my face is going to completely alienate the person behind the checkout and will do nothing for community relations. Mr Straw just said what everyone is thinking.

 

This isn't a question of going on a witch hunt, it's a question of good manners manners. If the niqab isn't necesarry for religious reasons, and it is divisive and frankly uncomfortable to the majority of the people in a country, then what exactly is wrong with Mr Straw's comments?

 

I would agree that it would be beneficial for skinheads to grow a side parting and wear golf jumpers, and I wouldn't encourage any of the measures the Taliban took to make women dress how they insisted they ought to - if that makes my position any clearer?

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Ok,my understanding is a bit muddled here.Jack Straw has invited this media attention,from what he wrote in his local paper in Blackburn.He seems to be talking about the two communities in Blackburn.

Is it wrong for him to ask a muslim woman to remove her vail?Or is it just rude?He may well see it as rude,as it makes him feel uncomfortable.

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Peace ifti ...

 

[off topic]

 

Sudden flashback to the 60s. I could almost see the twin fingers spread in that V, the tie-die shirt and faded blue jeans. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled discussion.

 

[/off topic]

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note to self- dont bother talking to mr. straw

That's the nub of it. Why would any self repecting Muslim woman go to her MP with a problem in the first place, when she could speak to her father or husband instead? I fear that some on this forum will miss the wee touch of cynicism in that sentence. I do think there's an element of inconsistency involved when a woman seeks assistance from a figure of authority, but risks offending that person's sensibilities by retaining her veil. I suspect that any Muslimah who would go to Straw in the first place, would not refuse his request. Conversely, any who were adamant about the veil would not seek out Straw for help, especially now.

 

I'm still waiting to see Muslim men wearing veils, so that MPs could ask them remove the article, but the casual (institutionalised?) sexism continues..

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I have just learned from a muslim lady,who was kind enough to quote the Qur'an,that the veil is to be worn when out and about,and when amongst men,in order to identify one as a muslim,and to avoid sexual advances from men.

I think Jack Straw is right to ask for the veil to be lifted during consultations in his surgery,and that if the lady refuses then he will be offended as the suggestion is that he is a yobbish wolf whistler type with a sexual interest,not a professional one.

However even as a non muslim I am concerned by Straw's comments,about wearing the veil making community relations difficult.I'm sure that he is much better informed than me about muslim beliefs,veil wearing and such.His comments are likely to promote anti muslim attitudes in everyday people,and muslim women who yesterday were not veiled today may well be.

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Joker,

 

Why are you telling me what sexism is in regards to this subject when you're a man and I'm a woman? Wouldn't I know more about this than you, seeing as I'm the one living this, not you? Let me assure you that Islam in no way promotes sexism. Just take my word for it, because I don't know how else you will understand the reasons behind what we do. I know, I know, you won't follow anything blindly. Neither do I! See, that is why I chose to cover, it may sound paradoxical but if you knew the advantages, if you weighed the pros and cons, you'd understand. Yes we are commanded, and yes we follow the commands of our Lord, but you must try to comprehend that these commands are for our benefit. Do I sound brainwashed? Honestly, I'd rather you don't degrade me by thinking that.

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Joker,

 

Why are you telling me what sexism is in regards to this subject when you're a man and I'm a woman? Wouldn't I know more about this than you, seeing as I'm the one living this, not you? Let me assure you that Islam in no way promotes sexism. Just take my word for it, because I don't know how else you will understand the reasons behind what we do. I know, I know, you won't follow anything blindly. Neither do I! See, that is why I chose to cover, it may sound paradoxical but if you knew the advantages, if you weighed the pros and cons, you'd understand. Yes we are commanded, and yes we follow the commands of our Lord, but you must try to comprehend that these commands are for our benefit. Do I sound brainwashed? Honestly, I'd rather you don't degrade me by thinking that.

Sounds sincere to me.Tell that to Jack Straw.

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I do think there's an element of inconsistency involved when a woman seeks assistance from a figure of authority, but risks offending that person's sensibilities by retaining her veil.

 

Jack Straw is the elected representative of the community. It is for him to serve them and their needs, not vice-versa.

 

Do you have any idea of the number of women who wear the niqab?

They are a minority group within a minority. Jack cannot accept his failure to integrate Blackburn's communties, so he lays the blame on a group an Islamophobic Britain will blindly agree on.

 

He should have expressed his sentiments 10 years ago when he needed Muslim votes. Now that he's on his way out, we'll see what he really thinks about his constituency.

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I do think there's an element of inconsistency involved when a woman seeks assistance from a figure of authority, but risks offending that person's sensibilities by retaining her veil.

 

Jack Straw is the elected representative of the community. It is for him to serve them and their needs, not vice-versa.

 

Do you have any idea of the number of women who wear the niqab?

They are a minority group within a minority. Jack cannot accept his failure to integrate Blackburn's communties, so he lays the blame on a group an Islamophobic Britain will blindly agree on.

 

He should have expressed his sentiments 10 years ago when he needed Muslim votes. Now that he's on his way out, we'll see what he really thinks about his constituency.

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I do think there's an element of inconsistency involved when a woman seeks assistance from a figure of authority, but risks offending that person's sensibilities by retaining her veil.

 

Jack Straw is the elected representative of the community. It is for him to serve them and their needs, not vice-versa.

 

Do you have any idea of the number of women who wear the niqab?

They are a minority group within a minority. Jack cannot accept his failure to integrate Blackburn's communties, so he lays the blame on a group an Islamophobic Britain will blindly agree on.

 

He should have expressed his sentiments 10 years ago when he needed Muslim votes. Now that he's on his way out, we'll see what he really thinks about his constituency.

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However even as a non muslim I am concerned by Straw's comments,about wearing the veil making community relations difficult.I'm sure that he is much better informed than me about muslim beliefs,veil wearing and such.His comments are likely to promote anti muslim attitudes in everyday people,and muslim women who yesterday were not veiled today may well be.

Sad to say, the reporter on the Today programme who speculated that Straw was setting himself up for a deputy leadership bid was probably on the money. I was amazed when I first heard this story. Even though Straw has been pretty spineless policy at times in his defence of Blair's foreign policy, he did raise concerns at the outset, has criticised israel and was basically sacked from his Foreign Office job. So you would kind of expect him to play up to that rather than go out and criticise Muslims. Tricky business, politics.

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Joker,

 

Why are you telling me what sexism is in regards to this subject when you're a man and I'm a woman?

I'm not telling you anything (and my post wasn't a response to you), but suggesting that if women are regarded as requiring a veil, but men aren't, sexism probably plays a part.

 

Wouldn't I know more about this than you, seeing as I'm the one living this, not you?

By the same token, though, shouldn't I know more about how men view women than you, and to what extent the implication that all men are slavering beasts who must not have temptation put in their way, is kind of insulting? I read to the end of this thread before I started replying, and what Midnight said about women who wear the niqab being a minority in a minority suggests that that article of clothing isn't regarded as essential to a Muslim woman's wellbeing. My experience of being a man, including twenty years in the construction industry, supports that suggestion, which leaves as the chief justification for wearing the veil, that somebody said it must be so.

 

Let me assure you that Islam in no way promotes sexism. Just take my word for it, because I don't know how else you will understand the reasons behind what we do. I know, I know, you won't follow anything blindly. Neither do I! See, that is why I chose to cover, it may sound paradoxical but if you knew the advantages, if you weighed the pros and cons, you'd understand. Yes we are commanded, and yes we follow the commands of our Lord, but you must try to comprehend that these commands are for our benefit. Do I sound brainwashed? Honestly, I'd rather you don't degrade me by thinking that.

I have never met a Muslim woman who appeared to be under any man's thumb, but by definition, I would be less likely to meet, in person or even online, one who was treated as a mere chattel. It's so easy to throw up Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia as arguments for the existence of rampant sexism in Islam, but that's in the local culture, not just the faith. I am concerned, though, that a lot of baggage which isn't representative of what I shall call 'progressive Islam', is being proliferated by fundamentalist groups even in this country. Even if most of the small group of niqab wearers mostly do so from choice, the pressure for others who have chosen otherwise to follow suit grows. Straw may, ironically, have contributed to that pressure (if is irony when both he and radical Muslims both get what they want). I think those who want to see more harmony between religious and ethnic groups will regret that he made an issue of this.

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Jack Straw is the elected representative of the community. It is for him to serve them and their needs, not vice-versa.

Good point.

 

Do you have any idea of the number of women who wear the niqab?

They are a minority group within a minority. Jack cannot accept his failure to integrate Blackburn's communties, so he lays the blame on a group an Islamophobic Britain will blindly agree on.

I'm not in a position to comment on that, but his record in hnis own constituency will surely be a factor in how sincerely his latest arguments are interpreted.

 

He should have expressed his sentiments 10 years ago when he needed Muslim votes. Now that he's on his way out, we'll see what he really thinks about his constituency.

Ditto, but he may be working on his exit strategy even now. Perhaps Muslims will hold their noses and vote for a deputy leader, if they think he might use his influence positively in the Middle East? Blair is always going about how it's no good having principles if you don't have the power to put them into practise. I prefer the idea of principled opposition, but that's just me...

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