Britain Has Been Warned: Veils Are Here To Stay


Diamond Member
Nov 22, 2003
Or violence may break out:;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-

British watchdog warns on veil debate

By BETH GARDINER, Associated Press WriterSun Oct 22, 11:07 AM ET

The heated debate over veils that cover the faces of some British Muslim women is growing ugly and could trigger riots, the head of Britain's race relations watchdog warned on Sunday.

Britons are becoming increasingly polarized along racial and religious lines, and if they don't talk respectfully about their differences, tensions could fuel unrest, Commission for Racial Equality chairman Trevor Phillips wrote in The Sunday Times newspaper.

In an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. television, he said he didn't want Britain to suffer the kind of violence that exploded in the deprived suburbs of Paris a year ago, when disaffected young people, many from immigrant backgrounds, rioted for three weeks. So just bow down to the RoPeace.

He warned there could also be a repeat of the rioting in several northern English towns in 2001 caused by racial tensions between white and mainly Muslim south Asian youths.

"Only this time the conflict would be much worse," Phillips wrote in the Times.

Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said some violent attacks already have occurred against Muslims in the country. He said some women's veils have been forcibly pulled off, mosques set on fire and Muslims beaten by gangs of men.
Gee, I don't think we see the Jews threatening to riot, though their cemetaries, schools, and synogogs have been defiled in numerous ways. We don't see Americans threatening to riot, though our flag is burned by British Muslims with regularity. Why is it always them?

The debate over veils was set off earlier this month when former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, now leader of the House of Commons, said Muslim women visiting his office should remove their veils. A Muslim teaching assistant in northern England was then suspended from her job for refusing to remove a black veil that left only her eyes visible.

The issue touches on growing anxieties about Britain's diversity and the alienation of young British Muslims like those who carried out suicide bombings on London's transit system last year, killing themselves and 52 commuters.

Last week, Prime Minister Tony Blair said the country needed to talk about how minority communities could better integrate into the wider society while maintaining their cultural distinctiveness. He called the veil "a mark of separation."

Phillips said he thought Straw's remarks had been polite and respectful, but he worried the debate had since grown ugly and rancorous. The commission he leads was created by law in 1976 to fight discrimination and encourage good race relations.

In the interview with BBC, he said "what should have been a proper conversation between all kinds of British people seems to have turned into a trial of one particular community, and that cannot be right."

"We need to have this conversation but there are rules by which we have the conversation which don't involve this kind of targeting and frankly bullying," he said.

There has been several attempts to make this an issue with driver's licenses here in US-I think they've resulted in 'no picture, no drive'. Seems another try was in court the other day:

no luck there either, but they will keep trying:

Posted on Sat, Oct. 21, 2006

Muslim woman refuses to remove her veil in court, so judge tosses case

By Zachary Gorchow

Detroit Free Press


DETROIT - Ginnnah Muhammad of Detroit was looking for her day in court.

Instead, she said she felt as if a judge forced her to choose between her case and her religion in a small-claims dispute in Hamtramck District Court.

A devout Muslim, she wore a niqab - a scarf and veil to cover her face and head except for her eyes - Oct. 11 as she contested a rental car company's charging her $2,750 to repair a vehicle after thieves broke into it.

Judge Paul Paruk said he needed to see her face to judge her truthfulness and gave Muhammad, 42, a choice: take off the veil when testifying or the case would be dismissed. She kept the veil on.

"I just feel so sad," Muhammad said last week. "I feel that the court is there for justice for us. I didn't feel like the court recognized me as a person that needed justice. I just feel I can't trust the court."

The wearing of a niqab has spurred increasing debate, particularly in Europe. In 2004, France banned the wearing of it and other religious symbols in public schools.

This month, former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, still a member of parliament, ignited a fierce debate over the niqab by suggesting that Muslim women in his district remove their veils when they visit his office. He said it would improve communication, calling the veil "a visible statement of separation and of difference."

It has sparked controversy in the United States as well. A Muslim woman from Florida unsuccessfully went to court in an effort to overturn the state's order in 2001 that she reveal her face for her driver's license photo.

In metro Detroit, which has one of the country's largest Muslim populations, a small minority of Muslim women - primarily those of Yemeni descent - wear the niqab, said Dawud Walid , executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Paruk said that as a fact finder, he needs to see the face of a person testifying. Michigan has no rules governing what judges can do regarding religious attire of people in court, so the judges have leeway on how to run their courtrooms.

"My job in the courtroom is to make a determination as to the veracity of somebody's claim," he said. "Part of that, you need to identify the witness and you need to look at the witness and watch how they testify."

Paruk said he offered to let Muhammad, who was born in the United States and converted to Islam at the age of 10, wear the veil during the proceedings except when she testified. He said this was the first time someone had come before his court wearing a niqab, and he noted that many Muslims do not consider it a religious symbol.

"I felt I was trying to accommodate her as best I could," he said.

Walid said Paruk still violated Muhammad's civil rights.

"Although a niqab is donned by a minority of Muslim females, it is still a bona fide religious practice," he said.

Hamtramck, once almost entirely populated by residents of e astern European descent, now has a large and growing population of Muslims.

"There definitely needs to be greater sensitivity toward the growing populace in that municipality," Walid said.

Judges should seek to strike a balance between running their courtrooms and respecting the religious views of those appearing before them, said Steve Leben, a Kansas trial court judge who is president of the American Judges Association.

"I'm not trying to be critical of the judge because it is difficult to make decisions on the fly," Leben said. "But if it's a person's legitimate religious belief, we have a duty to try to reconcile these competing interests."

Mark Somers, chief judge of the Dearborn District Court, which covers the bulk of the Detroit area's Muslim population, said he could not recall an instance when a woman who wore a niqab came before his court to testify.

But he said he would not require a woman to remove her veil during a civil case.

"To me, it would not be an issue," he said. "I simply as a matter of personal policy would never ask someone to do that."
she wore a niqab - a scarf and veil to cover her face and head except for her eyes
Everyday, I see this costume on several women at the University of California. They stick out like walking neon signs. It simultaneously displays the Islamic subservience of women combined with a creepy passive aggression.

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