October 19, 2006

Should this woman be teaching in schools, dressed like this?

Aishah Azmi is the 23-year-old classroom assistant who today lost her tribunal at which she claimed she had been discriminated against because of her religion. She was awarded £1,100 for being “victimised”.

The worst thing about recent stories about Muslims integrating into Britain is that they’ve all been bound up into one neat and tidy heap for the media to plow through. This story is about an individual and should be treated as such.

But ignoring what was decided at today’s tribunal, do people think it is suitable for people to wear this sort of clothing (left), on religious grounds, in a class of schoolchildren?

On this occasion I tend to agree with Tony Blair when he says the full-face veil is a “mark of separation” and can make people feel uncomfortable. Especially when children are involved, don’t we need to be careful about their sensitivities as well as hers?

What do you reckon?


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  1. I don’t believe that it’s appropriate for women to wear such attire in schools. Muslim schools are another matter, maybe. Ms Azmi made a point about blind children having a decent education even though they lack the capacity for visual contact with their teacher.

    Personally I don’t believe I’ve ever had a face to ‘face’ conversation with such an hooded person, but I don’t think it would lead to a normal conversation. I agree with Mr Blair, for once, although it surprised me that he said such a thing. When did he say that?

    19 Oct 2006, 23:23

  2. I got it from the BBC and I’m 90% sure he said it at his monthly press conference earlier this week.

    19 Oct 2006, 23:30

  3. I agreed with Jack Straw when he first mentioned this issue, I continue to agree now. I came from a highly multicultural area, and while the Sikh’s and Hindu’s integrated into UK society and crossed barriers, the muslim familes never did to the same extent or anything close. Yet they were the first to say ’’It’s because I’m black’’ when you disagreed with them. Such a shame, but I often felt like most of the effort was going one way. I’ve had conversations with girls wearing such attire and found them quite awkward as I can’t see their facial expressions and you then realise how much you pick up from the face as someone talks.

    20 Oct 2006, 06:50

  4. 1. I thought she was a TA rather than a teacher.
    2. She only wore the veil in classes where there were male members of staff present.
    If the school had such a problem with her wearing the veil then they should have at least made an effort to put her in a class with only female staff present – surely that’s a fairly basic equal ops thing?

    20 Oct 2006, 07:04

  5. She has nice eyes…

    20 Oct 2006, 09:02

  6. Keith

    She has an ugly nose and deformed teeth and bad breath.. whose to say!

    20 Oct 2006, 09:19

  7. Preventing men from free access to a class is discriminatory, equal ops is not treating men different.

    I understand the desire for ‘modesty’ on her part, but a full veil has always struck me as too much. Children are there to learn, and not just the curriculum, body and facial language are a large part of communication and it seems out of place to me to conceal behind a veil a God given aid to communication.

    20 Oct 2006, 11:15

  8. She comes from a culture where some women cover their faces. She lives in a culture where to cover your face is a sign of untrustworthiness. I have always said I think the Muslim community has ever right to wear the hajib, but the veil/burkah is only going to hinder their interactions with people in a country they came to. Unfortunately they are just going to have to accept that this is going to happen. If I walked around bare headed in Saudi then I’d be subject to disapproval, and I know I would be.

    Cultural factors do not disappear overnight, and even if we did swallow our cultural pride, a lot of people would object on the grounds that they find it demeaning to women. The worst bit is that this could be used by a minority of racists whose objections are discriminatory rather than reasonable.

    20 Oct 2006, 11:23

  9. mick

    When applying for the job, the woman in question was interviewed by a panel of senior school officials including the male head teacher. During this interview, she was happy to be unveiled.

    20 Oct 2006, 13:02

  10. Preventing men from free access to a class is discriminatory, equal ops is not treating men different.

    I’m not suggesting that men should be prevented from accessing the class, she was happy to work in classes where the vast amount of her adult contact was with women (and running the risk of other male teachers entering the rooms). In education particularly, as the vast majority of teachers are female, it should not have been overly difficult to put her into classes where most of her contact would be with women, allowing her to be unveiled when working with the kids.
    As for the issue of the interview, that is the bit where she has taken the piss. She should have made it clear at that stage that she wished to wear the veil, and to ask for a pay out when she didn’t make clear what she would require in the position is wrong.

    20 Oct 2006, 13:45

  11. Gavin mentioned her comments about blind children. What about deaf/hard-of-hearing children who lip-read? They need that visual contact.

    20 Oct 2006, 13:56

  12. Julie Moreton

    That’s an interesting point raised by Mick there. Surely this issue should have been dealt with at the interview stage? If Mick is correct and she unveiled herself at interview, then the panel would have assumed that there was no problem. I do think though both parties were perhaps negligent in not discussing it fully – it could have saved a lot of time, embarassment and money all round. Presumbaly there must be a school policy about this already.

    At a children’s play group recently I met a lovely woman and her child whom I spoke to quite a lot over the weeks. She did wear a veil but only had it on when on a couple of occasions when a dad came to the group. One day she was playing with my 6 month old son with the veil on and when she realised he was looking at her a bit strangely, she took it off and said “there that’s better isn’t it?”. It is funny how you react though – I remember feeling a little bit awkward when she was wearing it and yes communication was tricky because I wasn’t really sure where I should be looking when talking to her. Bizarrely I felt as though I couldn’t look her in the eyes!

    20 Oct 2006, 14:05

  13. Adam

    Interesting points about the way the media have taken on the story. I’m not sure where I stand on the issue myself, but should a story that affects 1% of Muslim women who wear a niqab make national headlines?

    20 Oct 2006, 14:26

  14. Kids: Teacher, why are you wearing those clothes? Why don’t you want people to see your face?

    Teacher: [Answer that is truthful, and helps the children all feel good about themselves, and especially the girls.]

    Kids: Teacher, do men wear clothes like that? Do they cover their faces up?

    Teacher: [No, and explains why not, in a way that helps the children feel good about themselves, and especially does not produce feelings of superiority/inferiority among the boys and girls; and does not misrepresent the way men and women relate to one another generally in this country].

    Can anyone provide the possible answers that the teacher might give?

    20 Oct 2006, 14:45

  15. Anonymous

    The debate over this event reflects the bigger issues over releigion in the public sphere. This issue has become inceasingly controversial and heated in today’s political atmosphere. Appearing alsmost simultanesous to the debtate over the teacher’s attire is the controversy over faith schools and the government’s role in them. It is interesting to try and tie these two issues together and the role the government has played in handling them.
    Interestingly enough, the Labour Party webpage is featuring a poll on the subject of faith schools on their home page if anyone is interested…

    20 Oct 2006, 15:11

  16. Goddamn, I thought this entry was going to be about some HOT teacher wearing next to nothing.

    20 Oct 2006, 15:40

  17. Charlotte

    No…way!

    20 Oct 2006, 15:45

  18. I don’t think women should be teaching in schools dressed any way.

    20 Oct 2006, 17:07

  19. Mr Kelly has a good point there. However, we might be straying from the point slightly, as I don’t think she had any level of disabled child in her class. She was a TA, this is true.
    I didn’t know that about the interview and if it’s true then it’s very interesting. It also blows most of her argument out of the water and smacks of hypocrisy. However, I’m not so informed on when and where the full veil can’t be worn so I won’t go too far down that route.
    Also, at what age of a male is it inappropriate to look upon an uncovered head/face. I assume the lady is around young males. There must be a point when she can’t help to teach some of them, yes?

    20 Oct 2006, 17:15

  20. It’s all males because the culture (and it’s cultural, not religious, most Muslims dno’t dress like this) involved believes that men are driven to temptation by the sight of any part of the female. Basically it does a disservice to both genders as men are cast as weak and sex-obsessed, and women are cast as harlots and temptresses if they show anything. It’s quite insulting to men as much as it is to women in a way.

    20 Oct 2006, 18:04

  21. anonymous

    veils vs botox with no middle ground?

    20 Oct 2006, 18:42

  22. Charlotte

    ............what?

    20 Oct 2006, 20:22

  23. As a TA(teaching assistant) ina primary school myself, and thus being aware of the necessity of having to communicate with children who has English as a second language (which was one of her primary functions in the school she was in) it is so important to use language, facial expression, and physical demonstrations to get your point across to these children, and in addition if their mother tongue has different sounds to English it is not just helpful, but fundamental to these children’s learning to be able to demonstrate to them how your mouth, tongue and teeth are making those sounds so that they can reproduce them accurately.

    It is for this reason that she should not have been wearing the face-covering-veil in her teaching and interaction with these children who have enough of a challenge in their school life without having to guess just from her muffled voice (as anyone’s voice coming from behind a piece of cloth may be) and eyes what her meaning may be.

    Schools are for children’s benefit.

    20 Oct 2006, 22:21

  24. Charlotte

    Eleanor, if u r a teaching assistant, which school d’you teach at? xx

    20 Oct 2006, 22:24

  25. Thankfully not one you would know!

    21 Oct 2006, 00:53

  26. Charlotte

    Eh? Why not?

    21 Oct 2006, 07:35

  27. With regards to the age of males thing, it’s okay for her to not wear a veil with boys before puberty -> she wouldn’t have a problem with being unveiled in front of any of the children she teaches in a primary school.

    21 Oct 2006, 09:56

  28. Charlotte

    ........

    21 Oct 2006, 10:21

  29. The sooner we ban religious symbols in class like in France the better.

    21 Oct 2006, 13:27

  30. Charlotte

    Hmm

    21 Oct 2006, 13:40

  31. Charlotte, there are no user post counts on here.

    21 Oct 2006, 14:47

  32. Charlotte

    What on earth does THAT mean?

    21 Oct 2006, 15:39

  33. ‘When applying for the job, the woman in question was interviewed by a panel of senior school officials including the male head teacher. During this interview, she was happy to be unveiled.’
    It could be that she decided to don the burka after her interview. At one point the burka was relatively uncommon among the younger generation, but recently this has begun to change. I’m not sure of the reason but girls and women who have been happy without the burka for years are suddenly choosing to add it to their Islamic attire. Seems to suggest that there is something about current society that makes them feel they need it…

    Charles Bourne’s comment about the answers to give to the kids’ questions is also a very pertinent one. I have worked with children in many environments and have been faced with questions from small children many times (I wear the headscarf but not the burka). I find that it’s important to make the covering secondary so tend to go out of my way to make them laugh and therefore feel comfortable interacting with me rather than intimidated. On red nose day I made a scarf with a massive red nose on the back to wear into school. The kids (and the teachers) loved it and it makes them realise that the headscarf is just an extension of my character rather than something they have to deal with in order to get to the ‘real me’. Although I’m not an advocate for the burka, I would argue that character can be expressed from behind it. Otherwise, no one would listen to the radio.

    As for Muslims not being able to integrate to the same level as Sikhs and Hindus, I think that is because we are stricter adherents to our faith than members of the other two groups. Although Sikhs are not allowed to drink alcohol for example, I have come across very few who do not. That is not to say that no Muslim drinks of course, but it is a rarer phenomenon. We need to think about exactly what we mean by ‘integration’. Does it mean discarding anything that does not fit….or ‘banning religious symbols’???

    21 Oct 2006, 16:20

  34. Saajida Mehrali’s comments are sensitive to different viewpoints, and underpinned by the wish to defuse cultural conflict. Nevertheless, in responding to the point I raised in my first comment, the important issues are sidestepped. It is not the times when children are not concentrating on the difference represented by the headscarf or burka that is important, but when they are doing so. What are they to be told then? How are personal conduct and gender relations that stem from a specific relgious-cultural outlook to be presented to children from homes of various faiths and no faith? Is it to be presented within a relativist philosophical-relgious context – that different people believe different things, and what is true for one is not ture for another? Are the gender inequaltiies to be acknowledged and justified?

    It is not just a matter of what the children themselves think about this, and the kind of things they are told. It is very important to their parents. Children are at school to be educated and provided with the tools of life, and parents have a real and legitimate interest in what their children are taught. This is an especially strong interest when the issues are not academic or pratical, but religious, moral and personal. If a teacher is to make his or her religion extrusive in the classroom, he or she must be prepared to talk about it to the children, and justify that to their parents. It is not just “an extension” of the character, because it relates to general issues and beliefs – it is not an individual quirk or foible, like wearing a bow-tie or a necklack. It derives from deeply held convictions. Can those convictions be explained without misleading the children?

    So I very genuienly would like to know what curious children would be told was the meaning of and reason for the burka, and the way this would be related to the prevailing norms of this society. Would it leave them free from any suggestion that the beliefs involved were generally true? Would what was said be acceptable to parents of different faiths and none?

    By the way, I think the comment about the radio demeans the argument. Not only is it absurd, but the issue is not the expression of character. It is the meaning of difference.

    21 Oct 2006, 23:14

  35. Michael Jones

    I don’t think schools would get very far if every teacher was replaced by a radio.

    Personally I’d find it rather strange, and probably quite off-putting, to be taught by someone dressed like that. It gives the impression that she’s trying to distance herself from everyone else in the room.

    22 Oct 2006, 14:27

  36. Just to add something further to the “radio” comment. Radio is a specific form of media. It is not used as a substitute for interaction. I don’t see how children can really benefit from being taught by someone who they cannot interact with in a normal fashion. I use the word “normal” because it is normal to be able to see facial expressions etc.
    If someone can argue for the burka then I would like to hear it, but at the moment I’m of the opinion that it’s a symbol of oppression and exclusion. Also if there is a reason for it other than the whole ‘sex on the mind’ argument I’d like to hear it.

    22 Oct 2006, 14:54

  37. Emily Davis

    I think in this case it is justifiable to take action about a woman wearing a veil. As everyone has already said it would disrupt the education of children if they could not see her face. I can’t imagine trying to have a useful influence over a childs behaviour without showing how it has affected me. One of the main skills children learn at a young age is empathy – that doesn’t yet show up on standardised test scores but without it our society would fall apart. Showing your feelings through facial expressions is a crucial part of intelligent social-emotional learning.

    However, I do believe that Jack Straw was wrong to ask a member of his constituency to remove her veil. She would not be harming anyone else (apart from, arguably, herself) and so it is an important part of our liberal democratic tradition that she should be allowed to continue. She should not have been made to feel socially obligated to please Jack Straw just on his own whim – as if he has any more authority on this matter than the everyday person. What arrogance! If you feel uncomfortable – you have no choice but to get over it. Acceptance of other people’s rights (without necessarily agreeing with them) is a powerful message to send to our children, rather than trying to protect them from seeing anyone who is different to them. Also, women are not just choosing to wear the veil because the men in their lives tell them to, a lot of them are making their own choice. THAT is a basic tenet of anyone’s idea of feminism.
    Regarding other facets of my idea of feminism I personally would not wear a veil/burka and I would, most definitely, argue in a respectful fashion against women wearing it but this is a totally seperate argument. There should be discussion on it just as in a free society there should be discussion on anything. But we need to try to persuade using the power of a better argument rather than coercion because we don’t like it and we are scared of growing extremism/terrorism.

    22 Oct 2006, 20:25

  38. David Metcalfe

    From Helen Ryan: “In education particularly, as the vast majority of teachers are female, it should not have been overly difficult to put her into classes where most of her contact would be with women”

    If a National Front member worked as a teaching assistant, would you defend his right to only be exposed to white teachers? You can’t reasonably pick and choose your colleagues.

    23 Oct 2006, 07:35

  39. A couple of points arising from Charles Bourne’s response to my earlier post. First and foremost, rather than ‘sidestepping’ the issues of when the kids are concentrating on the hijab or burka, I was suggesting exactly what is mentioned later in his post – about equipping the children with the ‘tools of life’. For children to be able to see that the covering is secondary to the person inside it is surely a valuable lesson for life and would give them the moral upper ground in any circumstance. So, even when they are concentrating on the veil they are able to recognise that it is part of the individual wearing it and not a ‘generally true’ belief or a barrier.

    Secondly, it seems to me a bit reductionist to ask what ‘curious children’ would be told about the meaning and reason of the burka. As anyone who has worked with children will know, depending on the capacity of the child, their background, the type of school they are attending, the reason for which they are asking the question and many other factors, a single question can be and would be answered in many different ways. I am not avoiding the question or denying the responsibility of the person wearing the hijaab to account for it, but just drawing attention to the fact that there is no single answer.

    As to the veil not being an ‘extension of the character’, I’m afraid I disagree. Yes it relates to general issues and beliefs, but it does so at a very individual level. Character is rooted in faith, (not necessarily religious) so the manifestation of faith is also an extension of character. In fact, much more so than a quirk, which is precisely that. In most cases it has no root in the individual’s character and is therefore an ‘addition’ to it rather than an ‘extension’ of it.

    Radio – hehe…obviously, Michael Jones and Gavin Alexander are correct about the use of radio in schools and perhaps also about the burka in the same environment. I think the argument does stand though in cases like that of Jack Straw mentioned above. He is perfectly happy listening to the radio and talking to people on the phone and via email so why make women remove the burka? Doesn’t it come to the same thing essentially or am I missing something? Maybe it has something to do with being able to see and not being able to see the person at the same time…

    23 Oct 2006, 08:49

  40. At the risk of making the last post too long and boring, I have started a new one in order to have a go at addressing Gavin Alexander’s view that the burka is a form of oppression and exclusion. The Islamic viewpoint has always held that covering is a form of protection and maintenance of chastity for women and men alike. When women cover, they provide dimensions of moral character and dignity for themselves, but also for society as a whole. It is the women who cover because men tend to be initially inclined and instinctively attracted to the physical beauty of women. Obviously, women are also attracted to men but in general, the physical structure of women is more personable than that of men. The burka, or veiling of any kind, inculcates the importance of women on men because it forces them to acknowledge women on the basis of their character, intelligence etc.

    In addition, many hold the view that in a society where a woman, due to her physical attraction, is used for the promotion and publicity of products, as a decoration for reception rooms or as a tool for attracting tourists, her personality is reduced to that of a doll or something trivial and insignificant. Her only distinction and glory therefore, lies in her youth and beauty each of which is very finite. By covering, women feel they can gain distinction by making their personality a stronger factor than their physical beauty.

    The extent to which a woman covers then, depends on when she feels she is achieving the aims of the hijab outlined above. Many women feel there is no need to cover at all, but others find it necessary to cover everything, including face and/or hands. I would like to conclude therefore by suggesting that the hijab/burka is an attempt at inclusion and freedom rather than exclusion and oppression.

    23 Oct 2006, 08:50

  41. Saajida Mehrali – I still think your answers are evasive. Forget the idea that it is kids asking something. Parents have a right to clear and unequivocal answers.

    All the maintenance of chastity stuff. I find it offensive. Personally offensive. I also think it is not suitable to be told to children – becuase of its sexual nature; because it is based on ideas that are drawn from outside British culture; and because in large part it is nonsense.

    If “the hijab/burka is an attempt at inclusion and freedom rather than exclusion and oppression”, then polygamy is a way of preventing adultery.

    23 Oct 2006, 13:33

  42. Saajida – Would you be able to converse with someone if they had their back to you as comfortably as when they did not? Speaking to someone on the phone etc is different to when there is a physical presence simply because there is an acknowleged extra dimension to the proceedings. My father used have meetings in which he made people uncomfortable simply because he had a massive beard and his glasses were tinted. People could not read his facial expressions and it made communication difficult.

    The argument that women cover themselves so as to gain a higher social status, ie one that is governed on their personality and intelligence rather than their youth and appearence, is flawed in one major way. It implies that women have to cover themselves to gain social status because men only view them as sexual objects. Women are wearing these items because men cannot control themselves. Surely it should be the men that change their opinions?
    It is true that women are sexualised in a good many ways in the media and advertising in particular. I heard on the radio yesterday about a journalists experiences in the East where bill boards and posters were covered in sexy women promoting goods, but the women in the street were covered. A little hypocritical? Or does it not matter that these women have no social standing?
    If it is true that the only way a woman can make her way in the world is to not been seen to be equal to the rest of that society then there is something drastcially wrong.
    Please do not for one minute think that I’m implying that these women should start running round in very little clothing. I find the way in which many people dress these days appalling, and not helping their cause at all. The old girl power “I can dress like this because it empowers me” argument is equally as flawed. They dress that way to get attention not to make themselves more important in the world. (I know what I mean but can’t find the words).

    Mr B your last comment is very well made.

    23 Oct 2006, 14:52

  43. I have been looking at a very interesting book by James Bowman Called “Honor” (I will post about it on my own blog). But I came across this sentence in a discussion about the book:

    All honor cultures make women’s honor — by which is meant their chastity or fidelity — the property of their male family members, for it is up to fathers, brothers or husbands to protect it, and to challenge other men who threaten it.

    That is, of course, the basis of Islamic women covering up – because to allow themselves to be seen would debase not their own honour, but those of their menfolk.

    23 Oct 2006, 15:36

  44. All honor cultures make women’s honor — by which is meant their chastity or fidelity — the property of their male family members, for it is up to fathers, brothers or husbands to protect it, and to challenge other men who threaten it.

    Funnily enough I’ve just been reading this week about a similar sort of attitude existing in England, how an adulterous women brought shame to her husband because he couldn’t ‘control her’, how women were bullied almost into not showing up their husbands with expressions of independence… thing is, all this happened 400 years ago. Interestingly the main difference is that the uncontrollable sexual desire was seen as a woman’s not a man’s problem. I guess it could be an explanation as to why Brits find parts of Muslim culture a bit alien, as we have already abandoned similar teachings to a large extent.

    23 Oct 2006, 15:48

  45. Belinda Man

    People wearing the veil do not make me uncomfortable, one of my best friends on my course wears the veil. but i dont think i would be friends with her now if i didn’t know her from before she started wearing one. But i think it is a big problem and inconvience for practical reasons. At the moment there is only my friend in the year wearing a veil, but if all the muslim girls on my course wears a veil or if all of us wore a veil, it would be chaos!!! I will not be able to recognise my friends from all the people and can you imagine the chaos during exams?! It would be so easy to swap for another person to sit the exams for you, it would be just ridiculous.

    23 Oct 2006, 22:23

  46. Ravi Jayaram

    Good job this lady has been fired. Firstly she represents only a tiny minority of Muslim women in this country who are veiled. Only 1-5% of British Muslims do so. Secondly, she is entitled to her religous faith. Yet she cannot impose this faith on her students. A Burqa is as much an imposition as possible. Generally most Muslim women in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh don’t veil themselves. So its not really her old tradition, but rather a reflection of the increasing Middle Eastern influence on Islam in this country. Also she is in England and she should show respect for the culture. This is a generally tolerant society, she is allowed to wear a Hijab, its ridiculous to insist on not showing her face to children. How can little children reduce her chastity anway?

    24 Oct 2006, 22:14

  47. Michael Jones

    “In addition, many hold the view that in a society where a woman, due to her physical attraction, is used for the promotion and publicity of products, as a decoration for reception rooms or as a tool for attracting tourists, her personality is reduced to that of a doll or something trivial and insignificant.”

    Certain men may view women in this way, but for a woman to infer from this that all men she meets would, at the sight of any more of her than her eyes, immediately be filled with lust for her, is no different to inferring from the actions of a few extremists that all Muslims are terrorists.

    25 Oct 2006, 01:11

  48. “He is perfectly happy listening to the radio and talking to people on the phone and via email so why make women remove the burka? Doesn’t it come to the same thing essentially or am I missing something?”
    Nope, you’re right. But there’s a reason we have the school system and don’t just teach kids via e-mail.

    Here’s just a random thought: lots of kids are smart and know a lot about how to mess with teachers. I can practically guarentee that within a few months of a teacher wearing the veil to school there’s going to be to some kids who start wearing bin bags with an eye-slit cut into them in order to wind-up and mock teacher. How do you think the teacher and the muslim community would react to such ‘a sacred element of thier culture’ being mocked in such a way by 8-year old boy? Because it will happen.

    If a woman wants to wear a veil that’s fine with me, she has every right to wear whatever the fuck she wants. But likewise the school should have every right to refuse to employe her on the basis of what she’s wearing. I doubt any school would employe a teacher who insisted on coming to work in a t-shirt that say’s ‘Likes to fcuk’ on it, or for that case even one that dressed in a particulary uncouth and unproffesional fashion.

    If you look at the figures the number of people in this country that regulary go to Church/Mosque/Synagogue is far less than the number of people that can’t be bothered. This makes us a secular nation so we need to stop protecting the hell out of religion like it’s some sacred cow. The only difference between a woman insisting on wearing a veil to work and a man insisting on wearing an offensive t-shirt to work is that one is claiming she has to do it because an imaginary man in the sky told her to. I really don’t see how we can protect the rights of one nutcase and not the other.

    25 Oct 2006, 01:31

  49. we need to stop protecting the hell out of religion like it’s some sacred cow

    The phrasing in this sentence is sublime. I’m not being sarcastic.

    25 Oct 2006, 01:57

  50. Mr Love you stray slightly from the point, albeit in an amusing fashion.

    ...far less than the number of people that can’t be bothered…

    I beg to differ. I reason I don’t go to church etc is likely the same reason that a large proportion of others in this country don’t go. They don’t believe in the things that you should that leads one to go to church etc.

    Calling people who hold strong convictions and beliefs “nutcases” doesn’t help your argument by the way. Even if it is concise and well made up to that point.
    And your tshirt argument is a little silly. Veils aren’t “verbally” offensive when compared to a tshirt with an anagram of ‘fuck’ on it, if you get me

    25 Oct 2006, 11:11

  51. Suppose a transvestite man (not a trans-sexual, a transvestite) turned up to teach kids wearing drag. Woud that be OK? I wonder what a burka-wearing teacher would say about that. (btw, there is a wonderful scene at the end of the German gay film “Taxi zum Klo” [1980] where this does happen … the male school-teacher in drag I mean, not an opinion offered by a burka-wearer. I wonder if anyone reading this has ever seen that spectacularly outrageous movie?)

    25 Oct 2006, 12:45

  52. Hamid Sirhan

    Well Captain Obvious to the rescue:

    1) The “separation” exists because some people in government (and apparently at university) assume that everyone should be uniformly white and middle class.

    2) Surely the best way to integrate is to have children experience working with people who wear the hijab so that they don’t grow up and suddenly discover people are wearing them, aged 16?

    3) Someone briefly mentioned Hindus and Sikhs earlier. Well if a Sikh man can wear a Turban and a Hindu woman can paint her dot, wear a sari etc, then I don’t see why a Muslim woman cannot wear the niqab. I don’t remember anyone at SOAS complaining that the Jewish Librarian’s Yarmulke was causing a cultural war.

    25 Oct 2006, 15:41

  53. Note, Hamid, that the discussion is not about all religious items of clothing, including a basic headscarf, but about one item in particular: the full veil. If you actually want to follow the debate, perhaps you should first of all realise that a turban does not offer any problems to communication as is being spoken of above. Nor does a bindi. Nor a scull cap.

    25 Oct 2006, 15:58

  54. “I beg to differ. I reason I don’t go to church etc is likely the same reason that a large proportion of others in this country don’t go. They don’t believe in the things that you should that leads one to go to church etc.”
    Not sure I quite get what you mean there – is it that much of the country are christian, but not christian enough to want to go to church? You’re right but the problem is it’s general only the ‘fundamentalists’ that demand specific consideration for thier religion, but they do so in the name of all the other followers that really couldn’t care less.

    Calling fundamentalist religicists ‘nutcases’ might not help my arguement but it’s a strong conviction and belief of my own that thinking like that does need someone to be a little wrong in the head. But the point of saying it wasn’t to be inflammatory but draw a comparison. See, you think I’m straying from the point but I’m not, I’m just regarding the whole thing from a different angle – removing the whole religious component because I honestly don’t see it as relevent.

    If I was working as a school teacher and decided that I wanted to wear a veil to school every day because I’m actually a ninja, would that be okay? Or because I just liked the look? In any such situation I’d likely be fired and have no recourse whatsover. And people would think I was crazy. But suddenly, if it’s done in the name of a religion, it’s okay? As someone who finds religion laughable at best and down-right scary at worst I don’t believe there should be any difference.

    (And just to re-iterate something from earlier: if a woman wants to wear a veil when she’s out shopping she has every right in the world to and no-one should be able to stop here. Just like no-one should be able to stop a guy dressing as a ninja. But in doing so you have to accept that this may prevent you from obtaining employment in certain areas where a dress-code is enforced. And again, if the woman in question was wearing a veil outside of school but not wearing it while teaching, and the school wanted to fire her for her actions outside of school, I’d be vehemetly defending the woman’s right to do whatever she wants outside of workign hours)

    Holly – didn’t even notice that when I wrote it… then again once I told a Christian friend she ‘shouldn’t treat the bible as gospel’.

    25 Oct 2006, 16:02

  55. >

    It is precisely this absolute privileging of multiculturalism over majority community values that is at the core of the problem. It would appear that most people think there is a legitimate limit to the extent to which some variants can be integrated into the education system, especially at elementary level, and that the majority opinion is entitled to prevail. In asserting this, people continue to measure their views by standards of reasonableness and rationality, and are not expressing prejudice or bigotry or cultural limitation.

    But there is another problem to my mind. In the full cultural and intellectual context of the burka and its meaning, there is real reason for concern that anyone whose values require that she wear it while working in a school with not support, and will not understand, the values of equality (in particular for women) in a way that makes any sense at all to most people (especially most women) in this culture; and will not base their expression of views in this area by reference to the common values of this culture, but rather will refer to a strange and largely meaningless set of beliefs about “chastity”.

    Then there is the simple political issue. If people have distinguished themselves by their solidarity with other people when they are suffering exclusion or discrimination, and if their values embrace others who might be thought of as being in the same situation, then we are more likely to accept the validity of their appeal to equal treatment, But where were the women in the burkas when non-Islamic women were fighting for their rights – like to be able to wear trousers at work. Where were they (and where are they?) in supporting the right of gay people to be open in schools, and to abolish Section 28? What are they doing to stand up for the rights and help further the causes of women, and other ethnic groups, and gay people. Or are they only interested in their own selfish demands?

    25 Oct 2006, 16:25

  56. I began my comment by quoting Hamid Sirhan’s first two points, but it didn’t come out.

    25 Oct 2006, 16:26

  57. Michael Jones

    “2) Surely the best way to integrate is to have children experience working with people who wear the hijab so that they don’t grow up and suddenly discover people are wearing them, aged 16?”

    How exactly do you intend to enforce this? Make a list of every item of clothing worn by people with whom you think the children in question should integrate, and then decree that every school should have at least one member of staff wearing each of them? I come from a rural area where very few of the population are not white Europeans; I only knew one Muslim at school and he wore the same as everyone else, commonly known as “school uniform”. Thus before the age of 16, and indeed for a few years longer until reports of arguments concerning whether schools should allow pupils to wear them started hitting the news, I had no idea what a hijab was. I still haven’t “suddenly discovered people are wearing them”; I might occasionally have seen someone wearing one but I wouldn’t have paid particular attention to it and probably wouldn’t have known what it was. Does this mean that, by your yardstick, I have failed to integrate?

    25 Oct 2006, 23:55

  58. Alex Challenor

    The thing that surprises me the most about this issue is that the woman actually wants to wear something which conceals so much of her face when she is doing a job that relies so much on communication and having a rapport with children. Surely she is restricting the quality of the relationship she is able to form with the pupils which isn’t very conducive to their learning.

    26 Oct 2006, 00:18

  59. But surely the point is that she wasn’t covering her face while working with pupils as a rule (only if a man was present), therefore it wasn’t hindering communication or restricting the quality of their learning.

    That said, to do one thing in an interview (show her face in front of men) and then abide by different rules once in post does seem to me problematic and perhaps even disingenuous.

    26 Oct 2006, 09:30

  60. By the way – I found this BBC article very useful, especially the guide to different styles of Muslim headscarf.

    Why Muslim women wear the veil (Oct 5 2006)

    26 Oct 2006, 09:32

  61. Adam Hughes

    Why are people so concerned about individual human rights when there are much larger problems at hand? Alright, according to her religion she should have been allowed to wear the veil. However, look at the needs of the job she was doing! Whats next – deaf people complaining they can’t work as secretaries? Traffic police suing because they have been stopped from directing traffic because they went blind? People are NOT created equally, its a blatant fact! They may all have the same rights, but that certainly doesnt mean they all have the same opportunities.

    I am in huge support of Jack Straw – not simply because it is marvellously refreshing to see a politician actually stand up and give his honest opinion without caring how he is criticised for it. I do think that in all public placed women should not be allowed to wear the full veil. Not because of any religios reasons, but because of security reasons. For years (since the height of the IRA) people have been told that they must remove headgear, helmets, hats, etc in public places. This is so people can see their faces and they can be recoreded on CCTV. I worked in a job where profiling people was one of the key skills, and trying to do so when they are wearing something that shows nothing but their eyes is damned impossible! And who is to say that there is an old lady with a handbag rather than a young man with a block of semtex under there? I know that is an extreem view, but in these times I think it is folly to think smaller.

    Mrs Azmi has some vital questions to answer. She says she wants intergration – then surely that means that she, as the vast minority, adopt our culture? She also says that she deserves the £1000 because of hurt feelings – is she planning to give any of it back to the school to compensate the children? If she really cared about the children rather than herself, then why wouldn’t she agree to remove the veil while in work?

    In their own homes, people should be allowed to do whatever they like (within the law) and that is where individual rights are true. In public, we have to use the rights of the masses. One interesting point is that when the Armed Forces moved into Iraq and the surrounding area, the commanding officers were told that they should remove their sunglasses when talking with locals as face-to-face contact is a vital part of interpersonal relations. So how can the government say that, and then revoke it when this sort of situation occurs?

    26 Oct 2006, 11:37

  62. I must admit that I was blinkered by the idea that the full veil was being worn all the time. I now recall that it was only to be worn when a male member of staff was present, yes? If so then we can assume that for the majority of the school day, Ms Azmi is showing most of her face. Unless of course there is a male member of staff who might come in at any time? In which case she might be pre-emptive and wear the veil all the time. I don’t know.
    However, the basic points are still there – She didn’t wear a veil at the interview. Now I am lead to believe, from interviews on the radio, that she was under the impression that she would be interviewed by a female member of staff and so did not have her veil. But hang on, she must have got to the school somehow. And to do so she must have passed male members of the public. Was she not wearing a veil then?

    Mr Love: My point was that most people in this country are not practising religious types not because they can’t be bothered, but because they don’t believe in it.
    I beg forgiveness on the other points, I didn’t know you felt so strongly :)
    Also the ninja argument is well made, although I don’t think it’s considered a religion and therefore wouldn’t get the same status. Unlike Jedi.

    Mr Hughes: The whole point about multiculturalism is that people are allowed to practise their beliefs with and around everyone else. Although I agree with you that aspects of British culture and rules should be observed: No arranged marriages if it’s not wanted, equal status for both sexes etc but nothing is black and white.
    I would imagine that army officers were told to communicate as effectively as possible with locals was so as to keep good relations. After all, we invaded their country, after a fashion, and are there to do them a service. The situation is totally different.

    26 Oct 2006, 12:04

  63. If the veil is to be thrown on the minute a man walks in the room, then there will be something to explain to the kids (in terms that are acceptable to parents), and no mistake, regarding the relationship between men and women. So all the points above with respect to the educational issues and social example still stand, and in many respects are heightened.

    But there is a new dimension to be added: in what way are children to be told, or understand, that they are different from adults, in some profound way that makes such a radical alteration of appearance necessary? How could this be explained without (a) going into the territory of sex education, and involving the same teacher actually dicussing male sexual development with boys; (b) addressing how female teachers are like the children in their relation to the teacher, in that they do not require the veil to be worn in their presence. This would send some very mixed messages about authority and respect. Also, what if the class could contain adolescent or pubescent boys? will the teacher have to ascertain such matters?

    26 Oct 2006, 13:46

  64. I agree that multiculturalism means people can do what they wish – but there is a time and a place. As I said, in her own home or in her own cultural setting I don’t care if she wants to wear the full veil, sunglasses and a black Fedora every time she sees a male. But in the mainsstream of society then she needs to accept that she is outnumbered and that there are ways of life that the majority abide by, and if she wishes to continue to live in this country then so must she.
    You claim we invaded their country? Well, invasion means to move into foreign land and emforce your own agendas and ideal upon the local populace.. In my opinion, that is exactly what she is doing.
    in public areas, we need to completely ban the veil. It does nothing but promote misogynistic ideas, creates a social and political barrier and presents a security risk.

    27 Oct 2006, 12:36

  65. “You claim we invaded their country? Well, invasion means to move into foreign land and emforce your own agendas and ideal upon the local populace.. In my opinion, that is exactly what she is doing.
    in public areas, we need to completely ban the veil. It does nothing but promote misogynistic ideas, creates a social and political barrier and presents a security risk.”

    Wearing a veil in public isn’t enforcing her ideals on anyone – as long as she doesn’t start harassing other muslim women for not wearing it she can where what the hell she wants as far as I’m concerned. I don’t disagree that it promotes the subjugation of women, presents socials barriers and can be a security risk, but if that’s what she wants it’s her choice. The flip side of this though is that if an employer doesn’t want to employ her as he figures it’s no suitable attire, that’s his choice, likewise if a shop doesn’t want to allow her in just like they wouldn’t allow in someone in a motor cycle helmet (as it cover thier face and presents a security risk) they should be allowed to without being attacked for religious persecution.

    It’s fine and legal for people to wear whatever they want but if they wish to go against the grain of a given society we shouldn’t persecute those who ‘discriminate’ against such people for practical reasons.

    28 Oct 2006, 18:18

  66. I agree people should be able to do whatever they want – in their own homes. As long as they don’t break the law or affect anyone who doesn’t wish to be thats fine. However, in any public area you have to go with the ideas of the public. And that means the veil should be banned. Its basic democracy – more people want it gone that want it kept, therefore, in public areas it’s gone.

    30 Oct 2006, 17:10

  67. Hamid Sirhan

    Gavin

    Note, Hamid, that the discussion is not about all religious items of clothing, including a basic headscarf, but about one item in particular: the full veil. If you actually want to follow the debate, perhaps you should first of all realise that a turban does not offer any problems to communication as is being spoken of above. Nor does a bindi. Nor a scull cap.

    Yes Gavin, I am well aware of the debate. Some people are rather confused in their arguments going from “well in this culture I need to see a person’s face” to “in this culture I don’t want some woman running around putting on a scarf every time a man walks into the room and then having to foist her religion upon unsuspecting children!”

    You claim that a turban doesn’t offer any problems in communication. But, Gavin, if you kept up with the debate instead of sitting on your high-horse imagining you have a perfect grasp of it, you might realise that one of the many arguments centres around the idea of it creating a cultural separation, as though there were some mystical and ancient universal “British” culture to begin with. And as these arguments have been brought up, it is more than acceptable to discuss various other cultural symbols which “separate”, or differ from what is considered “British” (apparently white and tea-drinking).

    And next time you wish to condescend, spelling “skull” correctly might help.

    Michael Jones

    How exactly do you intend to enforce this?

    It’s not a matter of enforcing it. But when a teacher wearing a hijab or the Niqab or a turban etc. comes along, discriminating against them on the basis of religious attire is not the appropriate method of bringing understanding to others.

    Hughes

    then surely that means that she, as the vast minority, adopt our culture?

    And what is “your” culture? Every time I hear some white, middle-class BNP-alike discuss British culture I can’t help but think of a typical Coventry pikey sitting on a street corner drinking tea out of fine china whilst discussing Shakespeare in between spitting on immigrants or “darkies” and munching on some fine scones!

    The whole concept of “Britishness” as some kind of monolith died with Enoch Powell. It’s quite disturbing to see that the majority of educated folk in this thread seem to have the whole “Rivers of blood” speech on repeat. “First the spear, then the toga” old chaps, wot wot. I’ll appreciate the concept of “British” culture when “British” folk manage to restrain themselves from climbing on the Number 93 in Putney Bridge station, spotting a woman who’s clearly Hindu and then yelling “I SMELL FUCKING PAKIS”.

    Its basic democracy – more people want it gone that want it kept, therefore, in public areas it’s gone.

    sighs It’s a shame that more of our Great British public don’t quite understand our legal and democratic system.

    02 Nov 2006, 20:26

  68. Well being signed out after composing a very long reply is rather trying… However I shall try again.

    Hamid – Well we appear to disagree on a point about what the argument was. How distressing.

    Condescending? Well I’m sure I would succeed if I tried. I apologise for the difficulty I sometimes have with spelling. Did you ever consider that I might have dyslexia? I don’t, but if I had and saw that you had dismissed me because I can’t spell I might have been a little vexed. I apologise for falling back into my rowing tendencies and spelling “skull” with a ‘c’, which is the way it is spelled in my sport.

    Your initial arguments on entering the debate were a little simplified. Exactly who in government wants us to be white and middleclass?
    Also you imply this is not a ‘good’ thing to be. Should I apologise for being white? Not that I consider myself to be that particular colour, as I have dark colouring (both hair, eyes and skin) even though I’m considered Caucasian. I’m not sure of many people I know who would automatically think “WHITE!” when asked of their background.

    Thank goodness you kept up to date with the debate. From up here on my very tall thoroughbred I can’t see down there to where the real arguments are going on. Even if I could hear it above the drone of my own croquet accent spouting all the things that Daddy told me to say about those people from across the water.

    Did any of my previous posts dismiss anything that anyone had said? They might have countered the arguments or pointed out a different view, but I think that your impression that I have a perfect grasp of the debate is a little blinkered. I don’t and never pretended to have. I have an opinion is all.

    British culture. I myself have trouble describing this as it is not a set and stable thing. That is one thing that some people have trouble letting go of, yes. It changes and incorporates new things.
    The culture of this island has changed over the years as the inhabitants have come and gone. We can go a very long way back: Romans, Britons, Saxons, Danes, Norman, French etc. etc. I’m not a historian but I know that much. This is also a reason why the people you seem to think of as the only people who don’t like head scarves, those that shout “Innn-ger-lund” at football matches, are displaying their ignorance when they announce themselves to be “100% English”. Yes. You’re a 100% melting pot of many different nations. Goodo.
    However, incorporation of a ‘new’ thing, such as that of the full veil, means it has to be accepted. This would be done by the nation as a whole. The majority would have to agree with it for it to become socially allowed. Women wearing trousers had to become acceptable, and it did because amongst other reasons it was a dumb idea not to let it happen. The full veil is perceived by many to be a step back to before that era and is therefore not socially accepted. And the arguments are happily bouncing about above. With my high horse.
    Middleclass? Well what class do you consider yourself to be, being at a top university in Britain?

    I don’t think you’re doing yourself any favours when you argue about “a mystical British culture” being defended by racist comment shouting BNP supporters. Some ‘British’ people shout racial abuse, yes. Thank goodness no Jewish (who isn’t British of course) person has ever shouted something about a Muslim then. Nor a Muslim (who isn’t British of course) person racially insulted a white (British of course )person (I could say Christian but that’s a moot point).
    There are people in ALL races/religious denominations that racially insult/attack other races/religious denominations.
    These people do not speak for the majority. We know this.
    So why do you insist on attacking the perfectly credibly arguments of people against the wearing of a full veil in public places or in the learning places of children by implying they are people like the BNP louts outlined above?

    03 Nov 2006, 01:25

  69. Also, if most people vote for something, or their democratically elected representatives vote for something, then how is that not a democratically elected thing? (ignoring the Whips and party voting).
    And what is our legal and democratic system? Our stemming from the country we are in. Stop being so high and mighty yourself. We’re in Britain. We’re (most of us around here) British. It’s the country and nation we were born in. It’s where we’re from. It has a system that we adhere to and abide by. It’s ours. Is that allowed? Thank you.
    Oh and look… I said all that without implying that some people weren’t welcome to join and share in that. Perhaps because I don’t mean that and aren’t excluding people.
    Contradictory? No… It wasn’t.
    Goodness… Bordering on patriotic without being racist. Perhaps because it can include other Nationalities without any major issues so long as certain important aspects that are already there are accepted by the newcomers? There’s a thought.

    Your turn.

    ps – Sorry for the bitch fight, Mr D.

    03 Nov 2006, 01:25

  70. Hamish: Forgive me for seaming crass, but what in God’s name are you tlking about? First off, I think you have the wrong meaning of the word ‘Pikey’. Traditionally, the onloy way a pikey would get his hands on fine china was if it was tucked under his arm as he ran away from its real owner. Then you appreat to try and stereotype me as some sort of 1950’s Mr Jones. Well, that aside, what makes you assume I am a BNP supporter, or middle class? Or even white for that matter? Are you saying that to be properly “British” I have to be white? In fact, I hate coventry, I can’t stand Chavs and I have no problem with black people (Oh yes, I call them black – because its what they are), gays, disabled people or most other minorities.
    I am not going to even try and define what it is to be “British”, as that would take the best scholars most of their lives. However, I agree that there are serious problems with the low-life brits. What you have to bear in mind is that these people are also a minority; most British people are sensible, normal and passive people (in the extremist sense).
    I am also painfully aware of our legal system, and it is never a good idad ot try and be condescending to someone when you don’t know how much information they have. This may surprise you, but I am not patriotic at all. As soon as I can, I am going to Canada, Ausrailia, Germany, etc. So before you try and make me out as some sort of Empire-driven maniac, remember that wat I am saying comes from my views on people, not patriotism. Say what you like about America, but at least there the people are proud of wat they have – no matter how bad it may appear. Britain is becoming a weak, nany, welfare state overrun by socio-economi problems, poor government leadership and unrestrained immigration. It is, in essence, a sinking ship. So the reason I said it was basic democracy is because that is what it is. Most people do want the veils banned from public areas. And I think it is a crying shame that our government doesnt do just that.

    I would also like to go off topic a second ad point out something I think is important when dealing with these sorts of issues. I think the BNP had some good idea (gasp!). I also think the Fascists had some good ideas (You Nazi!!). And here’s the spanner, I also think the Communists had some good ideas as well (You commie… nazi… huh?). You see, I think it is stupid to tie yourself into one party of ideas when dealing with majorly important issues. I am a special type of person that I like to call “rational”. Just because a good idea comes from a bad source doesn’t mean you should ignore it. So don’t insult me by saying i am a “BNP-alike” when I am not, and don’t make yourself look ignorrant by trying to label me like that when I doubt you actually know any more about the BNP’s ideas than equating ‘BNP’ with ‘Bad’.

    03 Nov 2006, 09:32

  71. Ravi Jayaram

    To Adam Hughs:
    How is Britain being destroyed by mass immigration? please explain. Also what good ideas did the BNP have? Or the Nazis for that matter. Good job you called black people black, what else did we expect you to call them?

    03 Nov 2006, 19:50

  72. Oh, there has been a whole argument about what black people should be called according to political correctness. So far my favourites are “Spectrally Challenged”, “Optically Different” and “Melanin enhanced”. See, Political Correctness – another idea that has gone too far.
    When I say it is being destroyed, I mean that the mass influx of immigrants has caused the government to abandon our own traditions in favour of ‘tolerance and understanding’. We live in a country where some places have already replaced “Christmas” with “Winterfest” so it doesn’t offend non-christians. First off, why would non-christians be offended anyway, they don’tbelive in Christ at all (except Jews, before someone points that out!) so how is it offensive. I don’t belive in christianity, and I LOVE christmas. Yet we are now contemplating using metric signposts and stopping prayers in schools and everything. The idea of tolerance is that you don’t force it on people, not that you force them to stop. (And yes, I am well aware that contradicts my argument about banning the veil, but that is different as I said earlier. I don’t mind Christians but would have a problem if poeple went around dressed as a Teutonic Knight or something).

    The BNP have some ideas I like about restricting immigration and lowering the outsourcing of businesses. This is just common sense, surely. It is legal for foreign companies to buy out businesses, but not for UK companies to buy out them. Now, if that keeps happening, what is going to be the outcome for our economy…?

    The Nazi’s gave us some amazing inventions, least of all the jet engine. They also had a fantastic economic structure, the old joke “At least they kept the trains running on time” is true, they did. I also agree with Identity Papers to help stop illegal immigrants and criminals, etc. (Incidently, do people feel that a national DNA register is an invasion of privacy? I don’t get it – I think that if you take a DNA sample from all newborn babies and after only a few generations could compile a databank well over 95% complete, how is that invading privacy? If you don’t commit a crime, why would the police track you?)

    The Communists – well, Communism has some great ideals that speak for itself. Unfrtunately, there are also the glaring flaws. Although Mussolini ste up a hydroelectric power system that is still in use in Italy today.

    See, you can gain great wisdom from the most unlikely of places.

    03 Nov 2006, 20:35

  73. Hamid Sirhan

    Hamish: Forgive me for seaming crass, but what in God’s name are you tlking about?

    The name’s Hamid, though I am half-Scottish.

    First off, I think you have the wrong meaning of the word ‘Pikey’.

    No, I think the image I was conjuring was perhaps too subtle. When someone throws around the “British” tag as though there is some universal British culture, it can conjure the contrasting image of the negative aspects of this semi-fictional (in that it is not “British Culture” but one of the British Cultures which exist side-by-side) British culture as well as the positive aspects to which you no doubt allude. Hence the tea, crumpets, pikies spitting.

    what makes you assume I am a BNP supporter, or middle class? Or even white for that matter?

    Well firstly your name is Adam Hughes. It doesn’t immediately give the impression that you’re an immigrant of Pakistani or Arabic descent. You could be black, but the surname suggests differently. Hughes is also a surname of Germanic origin (or possibly Celtic/Irish) which indicates that you are white, presuming that your father (if you have taken your father’s name) has not married a woman of differing colour.

    I’d imagine that the majority of people who attend the top universities in this country are “Middle Class” and I can make assumptions based upon the views you’ve already expressed and those you’ve continued to express.

    most British people are sensible, normal and passive people

    Believe it or not I have lived in Britain most of my life, most of which was spent in the SW/W of London but with the obvious 3 years in Coventry – so I know what the positive aspects of the specific British culture you are referring to are. The negatives are also present. Most “British” people are sensible, until you put them into a football shirt. Or a pub. Or, God-forbid, both.

    Here’s where Middle Class assumption comes in. To be honest you come across as the type who’ll talk in blanket statements about all the positives of “British culture” but be afriad to walk in the streets of Manchester/Liverpool in case you have to mingle with the locals.

    I am also painfully aware of our legal system, and it is never a good idad ot try and be condescending to someone when you don’t know how much information they have.

    I can reasonably assume that your knowledge of it is limited because of your it’s-so-obvious-it-must-be-true observation that “more people want it gone that want it kept, therefore, in public areas it’s gone”. Which is really not necessarily the case when it comes to British democracy precisely because of our legal system.

    04 Nov 2006, 18:51

  74. Tony Blair

    This may surprise you, but I am not patriotic at all. As soon as I can, I am going to Canada, Ausrailia, Germany, etc.

    What? “I travel, therefore I’m clearly not patriotic.”? Mmmmmmmmmm…. “fallacy” springs to mind! What is interesting in a perhaps Freudian way is that all the countries you chose to name are primarily white and Germanic (although Canada is wonderfully open). You don’t have to live in a cave underneath the nation’s capital worshipping a flag in order to be patriotic. You can travel and still love your country.

    . Say what you like about America, but at least there the people are proud of wat they have – no matter how bad it may appear. Britain is becoming a weak, nany, welfare state overrun by socio-economi problems, poor government leadership and unrestrained immigration. It is, in essence, a sinking ship.

    You show a stunning lack of consistency in your arguments and beliefs. The people with whom you are probably sympathising the most are the right-wing crowd in the US. The reason why a lot of minority groups in the US are proud to be American is because of the wonderfully open culture prevailing in many urban areas.

    But I’ve never met an American who’s proud of his country’s Medical system. And while most Brits don’t sing the praise of the NHS, it’s no way near as shoddy as the US system and with more nannying it could improve.

    So Britain’s a sinking ship. Because there’s unrestrained immigration. And immigrants want to come here because…? Well it’s not because of our weakness as a country and it’s also not because of our socio-economic problems…

    And you’re against the nanny-state… but you’re more than happy to equip everyone with an ID card and arm the government with your DNA and the DNA of your children. So replace the “nanny” with a “police” and that’s what you’re in favour of?

    Most people do want the veils banned from public areas. And I think it is a crying shame that our government doesnt do just that.

    Because the government wouldn’t be able to do something like that. Let’s say the Government tried to and it defied the odds and passed through the Commons. Let’s then imagine that the Lords would go so far as to approve of it and it succeeds and becomes enacted. It’d only be a matter of time before court cases (including ECHR), judicial review (hello HR Act 1998!) pop up.

    The reason why such absurd legislation doesn’t pop up is precisely why I love the legal system in this country. It’s by no means perfect but we have one of the best and most honourable collections of Judges in the world keeping the Government in check and making sure that flimsy, racist legislation does not succeed for long.

    I also think the Fascists had some good ideas (You Nazi!!). And here’s the spanner, I also think the Communists had some good ideas as well (You commie… nazi… huh?). You see, I think it is stupid to tie yourself into one party of ideas when dealing with majorly important issues.

    Not many people deny some of the German technological achievements… but arguing that they were Fascist ideas is again somewhat fallacious. Sure the Communists had some good ideas. And the Nazis might have agreed with some too! Like the invasion of Poland. Or the Holodomor. Yay!

    04 Nov 2006, 18:51

  75. Hamid Sirhan

    I am a special type of person that I like to call “rational”.

    For sure. Very rational. You’re not a patriot because you travel. You like to agree with fascists but only on issues of scientific progress. And you think that the BNP has done some great work on immigration. I’d go Godwin on you right now, but you already Godwined yourself… But yes, you’re very, very rational.

    Just because a good idea comes from a bad source doesn’t mean you should ignore it. So don’t insult me by saying i am a “BNP-alike” when I am not, and don’t make yourself look ignorrant by trying to label me like that when I doubt you actually know any more about the BNP’s ideas than equating ‘BNP’ with ‘Bad’.

    But you yourself have said that you think the BNP have had some very good ideas. Very good ideas with specific regards to immigration. Which means that your views on immigration are probably somewhat similar. Which means with regards to immigration and immigrants and, therefore, imported cultural changes, you are very much a BNP-alike. Come on Mr. “Rational”. It’s all there in your own words. You just need to read them sometime! QED fellah, QED!

    • “Tony Blair” is in fact me typing the anti-spam in Name instead. D’oh.

    04 Nov 2006, 18:52

  76. “Tony Blair” is in fact me typing the anti-spam in Name instead. D’oh.

    I just assumed you were being satirical…

    04 Nov 2006, 19:33

  77. Shankar Jayaram

    Adam Hughs:
    To say the Nazis invented the jet engine is laughable. German scientists working under the Nazi regime invented it. The Americans came up with the first nuclear bomb. This was under the Democrats government, this doesn’t mean the Democrats invented the first atomic bomb. This has nothing to do with Nazi ideology-which were simply hunt conquer and kill.

    The BNP-is simple a party of racist goons. They talk of immigrants, but their main targets are darkies. Its ethnic minorities they want out. They focus on asylum seekers because the public is generally no longer so hung up on people’s skin colour.
    Also Immigration has been a great asset to Britain. Most second generation children of immigrants see themselves as British. Among West Indians, more babies are born to one white and one Black parent than to two Black Parents. Ethnic minorities are doing well in school, Indian and Chinese origin children perform the best in school. Arent these positve role models?

    Also are you serious that Christmas is being undermined? I just came back from Leicester today (33 percent Asian I think). The entire town centre was bedecked in Holly. Half the Indian restaurants had huge banners up wishing customers a merry Christmas. All this when Christmas is still 50 days away. If you ask me, Christmas is over-hyped by the media and the marketing people, not underplayed

    05 Nov 2006, 18:41

  78. their main targets are darkies.

    Excuse me? Since when has that been an acceptable word to use?

    05 Nov 2006, 21:52

  79. Hmm, where to start?

    1) You say I am not patriotic because I travel. This is completely the opposite of what I actually said. I want to travel, because I am not patriotic. I have very little love left for this country and that is why I want to leave it. Although my friend and I got a great laugh out of Tony Blair’s comment “What is interesting in a perhaps Freudian way is that all the countries you chose to name are primarily white and Germanic (although Canada is wonderfully open).” When I said I was going to Canada, Australia and Germany. Do I actually have to point out how stupid that is, or not?

    2) You are wrong about Pikey – it is a derogatory term used for low class people that break the law frequently (like Chavs, but not exactly). And I would’nt walk around london or manchester or anywhere alone or in the dark because I don’t like being at risk. And that to me seams, again, common sense. There are parts of LEamington I don’t go through at night, and those are ‘upmarket’ areas during the day. But they are concealed, dark and well accessed – which is precisely what muggers are after.

    3) There is, I agree a “lack of consistency in your arguments and beliefs”, however, idon’t think it is stunning at all. I do belive I am a rational person, but rationality is dynamic. So what you call “lack of consistency” I call adaptation. One has to discriminate, its the only way to make things effective. If people are profiled because of their background, then it is unfortunate to those that would otherwise be honourable citizens, but it has to be done because going by each case individualy would not work. So yes, saying “all the darkies are thieves” or the like is wrong. However, saying something like “We need to keep a closer watch on Muslims” is, in my view, perfectly acceptable. That is not saying that Muslims are a threat, it is saying that the threats are all Muslim. How can something be racists if it is a fact? For instance, the DNA database has been criticised for holding predominantly young, black males. Well, the crime reports show that there are a much larger of Black people being convicted. And here comes the “lack of consistency” again – I do not know if this this is a fai representation, stemming from socail backgorund or police bias or whatever, but it is the only representation we have got. And incidently, yes, I would happily give my DNA and that of my children to the database. If I am implicated in a crime I would much rather prefer to be able to go along, give my DNA sample, have it cross-checked and then walk away completely free. It would also reduce the “unfair police profiling” argument, as it would be uniform accross all people and it would be able to prove convictions with the same level of accuracy (Although, I agree that as with all things open to human input, there is still some level of profesionalism required and so people could still be persecuted. Its not perfect, but its better).

    06 Nov 2006, 11:09

  80. 4) I call myself rational because of incident like the above. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate and even agree with it. I don’t like most of your views, Hamid (and this has no refernce to you as a person, let me make that clear. You seem remarkably similar to me in some ways. Besides, I don’t actually know you, nor you me), however, I can se how some of the things you are saying are a good idea. I can see why you are concerned about a police state. I am in favour of becomeing more like a police state – note: not a olice state, but more like. That may be confusing, but I will try and explain later if needed – because it has to be done. I would like nothing more that for all conflicts to be solved and us to all live in happyness and peace. However, while people of different beliefs (social, not necessarily religious) are trying to blow up innocent people, I want those people checked thoroughly before they are allowed anywhere near public areas. I know it is unfair on the vast majority, but It has to be done. If I were the minority then I would expect and understand why it was done to me.

    5) I am not a BNP-alike. I have some similar ideas over immigration, yes. However, that doesn’t make me a supporter of theirs. The Catholics and Protestants have a large amount of similar ideas, but try going into a pub in Cork and calling one of the old “fellah”s a Protestant-alinke and see how long you last. Just because someone has similar ideas doesn’t mean they are in the same band. That is the same as saying anti-war groups are the same as Al-Quieda because they both want UN forces out.

    6) “This has nothing to do with Nazi ideology-which were simply hunt conquer and kill” – this type of comment always pains me. First of all, it was an example – I also gave another example about how one part of the Nazi ideology was a good idea (the heavy input into securing a long-term over short-term infrastructure) but that, I notice, has been conveniently overlooked. And Idon’t think its fair to comment on the ideaology being so simple. The methodology, yes, was horrific and should never, ever be forgotton incase it happens again; but the ideology was quite intircate. There are two ways to stop genetic diseases – gene therapy is one of them, sterilisation of infected people is the other. Had Hitler had access to our level of scientific advancments who can say if he would have put emphasis on that line insted. So while you can say that it is folly to say it was the Nazi’s themselves that came up with the inventions, what is perfectly acceptable is what I said – that the inventions only came about because of a shift in priorities brough on by the Nazi’s. Interestingly enough, it was Nazi scientists that pioneered a style of opthalmic surgery that was abandoned after the fall of Nazism that was then later picked up years later after other attempts had failed. It was felt that because the Nazi’s ad done it, the proceedure was abhorrently wrong. And, as I said before, please do not think I am a neo-fascist. I have Jewish friends, I do not condone any form of genocide and I think that what they did was a crime against nature. That doesn’t mean I can’t find it interesting and important.

    7) Hughes is Welsh actually, although I am mainly Celtic. My Mother was Slattery (Irish, obviously) but took my fathers name when she married. And sorry, I am still a little confused as to why you are posting under Tonay Blair as well? How is it an anti-spam feature?

    06 Nov 2006, 11:09

  81. Sorry, just noticed: In the above post it should read “note: not a police state”, rather than “note: not a olice state”

    06 Nov 2006, 11:10

  82. “I have some similar ideas over immigration, yes”
    The BNP wants all non-white immigrants and their descendents out. Is that what you want? Also Blacks are not more criminal than whites. They are focused on certain types of crime, but overall poor whites are the most likely to commit crime. Furthermore, West Indian blacks are the most integrated immigrant group in Britain. Indians who are much less integrated are much less likely to commit crime.

    Also you say your mothers side is of irish origin. Well Im sure you know, that the Irish were the most despised immigrant group for ages. Natives said they drove the wages down and were criminals. Nice to see that an immigrant’s descendent has settled down well enough to resent present-day immigrants. This is the story of immigration. Like how many British Asians resent Somalis and Poles

    Also it is pretty weak, to talk of a change of priorities in the Nazi regime as justifying jet engines. There is nothing Nazi about it. The Brits were working on the same thing at the same time, the German scientists just got there first. Also read Mein Kampf, that has all you must know about Nazi ideology.

    06 Nov 2006, 21:48

  83. See, this type of idiotic reply really irritates me. Try to actually read what I write before you reply to it! I didn’t say that was one of their ideas I agreed with at all. They do have more than one idea for immigration you know, if you actually bother to read up on them. They have proposed several ideas I like, such as the medical screening of all immigrants. TB is on the rise again and there are strong links to the imflux of immigrants causing this (as they come from countries where the vaccine and treatment are not readily available if at all) I didn’t say blacks were more criminal, I said that “the crime reports show that there are a much larger of Black people being convicted”. If you don’t belive that, then go and have a look for yourself. And I don’t think that race has much to do with crime anyway, its poor people that are most likely to break the law.

    And yes, I know a hell of a lot about my Irish heritage, a damned site more than you I’d wager. And I do know all about the treatment of the Navies. They worked to survive and did what they had to do in order to try and get a better quality of life – and immigrants that do that now are perfectly acceptable. You have lost track of the issues here – we are on about how immigrants refuse to adopt the mainstream culture in public areas. The Irish did. They had Catholic churches and kept their own values at home, and yes there were the odd few who didnt change as there always will be, but generally there was no actual basis for the conflict that they encountered.

    As for the Nazi comment I am chooseing simply to ignore it. I have alread explained about the jet engine and then provided other examples of how they had some good ideas. If you are too lazy or moronic to read and understand them, that’s not my problem.

    07 Nov 2006, 11:50

  84. I have to agree with Adam on most counts about the Nazi and BNP comments. If the casual observer is to read what he actually said, they will find that they are mistaken in slapping him down so readily.
    He is in no way (I think) saying that the Nazi’s or the BNP are good. They are not. We all know this. But as Adam points out some of their ideas were/are good. That is not to say we should give them credit, invoke the ideas in their name or adopt any of their other ideas in line with it.
    The jet-engine argument is a tough one, but I believe the British got there first, although the Americans think they did (there’s another debate for you).
    But good/bad/good/bad: Rocket science. The V2s were evil things, and many scientists were forced to work on the projects (some did so willingly of course). But from the captured information after the war we got the space race. A good set of things. Difficult isn’t it?

    It’s interesting how debates morph into other things. It does seem as though Mr Hughes is being picked on.
    It’s very easy to see the words BNP, Nazi, Racist and shut off. The arguments then tend to plogh forward without the content of the posts being read or understood.
    Let’s make it clear: A racist person wouldn’t stand a chance round here. Not only would they be ostrasied by their fellow bloggers, but it’s likely the comments would be deleted and maybe even their blog removed. I’m not sure on that as I haven’t read the Users Agreement thoroughly. As such, it would be a better idea to think about someone’s motives and thought processes when they say “so and so had some good ideas” before immediately lashing out with a “Shit you are the BNP!” response.

    With that in mind, Shankar, you haven’t answered Eleanor’s question: In what context did mean the word “darkies”.

    Hamid, in reply to James:

    But you yourself have said that you think the BNP have had some very good ideas. Very good ideas with specific regards to immigration. Which means that your views on immigration are probably somewhat similar. Which means with regards to immigration and immigrants and, therefore, imported cultural changes, you are very much a BNP-alike. Come on Mr. “Rational”. It’s all there in your own words. You just need to read them sometime! QED fellah, QED!

    Going round in circles and arguing the same point after it’s been answered isn’t going to make you right. You’re drawing your own conclusions, and it seems you’re reading what you want to read. Just because someone doesn’t agree with the extreme politically correct movement doesn’t mean that they spit on people in the street who can’t trace their ancestory in this country back to the middleages.

    Interpretation… Statistics are always a problem. I shall not comment further.

    07 Nov 2006, 16:21

  85. Thank you! It is so nice to get someone that actually reads things before commenting, rather than picking out keywords and making the conversation up in their heads.

    Did the British get to the Jet Engine first? I though that the V1/V2 were the first use of jet propulsion. I suppose it depends on where you decide the where rockets stopped and jets branched off…

    I don’t mind that this has turned into a rather heated debate at me, although it does ir me when people don’t make their points even slightly relevant to the topic. Polotics is a very important thing, its stupid to just let it happen without debating every point thoroughly. (Although I didn’t get the “QED” bit – where is the question in my post, or the answer. Surely the only answer would be the one I put there?)

    08 Nov 2006, 11:16

  86. ella

    coo-eee has any one seen my brain i seem to have lost itoh no its the return of all the cris’sfrom the hahahaha blog, funny i thought that would be something slight ly more interesting than climate change or watever they were gabbing about. adam hus damn u this is relevent i shall now skip in the feilds of unknowingnessness…ness

    08 Nov 2006, 17:19

  87. Charlotte

    Dont you think that if that woman was dressed like that - and she was teaching in schools - don’t you think that if she was teaching a class of children, then she might scare them off?

    08 Nov 2006, 19:19

  88. I know she’s thirteen but seriously.

    08 Nov 2006, 19:49

  89. charlotte

    Seriously WHAT?

    09 Nov 2006, 06:34

  90. rese

    why is it so hard to just let people wear what they want to wear?

    judgement. it goes both ways.

    10 Nov 2006, 11:25

  91. charlotte

    It’s not hard, it’s just that if she was teaching a class of kids…and she turned up wearing that costume, don’t you the kids might be a bit frightened?

    10 Nov 2006, 15:49

  92. costume
    Charlotte, what I mean when i say ‘seriously’ is that it is incredible to me that as a reasonably intelligent 13year old you can hold such offensive and ignorant views. This woman wears the niqab because of a great faith and personal belief in god that she holds it to be necessary to cover herself. Your derogatory(look it up) attempts at analysing the situation are quite frankly offensive.

    10 Nov 2006, 17:14

  93. Excuse me, formatting error. Should look like this:

    costume

    Charlotte, what I mean when I say ‘seriously’ is that it is incredible to me that as a reasonably intelligent 13year old you can hold such offensive and ignorant views. This woman wears the niqab because of a great faith and personal belief in god that she holds it to be necessary to cover herself. Your derogatory(look it up) attempts at analysing the situation are quite frankly offensive.

    10 Nov 2006, 17:16

  94. charlotte

    Sorry, sorry, I thought that woman was…well…I don’t wnat to say it, just in case it sounds even more offensive! But it’s OK, I get it now!

    PS: Eleanor, do you really think I’m reasonably intelligent?

    10 Nov 2006, 17:47

  95. Alicia

    Eleanor, Charlotte has said nothing offensive and not only is she intelligent she is also very polite especially when compared to the likes of you. Now get of her back.

    10 Nov 2006, 19:58

  96. Disagree, disagree, disagree…

    Goodo. Another person to ignore.

    10 Nov 2006, 20:32

  97. charlotte

    That’s OK, I don’t mind!

    PS: Gavin, I love your name!

    10 Nov 2006, 20:38

  98. Alicia

    You can disagree all you like, Gavin but I’m sticking to my guns and I’m building a portfolio of people to ignore.

    10 Nov 2006, 22:42

  99. anonymous

    women ¬_¬

    11 Nov 2006, 00:22

  100. charlotte

    What’s a portfolio?

    11 Nov 2006, 07:29

  101. Shankar

    “As for the Nazi comment I am chooseing simply to ignore it. I have alread explained about the jet engine and then provided other examples of how they had some good ideas. If you are too lazy or moronic to read and understand them, that’s not my problem.”

    Wooo, that is indeed very personal- someone is prickly. I never called you a racist, I just questioned your admiration for certain policies of the BNP and the Nazis. Right, firstly, the Nazi economy wasn’t anything brilliant. You did mention the Nazi economy as being a good idea of theirs didnt you? Or is this a fond imagination of my lazy and moronic mind? Well, firstly the Nazi government’s economic policies did help Germany out of the worst of the depression. But again this had little to with THE NAZIS themselves. The economy was managed by Dr. Schacht a technocrat. His policies were Keynesian, so far nothing particularly Nazi. The Americans had similar policies in place at the time. Indeed, the famous Autobahnen of Germany were on modelled on the Highways of America. The economy was still not brilliant, just no longer an absolute shambles. However instead of taking the economy to all out recovery and prosperity;Hitler changed direction to take Germany to war. He wanted this all along. Hitler’s sole aim was conquest. He lead Germany into a war that destroyed the country. This is a bit long winded and a digression, but at least it counters your argument that the Nazis had good economic ideas.

    Secondly yes the Irish are indeed the most integrated. However that is because they have been here the longest. Assimilation takes time. That is why West Indians, who have been in Britain the longest of all ethnic minorities are the most assimilated. Oh by the way why is assimilation always the best way forward? The Indian and Jewish communities are much less integrated than West Indians-yet far more successful.
    Of course people always think that previous immigrants are the goodies as compared to the feckless hordes of today. So the once despised Irish are model immigrants, Muslims now fit the mould of what Britain should keep out. Most Muslims do not refuse to adopt to mainstream culture. Only 1-5% of Muslim women even wear the veil. So in effect the small minority of Irish people who did not conform is analogous to this small and extremely vocal Muslim minority

    11 Nov 2006, 10:37

  102. Shankar

    “As for the Nazi comment I am chooseing simply to ignore it. I have alread explained about the jet engine and then provided other examples of how they had some good ideas. If you are too lazy or moronic to read and understand them, that’s not my problem.”

    Wooo, that is indeed very personal- someone is prickly. I never called you a racist, I just questioned your admiration for certain policies of the BNP and the Nazis. Right, firstly, the Nazi economy wasn’t anything brilliant. You did mention the Nazi economy as being a good idea of theirs didnt you? Or is this a fond imagination of my lazy and moronic mind? Well, firstly the Nazi government’s economic policies did help Germany out of the worst of the depression. But again this had little to with THE NAZIS themselves. The economy was managed by Dr. Schacht a technocrat. His policies were Keynesian, so far nothing particularly Nazi. The Americans had similar policies in place at the time. Indeed, the famous Autobahnen of Germany were on modelled on the Highways of America. The economy was still not brilliant, just no longer an absolute shambles. However instead of taking the economy to all out recovery and prosperity;Hitler changed direction to take Germany to war. He wanted this all along. Hitler’s sole aim was conquest. He lead Germany into a war that destroyed the country. This is a bit long winded and a digression, but at least it counters your argument that the Nazis had good economic ideas.

    Secondly yes the Irish are indeed the most integrated. However that is because they have been here the longest. Assimilation takes time. That is why West Indians, who have been in Britain the longest of all ethnic minorities are the most assimilated. Oh by the way why is assimilation always the best way forward? The Indian and Jewish communities are much less integrated than West Indians-yet far more successful.
    Of course people always think that previous immigrants are the goodies as compared to the feckless hordes of today. So the once despised Irish are model immigrants, Muslims now fit the mould of what Britain should keep out. Most Muslims do not refuse to adopt to mainstream culture. Only 1-5% of Muslim women even wear the veil. So in effect the small minority of Irish people who did not conform is analogous to this small and extremely vocal Muslim minority

    11 Nov 2006, 10:37

  103. Debs

    The whole debate is ridiculous. I live in france where all religious symbols are banned in “public” life, you can’t go to work with a crucifix or a veil or any other contraption. People seem to get along a lot better on the whole, as all religions are treated the same. I can’t conceive there being much freedom left to kids to make up their own mind about religion, good or bad, if they’re subjected to such displays of religious blief.

    12 Nov 2006, 13:33

  104. Yes, I am prikley – do you realise how annoying it is to be having an argument with someone in which you have explained the same point many times, only to have someonecome along later and bring it up again?

    Hitler changed the economic ideas to cope with an expanding war. What you, like many other people, do not appear to realise is that Hitler was a very great leader. I don’t mean that in terms of ideaology, but in terms of skill. So you can bitch about how X was done by Y so that doesn’t technically make it Nazi and all that jazz as long as you like. The fact is that Hitler, and the Nazis managed to create an economic system that coped with a rapidly expanding frontier. Hitler made 2 great mistakes, he opened up the eastern front and he did not belive the main attack on D-Day would occur where his inteligence indicated, and subsequently failed to move key panzer divisions into play – if he hadn’t done these two things, or either of, then we would most likely have lost.This was Nazi. So, as I have said before, the Nazi’s did have some good ideas. Their focus on economic and scientific development outstrips, in my opinion, that of today. I have already said all this, I shan’t say it again.

    And I fail to see the relevance of your statistic. I know it is less than 5% of women that wear the full veil. How does that make it right? In that case it is less than 5% of women we have to stop.

    And your argument linking the Irish to the Muslims is erroneous. The Irish were persecuted simply because of their heritage and religion, the Muslims are not being persecuted and there is a very large influence regarding security and social boundaries, rather than religios or racial aggression.

    13 Nov 2006, 15:50

  105. Pedants note: What about stopping at the channel? That was a bit of a mistake. Mind you, could be put under the Russian Front heading, as I believe he drew the line in Northen France and then concentrated eastwards. Who knows.
    Not that we’re talking about that.

    13 Nov 2006, 23:11

  106. shankar

    Hitler was no great leader. He lead his country to absolute ruin and destruction. How did Hitler manage to cope with an increasing economic front? Germany under the war was starved of many basic neccessities, including oil. That is why Hitler moved to the East. He was an idiot as well in terms of terrorising the peoples of Ukraine and other non-Russian Soviet states. These people who were crushed by Stalin would have happily supported him, but instead Hitler’s conviction about racial inferiority meant that the Nazis treated them no better than cattle . Germany was not a marvel of efficiency, but economically inefficient. There were some brilliant minds among the Nazi leadership no doubts about it. But Hitler generally preferred arbritary decisions rather than the rational-bureaucratic method of governing. He famously decided to annex Austria on an impulse. He also ignored his advisors who felt that Germany’s economy and navy were underprepared to go to war. I will bitch about who did what, because, this counters your claims about them being Nazi ideas. If they were based on Keynes’ theories and replicated elsewhere in the world, what is Nazi about them? How are they good Nazi ideas?

    Anyways, Im interested in why what you mean about Muslims being persecuted regarding security and social boundaries. Do you feel Muslims are unwilling to integrate? Do you feel that this is something inherent in Muslim culture? What do you think are the root causes of ghettoisation of Muslims?

    15 Nov 2006, 00:31

  107. Gareth Herbert

    Adam:

    You’ve made lots of points that I object to, but the one which strikes me as being the most far-fetched is that Hitler made only two military mistakes which cost Germany the war.

    Evidently you are forgetting his his order to German panzer divisions to halt just before reaching Dunkirk, his decision to switch bombing of British airfields to the cities, his decision not to equip German forces for a winter war in the east, his diversion of Guderian’s panzer division from the drive to Moscow, his utter fixation upon Stalingrad and appointment of a lackey like Paulus for the key position as commander of the 6th army, his recurrent inability to listen to his generals, his refusal to withdraw from the east to a defendable position when the entire front was collapsing, his decision to place the requirements of Nazi racial ideology over the needs of the army, his total loss of any sense of reality prior to the collapse of the Nazi regime and God knows how many others.

    16 Nov 2006, 00:36

  108. I am not forgetting, I am simplifying. Most of the points you have raised I would class as being under the two main mistakes I mentioned, but as this board has nothing to do with that, then I do not particuallarly want to get drawn into a whole debate about it. I don’t want to seam like I am shunning you or anything, its just that if we end up going down that road it is going to be a long and winding one…

    To counter shankar: Hitler did make some mistakes, but he was also a good leader. For one thing, he was actually voted into power and rearmed and rebuilt most of his army before any conflict arose (and yes I know Apeasment played a part, etc, but see above). He did make some mistakes, as all leaders did, but he also made some fantastic plays. Though his navy was reportedly underprepared, the U-boats were terrors of the sea, thanks in no small part to a brutally efficient command structure and the Enigma coding machine. The administration system was simple and efficient as eel, allowing for rapid responses and effective control. Hitler’s main poroblem is that he underestimated his enemies and overextended himself. However, I feel the ideas are sound.

    Back on topic: by “security and social boundaries” I meant that there is animplicit amount of distrust to overcome between mainstream culture and Muslims. The security factor is obviously the threat of terrorism, while the social background is more tricky – I mean that the Muslim people tend to form a very tight-knit groups (especially within large families) that are often viewed as exclusiveThis often compounds the concern over extremism and also it does create the appearence that Muslims are not trying to intigrate at all. Even around the University I noticed that groups of people tend to contain peopole of all different backgrounds, except for muslim groups, which seemed largly (though not in all cases) to contain only other muslims. In the urban areas, this is increased greatly. I think that with the current political climate Muslims need to be aware that they are under close scrutiny as they are the biggest threat. The RIA activity has all but died out, and Muslim extremists are the cause of all terrorist activity towards us. I know that this is not fair and many feel persecuted, but it is unfortunately what has to happen. A young muslim male must realise that if he gets on a london bus with a large backpack, he will cause suspicion. I don’t think the reaction this will cause is part of muslim culture, more a part of human nature, especially youth. The male will unboudtedly be upset and feel harrassed – however, what is most often the case is that he lashes out with claims of racism when it is not a racial background at all. Were I in his place, I would accept that I do fit the profile of a terrorists and work aeound it. It is no different to when security guards follow me around HMV because I fit the profile of a shoplifter better than the other customers. I know I am not, but they don’t.
    So you see, it is the social background of the Muslim faith that I feel is causing the problem here, not the religious or racial. That is what I mean by security and social issues. Does that make it any clearer?

    16 Nov 2006, 11:43

  109. Sorry, after re-reading that my question at the end may seam a bit terse, it honestly wasn’t meant to be, if you took it that way.

    16 Nov 2006, 17:50

  110. charlotte

    You added a long comment earlier, Adam!
    PS: I love your name! I’ve always liked peopel who are called Adam!

    16 Nov 2006, 22:42

  111. Ralph

    Saajida Mehrali’s claim that the burka “forces a man to acknowledge a women on the basis of her character, intelligence etc” is patronising nonsense. If I claimed that women were so shallow that they couldnt judge my character unless my good looking face were obscured, feminists would be up in arms, and rightly so. The reality is that while physical characteristics play a large role in first two minutes of a relationship (hetero, homo or platonic), if there is no meeting of minds, the relationship fails, nine times out of ten. Of course there are a few simpletons who are mesmerised by the physical, for example Sun reading, page three ogling males attracted to big boobed strippers. But does Saajida really want a relationship with a simpleton? Moreover, does she think that covering her face will suddenly force an over sexed Neanderthal to appreciate her character?

    Next, do women in veils seriously think any man will even bother trying to chat them up and interact with their “character” given a sea of unveiled women to interact with? The motives for the veil are clearly not as Saajinda claims them to be.

    For example why did the Muslim teacher insist on wearing a veil in classrooms when there were no men around? Muslim women could easily have a “pull up” veil for when a man suddenly appears in the room, just as anoraks have pull up hoods. Why do Muslim women wear the veil when walking along the street and not engaged in verbal intercourse with men: it only obscures their view of traffic and endangers their life. The veil has nothing to do with getting men to appreciate women’s character. The veil is a straightforward piece of uniform, and the folk who cannot do without the prop of their uniform clearly lack character. As to the folk who are frightened of anyone reading their face while engaged in social intercourse, this indicates a gross lack of confidence and character. Women who chose to hide behind veils do not have character or intelligence: the latter two are precisely what they lack.

    17 Nov 2006, 09:39

  112. Becky

    Where in her Quran does it say a woman has to cover her face? It doesn’t say it. As a matter of fact, the Quran says for a woman to cover everything but her face and hands.

    20 Nov 2006, 19:33

  113. Sorry, since this went off the front page I couldn’t find it for ages…

    The Quran doesn’t preach anything about the wearing of veils or and general degredation of women. However, muslim women wern’t allowed to become literate and educated – so guess who were the ones that actually read the Quran? Thats right, men. So it makes me laugh how they are claiming that it is an act of feminism (as well asreligios freedom) to demand to wear the veil, when it is based on a sexist corruption.

    21 Nov 2006, 10:53

  114. charlotte

    Why are they asking us anti-spam questions now? I mean “who is the british prime minister?” and “what colour is an orange?” LMAO!

    PS: Adam, I still love your name!

    21 Nov 2006, 17:51

  115. Aww, thanks hun – I love your name too!

    22 Nov 2006, 11:29

  116. Sebastian

    I think it’s fine if it’s part of her religion. I just think that adults that have children should have enough knowledge to teach their children about the world and other cultures. A kid being scared of a woman who has a veilled face is do to the ignorance of the parents and the lack of education of other cultures. People are scared of what’s different, and in this case we see that. We just have to learn to respect other cultures and ways of thought, or else we’re just stuck in a world of ignorance that never learns to understand.

    25 May 2007, 22:14

  117. Manzoor

    She is a Muslim lady, and wants to be practical one. why the people are thinking in -ive. I think she has to practice according to Shariah. No one has right to committ on onces personal life. and it is onecs fundamental right to oblige his religon. I appricate her , not because she is veiling her self . but becasue she is very much bold and is right and has to right to fight aginst such people whose thinking is against Islam

    07 Jun 2007, 12:19


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