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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Monday, October 16, 2006

One must wonder if Jack Straw had any idea what a broohaha he would be stirring up with his stance aginst Muslim women wearing veils while in his Constituency Surgery..
It's turned, from one man's stance aginat anonymity, to a national cause od group segregation..
This weekend, Government Minister Phil Woolas angered Muslim groups by calling for 23-year-old Aishah Azmi - a Muslim teaching assistant suspended for refusing to remove her veil - to be sacked.
The head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Muhammad Abdul Bari, has claimed that a recent "drip feed" of ministerial statements over the issue has "stigmatised" the entire Muslim community... that "What is happening, especially in the last few months, has been a barrage of demonisation of the Muslim community to such an extent that the community is now scared and the whole community feels vulnerable."
Yet Communities Minister Ruth Kelly spoke to a meeting of local authority officials saying the battle against extremism in the UK was the biggest security issue for local communities and should be fought by everyone - not just Muslims.
She told representatives from 20 councils and senior police officers at the meeting: "This is not just a problem for Muslim communities.
"The far right is still with us, still poisonous, still trying to create and exploit divisions.
"Extremism is an issue for all of us. We all must play our part in responding to it."

One cannot doubt the sincerity of Ruth Kelly, or the resentment of the Islamic Community.. but what has begun as a tempest in a teapot is turning into something much more ugly..
If we have British Commanders on the ground in Iraq saying the presence of our troops is indeed leading to an increase in terrorist rectuits, what can we expect on this island, when traditional values are becoming something which could face antipathetic legislation..
We have had a history in dealing badly with minority groups in this country, and especially when dealing with cultures which differ radically from 'the norm'..
Historically Britain has not been a place minorities have flocked to.. it wasn't until the 50's and 60's that the Black Community grew to any significant size..
Now, we have a Muslim Community which measures in the millions, and quite frankly this, when looked at by native Britains who live side by side, is in some cases, daunting to say the meast..
Add the aspect of the source of most terrorists these days, and there is cause for concern..
As has been said several times in these writings, while Britons must become familiar with the true nature of these new faces on the block.. it behooves the Muslim Community to defuse this current issue..
There is nothing in the Q'ran which demands a full-face cover for a woman.. it is the choice of certain sects and individuals..
Time to really dig deep, and decide, on both sides, the relative importance of religious dress..
Mind you, having said that, one wonders if there will be future protests about the particular dress of Hassidic or Ashkenazi Jews..
Already a woman has been fired from her job for wearing a cross on the job..

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