By normalising the veil, we are playing into the hands of Islamists


1:34 pm - September 22nd 2013

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by Suhayl Saadi

In ‘Lifting the Veil…’ (The Guardian, 21.9.13), it is admirable that Zoe Williams lets (a selected cohort of) Muslim women have their voice. It is obvious, as Williams may be suggesting, that the obsession of the political and media classes in the UK and USA with every nuance of ‘Muslims’ serves as both distraction from systemic economic criminality and a perennial divide-and-rule tactic.
 
Sadly and typically, though, the article errs by omission and plays into the hands of three Far Rights – the White Supremacist Far Right exemplified by the EDL et al, the Islamist Supremacist Far Right generated by Saudi Arabia and its allies and the fundamentalist capitalist Far Right represented by most of our ruling political class. The comparison drawn by Williams between women who adopt these various Douglas Fairbanks Junior coutures and the urban youth subculture of ‘Goths’ therefore is utterly inappropriate.
 
Can we not see what has happened since the early 1980s? The goalposts keep changing, so that Williams allows (for want of a better term) ‘women who sport hijabs’ to pose as some kind of normative middle ground. This is exactly what has happened in the UK state’s dealings with ‘subaltern’ groups domestically and it is a reflection of the specific architectures of control deployed during the days of the British Empire.

It is no accident that this process has mirrored the systemic shift to the Right in terms of the overall economic discourse. It is due, in part, to a political disconnection between feminism, anti-racism and economic critique.

And so, conveniently, by default, the public discourse in this country continues to be modulated between the three Right-wing, oppressive poles – fundamentalist capitalism, white supremacism and religious supremacism – while nice white liberals (some of whom are my best friends) flounder. 

Saudi Arabia is the worst thing that has happened to Muslim societies since the Black Death.
 
For 40 years, billions of petrodollars have furthered the Saudi imperial project, which subsists in a structural coalition between the Al Saud family and the Sunni theocracy of the Arabian peninsula. Originally, this was, of course, in large part a creation of the British Empire.

What we see in Muslim societies globally emphatically is not a reflection of a need to keep “a connection with [our] conservative culture”. Islamism is not a conservative ideology; there is nothing ‘traditional’ or ‘authentic’ about it; it is a revolutionary, post-modern totalitarian ideology.
 
Perhaps, for a change, we would do well to ask the Left in Muslim countries what they think of Islamism? The Left in Muslim countries is under no illusions, does not mince its words or actions and regularly gets murdered by (in some places, state-sponsored) Islamist paramilitary death squads whose modus operandum most closely resembles that of the Contras in Central America. Now we see what is happening in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Libya and even Turkey.

This is not about consumer ‘choice’; we are not talking here about brands of tiles or toilet rolls. It is about Saudi imperialism and social control and the strategic alliance, baptised, presumably in oil, geostrategic advantage and kickbacks, between that entity and our ruling elites in the UK and USA.

The sooner guilty white liberals and the visible ‘Left’ in Britain begin focusing on all of that, with no holds barred, the better.

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Reader comments


We opened this particular barn door by introducing laws allowing special pleading by religious groups. Now we try to close it after the horse has bolted.

Of course traditional conservative wear for Muslim women is far more obvious than, say, wigs worn by orthodox Jewish women. Should we be similarly concerned about such a tradition? It seems as repressive to me, though less sinister than a niqab.

As Sunny has pointed out many times, extreme positions feed off each other as you describe. However they may not be the best place to start from when considering these matters.

What really concerns me is the treatment of children. Why should it be legal for old men to cut off baby boy’s foreskins?

This is a very muddled article. I also am not keen on it switch from academic to vague generisations – terms like “Islamist” encompasse many different political strand – much of it anti-Monarchy and about winning lection (conflating with Saudi royal family? Rachid Ghannouchi in Tunisia is a world away from that). My niqabi friends are also very critical of the Saudi state and royal family and drive.

Awami League secularists in Bangladesh are in control of the extrajudical death squads RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) as trained by British Intelligence (see Ian Cobain reports). Asia Human Rights Council have documented their mass detention without trial and killing in the streets. Odhikar the best human right organisation have documented that – but then outrageous their head has just been arrested and kipnapped. State Secularism isn’t alway related to the democratic and some repressive and authoritarian – from Ben Ali to BAKSAL.

Look up the period of HUJUM for an earlier manifestation of the “veil debate”.

I am very proud of the fact the British Left isn’t like the French Left.

I also strongly commend Aaron Keily of the National Union of Students campaign (who is not the “guilty white liberal” Suhyall generalises about, who in my experience are more likely to support Charlie Flower aide Tehmina Kazi or Yasmin Albhai Brown) for his support of the campaign. Also the energy and spontaniety of Muslimahpride who stood up for themselves transnationally, earlier against the male-created FEMEN.

3. the a&e charge nurse

‘The sooner guilty white liberals and the visible ‘Left’ in Britain begin focusing on all of that, with no holds barred, the better’ – I’m not sure what this means since the article conflates such a wide array of factors that inform attitudes towards the veil, as well as the historical reasons for it.

To my mind one of the first battles to be won is to address the incessant use of the term islamophobia with its implicit assumption that any objection to islam is racist – for example it took Laurie Penny all of 30 seconds to trot the term out on Question Time (5:26)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03bdvsv/Question_Time_19_09_2013/

So why not start with first principles, and here I would like to paraphrase the Hitch;
[1] all faith misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos.
[2] it combines the maximum of servility and solipsism
[3] it is both the result and cause of dangerous sexism
[4] it is ultimately grounded on wish fulfilment.

By all means blame the oppressive saudis and their greedy US clients but the root of the problem goes even deeper in my opinion.
Lets face it, there has to be some deep seated reason why so many cling on to these fantastical stories – curiously few of the die hards seem to be any the happier for it.

This news report from the BBC website in June is at least one eminently practical and pressing justification for enforcing a ban on burkas:

“Six men armed with axes have carried out a ‘smash-and-grab’ raid at London’s Selfridges department store. Police said the robbers, reportedly dressed in burkas, smashed glass cabinets to steal high value watches.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-22811466

Looking through international news in recent years shows many similar reports of robbers, sometimes armed, wearing burkas as a disguise.

Wel, said3′

I’d like the veil to be extended to lads who have their hair cut so that they look like an iced gem.

Good points, Hamja (comment 2, above). It’s extremely complicated, obviously, and there is much local variation. My broadside was partly to suggest that the views expressed in Ms Williams’s article are contested among Muslims. It also was partly to call for us all (the Left, progressive people, anti-racists, etc.) to not lose sight of the nature of the strategic alliance between the ruling classes of the UK/USA and those of Saudi Arabia/Qatar, etc. and the manner in which this modulates domestic politics in the UK and feeds into various oppressive narratives. I’m not suggesting for a moment that we mimic the French position. I do think we need to feel able to remain critical of (all) regressive ideologies and view the local and the global in their true, intertwined contexts.

This post is fascist bullshit.

I’d pick Islamists over liberals any damn day. Liberals are a cancer who have destroyed the left.

10. So Much For Subtlety

For 40 years, billions of petrodollars have furthered the Saudi imperial project, which subsists in a structural coalition between the Al Saud family and the Sunni theocracy of the Arabian peninsula. Originally, this was, of course, in large part a creation of the British Empire.

Of course. I wonder if there is some sort of computer programme that generates articles like these? It sounds like it could be randomly generated.

Meanwhile, in the reality based community, most people will note that the Saudis came to power over the objections of the British government and by throwing out the British choice for rulership in the region – the Hashemites. Hence Britain had to find thrones for them in places like Jordan, Syria and Iraq. (And yes, I know the Syrian thing didn’t work out).

Islamism is not a conservative ideology; there is nothing ‘traditional’ or ‘authentic’ about it; it is a revolutionary, post-modern totalitarian ideology.

It is Far Right but not conservative?

It is about Saudi imperialism and social control and the strategic alliance, baptised, presumably in oil, geostrategic advantage and kickbacks, between that entity and our ruling elites in the UK and USA.

Except it is more complicated than that. Islamism has long since outgrown the Saudis. Iranian Islamism never had any time for them to begin with. Notice the Saudis did not lift a finger to help the Muslim Brothers in Egypt for instance.

The sooner guilty white liberals and the visible ‘Left’ in Britain begin focusing on all of that, with no holds barred, the better.

The truth is the Middle East is like the Syrian fighting. We have no friends. We have no allies. The Middle Eastern Left has been just as keen to use death squads on people it does not like as the Islamists have been. That is the Attaturk programme in a nutshell. Their hatreds are too deep and too intractable. We should sit back and let them go to whichever destination they choose in their own handbasket. Bring on Fracking so we do not even have to pretend to like the Saudis.

That is the Attaturk programme in a nutshell.

Do you mean President Kemal Atatürk of Turkey who westernised the country and gave women the vote?

12. SocialistsAgainstPC

“Do you mean President Kemal Atatürk of Turkey who westernised the country and gave women the vote?”

To hell with westernisation.

13. So Much For Subtlety

11. Ceiliog

Do you mean President Kemal Atatürk of Turkey who westernised the country and gave women the vote?

That would be the one. The same guy who refused to allow Turks a free choice of ruler – they could have any ruling party as long as it was not Islamist. And whose heirs have continued the long tradition of refusing the Turkish people the right to elect the government of their choice, as well as executing those people they do elect. Right up to their strange passivity in the face of the AK Party of course.

14. flyingrodent

Can’t see how digging in heels on clothing choice is useful, but lat line about Saudi being the worst thing for Muslims since the Black Death is spot on.

#9 “I’d pick Islamists over liberals any damn day. Liberals are a cancer who have destroyed the left”

The modern left in a nutshell.

13. So Much For Subtlety
Also, he banned the fez.
Just like that. [grins]
I’ll get my coat.

By normalising the veil…

I haven’t heard anyone normalising the veil.
But we’re just going to have to lump it. Many Muslims do obviously see it as normal.

I did a van delivery to a mosque in south London a couple of weeks ago – paper towels for their wash room. Some of the men there helped me bring the stuff inside and all was friendly and blokish.
Then I saw a group of niqabed women walking down the side road into the mosque and I suddenly felt my fraternal blokish feeling of goodwill dissipate. Because I thought that these guys, so quick to lend a hand and be friendly to a visiting non-Muslim delivery man, were also condoning the veil and seeing that as a normal thing to be seen on a British street.
Which outside the West End with it’s Saudi and Gulf Arab niqabed women tourists, it isn’t.

But as I say, we just have to lump it.

News update:

“Just over 65 per cent of voters in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino [in Switzerland] voted in favour of banning the veil, according to preliminary votes of Sunday’s referendum.” [23 September 2013]
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/switzerland/10327534/Burkas-and-niqabs-banned-from-Swiss-canton.html

“Thames Valley Police is re-appealing for witnesses following an armed robbery in Wolverton in July. Police received a report of a robbery at Star Fashions in The Square at 2.10pm on Wednesday, July 31.Two men wearing burkas threatened staff with a gun.” [Milton Keynes news, 30 August 2013]

“The modern left in a nutshell.”

Bullshit. The modern left are a bunch of PC Islam-hating, radfem scumbags. I’m the oldest left you can imagine, tosser.

How can you be politically correct and Islam-hating at the same time? Surely the latter cancels out the former?

More news about the Islamist attack on the shopping centre in Nairobi:

The Kenyan government has said that it is unable to confirm how many hostages are in the building – but has said that all the terrorists are men, some of whom are dressed as women.
http://www.independent.ie/world-news/africa/kenya-smoke-billows-from-fire-as-reports-suggest-military-may-have-breached-roof-with-explosives-29599475.html

“How can you be politically correct and Islam-hating at the same time? Surely the latter cancels out the former?”

Have you been asleep for the last ten years?

The British Empire supported – financed and armed – both the Al Saud Family and the Hashemites – of course they did, it’s what empires do. Think of the ‘Iraq-Iran’ War of the 1980s. It’s called playing both horses. After the Al Sauds won, they fully supported them and have done so ever since.

Iran is the generator of Shia Islamism. It’s another police state theocracy, though very different from Saudi Arabia. Its influence is of far less relevance in terms of British Muslims than was the case during the 1980s, following the Iranian Revolution. It funds Shia movements and paramilitaries and is the main target for the regimes of Israel and Saudi Arabia. The UK and US political class is not in bed with the Iranian regime; they do appear to be in bed with the Saudi (an Israeli) regimes (for both these configurations, think: 1973).

Of course it is eminently possible to be right-wing and not conservative. All conservatives are right-wing to one or other degree, but not all right-wingers are conservative. Hitler and the National Socialists were right wing but not at all conservative. Likewise, (from the infernal to the ridiculous) the BNP.

There also is a huge difference b/w conservative/traditional Islam and what is known variously as ‘political Islam’, or ‘Islamic Fundamentalism’ or ‘Islamism’ (whether it comprises a mixture of Salafism/Deobandism/Wahhabism-so-called or whatever). It is a postmodern Right-wing revolutionary political (and paramilitary) movement.

The ‘veil’ indeed has been normalised. 30 years ago, the ‘hijab’ was unknown in Muslim communities in the UK and indeed in Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Jordan… Now the hijab is seen as quite ‘normal’, indeed almost de rigeur, and the discourse has moved to the niqab/jilbab/burqa. What next? A sterile container?

And as for the ‘critique’ that my Letter to the Editor of The Guardian (because that was what it was; it was not an article) is “Fascist bullshit”, well now, what’s this, the last refuge of the liberal? I’m as much a “fascist” as Woody Guthrie’s guitar.

You see, with friends like these among liberals and some on the Left, who needs enemies? Please don’t insult people who happen to be Muslim with patronising attitudes. Please don’t tell us all what we ought to be thinking/how we ought to be acting.

Again I say: Ask the Left in Muslim countries what they think of ‘Islamisation’. Have you ever considered doing that?

24. Matthew Blott

I despair of my comrades indulging this ugly divisive practice. A special mention goes to Owen Jones, simply because he has the biggest gob and is so revered yet chooses to take no notice of his feminist colleague Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. As the author of this piece notes, the goalposts have changed. I do not like the hijab – it’s an overt symbol of religiosity that perpetuates an ideology that believes woman should watch how they appear before men in case they send the wrong signal. There is no equivalent for men. And yet the hijab is now the new normal and attempts are underway to normalise the niqab. I don’t like banning things – for practical reasons more than anything else – and so would not support legislation that made it illegal for woman to walk around like post boxes. But quite why anyone with the slightest interest in woman’s rights feels the need to go out and actively campaign for the right to wear a niqab escapes me completely.

Why are commentators, particularly liberal ones, afraid of a piece of clothing? I, a liberal, have no goddamn right to tell a woman of any race, colour or creed, how to dress. There are far more important issues to deal with than this. We in the West need to stop having hang-ups over the fact that other countries have practices that we do not like. Get over it!!!!!!

Who are we to decide that the French, the Belgians and now Swiss voters in the Canton of Ticino are all “illiberal” for wanting to ban burkas and niqabs?

With the reports in recent years from many countries, including Britain, of robbers – some armed – using burkas as a disguise and as a means of concealing weapons, the bans seem a rather sensible precaution.

Neville, as I said, it is not simply about clothing. This is not about couture, lifestyle, consumer choice. Burying one’s head in the sand is no solution. This is about systemic links b/w the UK/US and Saudi Arabia/Qatar/UAE. It also is about the takeover of Muslim societies by Right-wing theocrats funded by the aforementioned states/’charities’ emanating from those states with the active acquiescence of our (UK et al) political classes/governments. It is about the struggle of the Left in Muslim countries and Muslim societies and it is about solidarity with that struggle.

Why are so many liberals/Leftists handing this issue to the Far Right on a plate? Why ado they seem they afraid of engaging with Leftists in the Muslim communities? Is it not yet another form of patronising nativism, which is fundamentally British imperial in origin? Please contact Leftists in Pakistan, for example, and ask them what they think and what they are struggling against. This configuration in the UK stems directly from, and feeds back into, those in Muslim countries. Think of the Islamist, Farhat Hashemi, for exmaple, now over in Canada, previously in the UK. She’s had such a negative impact on women. It’s a deeply toxic ideology and it’s been patronised by successive governments partly because it serves their agenda to so patronise it.

Neville, it’s not about clothes, nor is it about the traditional practices of other countries.

What is the point burying one’s head in the sand, fondly imagining false ontologies?

Where is the solidarity with those women and men in Muslim communities who are fighting against the takeover of those communities by this nativist ideology? Why are those women and men getting almost no support from many liberals/some on the Left?

29. So Much For Subtlety

23. Suhayl Saadi

The British Empire supported – financed and armed – both the Al Saud Family and the Hashemites – of course they did, it’s what empires do. Think of the ‘Iraq-Iran’ War of the 1980s. It’s called playing both horses. After the Al Sauds won, they fully supported them and have done so ever since.

Bollocks. The British backed one side. That side lost. As everyone we support in the Middle East loses. The British government then had to deal with the Saudis – who are not a forgiving lot which is why they did a deal with the US instead and the British have been locked out ever since. British companies were not asked to develop Saudi oil because we backed the losing side.

And it is insane to suggest Britain backed both sides in the Iran-Iraq War.

Of course it is eminently possible to be right-wing and not conservative. All conservatives are right-wing to one or other degree

That is not actually true. The Labour Party does have a very strong conservative trend. Both in the socially conservative sense – it is Old Labour voters who don’t like Gay marriage for instance. But also in the wider sense. Look at the article here demanding a return to the Bad Old Days of Union power. When Michael Foot said the best time of all was 1940, he was looking back at a vanished past with as much nostalgia as any Tory voter.

You see, with friends like these among liberals and some on the Left, who needs enemies? Please don’t insult people who happen to be Muslim with patronising attitudes. Please don’t tell us all what we ought to be thinking/how we ought to be acting.

Why not? Good for the goose, good for the gander.

<i.Again I say: Ask the Left in Muslim countries what they think of ‘Islamisation’. Have you ever considered doing that?

Why bother? They are mass murdering pyschopaths too. It was, after all, the Left that introduced suicide bombing into the Middle East. Even in Lebanon it was the Left, not the Islamists who started it. The Left has been happy to run death squads just as the Islamists are.

It is just not a region we want to get involved in.

Try this documentary on: Slavery in Africa and Islam – the untold story of the Muslim slave trade
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV0wu7IC_ic

Saudi Arabia only abolished slavery in 1962.

31. Matthew Blott

Neville (# 25) says …

“We in the West need to stop having hang-ups over the fact that other countries have practices that we do not like.”

And there in a sentence encapsulates everything wrong with the bien pensant cultural relativists who seem to permeate contemporary left-wing movements.

Well, this rambles all over the place and ignores the women in the middle of the affair. I should have thought the issue was pretty straightforward. Women should not be forced to do something they do not choose to do. If they don’t want to wear a veil and someone is trying to force them, they should have support in saying no to the bully. And if they do want to wear a veil and someone is telling they can’t, or attempting to tear it off their face, they should have support in resisting that sort of bullying too. Of course, since I was taught by nuns I find it very difficult to get heated about dress that covers a woman’s entire body. If I catch sight of someone in black from head to toe, I just think Sister Margaret has finally tracked me down for that homework I never finished.

In situations where it is considered desirable for obvious reasons for the face to be clearly visible – courtrooms, airport security or passport control lines, banks – such a rule should be enforced, whether it be a muslim woman, a motorcycle courier or a “hoodie”.

There should be no privilege for religious beliefs.

Debate over the inalienable right of women to wear burkas and niqabs anywhere seem rather petty compared with the right to practise another religion in an Islamic country:

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A suicide attack on a historic church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 78 people on Sunday in one of the deadliest attacks on the Christian minority in Pakistan in years.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/world/asia/pakistan-church-bombing.html?_r=0

35. douglas clark

The veil is far more interesting than most commentators here have allowed.

I do not recall, I am quite old, that any muslim women wore the full bhuna about thirty years ago.

It is thus a more modern political statement. We could look on it as an Asian feminist political movement or something else entirely. That vacuum is convenient for both sides of the debate. Muslim women can claim a right to measures of face covering that, from a cultural – not a religious – point of view they are entitled to adopt. It may annoy our cultural cousins but this is not the first example of imperialist dress code that London has imposed.

I give you this:

“The Jacobite Risings demonstrated the dangers to central government of such warrior Highland clans, and as part of a series of measures the government of King George II imposed the “Dress Act” in 1746, outlawing all items of Highland dress including kilts (although an exception was made for the Highland Regiments) with the intent of suppressing highland culture. The penalties were severe; six months’ imprisonment for the first offense and seven years’ transportation for the second. The ban remained in effect for 35 years.”

So, whilst I am uncomfortable with it, I am more uncomfortable with governments trying to proscribe a dress code.

It has never been adequately argued by Muslim women that they actually subscribe to that dress code. Lots of Muslim women do not.

However, at the end of the day, it is not up to the state to proscribe anyone’s clothing. Nuns would have a bit of an issue too, would they not?

Aren’t nuns technically in uniform? I must admit I’ve not seen any nuns working in Tescos so just assumed the religious attire was due to them occupying an official position within a hierarchical religious institution.

No-one is “prescribing a dress code”.

The state is simply saying that under certain (limited) circumstances the face must be visible.

38. Required Name

Goths? Really? This must be why the 2022 World Cup is being held in Whitby.

Anyway, it’s the Neoliberal attitude of the whole affair.

That “laissez Faire” interpretation Feminism, where the upper echelons of whatever the more patriarchally ideal elite, make choices that’ll assist them as individuals but keep the hierarchy rolling along nicely, whilst limiting the choices of all those lower down.

(Eh, Farhat…)

Letting it go unchecked doesn’t bring about freedom and equality to all, through…er…”trickledown”, it makes the gap in equality that much worse.

39. Robin Levett

@SMFS #29:

The British Empire supported – financed and armed – both the Al Saud Family and the Hashemites – of course they did, it’s what empires do. Think of the ‘Iraq-Iran’ War of the 1980s. It’s called playing both horses. After the Al Sauds won, they fully supported them and have done so ever since.

Bollocks. The British backed one side. That side lost. As everyone we support in the Middle East loses. The British government then had to deal with the Saudis – who are not a forgiving lot which is why they did a deal with the US instead and the British have been locked out ever since. British companies were not asked to develop Saudi oil because we backed the losing side.

You could just have admitted you don’t know what you’re talking about.

During WW1 the Hashemites – specifically the Emir of the Hejaz, Hussein bin Ali – got Aircrafstman Ross. The Al Sauds got Captain Shakespeare, together with British protection under the Treaty of Darin, together with arms, ammunition and a monthly tribute of £5,000.

There were ups and downs in the relstionship – inevitably, since the British were indeed riding both the Saudi and the Hashemite horses – but the British generally continued supporting the Al Sauds, even directly intervening with air power against the Ikhwan on the Al Saud side.

Does your knowledge have any beginning?

@6. Cylux: “I’d like the veil to be extended to lads who have their hair cut so that they look like an iced gem.”

Now that this thread has descended to discussion of nuns’ garb, do you have any further thoughts on cornettes?

Sadly, there is no evidence that Margaret Thatcher significantly contributed to the Mr Whippy ice cream, an exaggerated form of the iced gem.

CJ @ 37

No-one is “prescribing a dress code”.

Come on, lets us not hide behind semantics here. There are not hundreds of thousands of people cutting about with their faces covered. We have never had to combat the hordes of people who routinely walk about with paper bags on their heads. We have never required laws like this before in my lifetime. you can dress it up anyway you want and word any legalisation in any way you want too, but this debate is about curtailing the rights of a couple of thousand Muslim women Nationwide to satisfy the bigotry of a couple of million potential UKIP voters, most of him have rarely seen such a women wearing such clothing. Fair enough, if that is what you are trying to do, but, please do not dress it up as some noble quest to secure ‘Health and Safety’ because if there is one thing the Right are rarely interested is health and safety.

Oh rubbish.

Perhaps the judge in the recent case was a UKIP supporter, I don’t know. But the primary issue, for me, is that religious belief should not be privileged in this way. Or in any way.

Nor would I characterise the issue, in the very limited set of circumstances in which this arises in any serious way, as one of “health and safety”.

CJ @ 43

I would suggest that this is more a cultural issue than a religious one to be honest. I do not have a huge problem with the recent ruling in the court to be honest, which did not require a specific law to be passed but I cannot see a valid reason to outlaw certain items of clothing, just because a few UKIPers and other racist get their collective knickers in a twist.

@41. Jim: “We have never required laws like this before in my lifetime. you can dress it up anyway you want and word any legalisation in any way you want to…”

Thankfully, Jim, in these cases we are not talking about primary legislation. The debates are about handling of a defendant in court and about education of a student. In both cases, the debate should focus on the case of the individuals; we have no broad debate (or ‘established opinion’ or case law) about propriety/impropriety of wearing niqab, so we have to consider the people and their circumstances.

These cases do not establish precedent. They set a path for future consideration.

Suhayl Saadi –

Excellent article – muddled it may be to some. The essence of it is clear enough and there is little ambiguity in what you are saying.

You are challenging a “totalitarian ideology” fostered and promoted by those globally who still view women to be let alone second class citizens – ones who do not have any rights. Where a rape victim is a criminal unless there are witnesses who say otherwise.

I am completely with you on the thoughts you expressed about challenging the left – but left and right are totalitarian ideologies as well which have been manifested behind the Iron curtain as well as modern China in Cuba to the modern day arm chair lefties who have called you fascist. By the way, I have no truck with right wing ideologies either – their views are equally destructive as seen very clearly throughout history.

But even lefties who feel the same way as you, and so does some on the centre right are afraid of being racist as A&E nurse has aptly pointed out. When we have Owen Jones, Laurie Penny determining what is acceptable and what is not – then we do have a problem.

Mehdi Hasan continues to argue that our foreign policy would alienate British muslims who according him by definition feel more associated with religion and people thousands of miles away rather than their fellow citizens – and these are the voices that you hear. Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear Sadiq Khan from the left highlighting his views which are very different from the so called liberal left that I have mentioned.

Similarly, the right is represented by nutters as well – why don’t we hear the voices of Sayeeda Warsi more on this issue rather Douglas the idiot from right wing numbskull club.

Well done and well said…we need more of this. I find it really hard to accept that all left ideas are good or bad and same as the right. Why define ourselves as right or left – we look at a issue and then decide if we think it is right or wrong – and sometimes we have nuanced views.

This political identity barrier has not helped – just as much the left did not have a problem with Saddam Hussein killing/gassing his own people or Milosevic killing thousands of Muslims – surprisingly the left and the right came together to say okay Assad go on kill your people…

Let us not continue dividing our society based on ideologies which by definition are totalitarian.

S

Muslims have been killing and enslaving non-muslims for centuries – checkout the history.

This history is often overlooked:

The US Marine Corps marching song begins: The Halls of Montezuma / To the shores of Tripoli . .

Reference to “the shores of Tripoli” relates to the first battles of the fledgling US navy against the Barbary coast pirates who had been attacking and capturing US merchant ships trading in the Mediterranean.

The First Barbary War (1801–1805), also known as the Tripolitan War or the Barbary Coast War, was the first of two wars fought between the United States and the Northwest African Berber Muslim states known collectively as the Barbary States. These were Tripoli and Algiers, which were quasi-independent entities nominally belonging to the Ottoman Empire, and the independent Sultanate of Morocco.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Barbary_War

Today, we seldom recall the history of the predations of Barbary coast pirates against the coasts of northern European countries but these marauding attacks were severe in their time:

In the first half of the 1600s, Barbary corsairs – pirates from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, authorised by their governments to attack the shipping of Christian countries – ranged all around Britain’s shores. In their lanteen-rigged xebecs (a type of ship) and oared galleys, they grabbed ships and sailors, and sold the sailors into slavery. Admiralty records show that during this time the corsairs plundered British shipping pretty much at will, taking no fewer than 466 vessels between 1609 and 1616, and 27 more vessels from near Plymouth in 1625. As 18th-century historian Joseph Morgan put it, ‘this I take to be the Time when those Corsairs were in their Zenith’. [BBC website]

The Moors invaded SDpain and settled there in 711, more than 300 years before the call for the first Christian Crusade in 1095. The last attempted conquest of a European city by a Muslim power was defeated at the Battle of Vienna in 1683.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana: The Life of Reason

Try this documentary on: Slavery in Africa and Islam – the untold story of the Muslim slave trade
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV0wu7IC_ic

Saudi Arabia only abolished slavery in 1962.

48. So Much For Subtlety

39. Robin Levett

You could just have admitted you don’t know what you’re talking about.

I love it when you butch up Robin. Really I do.

During WW1 the Hashemites – specifically the Emir of the Hejaz, Hussein bin Ali – got Aircrafstman Ross. The Al Sauds got Captain Shakespeare, together with British protection under the Treaty of Darin, together with arms, ammunition and a monthly tribute of £5,000.

During World War One. When the British had to side with everyone they could. Did the Saudis then go on to fight the Ottomans? No they did not. They said they would, but they didn’t.

What they did was turn on the Hashemites and drove them out of what is now Saudi Arabia in the post-War period. Over the objections of the British who were backing them to rule the whole Arab part of Asia.

There were ups and downs in the relstionship – inevitably, since the British were indeed riding both the Saudi and the Hashemite horses – but the British generally continued supporting the Al Sauds, even directly intervening with air power against the Ikhwan on the Al Saud side.

Sorry but no. Again you are trying but you know nothing. The Ikhwan was not happy just to liberate Saudi Arabia. They wanted to expand their control into Jordan, Kuwait and Iraq – all British dependencies. When they started raiding into these countries, the British sent the RAF to stop them – machine gunning them from the air. At about the same time, the Saudis were back sliding in their support for the Wahhabis and some of the Ikhwan turned on them. The Saudis then suppressed them. Which was a bit unfair given the Saudis had ridden to power on their backs. They did so without the slighest bit of British help as far as I know. The RAF protected Jordan and Kuwait in 1922 and 1924. They did not protect the Saudi Kings.

Does your knowledge have any beginning?

Irony, it is too sweet isn’t it?

On the history of the origins of Islam and how it was spread, try this illuminating Channel 4 documentary:

Islam – the untold story
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm8xKh8eQqU

50. Golam Murtaza

@ Bob B

Wow, you can cut and paste. I’m in awe.

And no the history of Muslims killing and enslaving people is NOT “often overlooked”. You’re just frustrated because you don’t currently have the opportunity to do the same thing to the Muslims who live near you. It’s all you ever think about. Bet you’d LOVE to get stuck into them wouldn’t you? Well, what are you waiting for?

50: Golam Murtaza

“And no the history of Muslims killing and enslaving people is NOT ‘often overlooked’. You’re just frustrated because you don’t currently have the opportunity to do the same thing to the Muslims who live near you. It’s all you ever think about. Bet you’d LOVE to get stuck into them wouldn’t you? Well, what are you waiting for?”

For starters, sad to say, we Brits are often ignorant history – try asking visitors around Trafalgar Sq in London when was the Battle of Trafalgar and why it was important for world history during the 19th century. We also have this insight in the inaugural lecture at Cambridge of Geoffrey Elton: The Future of the Past

“Now one of the most curious things about the English, I think . . . is that they suppose themselves to be conscious of history and to be enveloped in History. They are not. They are both indifferent and ignorant as far as history is concerned. If you want a really historically conscious country you have to go either to Central Europe, where they have too much history . . . or to the United States, where they have so little of it. I think that England could do with knowing more about its past, but that’s always been so.” [Quoted in Norman Davies: The Isles (1999)]

As for Muslim women, I find the hoods and veils repelling and always wonder whether the black crows in burkas are really robbers in disguise on their way to a heist.

But what is so significant about your post is the resort to personal abuse instead of rational debate. The revealing insight is to note how much is reported in news about Muslim and Islamic terrorism and how little about Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh terrorism.

News update about the recent Nairobi atrocity by Islamic terrorists:

Kenya mall attack: dozens more bodies believed buried under rubble

Intelligence source tells Guardian that one attacker remains engaged in conflict with security forces
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/kenya-mall-attack-bodies

“Al-Shabaab also made claims about the way the attack was carried out, stating in an email exchange with Associated Press that foreigners were a ‘legitimate target’ and that Muslims had been spared.”

Muslims had been spared — so that’s all right then.

See also in the Indian press: “Mumbai attack provided template for mall attack in Kenya”. In the attack in Mumbai in 2008, 164 people were killed. YouTube has an instructive video clip of the interrogation of Ajmal Kasab, the surviving and captured terrorist. In the interrogation, he says the instruction they were given was to kill as many as possible.

53. the a&e charge nurse

[41] ‘you can dress it up anyway you want and word any legalisation in any way you want too, but this debate is about curtailing the rights of a couple of thousand Muslim women Nationwide to satisfy the bigotry of a couple of million potential UKIP voters’ – can you not see the irony in taking this line, in others words advocating the right of women to be treated as a male commodity, irrespective of the rhetoric used to rationalise why some women must become invisible.

Think about it for a moment – what are the implicit messages given to young females by their parents when their mothers or older sisters must be hidden from view outside the home.

Put another way, are you not even a tiny bit suspicious that such injunctions might be man-made?

53

There is no reciprocity concerning the rights of Christians or Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs to practise the faith of their choice as minorities in Islamic countries. As reported in the news, many Christians have been killed by Islamic terrorist bombing in Peshawar in Pakistan, where at least 80 people were killed.

“Coptic Christians have been a part of the social fabric of Egypt for centuries, but in recent history they have also become a target for assault and discrimination. In the days since the ouster of former President Morsi, Coptic churches have been attacked in some of Egypt’s most fiercely Islamist areas.”
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/july-dec13/coptic_09-20.html

Why so much about protecting the right of Muslim women to wear veils and so little about the rights of religious minorities to practise their faiths in Islamic countries? In France and Belgium, where UKIP has no influence as far as I know, restrictions have been put on the wearing of niqabs and burkas in public places.

@43 – I would not be in favour of any kind of “banning” law.

I simply want the enforcement of existing rules irrespective of either religious or “cultural” considerations.

There are powerful, practical reasons for wanting to ban burkas.

News reports from many western countries, including Britain, tell of robbers wearing burkas for disguise and as a means for concealing weapons.

“Burka-wearing gunmen raid French bank: Two burka-wearing bank robbers have pulled off a heist near Paris using a handgun concealed beneath their full Islamic veil.” [Telegraph 8 February 2010]

Police manhunt for bandits in burqas who made off with cash from banks — Police in America are hunting two robbers who dressed in burqas to hide their identities whilst making off with cash from banks. [Mail 10 April 2012]

Selfridges robbery: ‘Men in burkas’ in ‘smash and grab’ [BBC website 7 June 2013]

57. Robin Levett

@SMFS #48:

So you do know that the British did support the Al Sauds, albeit your information is only during WW1; so when you said:

Bollocks. The British backed one side. That side lost.

you weren’t entirely correct – which was rather the point of my comment.

The fact that the British assistance continued after the end of WW1, with: continuing arms supplies; standing by while Abd-Al-Aziz took the Hejaz from their former Hashemite ally; assistance with the Ikhwan revolt (there were British aircraft, with British pilots, with Abd-Al-Aziz’s army); seem to have passed you by, but no matter.

On banning apparel, I see from the news that there has been no problem with getting a ban on selling a Halloween horror costume showing a patient in a straight jacket with an imitation meat cleaver
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/asda-apologises-for-selling-mental-patient-fancy-dress-halloween-costume-online-8839942.html

How come? I would have thought those who have had relatives and friends killed in Muslim atrocities would be reminded of their trauma by sight of burqas and niqabs. Evidently, they don’t matter.

A&E @ 53

Think about it for a moment – what are the implicit messages given to young females by their parents when their mothers or older sisters must be hidden from view outside the home.

Ah, the ‘wont someone think of the children’ justification. Funny that, because you try and ban ‘Nuts’, ‘loaded’ or whatever, or ban hip hop videos on the grounds of what that does to our daughters, or even, heaven forfend in any way curtail the huge multinationals selling pre pubescent girls ‘porn star in training’ T shirts or clothing that would not look out of place on a pole dancer and the average UKIP will guffaw in your face as a po faced man hating femenazi.

Where were the Tory ‘feminists’ who are outspoken about the rights of ‘women’ when Caroline Lucas was trying to ban page three to protect young children from distorted images? they where shouting her down, of course, (because they are all about the rights of billionaires to print semi nude pictures of) women (to attract readers to their Right wing propaganda sheets).

60. So Much For Subtlety

57. Robin Levett

So you do know that the British did support the Al Sauds, albeit your information is only during WW1;

No, I do not. Nor do you. What we know is that in the darkest days of WW1 they paid some money to the Saudis to try to get them to attack the Turks. While supporting the Hashemites. This is a shift in what you mean by support and a million miles from the original claim that the British were behind the Saudis all the time and hence are to blame for whatever they do.

you weren’t entirely correct – which was rather the point of my comment.

I was 100% correct. I still am. The British backed the Hashemites in the civil war with the Saudis. The Hashemites lost. And the point of your comment was much stronger – because, of course, you thought you could finally seek revenge for all the other ar$e kickings you have got. Hence your need to make it personal.

The fact that the British assistance continued after the end of WW1, with: continuing arms supplies;

To the Hashemites. Not to the Saudis.

standing by while Abd-Al-Aziz took the Hejaz from their former Hashemite ally;

By that time Britain had enough and was not much interested in the region. Standing by is hardly support.

assistance with the Ikhwan revolt (there were British aircraft, with British pilots, with Abd-Al-Aziz’s army);

Evidence please. Again, the RAF bombed the Ikhwan army – people you did not seem to realise were the main support for the Saudis and the secret of their success – when they came north to raid Jordan and Kuwait.

seem to have passed you by, but no matter.

Things that did not happen often pass me by.

Some interesting points.

To reiterate, I am not in favour of banning such coutures; I am not in favour of following the French in that regard.

I am pointing out that there is a much broader context here that is being ignored. It is not simply a matter of consumer ‘choice’ and many Muslim people are against what has been happening over the past 35 years wrt ‘Islamisation’ but do not have billions of petrodollars behind us to propagandise, promote and vocalise that view.

Some – I emphasise, some – Liberals and Leftists in the UK seem to ignore those views and attribute the views and actions of (various manifestations of) the most reactionary among the Muslim communities as being normative, ‘traditional’, ‘authentic’ and something they ‘ought’ to be supporting because the racist Right and others attack them. This is convenient for patriarchy. Patriarchy is very happy about the ‘Islamisation’ of Muslim communities and esp. of the women. And of course, women too can and do reinforce patriarchy.

Well, the racist Right was out ‘Paki-bashing’ and attacking African Caribbeans long before Islamism because anything more than a few Egyptian exiles in Saudi Arabia. The racist Right will attack anything that is ‘Other’ regardless of couture. We fought them then and we will fight them now (“on the beaches”, if necessary).

And, of course, US/UK foreign policy wrt the Middle East – not beneficent – is of profound and continuing relevance in all of this.

Finally, in relation to the denouement of UK-Saudi relations, perhaps we should ask the avuncular ghost of Edward Heath about ‘1973’ and the British economy and the living spectre of Tony Blair why his Govt shut down the Serious Fraud Office’s Al Yamamah investigation in 2006.

62. Robin Levett

@SMFS #60:

Let’s go back to the beginning; this is the statement (in #23) with which you disagreed:

The British Empire supported – financed and armed – both the Al Saud Family and the Hashemites – of course they did, it’s what empires do.

Your claim was that the British only supported the Hashemites – this seems to be the meaning of your comment in response:

Bollocks. The British backed one side. That side lost.

And that claim was wrong; both sides received support from the British.

What we know is that in the darkest days of WW1 they paid some money to the Saudis to try to get them to attack the Turks. While supporting the Hashemites.

Those darkest days extending to 1923… And yes, of course they also supported the Hashemites – that was half the point of the original claim that you denied.

Again, the RAF bombed the Ikhwan army – people you did not seem to realise were the main support for the Saudis and the secret of their success – when they came north to raid Jordan and Kuwait.

Why would I not realise that? But one of the reasons for the Ikhwan revolt was Ibn Saud’s “friendship” with the English – Faisal’s visit to London in 1919 in his stead was a bone of contention – and his adoption of modern technology supplied by them. The Ikhwan were fundamentalist to the extent that the only modern technology they were prepared to accept was the rifle. Aircraft – even radioes – were right out. They had become a liability for Ibn Saud as he was trying to consolidate his gains into a kingdom – they reserved the right to seek to convert non-Muslims, and even other Muslims (essentially anyone who didn’t believe exactly what they did), by force – and an embarrassment for him when they broke his treaties and attacked the British Gulf protectorates and Transjordan.

63. So Much For Subtlety

62. Robin Levett

And that claim was wrong; both sides received support from the British.

No it isn’t. That claim remains true. The fact you have managed to find a bribe paid in WW1 does not change that.

Those darkest days extending to 1923…

… when they were defending the Hashemites, by now in Jordan, from the Saudi’s friends in the Ikhwan.

And yes, of course they also supported the Hashemites – that was half the point of the original claim that you denied.

But not the half I denied. Strawman again.

Why would I not realise that?

Because you know nothing about this topic?

But one of the reasons for the Ikhwan revolt was Ibn Saud’s “friendship” with the English – Faisal’s visit to London in 1919 in his stead was a bone of contention – and his adoption of modern technology supplied by them.

That and the fact that the Ikhwan wished to continue their war into the British-protected states along the Gulf as well as Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait. The Saudi King was in Britain to normalise relations which meant stopping attacsk on British clients.

they reserved the right to seek to convert non-Muslims, and even other Muslims (essentially anyone who didn’t believe exactly what they did), by force – and an embarrassment for him when they broke his treaties and attacked the British Gulf protectorates and Transjordan.

So you found Wikipedia. Excellent.

Now notice that the Ikhwan did not break with the Saudis in 1919 or in 1917. You claim merely talking to the British was enough to alienate the Ikhwan. But then you also claim the British were in alliance with the Saudis from, I am not sure where you’re claiming it from, most certainly by WW1. Someone might think that had this been true, the Ikhwan would have become annoyed a lot sooner.

And the Ikhwan still exists. The Saudi Kings did not get rid of it. They just executed some extremists.

Returning to the 21st century and the question of the veil for women, I will mention a recent, very positive personal experience of being treated by two young women doctors.

One has a very Muslim family name – I checked on the Internet – the other, a registrar at my local hospital, has a tradional Hindu family name. Neither wore a veil – I had wondered whether the Muslim doctor would – and both were professionally sharp and caring. They treated me unattended as a male patient.

Consider this setting from the perspective of an Islamic fundie: it was absolutely outrageous. Women educated up to at least graduate level in medical school with no head covering were treating a male patient with no supervision.

Another point of distinction, unlike some caucasian healthcare professionals in my experience, they did not automatically assume someone of my antiquity was bound to be senile, if not demented. Instead, they had that respect for age, which is part of many Asian cultures, so we had adult conversations.

Btw for the past many years, every time I’ve had routine eye tests at local pharmacies, the opticians have all been young Asian professionals, only one of whom wore a scarf to cover her hair. How come?

@63. So Much For Subtlety:

“So you found Wikipedia. Excellent.”

That is too fucking snide, SMFS. That is way beyond the conduct order by which LC is conducted.

66. Robin Levett

@SMFS #63:

Let’s recap.

Suhayl said that the British supported both sides, the Hashemites and the Sauds (in fact, it’s a little more complicated than that, because the Rashidis were Hashemites as well, but weren’t supported).

You said not, that the British supported the Hashemites exclusively.

I pointed out that they supplied both arms and ammunition, and money, to the Sauds as well. You said only during WW1.

I pointed out that they’d paid the bribes until 1923 – which by most records is some time after the end of WW1. You said that didn’t count because they were supporting the Hashemites as well at the time – which rather goes to prove Suhayl’s (and my) point.

I pointed out that the British had stood by when the Sauds took the Hejaz – you claimed that the British weren’t interested in the area, an interesting claim bearing in mind our overriding interest in the Suez Canal.

I pointed out that Ibn Saud’s forces against the Ikhwan included some British aircraft with British pilots – you asked for evidence.

Try:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ZrmcdWB5V4MC&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=british+aircraft+in+saudi+arabia+ikhwan&source=bl&ots=4E94B-aBBZ&sig=LRd7lcRqBV8JQPY5B5S45ykVCOU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=lZFFUpqBGPKa0QWXmoDADg&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=british%20aircraft%20in%20saudi%20arabia%20ikhwan&f=false

Then:

But one of the reasons for the Ikhwan revolt was Ibn Saud’s “friendship” with the English – Faisal’s visit to London in 1919 in his stead was a bone of contention – and his adoption of modern technology supplied by them.

Now notice that the Ikhwan did not break with the Saudis in 1919 or in 1917. You claim merely talking to the British was enough to alienate the Ikhwan.

No. My claim is that one of the factors that led to the revolt was Ibn Saud’s friendship with the British. I even said tht in the section you quoted, italicised above.

But then you also claim the British were in alliance with the Saudis from, I am not sure where you’re claiming it from, most certainly by WW1.

The treaty was in December 1915.

Someone might think that had this been true, the Ikhwan would have become annoyed a lot sooner.

Many would – and a significant faction of the Ikhwan were annnoyed by this a lot sooner. On its own, it wasn’t enough to cause them to break with Ibn Saud, who was both their temporal and religious leader.

And the Ikhwan still exists.

Hold the front page; SMFS has discovered the White Army.

The Saudi Kings did not get rid of it.

Revelation upon revelation.

They just executed some extremists.

He fought a civil war against, and then executed, some extremists. A civil war in which he was supported by the British. Who actually captured the surviving Ikhwan leadership – and handed them over to Ibn Saud.

So you found Wikipedia. Excellent.

You were an expert on Near Eastern history in the early 20th century before this exchange started? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

I knew the outline, but not much of the detail, before this started. I’ve learned something – have you?

@51

“But what is so significant about your post is the resort to personal abuse instead of rational debate”.

How does a massive cut and paste odyssey contribute to “rational debate”? You’re rather quick to scream “personal abuse” too. It’s a rather convenient way to wriggle out of difficult questions.

@56

“There are powerful, practical reasons for wanting to ban burkas.

News reports from many western countries, including Britain, tell of robbers wearing burkas for disguise and as a means for concealing weapons.

“Burka-wearing gunmen raid French bank: Two burka-wearing bank robbers have pulled off a heist near Paris using a handgun concealed beneath their full Islamic veil.” [Telegraph 8 February 2010]

Police manhunt for bandits in burqas who made off with cash from banks — Police in America are hunting two robbers who dressed in burqas to hide their identities whilst making off with cash from banks. [Mail 10 April 2012]

Selfridges robbery: ‘Men in burkas’ in ‘smash and grab’ [BBC website 7 June 2013]”

Thanks for the scare stories. Bankrobbers wear balaclavas too. Do you want to ban those?

Thanks for the scare stories. Bankrobbers wear balaclavas too. Do you want to ban those?

Well, if you’re happy for burka wearers to be treated the very same way that balaclava wears would be when wandering the streets…

@69

“Well, if you’re happy for burka wearers to be treated the very same way that balaclava wears would be when wandering the streets…”

What on earth are you talking about? Should balaclavas be banned from being sold in shops because they’re used in bank robberies?

What next? Banning motorcycle helmets because they’re also used in robberies?

Burka this and burka that. How many of you who use that term know what a burka is?

But what is “normalising the veil”?

What next? Banning motorcycle helmets because they’re also used in robberies?

Banks require the removal of motorcycle helmets before you enter their premises or taken off very shortly thereafter.
However I suspect that despite you making the link yourself, that you would not be that happy with banks demanding the removal of religious face coverings for similar reasons.

“Burka this and burka that. How many of you who use that term know what a burka is?”

I’ve seen at least several dozen instances of burkas or niqabs while out shopping in the London suburbs where I live but the hijab or a simple headscarf are evidently a far more popular form of headdress for Muslim women.

The different styles are clearly illustrated in this graphic on the BBC website:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/europe_muslim_veils/html/4.stm

I fully understand the popular political pressures in France and Belgium, as well as the security concerns, which led to the bans on wearing burkas and niqabs in public places in those countries. The fact is that news reports have come in from many countries, including Britain, telling of robbers – some armed – wearing burkas or niqabs as a disguise, which is very useful way of concealing weapons or robbery tools, such as axes for smash-and-grab, on the way to heists.

“Six men armed with axes have carried out a ‘smash-and-grab’ raid at London’s Selfridges department store. Police said the robbers, reportedly dressed in burkas, smashed glass cabinets to steal high value watches.” [BBC website June 2013]

Try this report about Jack Straw’s views on the BBC website from October 2006:

Cabinet Minister Jack Straw has said he would prefer Muslim women not to wear veils which cover the face.

The Commons leader said he did not want to be “prescriptive” but he believed that covering people’s faces could make community relations more difficult.

Mr Straw has said he asks Muslim women at his Blackburn constituency surgeries if they would mind removing veils.

News on Sunday:

David Cameron supports Muslim veil ban in schools and courts

David Cameron has promised to support institutions such as schools, courts and immigration centres which ask people to remove Muslim veils.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10342501/David-Cameron-supports-Muslim-veil-ban-in-schools-and-courts.html

75. So Much For Subtlety

66. Robin Levett

You said that didn’t count because they were supporting the Hashemites as well at the time – which rather goes to prove Suhayl’s (and my) point.

No that is not what I said and no it does not prove your point. Why bothering recapping? It is not as if you have a record of accurate and honest quoting.

I pointed out that the British had stood by when the Sauds took the Hejaz – you claimed that the British weren’t interested in the area, an interesting claim bearing in mind our overriding interest in the Suez Canal.

I don’t think I said that either. I think I said that Britain was tired after WW1 and was in general retreat.

I pointed out that Ibn Saud’s forces against the Ikhwan included some British aircraft with British pilots – you asked for evidence.

So you provide a book which points out that those airplanes were not RAF planes and they were not RAF pilots. The British government did not provide them. The Saudis bought them and hired mercenaries to fly them.

Thank you for that Robin. You are making my argument so well for me. The RAF did not support the Saudis in the war with the Ikhwan. They only defended Jordan, Kuwait and Iraq for Ikhwan attacks.

On its own, it wasn’t enough to cause them to break with Ibn Saud, who was both their temporal and religious leader.

Not religious leader. That is what the Wahabis were for.

Hold the front page; SMFS has discovered the White Army.

Really? The White Army still exists?

Revelation upon revelation.

Someone has to make up for your education.

He fought a civil war against, and then executed, some extremists. A civil war in which he was supported by the British. Who actually captured the surviving Ikhwan leadership – and handed them over to Ibn Saud.

They extradited known terrorists back to their country of origin? Good for them. A pity they did not have the EHRC back then isn’t it? If he was supported by the British you have remarkably little evidence for it. Although by 1927 the British had accepted the reality of the situation. Still doesn’t mean they liked it.

You were an expert on Near Eastern history in the early 20th century before this exchange started? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

Given the general standard around here, comparatively yes.

I’ve learned something – have you?

No. You have not risen to that level yet.

76. Robin Levett

@SMFS #75:

It is not as if you have a record of accurate and honest quoting.

Hmmm. If you’re going to acccuse me of lying about what you say, it’s a good idea to look back up the thread just to check what you did say.

Oh: and fuck off.

I pointed out that the British had stood by when the Sauds took the Hejaz – you claimed that the British weren’t interested in the area, an interesting claim bearing in mind our overriding interest in the Suez Canal.

I don’t think I said that either. I think I said that Britain was tired after WW1 and was in general retreat.

What you said was:

By that time Britain had enough and was not much interested in the region.

My apologies – I said “area”, not “region”.

On its own, it wasn’t enough to cause them to break with Ibn Saud, who was both their temporal and religious leader.

Not religious leader. That is what the Wahabis were for.

Yes, religious leader. The Wahhabis were – are – a puritanical sect of Islam, to which the Ikhwan adhered. As heir to the Saud dynasty, Al-Aziz was the hereditary Imam of that sect.

I pointed out that Ibn Saud’s forces against the Ikhwan included some British aircraft with British pilots – you asked for evidence.

So you provide a book which points out that those airplanes were not RAF planes and they were not RAF pilots. The British government did not provide them. The Saudis bought them and hired mercenaries to fly them.

Ibn Saud could not have bought British military aircraft without, at minimum, British Government approval; ditto hiring British pilots trained to fly them. I didn’t say that these planes were RAF aircraft; but that they were British, with British pilots.

Hold the front page; SMFS has discovered the White Army.

Really? The White Army still exists?

Yes – as the Saudi National Guard.

77. Islamophile

The exotic foreign words “niqab” and “burkha” not only obscure the face, they obscure the essence of what is being discussed. What we are talking about is MASKS. It doesn’t matter if you are male of female, or what religion your are, in western civilisations people don’t go round wearing masks. To do so invites suspicion,inevitably. What do they expect ?


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