Do Jack Straw, Blair, Tessa Jowell and Phil Woolas have genuine concerns for the rights of Muslim women? Do they heck!
I am writing to you on the subject of the veil, because I believe you unlike Straw and the rest of the 'lies brigade' in the government, have the interest of the British Muslims at heart. No one seems to have noticed that along side the increasing number of veiled young Muslim women there is also an increasing number of young Muslim men taking up Muslim dress, shaving their heads and not shaving or cutting their beards. No one said that the sight of these men is offensive?!
Reading Joan Smith's input on the veil debate, in the Independent on Sunday, made me look at the front page of the newspaper again to make sure I was not reading the Daily Mail by any chance. I thought her one sided views were no help at all. She is entitled to her opinion of course, but her attempt to tarnish Islam with selective quoting of Suras combined with lack of knowledge about the history and culture of Islam was only slightly different to the way the likes of Melanie Phillips goes about spreading her Islamophobic poison.
Well, I come from one of the most open minded Muslim families in Iraq, I have never worn any hijab, apart from the times of visit of holy places. However, I must tell you, that today, I might as well be wearing hijab and niqab! Only mine are invisible! I have come to the realisation that the roots I have set in this country are not so deep, yet again been disturbed and weakened, as the occupiers of my country of origin continue to turn it into a Serra Leon, while the rest of the world looks on.
I just feel so angry, so despondent and at times resentful too. My only therapy is being with my comrades in the peace movement.
I am now seriously contemplating quitting the UK. When I arrived at this country after fleeing Iraq in 1979, I embraced life here and people kept on telling me, how 'westernised' I am!!! Especially after I got married to an Englishman.
If they meant broad minded, then this is a quality, not monopolised or manufactured in the west. As I bring up my daughter and look around me, I realise, that my parents both in their eighties now, were streets ahead of your average 'secular dressed' English parent living in a leafy suburbs of London.
I think I know how angry these young Muslim men and women feel. I think in most of the 5% cases of veil wearing it is defiance, resistance and rebelliousness. In which case we should be patient with them in order to guide them out of their state disconnectedness (if that is what it is) and bring them on to the main stream again.
I think Asian Muslim women in the UK have already managed to demolish the myth, that those who wear the Hijab, are suppressed and oppressed. You only need to listen to the likes of the wonderful, Selma Yaqoub.
I would therefore like to see a serious study and census before I can pass the judgement that all Muslim women who wear Niqab are oppressed and helpless!
I am sure you are aware that the covering of the face came with the Ottomans. It stayed in Saudi and the Gulf states. I feel certain that if you go to Iran, iraq or Palestine and start giving them lectures about wearing Hijab, they will tell you that this issue is at the bottom of their priority list.
In Iraq, during the seventies and eighties, women wearing the scarf and the robe were the exception. None wore the veil. Now thanks to occupiers and their democracy, women are living in constant fear of their lives feel astounded and flabbergasted by those who call on them to abandon the veil!
And if there are women in the UK or anywhere in the Muslim world, (I am sure of the case), using the veil to evade male dominance and make fools out of oppressive men, then I have two words for them: Good Luck!
I liked the article in the Guardian on Sat, 8th that pointed out with photos, that the mothers and grandmothers of these veiled young women do not wear the veil themselves. This evidence supports the theory that this is rebelliousness and identity assertion. While I agree, there is no clear evidence of such requirement in Islam, people are free to adopt their own version of the faith so long as they are not harming anyone. I am happy, so long as these men and women have not fallen victim to a sinister campaign by extremist agents. In which case they need our help not criticism.
Is there any doubt, that this phenomena only started after the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq?
I see the bigger picture, I have little doubt, that Blair and Bush are worried about Muslim anger translated into activism and participation in politics. They would rather these men and women withdrew into a corner, or chose the line of extremism rather than join forces with peace and anti war campaigners and make a real difference.
I personally think the anti war movement single handedly did a great deal for drawing Muslims into the mainstream than the whole of Blair government put together! I was delighted to see them on demonstrations, and in the lobby halls of parliament.
I must however point out, that there are credible rumours that Saudi Arabia is financing mosques that preach extreme version of Islam. My Sri Lankan friend was shocked when she went on a visit home three years ago to find her cousins were clad from top to bottom and had converted to Islam. It seems there were financial incentives and cheap good quality education for children on offer! When she told me, I said it sounds like something KSA would do.
Would KSA be able to wage such a campaign in the UK without the government knowledge?
As you know Yasmin, the Saudis do not do anything without the say so of their masters; the Bush administration!
Keep up your good work. I enjoy very much reading your column in the indie.
November Surprise? The US-backed special tribunal in Baghdad signalled Monday that it will likely delay a verdict in the first trial of Saddam Hussein to November 5. Why hasn't the mainstream media connected the dots between the Saddam's judgment day and the midterm elections?
Edgar J. Steele, Vote Yes on No: Want to make a statement at the risk of a little jail time? Go into a voting booth and refuse to come out. Take a good book with you to read while the local officials figure out what to do with you. Take the phone numbers of an attorney and a bail bondsman, too.
Don't put extra statements or symbols on your paper ballots - those just get thrown out, so you might just as well stay at home. Don't vote for "Mickey Mouse," yourself or your dog.
Make your vote really count. Vote against everything and everyone. Otherwise, simply don't vote.
Make a real difference this time. Make your voice count for a change. Vote yes on No.
...”Very few punches are pulled during this disturbing, eye-opening hour, written, produced and directed by Michael Kirk. And clearly Mr. Kirk and Jim Gilmore, who is credited with the reporting for the film, found no shortage of highly placed people who were willing, even eager, to talk about the disaster that many perceive American-occupied Iraq to have become since the spring of 2003, when President Bush declared victory there...
...Certainly some of the staff members seemed a bit underqualified. Colonel Hammes recalls that the person given the job of planning for prisons and police was 25 and that this was his first job after college. He didn’t worry about having a staff of only four, the young appointee said, because they were all his fraternity brothers. Colonel Hammes describes the overall effort as “heroic amateurism.”
That description is one of the nicer things anyone in this film has to say...
...Generals, authors, ambassadors, former officials with the Coalition Provisional Authority (there was a joke that C.P.A. stood for Can’t Provide Anything), a counter-terrorism official with the National Security Council and a counter-insurgency adviser for the Department of Defense all share their opinions of the handling of the postwar period. None of it is pretty, but it is gratifyingly clear.........