Banning the niqab in Britain: How very Taliban of you

Published: September 13, 2013
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I hope the MPs will be considerate, too, of the fact that actually 'allowing niqab' is very British. PHOTO: REUTERS

A recent ban on the niqab, introduced at the Birmingham metropolitan college, has sparked huge controversy among the communities in Birmingham and across the United Kingdom. Over 9,000 students across the UK signed a petition against this decision made by the college administration.

While a large number of political activists have condemned the decision, College Principal, Dame Christine Braddock DBE, described the ban as promoting robust equality, diversity and inclusiveness. She further stated that she is committed to ensure that students are provided with a safe and welcoming learning environment whilst studying there — a truly ‘British way of life’.

I must admit, after having lived in Britain for a considerable number of years and having searched for the meaning of the phrase ‘British way of life’, I find myself struggling to find a clear definition of this phrase.

Anyone, who happens to be part of the British public life sphere, must have heard politicians, broadcasters, commentators and historians using this ambiguous phrase. As there is no official definition available, or set criteria to which this statement would apply, I am forced to believe that its widespread use is just rhetoric to express a narrow, myopic world view.

So the question arises — when the university decided to ban the face veil did they not act the same way the Taliban did?

Yes, they took back the decision, but for that day, for those few hours, did they not realise that they too, were denying many Muslim girls the right to education just because of a face veil? Scary isn’t it, to be in that same scenario?

Thankfully, after huge public dissent and criticism from senior government members, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the college has taken back it decision – a victory for the ‘British way of life’ that I understand it to be.

Unfortunately, that way of life is still under threat.

At the moment, some 70 members of parliament (MPs) of the ruling conservative party are seeking to debate a bill in the House of Commons about banning the face veil or niqab throughout England. Philip Hollobone’s bill would make it illegal to wear a garment with the “primary purpose to obscure the face” in a public place.

Some of these MPs believe that the face veil is in contradiction with the ‘British way of life’, whereas, others have criticised it as ‘a threat to security’. Interestingly The Telegraph, a prominent British daily in 2005, listed ‘10 core values of the British identity’ in an editorial. Unsurprisingly, pluralist state and personal freedom were the third and fourth values respectively, but how free is the personal freedom in the UK and how plural is this pluralist society?

The answers lies in a quick look at the public sphere where Britain advocates these values globally and asks Middle Eastern governments to embrace them but itself fails occasionally to practice what it preaches. In the past, black minorities have faced bias from the top ranks of society. Today, the Muslims are constantly under pressure from the government, and when a reputable college calls for banning the niqab it only adds insult to injury. It also poses serious questions about Britain’s longstanding reputation of being a safe haven, free from all discrimination and biases; one that prides itself on its ability to give its citizens civil and personal freedoms.

Proponents of such a ban should not forget that personal freedoms and civil liberties are a jewel of the British crown – and rightly so. Britain has served as a beacon of hope for many nations around in the world when it fought for others freedom. It has history of being one of the first nations to provide rights to women, factory workers, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities; they set examples by leading and other nations took the cue followed in their footsteps.

Anyone who chooses to discuss the bill banning the face veil should be mindful of these facts. A ban on the niqab is a step backwards rather than forward and it will be a black mark on the history of freedom and justice that this country boasts.

Malala Yousafzai moved to Birmingham to escape the stranglehold of the Taliban; she wanted to have access to education and her struggle became one that was applauded worldwide. Britain gave her a home away from all the restraints. When the university decided to ban the face veil did they not act the same way the Taliban did? Yes, they took back the decision, but for that day, for those few hours, did they not realise that they too, were denying many Muslim girls the right to education just because of a face veil? Scary isn’t it, to be put in that same scenario?

Thankfully, after huge public dissent and criticism from senior government members, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the college has taken back it decision – a victory for the ‘British way of life’ that I understand it to be.

Next time you consider placing a ban on the symbol of any religious or cultural aspect, think back and see where you stand.

Are you the Taliban too?

junaid.ejaz

Junaid Ejaz

The author is an accountant graduate who is working in the public sector. He is an avid reader of books on politics, history, classics and languages. He loves to inspire and be inspired. He considers himself a food connoisseur and a global politics cognoscente.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Nasir Mehmood

    Nice blog and completely agree. British and americans ,they just dont leave any chance to humiliate muslims while actually they are the most self centered and bigotic people and so insecure . they delibrately insult muslim ummahRecommend

  • Not again

    In Rome,do as the Romans do.
    Dress appropriately and try to blend in rather than trying to stick out like a sore thumb and making people think you’re non-conformist or anti-social.
    There are other ways to be true to your religion/personality/individuality-show it via work ethics,hobbies,charity etc- not with controversial clothing.Recommend

  • Sarah_Yz

    This reminds me of the time when Khyber Medical College tried to impose Hijab on their female students…same thing! Recommend

  • Sarah_Yz

    In defense of the Brits, this move will not be acceptable to most people. They’re very accommodating to all cultures.Recommend

  • Halal_Kitty

    As a woman who does not want to be reduced to a piece of flesh that should be covered all the time, I welcome this move!Recommend

  • Ana

    here comes another “West should be more tolerant to other” nonsense. dude you guys have so many rights living as a minority in west so kindly shutup. n cant the west see how their women are made to cover up in muslim societies? its called revenge.Recommend

  • Heh ?

    No one denied the girls,education.
    Give up covering the face and looking like a security threat and study.
    How wierd comparing Talibanis who shot a girl in the head to Britishers.Recommend

  • Britpak

    Niqab should be banned in public, You cant see who is behind it. Second its not like it has any concrete basis in the religion, its more of a arab cultural thing which has been adopted. I see absolutely nothing wrong with a Hijab/Scarf etc. but with a Niqab we dont know who is behind it. For the sake of public security it should be banned. You cant walk into a bank with a Motorcyle helmet on..

    @ Sarah_Yz, I am a british citizen (British born of Pakistani origin), i assure you, most Brits want the Niqab to be banned, including me. Also, there is a difference between the Hijab and Niqab, hijab is fine, as you dont cover the face, Niqab is where you do.Recommend

  • Sarah_Yz

    @Britpak:
    As a Britpak myself, I’ve had a different experience with most people here (I guess they don’t want to be labelled as ‘racists’). I personally want the niqab banned as well. It’s definitely a threat to security.Recommend

  • Mohammad Omer Siddiqui

    Nothing much to say .. the decision has been taken back .. yet a thought of Banning hijaab is threatening but on the other hand soothing as well, for majority in public circle are good human beings with tolerance and respect for other religion as well as other cultures.. I take these kind of acts same as those who tend to vulgar Prophet Mohammad PBUH and have been heavily rejected by majority of the world population, intellects and communities. they would continue to harass a community and belief.. but we all as one unit CAN save a day. Recommend

  • Strategic Asset

    @Author: If you want to start wearing the niqab, I will fully support you. Not only that, I suspect many Brits will too.Recommend

  • Ninja

    This decision does’t make any sense, just another attempt to make fun to Muslims , Recommend

  • Mj

    @Strategic Asset:
    Something to think about, indeed. Would it be considered socially and legally acceptable if men were to start wearing niqabs?Recommend

  • Legend

    Over 95% of the women who use niqab do it because of pressure from family or society. Just a handful do it of their own free will.
    If some women are happy with forced female body mutilation, it doesnt give anyone a right to demand that it be made legal for everyone.
    Niqab (not hijab) should be banned completely. It destorys a womans self-confidence and dignity by reducing her from a person to just an object. A walking, talking tent that has to be protected from the evil men at all costs.Recommend

  • AverageMoe

    I’m a Muslim guy and I’m anti-niqab too, I don’t believe it has anything to do with Islam, in fact the Qur’an only tells men and women to dress modestly, I’ve got no problem with the Hijab because it’s different, there are Amish girls in America that wear a bonnet(similar to a Hijab), but the niqab is very different, I think it oppresses and objectifies women.

    That being said, I believe in freedom of expression, and if any woman chooses to wear the niqab, then I’ve got no problem with it, and since all the western countries claim to be “champions of human rights and equality”, it would be going against their values to deny somebody the right to dress the way they want.

    If proponents of the burqa/niqab ban point to Iran or Saudi Arabia and claim that since they deny women the right to wear what they want, they should too, I think that argument is absurd because those countries are not secular and “free”, and since western culture is supposedly “superior” to eastern culture, therefore they should not stoop to that level and tell women what they should or shouldn’t wear, and if they’re going to ban “overt religious symbols” then they should do the same to the Turban,Kipa,Yarmulke etc(I don’t advocate that).Recommend

  • Gemini

    @Nasir Mehmood: Then what are you doing there ? Live in your country If you want it your way.Recommend

  • Britpak

    @Sarah_Yz depends where you live i suppose. And i see what you’re saying (not wanting to be labelled racist). Yougov poll shows two thirds want it banned in Public. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Is this blog for real?

    Firstly, it’s not a “niqab ban”, it’s a general “face veil ban”. All articles of clothing that hinder facial identification, including hoodies and large hats, were banned to improve campus security. But obviously, since the planet revolves around your needs, you’d only notice the inconvenience to yourselves and label it ‘anti-Muslim bigotry’.

    As for you comparing one institute’s decision to ban face coverings on campus, with Taliban’s attempt to stop all females from getting education, is not worthy of the 45 seconds it will take for me to write a rebuttal.Recommend

  • Britpak

    “The niqab is a cultural tradition and has nothing to do with Islam.”

    Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy (former Grand Imam of Al-Azhar)Recommend

  • Victim much ?

    @ Ninja

    Not correct to play victim and say that muslims are being made fun of – rather think, that its muslims who do funny things in the west and draw attention.Recommend

  • Nice try

    @ AverageMoe

    A Sikh turban and a Jewish yarmulke don’t bring images of 9/11 to mind.
    What a comparison …Recommend

  • Osama Sajid

    I personally feel that face veil is not at all appropriate. Face is your identity, and you must not hide who you are. If it is your ‘right’ to cover your face, its my ‘right’ to at least know who a person sitting next to me is. Recommend

  • mind control

    @Junaid Ejaz

    When women from all over the world, be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Atheist whatever, go to Saudi Arabia they are required to wear the Niqab.

    And they comply.

    Can’t they comply with the British requirements too?Recommend

  • mind control

    did they not realise that they too, were denying many Muslim girls the right to education just because of a face veil?

    Oh my God!

    What did they do?

    Shoot the girls in the head for going to school?Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Nice Try,

    “A Sikh turban and a Jewish yarmulke don’t bring images of 9/11 to mind.”

    What a ghastly thing to say. Turbans, yarmulkes, hijabs and french berets don’t attack buildings. If in your mind, you’ve associated hijabs/niqabs with terrorism, then you’re stereotyping and that’s unacceptable.

    The argument against this blog is that the law isn’t specific to Muslim headgear. It is a general rule against all articles of clothing that make it difficult for campus security to identify someone. Therefore, this cannot be termed ‘bigotry’.Recommend

  • Gingo

    The islamst leader of Lal Masjid was caught running from the crime scene under a veiled burqa. Many terrorists and robbers in Pakistan wear veiled burqas.
    Also female students sometimes use it to aid them in cheating by concealing hands free ear phones connected to a mobile under layers of scarf.
    Yes in light of these examples I say for security point of view veil and other concealing garments should be banned.
    Anything that can conceal identify whether a person is man or woman or is a hurdle in identifying individuals or if is Haram in Islam, which states to wear clothes which differentiates men from women. Now how do I know whether there is a man under niqab or a woman?Recommend

  • Genesis

    If bikinis and swim suits are banned in Islamic nations what is the problem for Britain to follow its standards or practices,why impose your views on themRecommend

  • Khurram Awan

    Could somebody elaborate the the woman in the above picture is wearing Niqab or the Burqa as it seems to be the full body veil while in Pakistan Niqab is considered a different thing altogether where atleast we can see the face of the woman.Recommend

  • mind control

    @AverageMoe:

    and since western culture is supposedly “superior” to eastern culture,

    No they are not.

    Now pack your bags and move to the divinely ordained ‘Superior’ lands.

    Bon Voyage.Recommend

  • AverageMoe

    @Nice try:
    “A Sikh turban and a Jewish yarmulke don’t bring images of 9/11 to mind.
    What a comparison …”

    Are you saying that the 19 terrorists involved in 9/11 were wearing niqabs/burkas?Most terrorisrs try their best to blend in like in the recent Boston bombings, they don’t want to stick out and look visibly “Muslim”.

    I think you should look up the Air India bombings?Do you think Muslims did that?Recommend

  • Nasir Mehmood

    @Gemini:
    Yes i am .i am living in my own homeland which we got for our religion ..to practice and preach…we so live a complete life according to our religion just as we wanted it and i think i do have interest in everything going on in muslim world , any problem out there?Recommend

  • mind control

    Yes, they took back the decision, but for that day, for those few hours, did they not realise that they too, were denying many Muslim girls the right to education just because of a face veil?

    Were they?

    Then so does the Al Azhar Islamic University in Egypt.

    Guess what they ban the Niqab too.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/08/egypt-al-azhar-universityn314263.htmlRecommend

  • Muhammed Usama Aziz

    @Not again:
    Next time dont blame saudis/taliban for forcing niqab As when In saudia, Do as Saudis DoRecommend

  • Zain

    They only ban Niqab and you all start to whine and cry but you don’t see the atrocities and cruelties against the minorities in your very own Islamic Republic.Recommend

  • sister

    I as a muslim revert have read the quraan and do not believe the niqab to be a requirement. I, at first was angered by this move to ban it but with further thought have started to understand the security threat posed and have now come to the conclusion that it may be for the better.

    It is those from both sides of the argument that are only interested in trouble causing and racism and see the decision as an insult to islam or in turn a chance to insult islam. I urge my brothers and sisters to concider this carefully before reacting. We strive for peace, is this not a step in the right direction?Recommend

  • Parvez

    You have cleverly made this a debate of the niqab and British values, while the debate should be about a modest dress code. You live in a country which is exceedingly open in thought and view and to them a modest dress code entails covering everything except the face and by any standards that’s exceedingly fair. But you don’t want a modest dress code debate you want to wear your religion on your sleeve, making an in-your-face statement and demanding this as your right under their laws…………… now who’s the Taliban ???Recommend

  • csmann

    Yes, we care about Niqab a lot. We talk about bigotry of west a lot. But we have a right to add Article 2 to the constitution to ostracize a minority. We don’t have to say anything when peeople openly call for their murder. We can refuse them their religious rights. We don’t care about their right to life,their right to property,their right to employment in Government institutions.We just care too much about our rights to Niqab in far-off countries!!!!Recommend

  • Ahem

    @ Muhammed Usama Aziz

    Where’s the blog about people in Saudi complaining about Islamic clothing …who’s complaining-people who go there,wear a burkha,even if they aren’t muslim.
    What’s your point ? Which side of bed did you get off ,of ?Recommend

  • Simple joe

    @Nasir Mehmood:
    I belong to the minority community out there in your country, and yes I have a problem at the way you treat the minorities there be they Christians, Shia, Hindus or Ahmadis. I am not only concerned but am worried about their existence. At least, the Muslim women in the UK or the West have no threat to her life or of being forcibly converted to Christainity.
    So please stay in your country only.Recommend

  • np

    @Khurram Awan: “in Pakistan Niqab is considered a different thing altogether where atleast we can see the face of the woman”

    If you can see the face of the woman i is hijaab nor niqaab.Recommend

  • saleem

    Till the 90s hardly saw anyone with a niqab or abaya in Pakistan……These British Born Confused Desis who left the culture of their parents, who came from India or Pakistan and have been led astray by Arab imams and websites, have created a confused state of affairs. They should be asked to follow the law of the land or go back to the land of their ancestorsRecommend

  • gp65

    “Next time you consider placing a ban on the symbol of any religious or cultural aspect, think back and see where you stand.

    Are you the Taliban too?”

    Before answering your question, I have 3 questions of my own.

    Do they kill people who sell music CDs? Do they blow up girls schools? DO they shoot girls in a school bus? The answer is No, no and no.

    So the answer to your question also is “No”.

    Now you migth want to pose the same question to the rulers in KSA.

    @Khurram Awan: “in Pakistan Niqab is considered a different thing altogether where atleast we can see the face of the woman”

    You are wrong. Everywhere in the world including Pakistan, if face can be seen it is hijaab not niqaab. Niqaab is a face veil though ususally niqaab is not such a close fitting garment. Check the song Parda hai Parda from Amar Akbar Anthony to get an idea of niqaabRecommend

  • Hillarious

    @Junaid Ejaz

    Could you please explain me the line “*When the university decided to ban the face veil did they not act the same way the Taliban did? Yes, they took back the decision, but for that day, for those few hours, did they not realise that they too, were denying many Muslim girls the right to education just because of a face veil*” . **How come British gov denying right to education by banning so-called niqab ? You don’t need to wear a burka or niqab to educate yourself . You should have interest in education for that and education should be there in your mind . In fact it is the very idea of Taliban who forces to wear such attires along with beard-ism in males . probably this is the main reason why muslim ladies can’t excel and compete at global level unlike muslim boys do . Such kind of things create distraction among multicultural society and students in university.I endorse this idea of banning such attires in public place .However they are allowed to wear those at their home.**Recommend

  • tung

    Ban it in pakistan too please. I dont want suicide hanging around in niqabsRecommend

  • Sick Of This And That

    @Nasir Mehmood: ‘bigotic’ great word, did you invent it yourself? Recommend

  • http://Expresstribune Syed Arsalan Ali Askari

    @Osama Sajid:
    YES its ur right and her right to show her face to everyone without her willing veil is not necessary but it is a need of todays shamless societies.Recommend

  • Nasir Mehmood

    @Simple joe:
    Well as far as i have seen beleive me there is no Christian i know ..not well treated.sorry to say so far yet i dont know any christian who belongs to upper crust but as far as lower class is concerned …i see them happy because they have got their separate literature in schools and lot of funding from their churches .yes everything is not perfect ,every society have its own flaws… Apart from social structure …many of my cousins have christian friends ..i dont know of any rude or rigid environment as you tell me. “Not being rude like others and advising to better go to your own country with christian majority.”Recommend

  • nassi

    After a few generations down the line, majority of Muslims in Britain and other European countries most probably will become so westernised that they will have very little interest in their religion. Look at the way Christianity has been decimated in these countries, what makes you think that Islam will not suffer a similar fate? A ban on the niqab does not represent a serious threat to our faith, nor it is an attempt by the authorities to stop us from following our religion. In fact they do not even have to lift a finger and they know it very well that sooner or later most of us will become utterly disillusioned with our religion. Muslims in these countries should be more concerned about survival of Islam instead of whinging and whining about peripheral issues like ban on the nikab.Recommend

  • Mnorgaileta

    I fully support the university stand on this. I would welcome a nationwide ban on full face ban on veils as France has done. If these girls want to study they should adhere to the normal expectations of society and be prepared to live in the 21st century and not in the Middle Ages.Recommend

  • AngryMoose

    Covering one’s face, particularly obscuring the eyes, hinders a fundamental human process, that of communication. Asides from the obvious security implications, and that of identification in employment or schools, normal human interaction is affected. This ban is totally justified, although the decision is already reversed after pressure and protests from the Muslim community. Recommend

  • Conservative

    The headline is very misleading, the ban is not just about muslims, it bans everyone equally from covering their face so that they can always be identified. It is a sensible measure for everybody’s safety.Recommend

  • Service station attendant

    When I worked in a petrol station, motorcyclist had to take off their helmets before entering the shop as it was part of our security regulations. Those arguing against it, may want to know the PFS I worked in had been robbed and my staff attacked (on more than one occasion). Not a nice situation to be in. I have also seen a number of car accidents and near misses outside my children’s schools due to women wearing full face veils. It’s the safety aspect of the full face coverings which is the issue and not to do with religion. Personally I will not speak to anyone, man or woman if their face is covered unless it’s on medical grounds. I don’t feel comfortable specially after witnessing the aftermath of the attacks on my staff.Recommend

  • Nell Gosport

    Headscarves are perfectly acceptable – full face coverings/niqaab are not. It has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with safety. No-one knows whether the person entering the women’s toilets is male or female, if no distinguishing factors are visible. No-one knows whether the person following you along a quiet street is male of female if no face is visible. No-one one knows who is sitting their exams, taking their driving test, the list is endless. This is not a pie in the sky scare situation, men have posed as Muslim women and they will do so more and more if they know they can get away with it.Recommend

  • JilloxBanters

    Great costume to facilitate cheating, plenty of space to hide notes and nobody can see you reading them, or better still, get somebody else to sit the exams in your place! Absolute idiocy as well as embarrassing cowardice by this institution’s Management. It would be very interesting to see the religion and nationality of those ‘outraged’ by this decision.Recommend

  • DASH DASH

    @Britpak:
    what you wanna do with other people’s faces ??? MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS :-) now a days any evil person dont need a niqaab for something wrong…
    Recommend

  • Jamshed

    @Halal_Kitty:
    “As a woman who does not want to be reduced to a piece of flesh that should be covered all the time, I welcome this move!”

    The British may allow niqabs, hijabs, burqas etc now, but the debate is growing and so is discontentment that if muslims want to practice their faith, they should go back to countries of origin and practice away freely. This feeling is also fed by the “conservative” dresses expats are forced to wear when in muslim countries. The time is not far away where they will indeed reciprocate what we enforce in our countries i.e. a dress code . They will completely ban the niqab/ hijab/ burqa. Recommend

  • BRUISED INDIAN

    Oh c’mon now!! Why is it that Muslims are the only ones shoving their way of life like an “in your face” code down the Non Muslims throat? The Muslim world expects non Muslims to be adhere and abide by Sharia but when Non Muslims are asked to integrate and assimilate.. they are far from it, rather the proverbial Anti – Ummah card is thrown in the picture!! Why oh Why?

    I don’t want to live on this planet anymore!! Recommend

  • Weird

    Interesting discussion. This is addressed to anyone who opposes the niqab ban (which was incidentally a ban on all headwear which prevents recognition):

    Are you in favour of the Ehtram-e-Ramzan ordinance (the Pakistani ordinance which criminalizes eating in public during the month of Ramzan)?

    If yes, congratulations: you can have your cake and eat it too.Recommend

  • Unkown

    @Faraz Talat
    :) do you really think people read your rebuttals :) Do they have so much time to waste? Recommend

  • Dante

    @Not again:
    We’re no longer in Rome. This is the 21st century. Some of those women wearing veils are most likely British citizens and it’s the job of the government to protect the rights, beliefs and religious freedom of their citizens. This move to ban veil will not promote any integration into British society. Wearing or banning veils shouldn’t be forced. Otherwise the government is free to close their doors to immigration.Recommend

  • Dante

    @Heh ?:
    Yep comparing to the Britishers who conquered and killed masses of other nations in history.

    I can see a good comparison here.Recommend

  • csmann

    @Dante:
    This is the 21st century. Some of those women wearing veils are most likely British citizens and it’s the job of the government to protect the rights, beliefs and religious freedom of their citizens.
    – just like Pakistan government and people are protecting the religious rights and beliefs of Ahmadi ?!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • osmanorin

    In my country, Bangladesh, Hijab and Scarf are widely used among University students (female), but i have not seen a Niqaab till today.Recommend

  • pro-taliban

    just to clarify, I am talking about Afghan taliban and not the agents of cia and raw aka TTP

    all the media controlled freaks think that taliban are the worst thing that could have happened to this world. Do you even know how crime rate reduced in afg during their tensure, opium production reduced etc and etc.

    all you guys have to say is that oh they banned education for girls. If for the sake of argument I agree they did, let me tell you nobody is perfect and everyone mistakes. Can you tell me how is NATO justified on going for a killing spree in afg and iraq? For me its much more worse than banning education for girls and what happened to champions of freedom? Now they want to ban niqab? well done! well done!

    think whatever you want, once usa withdraws, we are going to see a rise of taliban again and thanks to ISI for keeping them afloat. just wait and see….Recommend

  • AverageMoe

    @BRUISED INDIAN:
    “Oh c’mon now!! Why is it that Muslims are the only ones shoving their way of life like an “in your face” code down the Non Muslims throat? The Muslim world expects non Muslims to be adhere and abide by Sharia but when Non Muslims are asked to integrate and assimilate.. they are far from it, rather the proverbial Anti – Ummah card is thrown in the picture!! Why oh Why?”

    Where are Muslims in the west demanding sharia law?They’re not forcing anybody to wear the veil if they don’t want to, all they want is to be free to wear what they want, you should read my first comment above.

    Sikhs wear Turbans,Jews wear Kipas,Nuns wear habits, so it’s not like only Muslims wear overt religious symbols, in a free and democratic country everybody should be free to wear what they want, whether it be a bikini or a burka, although if the burka,mask or hoodie or anything that conceals somebody’s face is deemed a security risk then it should be banned.Recommend

  • Mohammed Yusuf

    @Nasir Mehmood:
    Don’t live in a fool’s paradise. What happened in Joseph’s Colony, what happened to Aisha Bibi and why was Salman Taseer assasinated?
    Check this links and you will come to know about the real situation of Christians in Pakistan. And you cannot tell us Christians to leave Pakistan because we are the original inhabitants of the land which now comprise Pakistan. Maybe, you are a Mohajir and you should return to your roots in maybe UP or Bihar in India.
    We Christians have contributed significantly to the development of Pakistan.
    Check this article in the Daily Mail as how Christians are treated in Pakistan.
    ‘Sentenced to death for being thirsty’: Christian woman tells of moment she was beaten and locked up in Pakistan after ‘using Muslim women’s cup to drink water’
    Here is the link http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2403773/Christian-woman-Asia-Bibi-jailed-Pakistan-using-Muslim-womens-cup-drink-water.html
    You want more links, then check this
    Muslim Persecution of Christians Escalating in Pakistan
    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3664/christian-persecution-pakistan
    Check this also
    The Lahore Missions Church Office Burnt To Ashesstrong text and this “A Pastor and Church Under Threats In Samundari” And you will find more about the plight of Christians in Pakistan here at this link
    http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/tag/persecution-of-christians-in-pakistan/
    Check this list from Wikipedia about Christian persecution and genocide in Pakistan

    Cathedral church of Resurrection, Lahore, Pakistan
    See also List of terrorist incidents in Pakistan since 2001.

    Christians in Pakistan are reportedly being subjected to a genocide by Pakistani Taliban.[20][21][22]

    On October 7, 2001 the U.S.-led War in Afghanistan began.

    On August 9, 2002 Muslim gunmen threw grenades into a chapel on the grounds of the Taxila Christian Hospital in northern Punjab 15 miles west of Islamabad, killing four, including two nurses and a paramedic, and wounding 25 men and women.[23]

    On September 25, 2002, unidentified Muslim gunmen shot dead six people at a Christian charity in Karachi’s central business district. They entered the third-floor offices of the Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) and shot their victims in the head. All of the victims were Pakistani Christians. Karachi police chief Tariq Jamil said the victims had their hands tied and their mouths had been covered with tape.[24]

    On December 25, 2002 a few days after an Islamic cleric called for Muslims to kill Christians, two burqa-clad Muslim gunmen tossed a grenade into a Presbyterian church during a Christian sermon in Chianwala in east Pakistan, killing three girls.[25]

    The All Pakistan Minority Alliance said “We have become increasingly victimised since the launch of the US-led international war on terror. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the international community to ensure that the government protects us.”[26]

    In November 2005, 3,000 militant Islamists attacked Christians in Sangla Hill in Pakistan and destroyed Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and United Presbyterian churches. The attack was over allegations of violation of blasphemy laws by a Pakistani Christian named Yousaf Masih. The attacks were widely condemned by some political parties in Pakistan.[27] However, Pakistani Christians have expressed disappointment that they have not received justice. Samson Dilawar, a parish priest in Sangla Hill, has said that the police have not committed to trial any of the people who were arrested for committing the assaults, and that the Pakistani government did not inform the Christian community that a judicial inquiry was underway by a local judge. He continued to say that Muslim clerics “make hateful speeches about Christians” and “continue insulting Christians and our faith”.[28]

    In February 2006, churches and Christian schools were targeted in protests over the publications of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons in Denmark, leaving two elderly women injured and many homes and properties destroyed. Some of the mobs were stopped by police.[29]

    On June 5, 2006, a Pakistani Christian stonemason named Nasir Ashraf was working near Lahore when he drank water from a public facility using a glass chained to the facility. He was assaulted by Muslims for “Polluting the glass”. A mob developed, who beat Ashraf, calling him a “Christian dog”. Bystanders encouraged the beating, because it would be a “good” deed that would help them get into heaven. Ashraf was eventually hospitalized.[30][31]

    On August 2006, a church and Christian homes were attacked in a village outside of Lahore, Pakistan in a land dispute. Three Christians were seriously injured and one missing after some 35 Muslims burned buildings, desecrated Bibles and attacked Christians.[32]

    Based, in part, on such incidents, Pakistan was recommended by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in May 2006 to be designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) by the Department of State.[32]

    In July 2008, a Muslim mob stormed a Protestant church during a prayer service on the outskirts of Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, denouncing the Christians as “infidels” and injuring several, including a pastor.[33]

    The 2009 Gojra riots was a series of violent pogroms against Christian minorities by Muslims.[34]

    In June 2009, International Christian Concern reported the rape and killing of a Christian man in Pakistan, for refusing to convert to Islam.[35]

    In March 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti was killed by gunmen after he spoke out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The U.K. increased financial aid to the country, sparking criticism of British foreign secretary William Hague. Cardinal Keith O’Brien stated, “To increase aid to the Pakistan government when religious freedom is not upheld and those who speak up for religious freedom are gunned down is tantamount to an anti-Christian foreign policy.”[36]

    The Catholic Church in Pakistan requested that Pope Benedict declare martyrdom of Shahbaz Bhatti.[37]

    At least 20 people, including police officials, were wounded as 500 Muslim demonstrators attacked the Christian community in Gujranwala city on April 29, 2011, Minorities Concern of Pakistan has learnt.[38]

    During a press conference in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan, on May 30, 2011, Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi and other clerics of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam quoted “immoral Biblical stories” and demanded to ban the Bible. Maulana Farooqi said, “Our lawyers are preparing to ask the court to ban the book.”[39]

    On September 23, 2012, a mob of protesters in Mardan, angry at the anti Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, reportedly “set on fire the church, St Paul’s high school, a library, a computer laboratory and houses of four clergymen, including Bishop Peter Majeed.” and went on to rough up Zeeshan Chand, the pastor’s son.[40][41]

    On October 12, 2012, Ryan Stanton, a Christian boy of 16 went into hiding after being accused of blasphemy and after his home was ransacked by a crowd. Stanton stated that he had been framed because he had rebuffed pressures to convert to Islam.[19][42]

    In March 2013, Muslims attacked a Christian neighborhood in Lahore, where more than 100 houses were burned after a Christian was alleged to have made blasphemous remarks.[43]

    A pattern of attacks on Christian children shows the “Pakistani police either failed to act or sided with the rapists and murderers.”[44
    And finally check this list of Christians who have brought honours for Pakistan.
    Christians have served in Pakistan Armed Forces. They have received highest civilians and military awards. Some of the notable Christians of PAF are:
    Air Vice Marshal Allan Perry-Keene (August 15, 1947 – February 17, 1949)
    Air Vice Marshal Richard Atcherley (February 18, 1949 – May 6, 1951)
    Air Vice Marshal Leslie William Cannon (May 7, 1951 – June 19, 1955)
    Air Vice Marshal Arthur McDonald (June 20, 1955 – July 22, 1957)
    Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry
    Group Captain Eric Gordon Hall
    Wing Commander Nazir Latif
    Wing Commander Mervyn L. Middlecoat
    Squadron Leader Peter Christy.
    Flight Lieutenant William D. Harney[13]Recommend

  • Lame !

    @ Dante

    If you cross your eyes even more,you can bring obscure things into focus and see whatever you want to … anything to prove your lame point.Recommend

  • Lame !

    @ Nasir Mehmood

    Your denial means nothing.
    Forty pilgrims who went to Brazil,to see the pope,requested asylum there,recently,citing religious persecution in their home country-Pakistan.

    Don’t close your eyes to injustice & deny someone’s fear and rot your soul.Recommend

  • Nasir Mehmood

    @Sick Of This And That:
    Better go and consult dictionary lols why asking me ? Recommend

  • AL

    @Nasir Mehmood:
    “Nice blog and completely agree. British and americans ,they just dont leave any chance to humiliate muslims while actually they are the most self centered and bigotic people and so insecure . they delibrately insult muslim ummah”

    Your comment suggests the only bigoted person here, not to mention racist, is you.Recommend

  • ZAFAR

    The most accepted opinion is that if the women covers everything except her face and her hands, she would be following the Command of Allah; and if she chooses to cover her face with a ‘niqab’, then it would be considered purest and closest to the Command of Allah. Saudis have a better quality of life then us and they are purer and better muslims than us. More and more pakistanis are learning from Arabs and wear the niqab. The wearing of the niqab needs to be encouraged in Pakistan and the UK.Recommend

  • http://Yahoo ABDUL KADER

    @Nasir Mehmood: It is alright but we are also not united and firm on our beliefs, we are divided in so many factions and the way these people are taking advantages.Recommend

  • mind control

    @AverageMoe:

    Sikhs wear Turbans,Jews wear Kipas,Nuns wear habits, so it’s not like only Muslims wear overt religious symbols

    And Muslims wear Hijab. And also the skull cap. And, that is not being objected to.

    It is the Niqab that masks the face that is being objected to. Even Al Azhar university in Egypt does not allow the same.

    This whole blog is about the ‘right’ to wear the Niqab.

    And that does not make sense.

    http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/10/08/87407.html

    http://www.biyokulule.com/view_content.php?articleid=3009Recommend

  • Nasir Mehmood

    @Mohammed Yusuf:
    1.I didnt say that things such like that dont happen ,ofcourse they do and absolutely condenmable . If you bring a list of incidents tagetting you people in our country in a decade then thats a little bit gross . I can also point out thousands of incidents of targettin muslims in christian countries.
    2. you misperceived my comment.i didnt say but mentioned that somebody said stay in your own country , thats what i said that we are not being rude like others to ask you to leave .NO.
    3..not only you people but shia people are are also targetted , all these attacks are meant to produce rage and hatred between each community and start blame game.Recommend

  • BRUISED INDIAN

    @AverageMoe: Alright Senor, here goes nothing.

    What does Anjem Chaudhry have in common with Muslim immigrants of France, Belgium, Norway (Pakistani Norwegians), Italy and Spain to name a few? They are all demanding Sharia’a.

    A ‘niqab’ hampers proper verification of identification!! In the Middle East countries like Kuwait have a law, albeit seldom used, which prohibits women with a Niqab to drive as it obstructs vision, hampers safety and does not enable a law enforcement officer to correctly identify a drivers license with the driver!! So there you have it… please stop wearing your faith on your sleeve else your moniker is very apt!

    sigh* anyone know from where can I get a one way ticket to Mars? Recommend

  • AZ

    Oh for heaven sake! They banned the NIQAAB not HIJAB, know the difference.. The niqaab is a face veil and it should be banned because it’s purpose is to hide the face, something that is NOT specified in Islam and is followed by a fraction of muslims with difference in interpretation. Even anybody who wears hoodies or clothes over heir faces is looked upon suspiciously and asked to reveal theri face in public.
    Secondly take cultural values in mind, they are ok with burkas and scarves even though it is not part of their culture. Would we on the other hand allow bikinis on the beach? Of course not!(and thank heavens for that). If you believe in such a strict and conservative interpretation of Islam where a womans face(an integral part if you want to identify someone) should stay hidden then maybe you don’t belong in the west.
    Come back to islamic countries? I mean really they give you the freedom to follow islam why not let west have its freedom in following secularism?Recommend

  • UC

    listen to this: “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8CuoitaKXk”Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Lame !: Forty pilgrims who went to Brazil,to see the pope,requested asylum there,recently,citing religious persecution in their home country-Pakistan.

    Christian majority countries give away billions of dollars in free zakat to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Muhammed Usama Aziz

    @Ahem:
    Look like you are a first timer here. Normally a lot of people complain about Saudis, but when Western world do it, they start defending it. I was talking about this hypocrisy.
    I think now you should got the point otherwise try getting off bed from the right side :)Recommend

  • Rashid

    @Nasir Mehmood

    An intelligent person knows when to shut up. In the face of unsurmountable evidences you keep defending the indefencible. Grow up!Recommend

  • Abbas

    Britain Also has dark history of invading,occupying lands of others nations and mass genocide and extermination of people from North America to Australia. stealing resources of poor nations as colonial power. helping Zionists create Israel in Palestine. Recommend

  • Nero

    Author: How convenient of you to propagate victimhood! The rule was proposed by a British college. for its students and disposed off by the British. That is the beginning and the end of it. For the record: I would also support the ban on full face niqab. It is a clear security risk and hinders communication, especially in countries where most of the population doesn’t follow this dress code.Recommend

  • ruby

    The Birmingham metropolitan college, I am sure, also has rules that say to the effect that all students shall remain seated on benches when the class is in session. It is not forbidden in Islam to sit on a bench and it helps a student pursue the primary purpose of learning. Without a face veil, a student can interact better and pursue her education.

    Not just in colleges, the practice should be banned in all public. Recommend

  • Milestogo

    Islamic way of life is far superior to British way of life.Recommend

  • Me

    “in rome do as the romans do” very right i do agree with this statement but do non muslims going to muslim countries such as Dubai observe modesty? No, i have been to Dubai many times and have seen women there in little clothing. If they want to ban the veil they should also start respecting the rules in muslim countries as well.Recommend

  • Np

    @AverageMoe:
    Since you asked where in the west are Muslims asking for shariah, please google the terms shaaiah4uk, shariah4holland, shariah4belgium. There is a reason Europeans feel resentful when some Muslims come seeking asylum and then instead of integrating want to impose their own culture, they cannot do anything about people who show intolerance escape towards themselves and then show intolerance for the others who welcomed them. This is why US wants to nip it in he bud and many states have passed laws saying shariah will not be allowed.

    I am responding since I am not sure if @Bruised Indian may see and respond to Your question.Recommend

  • Np

    @Milestogo:
    You are entitled to that opinion. Anyone who feels that should leave UK and live in whicheverw country they can have their superior lifestyle.Recommend

  • Crimson

    Overheard a conversation today at a bus stop in Ealing broadway between a muslim couple with a tiny baby. The wife was wearing the full covering and face veil and the husband was wearing western clothes. The wife was apparently distressed and the husband was insulting her aggressively and telling her to shut up and cover the baby because ‘me and my daughter are not ready to see this vile place.’ 21st century London – just unbelievable.Recommend

  • PeterKellyAto

    There are many many reasons why the normalisation of Niqabs or Burkhas in British society is a very bad idea, among which:
    1 – Personal interaction: Being able to see someone’s face is a vital part of normal human interaction and a huge part of developing trust and empathy between individuals. Hiding your face behind a veil is no different than muttering from below a lowered cap or hood or even wearing a mask, it alienates and breeds suspicion. In walks of life such as nursing and other care or service professions being able to see someone’s face is hugely important.
    2 – Security: There are very good reasons people are expected to uncover their faces in many situations. Banks ban all kinds of face coverings, as do many government institutions, for exactly this reason. There is no reason that any garment should get a pass on this.
    3 – Abuse: Measures are already being taken against the grooming of young women, a practice encouraged by the “othering” of women and deeply unhealthy approach to sex and sexuality which includes the wearing of these garments. The practice of deeply unequal treatment for men and women is dangerous, and should under no circumstances be encouraged. Recommend

  • Nasir Mehmood

    @ABDUL KADER:
    You are right …the only reason we were united was religion and now even that is divided into fiqaas so yess there IS no integrity now .we ourselves are more defaming our name, religion than othersRecommend

  • AL

    @Milestogo:
    “Islamic way of life is far superior to British way of life.”

    Is that the best you can do?? If you have nothing intelligent or meaningful to contribute, please don’t bother.Recommend

  • Nasir Mehmood

    @AL:
    White people had banned all black including wheatish complexioned people in their place back in past , but oh sorry WE are racists although we didnt do any discrimination such like that. The
    You are not racist , we are Not racist …so we fight bomb each other just because of clash of our ideologies , there is no skin color that is causing problem but acceptance of eachother’s way of lifeRecommend

  • Raj – USA

    Muslim women demand Burka because they know their muslim men well and want to protect themselves from their muslim men.

    Muslim men demand ask their women to wear burka because they do not trust them. They have seen them assisting them in raping young hindu girls.

    Both Muslim men and Muslim Women know well that they do not need any protection from British men. When have we heard of a muslim woman raped by a White man in UK? Recommend

  • http://www.reddit.com/r/exmuslim TombOfAthena

    Yeah man You aRE SO RIGHT. Because banning Niqabs worn by a minute fraction of students is like LITERALLY the same thing as blowing up girls schools. Recommend

  • Sand girl

    @mind control: been in Saudi forever- don’t wear a veil. Was never forced to and stuff. Granted, walking into a mall without an abaya on would be super weird but you’re definitely not forced to wear a niqab. Plus there are humongous neighbourhoods here where you dont even have to wear an abaya, and it isn’t illegal or anything to walk around without it. Just wanted get the facts more up to date. Ok continue!Recommend

  • John

    The niqab is a symbol of division. Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    Hijab and turbans are fine because we the face of the person.I am against niqab which hides a lady. I am a Sikh and we are profilled around the world in airports. But I cannot justify a niqab because it secludes a woman from the rest. Anyways, when I Rome, do like the Romans. Rab rakhaRecommend

  • Parvez

    @Unkown: Speaking for myself I can say that I scan the comments for certain names and Faraz Talat sits high on the list because simply…………..he is worth reading.Recommend

  • mind control

    @Sand girl:

    A. Women, be they local or foreign, are all required to wear an abaya, a long and loose black robe. While a headscarf is optional for non-Saudi females (particularly in Jeddah and Dammam), one should at least be brought along in order to avoid possible harassment from the religious police or to be used as a means of deflecting attention from potentially aggravating men.
    Saudi law prohibits women from mingling with unrelated men. Some family restaurants will go further and will not (knowingly) allow a married couple to dine together with a single man. Women may not drive cars, although as of 2008 there are — not for the first time — rumblings that this may soon change. In theory, women may not even be driven by unrelated people (e.g. taxi drivers), although this is widely ignored and rarely enforced.

    http://wikitravel.org/en/Saudi_Arabia

    B. Strict clothing requirements for women were publicly enforced. In July, the Mecca public prosecution department detained three women for taking off their full-body cloaks and headscarves in a shopping mall, sabq.org news website reported.

    http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/saudi-arabia

    PS – Did the British ban the Niqab in a ‘compound’ too? If not, then the reference to the freedom of the compound is lost on me.Recommend

  • http://outlook Falcon Eyes

    @ mind control..
    you are mistaken in differentiating b/w niqab and hijab..!!! niqab means to cover your face and hijab means to dress your body in a modest way (I.E NOT EXPOSING OR PRESENTING IT to attract opposite gender) Hijab is a part of law in public places of Saudi Arab!!! not niqab..,its depend on choice of wearer!!!!Recommend