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Straw’s Veil Remarks Cause Muslim Fury

From the DNC's CNN:

Muslim women are pictured at the Whitechapel market in east London. Former foreign minister Jack Straw has defended his call for Muslim women to remove their veils despite a storm of protests — and went further, saying he would like veils not to be worn at all.

Straw veil call sparks Muslim fury

October 6, 2006

LONDON, England — A senior British Cabinet minister has sparked fury by saying that Muslim women who wore full veils made community relations more difficult.

Jack Straw wrote in a newspaper that a veil was "a visible statement of separation and difference" and that he was more comfortable dealing with female visitors to his local political office with their faces uncovered…

Straw, leader of the House of Commons and the former foreign secretary, said he was concerned that "wearing the full veil was bound to make better, positive relations between the two communities more difficult."

Asked on Friday if he would like veils to be discarded altogether, Straw said: "Yes. It needs to be made clear I am not talking about being prescriptive but with all the caveats, yes, I would rather."

"You cannot force people where they live, that's a matter of choice and economics, but you can be concerned about the implications of separateness and I am," he told the BBC.

Straw originally wrote in the Lancashire Telegraph that he asked women to remove their veils in his constituency office. "I felt uncomfortable about talking to someone 'face to face' who I could not see," he wrote. No one had refused his request, he said.

Straw pointed out that he defended Muslims' rights to wear head scarves and that wearing a full veil "breaks no laws."

But opposition politicians rounded on his comments. Conservative policy director Oliver Letwin said it would be a "dangerous doctrine" to instruct people how to dress, while Liberal Democrat chairman Simon Hughes described the remarks as "insensitive and surprising."

And Straw faced criticism in his own constituency. The Lancashire Council of Mosques said the Commons leader had "misunderstood" the issue and it was "deeply concerned" by his "very insensitive and unwise" statement.

"For such a seasoned and astute politician to make such a comment that has shocked his Muslim constituents seems ill judged and misconceived," a spokesman told the Press Association.

"Many of these women find Mr. Straw's comments both offensive and disturbing."

The radical Hizb ut-Tahrir organization said the Muslim community "does not need lessons in dress from Jack Straw."

"He has once again shown that for Cabinet ministers it is open season on Muslims and Islam," said spokesperson Nazreen Nawaz…

It never stops. They are perpetually incensed.

(Even though they probably have prohibitions against incense, too.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, October 6th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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