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Veiled Muslim Gives “Christmas” Message

From Muslim France’s AFP:

Veiled British Muslim woman delivers alternative Xmas message

LONDON (AFP) – A Muslim woman in a full-face veil went head-to-head on television with Queen Elizabeth II, delivering an alternative Christmas Day message on religious integration.

At the same time the 80-year-old monarch’s Christmas message to Britain and the Commonwealth was broadcast, a woman known only as Khadijah spoke on Channel 4 television Monday about why she wore the niqab in public and called for tolerance.

"We are seen as oppressed. Since I’ve started covering I feel much more liberated, which I know a lot of people possibly won’t be able to understand," she said.

"I don’t wear the niqab to separate myself from society. I want to be part of this society — this is where I choose to live. I hope that society is more accepting of my personal choice. It’s not about separation."

Khadijah’s appearance comes amid a debate about the extent of religious and ethnic integration following last year’s home-grown Islamist extremist suicide attacks in London.

The row intensified in October when former foreign secretary Jack Straw said he asks Muslim women to remove their veils when they visit him in his constituency, saying it helped communication.

Prime Minister Tony Blair then called the veil a "mark of separation" between communities.

Khadijah — who converted to Islam a decade ago and said she is the great-granddaughter of a suffragette who fought for women’s right to vote — said Straw’s comments were not helpful.

But she also said that Britain was the best country for people to practise their religion freely.

On other subjects, she said the row over Danish cartoons satirising the prophet Mohammed that sparked outrage and violence across the world showed the need for tolerance of other religions.

She also revealed she was concerned for a relative serving in Afghanistan with the British army and her own approach to the Christian festival.

She said it was important to stress the links between faiths, in particular that Jesus is a prophet in Islam, and that she liked to celebrate Christmas like anyone else — with a traditional turkey meal followed by mince pies.

"My alternative Christmas message this year is peace on earth and good will to all humankind, regardless of race, colour or creed," she said.

Asked what she would say to Straw, she replied: "Merry Christmas, Jack, and a happy new year! Would you like a mince pie?"

Earlier Monday, the Church of England’s second most senior cleric, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, said community cohesion in Britain would only come through an end to talk about multi-culturalism and cultural diversity.

"We, as citizens of this nation, must agree to build our dwelling tent together," said Uganda-born Sentamu, the Church of England’s first black archbishop.

It’s odd, but so far there are no photos on the wire services.

Must be because of discrimination.

"My alternative Christmas message this year is peace on earth and good will to all humankind, regardless of race, colour or creed," she said.

As we have noted, according to the Muslim clerics "Khadijah" is violating her creed to wish people a Merry Christmas. She is probably a candidate for stoning.

Maybe that’s why she didn’t feel free enough to give her real name.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 25th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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