Monday, September 16, 2013

Niqab-wearing in court is a small step too far


From Brother Ivo:

Today a judge ruled on an individual's request to give her evidence in court fully veiled, in accordance with her reading of Islamic requirements to dress modestly. Whatever his decision and reasoning, it was always unlikely to be the last word on the subject: a variety of politicians and commentators have already begun to grapple with a problem that will simply not go away.

What is the proper balance to be struck between religious rights and the requirements to comply with secular values and institutions?

Many approach such questions, especially when they touch on legal matters, as black and white issues. It is easy for outsiders to think that law turns upon what is legislated, written or defined. Yet these matters are usually more subtle than that.

Law can be binary. Do you have a certificate of insurance for the car you are driving? That admits no equivocation, though plainly the degree of culpability may need to be judged when the sentence comes to be assessed. If you had been told your cheque had been cashed and a clerical error by your insurer prevented the certificate being issued, you may expect greater leniency.

Other matters are far less clear. A killing may be murder, self defence, accidental, or lack criminal culpability through automatism.

Legal principles are often best considered less as black-and-white 'where's-the-line?'-type questions but rather as those having 'weight'. In some circumstances, a principle may be weightier, but a group of other considerations may well outweigh it in another context. Thus it is perfectly lawful to throw a javelin in a sports field - but not in a shopping centre.

In all cases where context is critical, we balance a range of considerations, and our old Common Law had regular recourse to a fictional hero of English Jurisprudence - 'The Reasonable Man'.

For the avoidance of doubt, Brother Ivo happily confirms that 'The Reasonable Woman' is no less sagacious, but the language derives from a particular time and culture, and rather than clutter the narrative, he asks readers' indulgence for his using the term throughout.

The Reasonable Man is a thoroughly decent fellow: he is not extreme in his opinions; he is neither technically specialised nor adept in any particular field, but is also no fool. If you explain even complex things to him he can make a pretty sound judgement on all aspects of life, including complex matters of science, accountancy, culture and religion. He is probably a cultural Anglican, though nobody has thought to ask him. He and his values may well be looked down upon by the self-appointed intelligentsia but, being sensible, he bears this with a degree of equanimity.

It is the innate decency of the Reasonable Man that has made this country the first port of call for many immigrants. Brother Ivo therefore tentatively asserts that this paragon of civic virtue is an Englishman (or, in this jurisdictional context, sometimes Welsh). Other Reasonable Men are to be found in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but we need not digress.

There are many black, brown and white Reasonable Men, for to be one is cultural, not racial. And he may also be of various religions or none.

Our imaginary hero brings common sense to the law and usually makes a very good job of it. It is when he is excluded, and his judgement supplanted by 'Human Rights' interpreted by over-intellectualised lawyers and judges that the cock-ups occur. Unlike them, the Reasonable Man of the Common Law is never absurd.

HH Judge Peter Murphy of the Blackfriars Crown Court has attempted to act in the spirit of the Reasonable Man in the case of the Muslim woman who sought to veil herself during proceedings. In both of the two reported appearances of the defendant, concerning a serious charge of of witness intimidation, the Judge has shown considerable, perhaps excessive, forbearance as this lady's declared beliefs came into conflict with the long-standing value historically attached to open justice.

As a preliminary issue, he allowed the defendant's identification before the Court to be made by a female police custody sergeant. He has now ruled that she may remain veiled, save for when she gives evidence and is cross examined.

That, to Brother Ivo's mind, is a small step too far. It is not only when giving her own evidence that a defendant's demeanour is under observation and judgement. Many a person in civil or criminal cases has revealed their attitudes to be other than they protest when they have been seen by judge or jury to respond to the evidence of others.

If the victim is distressed or fearful, how does the accused respond? Amusement or callousness - and it happens - tells you a lot. By the Judge's last ruling, the jury is being deprived of this wider evidence of demeanour, and the Judge, though doubtless well meaning and trying to be balanced, may have called that wrong. He could have screened the defendant from all save those who need to know. That would have been a better balance.

Psychology and, more importantly, common sense and experience tell us that much communication is non verbal. Is the speaker composed and confident as they speak? Are they blushing, frowning or tense? What do these cues mean in context? We constantly bring such factors into play when asking whether a person is trustworthy and truthful. They are no less important as we see how they respond to their accusers. This evidence is now being denied for a group of persons, and the Reasonable Man might suspiciously wonder who else will call for special treatment.

The debate needs to take place beyond this case, for the ruling is not of binding status.Much of that debate has been predictable, but there are two aspects which Brother Ivo finds compelling.

First, a woman commits no sin within Islam by complying with the laws of the community within which she resides. By asking to remain veiled, she will have registered her faith-compliant view and then acceded to the lawful request of the court to unveil (see Islam Today).

Second, those who take the strictest interpretation of Islamic culture might care to talk to us about the dress code mandated for women when undertaking the holiest of pilgrimages, the Hajj. The website Islamic Insights helpfully offers 'Clothing tips for sisters'. Our Christian nuns will feel some affinity.

Strikingly absent is the full face veil.

The faces of Islamic sisters on the Hajj will be seen by tens of thousands of strange men - some good, some bad, some indifferent. For a serious sober purpose, the veil is put aside. It cannot be regarded as shameful, demeaning or disrespectful for the courts of England and Wales to say that their business of offering justice with integrity is also a serious and sober purpose; indeed, one might think its practicality and need are more pressing.

What need of any man on the Hajj to see the women he cannot see in another context? That is a serious question. Many Muslims have come to this country precisely because of the benefits developed by the common sense and human decency of that much maligned 'Middle Englander', who is also the Reasonable Man.

Here you will not be whipped, stoned or beheaded. If threatened by your own community or outsiders, the Reasonable Man will stand up for you. He may not agree with you, but he cannot abide a bully. His values are honest and well motivated.

He wants the guilty punished, but places a high value on justice being done. He has embodied that idea of Justice above the Central Criminal Court in a statue of Blind Justice, but that symbolises impartiality, not blindness to the evidence. If you really want that, then you may have to seek it elsewhere.

Brother Ivo is the Patron Saint of lawyers

84 Comments:

Blogger Uncle Brian said...

I learn from today’s Tele that: Mrs Dawson, who was referred to as D, had only worn the veil since May 2012. Well, sixteen months is a long time in politics. Even longer, if you take into account the relatively short history of the Moslem religion.

Also in today’s Tele, Sean Thomas has his say:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/seanthomas/100236042/victoria-coren-is-so-right-about-not-banning-the-muslim-burkha-now-lets-allow-slaves-to-wear-their-chains/

16 September 2013 at 16:32  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Excellent article Brother Ivo, What need of any man on the Hajj to see the women he cannot see in another context? Indeed, and what is more fearful and threatening to a muslim woman who stands infront of a judge and jury in a British court of law that she insists on the full veil when her religion states she does not have to even for the most holy of pilgrimages? The fear of being found guilty.

Me thinks her attitude here stinks to high heaven of intimidation of the jury because not only is she hiding her body language and muffling her voice so that it is different, dressed from head to toe in a black burkha is quite intimidating, it puts people on the back foot and disturbs the flow of communication and that I guess is what she wants to do.

16 September 2013 at 16:52  
Blogger Chris H said...

If it's so important that her demeanour is seen then what of Judge John Lafferty? Are we now to say he is not capable of being an honest and reliable judge as he is blind?

16 September 2013 at 16:59  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

The blind judge would no doubt rely on others' vision.

Body language speaks louder than what comes out of our mouths. Humans read and pick up on it instantly and instinctively, those little tell tale twitches and movements of the face, head, shoulders and body whilst in the court room will be hidden.

Personally I think the government should disallow the wearing of the burkha , it doesn't make any sense to cover one's face here as we don't have sand storms.

16 September 2013 at 17:35  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Reasonable men are an endangered species around here.

The only chap I could find who would admit to being reasonable was a passenger on the Clapham Omnibus. He was of the opinion that this shrouded entity should have been jailed for contempt for not having the decency to display barefaced cheek.

16 September 2013 at 17:53  
Blogger JW said...

Body language is a completely arbitary issue. Expressions vary from person to person as does the ability of others to assess those expressions. Moreover some hardened criminals are well capable of putting on a show for a jury.
Should I ever find myself in the dock I will be hoping for a jury that is paying careful attention to the evidence being presented rather than worrying about the look on my face.

16 September 2013 at 17:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

By how much does society bend to accomodate religious demands? If people want wear veils in public then that's up to them, provided that they accept other people may choose to ignore them even when they try to strike up a conversation. However, there are some places where it is simply not appropriate to accept the wearing of a veil even if the religious demand it. For schools, that may mean some social exclusion but that's their choice. In court, people may have no choice but to attend so the there's compulsion but I still think we must do it. I think that'd be the case even if the veil was a mandatory part of the religion for women.

16 September 2013 at 18:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Ivo, it might surprise you that this man is fully in favour of an individual’s choice of dress. If these types want to go around clad from head to toe in black, well, that’s their prerogative. But Islam must bow down before due judicial process. Of course, afterwards she may well quit this country in disgust. That’s just something we’ll have to risk, what !





16 September 2013 at 19:11  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

It wouldn't be so bad if there was equal consideration of each individual's sensitivities. I for example really dislike being served by people who shove their religion in my face. And muslims stand out like a sore thumb. So, I reserve the right to not be served by anyone who wears muslim attire. And should I have the misfortune to require hospital treatment, I don't want to be tended to by muslims. Now, if there we as a country were to return to our normal way of doing things, where we all wear the same clothing, speak English in public and don't cry racism every time someone doesn't bow down to our selfish wants, then we'd all be a lot happier and the muslims who don't like it would be free to go and live somewhere else. After all, we belong here, they generally have some other country to return to.

16 September 2013 at 19:29  
Blogger Peter D said...

Ivo
"He" our Reasonable Man " is probably a cultural Anglican, though nobody has thought to ask him."

Isn't that the crux of it? Any society needs a set of common values to hold it together. Our predominant culture is Christian and has worked for centuries.

"It is when he is excluded, and his judgement supplanted by 'Human Rights' interpreted by over-intellectualised lawyers and judges that the cock-ups occur."

So true.

16 September 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger Peter D said...

DanJ0 asks ...
"By how much does society bend to accomodate religious demands?"

Surely the real question is: by how much does British society have to bend to accommodate non-Christian and anti-Christian views?

16 September 2013 at 19:34  
Blogger David B said...

Peter D - No, DanJO had it right.

Generally, though, U think Bro Ivo is growing into office - not a bad article at all.

David

16 September 2013 at 19:44  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Brother Ivo,

I agree with you entirely.

Evolutionary biologists tell us that the very complicated, and biologically "expensive", pattern of facial muscles evolved in us to facilitate ever more sophisticated levels of communication, which supported cooperation and our overall ascent as a highly social species. So early on in life we learn to "read" the non-verbal messages in other peoples faces. This is an essential part of normal human existence. Totally covering the face frustrates this entire flow of facially derived information, estranging someone from the relevant group, in this case a court room gathering.

So such cultural practices are inimical to the workings of good justice and are totally unacceptable. It is a practical matter, not ideological or religious or whatever, simply a question of permitting justice to flow. The judge was wrong.

What people wear in the street is their business, as long as it decent, and should not be a matter of law. But when security or justice are involved faces must be barred. No exceptions.

Finally, turning away from strictly legal considerations, I will say that if those of foreign descent persist in wearing distinctly unBritish clothes it tells us that they have no intention of fitting in, in this country. And that is really the point that I believe is being made here. It is the assertion that their culture is superior to that of the host country, even in a Court of Law. The message is very clear to us all.

16 September 2013 at 19:56  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Allowing burqas to be worn in public places is a criminals' charter.

"A Philadelphia woman was indicted this week, accused of abducting a 5-year-old girl from her school by posing as her mother, raping her and leaving her barely clothed and crying at a playground.

Christina Regusters was charged Monday with aggravated assault, kidnapping, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and several other offenses in the January incident that had police searching door to door and parents clutching their children tightly.

The little girl's ordeal began January 14 when a woman wearing a burqa -- a head-to-toe covered garment with a slit for the eyes -- went to a West Philadelphia school shortly after classes started and scribbled her name on a sign-in sheet, police said.

The woman did not show identification but said she was the child's mother and wanted to take her out for breakfast. She then proceeded to the child's classroom and asked for the girl by name... http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/30/justice/philadelphia-child-abduction/index.html

16 September 2013 at 19:57  
Blogger graham wood said...

There is also the issue of reverse discrimination here if the judge set the precedent and allowed her.

For example what percentage of people appearing in court fall into the category of a Moslem demanding this right - as opposed to the vast majority who have no such privilege of anonymity in the dock?

Any judge is right not to set that precedent.

16 September 2013 at 19:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

We've accomodated turbans in situations where health and safety or road law requires hard hats. The kirpan thing is probably a step too far on aircraft etc if it's of a viable size to use as a knife.

16 September 2013 at 19:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David H: "Finally, turning away from strictly legal considerations, I will say that if those of foreign descent persist in wearing distinctly unBritish clothes it tells us that they have no intention of fitting in, in this country."

What if the Muslim was of British descent? Would their choice of distinctly "unBritish" clothes be okay?

16 September 2013 at 20:02  
Blogger IanCad said...

A lot of froth going on here.

I say let her keep the veil on.

Furthermore, the statue of Lady Justice is generally displayed wearing a blindfold.

As far as I know, the identity of the covered one is not in question.

Religious liberty should trump all unless the state can show a pressing need to abandon that principle.

16 September 2013 at 20:21  
Blogger David Hussell said...

IanCad,

Whilst not claiming to an authority on all the cultures that are Islamic, I understood that the wearing of the full facial covering was cultural not religious. Certainly in the Islamic countries that I have travelled in, I have seen dramatic differences in the clothing of women from the burqua to totally western clothing, but with the hair covering only being the most common. In terms of Scripture, the last time that I read the Koran the relevant sura advised on the use of "modest dress", nothing more, for both sexes.

16 September 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger David Hussell said...

DanJO,

That is my point. One can have some sympathy for the first generation immigrant clinging to their familiar clothing, at least initially, but later, and for subsequent generations if there was any serious intent to make this country their permanent home, a home that they carry in their hearts, and identify with, then surely they would make a serious attempt to look British to a "reasonable" extent ? Ones choice of clothing is not accidental is it ? So I can accept the retention of some symbol of their identity, like a beard or turban, or the female hair covering, or the Orthodox Jews always wearing suits with dangly bits, and hats, all very unfashionable but vaguely western.
But to hide away from public view is a very different matter, and sends out an exceedingly clear message of social separation. Then there are the more serious security issues, which is very worrying.

16 September 2013 at 20:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David, second generation immigrants are of British nationality and have the same rights and obligations as everyone else. If someone British of British descent has the choice to wear "unBritish" clothing then why not someone British of (say) Pakistani descent? I don't feel obliged to conform to the expectations of another bunch of British citizens, and I expect my ancestors go back at least a 1000 years in Lancashire given my surname. If I wanted to separate myself from majority British culture, such as being a 'Swampy' or living on a Scottish croft or buying a motorhome and driving around the UK as a traveller, then why shouldn't I do so?

16 September 2013 at 21:01  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Niqab dress-code enforcement by acid attack: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2271921/Naomi-Oni-Victorias-Secret-worker-scarred-life-niqab-wearing-attacker-threw-acid-face.html

16 September 2013 at 21:17  
Blogger David Hussell said...

DanJ0,

I think that you are deliberately missing my point, which is your pleasure of course.

But I have no objection to your suggested brands of "reasonable" individualism. Such eccentricity is very British, and as I'm all for keep up tradition, enjoy the croft. They are quite cosy in the winter I believe. As for Swampy, things are not what they used to be you know. He has settled down now, and he lives in Teipi Valley, Pembrokeshire. Why not visit him in you new motorhome ?

16 September 2013 at 21:41  
Blogger bluedog said...

Brother Ivo, in the interests of equality, this communicant suggests that henceforth all women appearing in court should wear a burka.

16 September 2013 at 21:57  
Blogger The Explorer said...

bluedog:

Why confine it to court?

I can't rememebr where I read it, but I recall that one of the planners behind 9/11 looked forward to the day when all women on Madison Avenue would wear the burka.

He thought it would happen voluntarily, when American women saw the beauty of the religion.

Should there be an aesthetic deficiency in this regard,however, there could always be appropriate persuasion.

16 September 2013 at 22:37  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 September 2013 at 22:40  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Bluedog,

You have a point there Bluedog. But what about the men? We can't possibly have gender inequality, you know. Or next thing dissidents will be suggesting that men can wear different clothes to women, even in court. Disgraceful ! How sexist ! I am totally convinced that all of God's children, both men and women, should be decently covered up in British courts with full length burkas. Free burkas for all I say ! Write it into the election manifestos, there's a good chap.

16 September 2013 at 22:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

This subject was covered by the BBC news tonight, whereupon the Inspector was somewhat surprised to find he lives in a multi faith country.

Really ?

This poor fellow always thought he lived in Christian England with a comparatively small number of, well, let’s call them alien faiths...

Nothing to worry about, you know. Just carry on regardless of these whatevers...


16 September 2013 at 22:56  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

The part of British culture I miss most is that of courtesy (and this goes for the entire cultural spectrum) but more essentially, I miss the British cultural will that used to demand it.

I take no pleasure in seeing lads walking round with their trousers falling down showing their underpants. Neither do I take pride in seeing women, pissed off their trollies, their tits virtually hanging out of puke stained outfits or wearing skirts that barely conceal their cellulite loaded arses. That surely, if we had the collective will, could soon be tackled by invoking and prosecuting decency laws, no ifs, no butts!

But with the case of the Niqab it is not just a simple question of the right to select and wear ones own attire; that's a given in Western culture. However, Muslims also know that in the West an individual has more personal freedom here than in any Muslim country. Not withstanding, they chose to wear their alien cultural dress to make a statement; a statement that says that they have no desire to integrate or to show the nation the courtesy of nominal cultural conformity.

Like the proliferation of the grotesque Mosques that make the bold, bare-faced statements on traditional British high streets, that Islam is here to stay whether the indigenous population likes it or not: for them, all the better if it rattles Western sensitivities and draws attention.

The Niqab is optional in most Islamic countries,and here Muslims it know it is not compulsory to their faith and totally alien within Western culture. They choose to put it on and make the statement personal, knowing it will be controversial if challenged all the better if it antagonises too. It serves the similar purpose in furthering the rallying cause of shared victim-hood and pushing the boundaries of cultural tolerance.

16 September 2013 at 22:58  
Blogger bluedog said...

Messrs Hussell and The Explorer, By George, I think you've got it!

Burkas for all! If equality demands uniformity, so be it.

16 September 2013 at 23:24  
Blogger non mouse said...

I'm like Mr. john in cheshire @19:29 I reserve the right to choose medical treatment, and counters/tables where delivering agents are non-moslem; and I add education to the list.

We 'got along without them before they invaded; we can get along without them now.'

___________________
Beyond that, and On Another tack :)
Messrs. Hussell, Explorer, and bluedog .... Hear, Hear!

We westerners have paid far too much tribute to appearance/looks/style, etc! And personal remarks (+ve or -ve) may be bad manners, but most people I met never understood that.

I once expressed the above opinion to an Iranian woman student. "Oh," she said, "make no mistake about it. Personal appearance/looks/style etc. mean at least as much to Moslems; but they display and judge in the home setting, not in public."

Hmmm. There's more to the mozzie thing than meets the general eye, then. Doubtless one is fortunate to remain ignorant.

17 September 2013 at 01:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David H:"I think that you are deliberately missing my point, which is your pleasure of course."

It seems to me that you are holding some of our British-born citizens to a different standard than the rest of us based on the nationality of their previous generations. I'm simply questioning that by drawing attention to it. If some of our citizens wish to separate themselves in public using clothes as a statement then why should they not? Teenagers have been doing it for generations. Why do some British-born citizens have an obligation to 'fit in' but not others? That's what I'm asking.

17 September 2013 at 05:31  
Blogger Manfarang said...

non-mouse
'We got along without them before they invaded; we can get along without them now.'
Backbone of the British Indian Army. WW2 might have had a different outcome without them.The English officers of the Indian Army invited them here after the war.They didn't invade.

17 September 2013 at 05:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Most of us would say that being 'British' is about a willingness to adopt British values: at least in public. On that basis, your actual origins are irrelevant.

I remember being startled by the attitudes of one of Mugabe's henchmen in 'Mugabe and the White African'. You are not African because you, and your parents before you, were born in Africa. There are no White Africans.

It's the old blood and soil concept, operating in a reverse direction.

I suspect it's a concept of nationality still present subconsciously in the minds of some, and the kind of thing likely to come to the surface when there's a visible refusal to conform.

I suspect, also, that whether one thinks there's a danger or not comes down to world view: whether civilsed attitudes are innate; or an imposed veneer.

17 September 2013 at 08:17  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

So now law takes a back seat to religion,any religion provided of course that it is not cristianity.This is two fingers to the English people,these muslims have not come to share,they have come to dominate,and there are far too many bloody fools like this judge who are aiding them in this regard,we are in the same war that began a thousand years ago,if the myopic in this country have forgotten that,it is certain that the muslims have not,for like communism,islam seeks world domination,surely you all must have seen the signs at their frequent demonstrations,spitting on poppies,raping our children,going off to kill our troops overseas,if not it can only be wilful blindness,and our administration,for reasons of its own,contrary to the wishes of the English people ,have encouraged this enemy to invade our country,and yet many of my countrymen are still desperate to find excuses for their behaviour,which can be nothing other than mental illness.

17 September 2013 at 08:28  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! One wonders whether the judge would accommodate a fervent believer in nudism...

17 September 2013 at 11:36  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

His Honour would need some strategically-placed Macintosh squares...

17 September 2013 at 11:58  
Blogger LEN said...

The 'reasonable man' is at a distinct disadvantage when dealing with' unreasonable' people.
If all people are' reasonable' then society works but if there are those who refuse to be 'reasonable' then the whole society breaks down.

This is what is happening in the UK and beyond when what is 'reasonable' to one is 'unreasonable to another.

This is why we have LAWS which apply(or should) to ALL people.

And if these laws are for the majority of reasonable people they will work but if these laws are to make' special permissions' for unreasonable people then they won`t work.

17 September 2013 at 12:11  
Blogger non mouse said...

Manfarang @17.28: The world has changed since WWII, and Britain more radically than anywhere.

In short -- it would seem that we have now nearly lost all the wars of the twentieth century. Certainly, this generation is intent on giving away everything for which the Anglosphere fought.

Furthermore, I don't think most commenters here would dispute the fact of the present-day moslem invasion of Britain (and, indeed, of euroland). The invaders we know are not the same allies you describe. Their intent is neither helpful nor friendly - a I have myself observed since at least the mid-sixties.

17 September 2013 at 13:23  
Blogger LEN said...

I think the connection between the Niqab and the desire to conceal ones identity must be looked at closely(where possible)in these troubled times.

Masks with slits for eyes have connotations of someone being 'up to no good' for most folk and if one tried entering a store wearing a mask questions might(at least should) be asked.
I believe a while ago a male terrorist escape detection being disguised as a woman wearing the 'Niqab'. In these days of international terrorism some religious' niceties' might have to be overruled with respect to the safety of the public.

17 September 2013 at 15:16  
Blogger The Justice of the Peace said...

Not yet having had the situation of having a fully veiled defendant in any court I have sat in I am satisfied that the decisions of this judge will be useful if a similar situation does happen in any magistrates` court. It should be noted, however, that he has bent over backwards to be compliant with her cultural preferences. At a previous court he made an order which he later relaxed.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10261550/Muslim-woman-must-remove-burka-in-court-judge-insists.html

17 September 2013 at 15:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Most of us would say that being 'British' is about a willingness to adopt British values: at least in public. On that basis, your actual origins are irrelevant."

Presumably British people of British descent who convert to Islam and adopt some of its religious accoutrements and ideas cease to be British in that case. That seems to be quite a curious idea but hey.

Also, as the latest British Attitudes Survey shows, attitudes and values often change over time and so some of the more conservative people, in particular the Roman Catholic ones, appear to be heading towards unBritishness.

17 September 2013 at 17:08  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Remember that event in London in July 2005? Concerning the transport system?

Suddenly there was backpedalling with Multiculturalism, and a lot of debate about what it meant to be 'British'. 'Citizenship' in schools acquired a whole new urgency.

Rather than follow the Le Pen (or Mugabe Henchman) ancestry line, the consensus definition seemed to be acceptance of British values in public: biculturalism, where appropriate, rather than multiculturalism. That's the idea I was quoting.

If it's a curious idea, hey, the British are a mighty curious people.

17 September 2013 at 17:35  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear DanJ0, I assure you Archdeacon Grantly's views do not change over time and indeed remain fixed around 1852... "As it was in the Beginning, is now and ever shall be...' It's not just the poor that are always with us, there are also those who seek to remodel the world in their own image...and now that image requires copious swathes of black cotton...

17 September 2013 at 17:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Suddenly there was backpedalling with Multiculturalism, and a lot of debate about what it meant to be 'British'."

I do remember and my recollection is that no-one could adequate define it. It ended up with lots of vague things like tolerance being thrown in, hence my comment about conservative Roman Catholics who are hardly British if tolerance is one of the attributes. One might also question whether the famous petrol-headed Chipping Norton resident is actually British now too.

17 September 2013 at 17:50  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Let me put it another way.

When Luther wrote his anti-semitic diatribes it was because he had approached the Jews and they had rejected him. His problem was with their beliefs, not their biology: had they converted, he would have welcomed them.

With Hitler, Jews who had converted to Christianity were not exempt from his attentions. Their beliefs were irrelevant; what mattered was their biology.

That's the nub of what I'm getting at: cultural or biological definitions of nationality. Look at what one particular biological definition led to.

And look at what happened in Yugoslavia.

That's why I'm in favour of the values definition I gave originally; for all its British vagueness. Would you rather have the alternative?

17 September 2013 at 18:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "That's why I'm in favour of the values definition I gave originally; for all its British vagueness. Would you rather have the alternative?"

One of the alternatives is citizenship. Lord knows where you're going with the rest but you're not taking me with it.

17 September 2013 at 18:16  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Citizenship merely raises the question: citizenship of what sort of society?

We could bat this back and forth to futility. I'm prepared to accept that within Britain at the moment there are different definitions of what it means to be British, including the view that Britishness is impossible to define.

17 September 2013 at 18:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm happy to maintain my earlier point about alleged obligations to 'fit in'. They don't exist. It's just undue discrimination because some people don't like Islam. They rest of us don't have an obligation to 'fit in'.

17 September 2013 at 19:07  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

I do recall, though, a conversation between us on an earlier thread about the Luton Muslims (the "British soldiers child killers" bunch) who refused to stand for the Judge because they recognised no judge other than Allah.

You said then that you'd have thrown the book at them. Why, if obligations to fit in don't exist?

17 September 2013 at 20:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

If I actually need to explain that to you then I'm done here with you. If I had that much patience then I'd been a primary school teacher instead of an engineer.

18 September 2013 at 02:34  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

This is not about having a distinctive or eccentric appearance. I detest body piercings,tattoos and T shirts with the face of communist mass murderer Che Guevara but I don't want them banned.

The full face veil as well as being intimidating and a calculated insult amounts to a disguise, like a balaclava as worn by IRA and other criminals. Nobody should be allowed to conceal their face in public. The judge is a dhimmi.

18 September 2013 at 07:37  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Don't forget the Einstein principle: if you can't explain it in terms a six year old can understand, you probably don't understand it yourself.

My point, of course, was not that the two cases were identical. My point was about dealing with shariah creep: where to draw the line, and why.

Reverse the situation. If Dewsbury and Minaret Hamlets were given official status as Islamic republics (like the old Danlaw: but moving in the opposite direction, away from integration), then non-Muslims within the geographical area would not be exempt from Shariah law.

I'm with Steve Appleseed. The Judge is a dhimmi.

18 September 2013 at 08:52  
Blogger IanCad said...

RSA, wrote:

"--Nobody should be allowed to conceal their face in public--"

I don't know why not.
Most women wear so much make-up the essentially do just that.
But, seriously, I see no reason why anyone who chooses should not cover themselves if they so wish.

18 September 2013 at 09:29  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

I find a crinoline covers the legs and ankles wonderfully. lascivious things, ankles...they inflame men to wild, tempestuous passion...

18 September 2013 at 10:36  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

RSA@07:37

Very well put Steve. I wonder how many crimes have gone unpunished because it was impossible to identify the perpetrators.

18 September 2013 at 11:34  
Blogger LEN said...

One of the greatest dangers we face in the World today is 'liberalism'.(Evidenced by our legal system bringing in Sharia law etc allowing foreign religions to take precedence over UK law).
Our values are slowly being eroded by the constant undermining of our foundations by 'liberals'.

What we had/are/ losing was worth keeping, worth fighting for, (at least our ancestors though so, many died so that we might remain free)

Now what we are experiencing is a self inflicted judgement we are beginning to reap what we have sown.What we see happening to us morally, financially and socially is all explained by the Bible.

'In Deut 28 we read how God would deal with the nation Israel if they were disobedient to Him; a catalogue of disasters would be inflicted upon Israel until they were destroyed. It is reasonable to suppose that many of the disasters (curses) detailed in Deut 28 could well be applied in some form (maybe as warnings) to present-day rebellious nations like Britain. For instance, based upon Deut 28, Britain might expect to experience problems similar to the following:


problems in the city e.g. economic problems (v16)
problems in the country e.g. cattle and land produce problems (v16, 18, 31)drought (v24)
food shortages (v38)
severe personal health problems, extending to widespread plague (v22, 35)
suffering sons and daughters (v32, 41)
suffering elderly (v50)
problems with marriage (v30)
confusion of mind and heart, leading to mental instability (v28)
occupation and dominance by an alien culture, forced worship of foreign gods (v36, 43)
financial subservience to the alien culture, being the tail rather than the head (v43, 44)
crushing and oppression - like a yoke of iron - from foreigners (v33, 48)
insignificance amongst the nations, a byword (v37)(recently by Russians !)



18 September 2013 at 12:02  
Blogger IanCad said...

Jay Bee, wrote:

"I wonder how many crimes have gone unpunished because it was impossible to identify the perpetrators."

Fear stalks the land!!

No wonder there are so many security cameras and, probably, just as many tiresome snitches, ever ready to shop their neighbors at the slightest hint of unease.

Our great Liberal society is no more.

A wretched generation has displaced it.]

Utterly risk averse, conformist to the utmost degree, content to discount the great Libertarians of the past and to condemn future generations to fight the battles for our freedoms over again.

18 September 2013 at 13:28  
Blogger LEN said...

It is rather ironic than seeking greater 'liberty man has only found greater' bondage'.

But isn`t this the story of man?..In the 'Garden of Eden' man had totally liberty (except one' tree') and in gaining liberty to eat of that 'one tree' man lost ALL his liberty and became a slave?.

18 September 2013 at 13:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

My commnet at 08:52

That should have been Danelaw not Danlaw.

Comes of responding to DanJ0

18 September 2013 at 14:09  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian Cad @ 09:29

Why would someone have been ill advised to walk down certain streets of Belfast at the height of the Troubles waving an orange flag? Or down certain other streets waving a green flag?

Only a piece of cloth after all. Or was it also a statement?

18 September 2013 at 18:18  
Blogger IanCad said...

Explorer,


Really, we must use some common sense.
I don't see a parallel with, in the one case idiocy, and in the second a protected right.

18 September 2013 at 18:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Don't forget the Einstein principle: if you can't explain it in terms a six year old can understand, you probably don't understand it yourself."

Are you such a feckwit in real life? This is not about my ability to explain. It simply shouldn't need explaining to someone normal. A law court is a formal setting and defendants are taking part in a legal process. The judge can make a court order for 'contempt of court' for all sorts of reasons, including being disrespectful of the court's authority. It's a prosecutable offence with upto 2 years in jail as punishment. What on earth has that got to do with an alleged obligation on 2nd generation immigrants to 'fit in' as far as wearing clothes in public to separate oneself from the dominant culture is concerned? Jeez.

18 September 2013 at 18:53  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

I'll repeat my second paragraph.

My point, of course, was not that the two cases were identical. My point was abpout dealing with sharriah creep: where to draw the line, and why.

18 September 2013 at 19:40  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian @ 18:40

I'll change the analogy slightly, from hypothetical situation to actual one. In anti-western demonstrations, western flags are burned. What's the point; it's only a bit of cloth?

I'll use the analogy, too, of the castle, with its concentric walls. When the outer wall was breached, the next became the line of defence. Retreat from that, and the next one, and soon you're at the Keep.

Allow the burka in court, and what's the next request? We already have shariah-compliant banking, and social security arrangements for more than one wife. (I assume for non-Muslims, that would still classify as bigamy?)

In Danish schools where there are Muslim pupils there is halal meat for everybody. Avoids confusion, contamination of supplies by non-halal sources etc.

I don't think we're just talking about a protected right here. We're talking symbols. And principles.

18 September 2013 at 20:03  
Blogger IanCad said...

Explorer

Re: Sharia law.

In no way should these laws be given validity when there is a conflict with the laws of our land.

We permit Beth Din laws.

The extent of Sharia law should not exceed those courtesies granted to the Jeweish community.

I do feel that you are flirting with a return to the sumptuary laws of old.

A very regressive step.

18 September 2013 at 20:17  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

Excellent explanation, by the way.

To return to the Luton group for a moment, in their own terms they were perfectly law abiding. They simply do not acknowledge the validity of the legal system of the geographical area in which they find themselves.

They want shariah law, to which they would willingly submit. And presumably, under shariah law they wouldn't have been in court in the first place.

18 September 2013 at 20:20  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian:

My understanding of the sumptuary laws is that their function was to:

a. identify a social class. (ie, you could not wear clothe, symbols of the group above you.)

b. identify a particular group: eg, lepers.

On that basis, isn't SHE the one wanting to reintroduce it?

To be honest, the thought had not occurred to me until you raised it. My thoughts run much more to the castle analogy, and retreating before new levels of demand.

18 September 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian

Rather than sumptuary laws, my concern is some new version of the Danelaw at some stage in the future, should numbers reach a critical mass.

I will be the first to admit that guesses about the future are notoriously unreliable.

Who in 1950 would have imagined the changes wrought in society by the pill, the mobile phone and the computer? And who in 1970 would have believed that in 2012 the babies born to native Britons in London would be in a minority?

18 September 2013 at 20:52  
Blogger IanCad said...

The Explorer

In the modern sense sumptuary laws generally refer to the restriction, or otherwise, of clothing or foods.
It was in this context that I was using the phrase.

I have absolutely nothing to argue about in your last paragraph.
Huge, huge changes. none for the better.

I hold to optimism but I have a feeling that something nasty is in store for the near future.

18 September 2013 at 21:26  
Blogger Ivan said...

Mrs Prodie @10:36, some of these Prada burqas are designed to elicit the same effect. The pious Mussalman is rather severe about Western innovations such as nylon suspenders and electric bras. It is not halal, unless the proceedings employ clothing of desert vintage circa 630 AD.

19 September 2013 at 03:06  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian:

In 2010 there was the call for Bradford, Tower Hamlets and Dewsbury to become Islamic republics operating under shariah law.

It's that sort of thing that makes me think the present case may have more to it than meets the eye (so to speak).

I do apologise, though, for my convoluted way of doing things. It's the method of the Platonic dialogues, which always start with something seemingly irrelevant.

Hence the question of the borrowed knife, that then leads into The Republic.

Regards.

19 September 2013 at 07:47  
Blogger IanCad said...

Explorer

My only issue with your last post is that I cannot see, for the life of me, what you are apologising for.

You do raise a point of which I was unaware; Tower Hamlets, Bradford and Dewsbury wanting to become Islamic Republics??!!
That is treason in my book.
The utmost sanctions should be applied to the perps.
I'm steaming; I want those guys chased back to wherever they came from. If they happen to be born British then Tower Hill is the place for them.

Now of course I'm getting all riled up over an issue that may or may not be true.

I'd better check it out.

19 September 2013 at 08:34  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ian:

It was the MAC (Muslims Against Crusades). They were the ones who burned poppies on Remembrance Day.

There's certainly a specific reference to it in the first chapter of the journalist Danny Lockwood's 'The Islamic Republic of Dewsbury', but my memory of it is in connection with the burning of the poppies: group, rather than date.

Hope that helps your research.

Regards.

19 September 2013 at 09:36  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I was apologising, by the way, for my convoluted use of Irish flags in an earlier posting.

I was trying to establish the significance of cloth in making political statements.

19 September 2013 at 09:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Interesting interview on Radio 4 a little after 5pm today with a nurse who wanted to wear a niqab at work.

The people setting the rules against were saying all the right stuff about hygiene and communication issues.

However, surely one of the primary reasons for telling people not to wear them is that they're at work, not at home, so they should leave their bloody religious stuff at the entrance to the workplace if their employer says so.

19 September 2013 at 17:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. so they should leave their bloody religious stuff at the entrance to the workplace if their employer says so.

Cultural, dear boy. One does believe you’ll not find a mullah who knows his stuff who would insist on it being a religious obligation. Now, this puts you in a somewhat embarrassing position of criticising the cultural tradition of your fellow citizens, does it not ? And for a fine liberal like you, that would be anathema...


19 September 2013 at 19:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's both cultural and religious but even if it weren't then I'd be just as happy to tell them to leave their cultural veils at the door. You'll note on reading back of course that I'm okay with people wearing veils in public if they wish. Similarly with people wearing crosses, crucifixes, religious dog collars, nun's wimples, and so on.

19 September 2013 at 19:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. As is the Inspector on record for not objecting to what they wear in the street...

However, one does feel a certain sympathy for liberals come 2014. You see, when the Roma arrive here in great numbers, they’ll bring with them their marvellous tradition of making off with everything and anything which isn’t nailed down.

Now, alongside with decriminalising hard drugs and considering prison to be an out-dated form of punishment, one does feel that the liberal will eventually triumph over his initial prejudice and see the positive side of yet another culture arriving on our doorsteps. But this must be tempered by the unlucky types who are gifted actual experience of the new liberalism, to wit, being a victim. Consequently, you might want to put on your Christmas wish list: Steering Lock, hardened steel, one off.

Personally, one says bring it on. The resulting national outrage will be worth a couple of battleships to UKIP, so to speak. And anyway, once we leave the EU, we can give the Roma the grand order of the boot along with everything else that has drifted or will do, this country’s way...



19 September 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Good to see you back in circulation and on form, Inspector.

19 September 2013 at 20:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Salutations Explorer. The truth must out, what !

19 September 2013 at 21:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Blimey, it's like a racist's convention in here suddenly.

20 September 2013 at 02:46  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Have you ever actually read 'The Islamic Republic of Dewsbury', DanJ0?

He doesn't blame Islam (a religion by the way, not a race). He blames PC.

20 September 2013 at 07:21  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

How do you know I wasn't simply commending the Inspector for resolving his IT problmes, and for his polemical style? And may I remind you that it was you who found a definition of Britishness based on attitude rather than race to be "curious".

Due to unforeseen circumstances I am exceptionally busy; so this is my last posting on this tread.

I will leave you with two attitudes to race:

"...purchased for God from every tribe and language and people and nation" ('Revelation' 5:9) I accept.

"...the civilzed races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races" ('The Descent of Man' (London, John Murray 1871, p 201) I reject.

On which note, good bye to you.

20 September 2013 at 09:20  

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