Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Niqab in Britain - our response is hard-wired


From Father Silas:

I have an acquaintance who, now in his 40s and living in London, was raised in a Christian family in Syria. He recalls that when he was growing up, relatively few Muslim women in his city wore religious dress, and even fewer wore face-veils. Now, he says, a majority do. What, he wonders, has happened to make them ostensibly more devout over such a short period?

The reason, he has concluded, is linked to the sense that Muslims in Syria (and probably elsewhere) have that their culture and traditions are under threat from Western influences. Not principally by political pressure or military activity; but by the ubiquitous commercial, materialistic and secular forces that seem to wash continuously from west to east like a cultural jet-stream. Their dress is an assertion of their identity, for the survival of which they fear.

If this is true, it might be assumed that niqabed Muslim women in the West are similarly motivated. They are, after all, a minority, living in the very midst of the culture that they may fear is poised to overwhelm their own. If the tables were turned, might not I want more boldly to proclaim that Christian belief and identity which is inseparable from my ethnic heritage? I might indeed; but it is worth reflecting that in some Muslim countries I would not be permitted to proclaim it too loudly or openly (or perhaps at all), on the grounds that, there, my religion is simply wrong; and that something which is wrong must not be flaunted.

“We are a free country and people should be free to wear whatever clothes they like in public or in private,” says David Cameron; and most of us would agree instinctively. We do not contemplate legislating for Jews to be allowed to wear a yarmulke only at home or in shul, or even for almost-naked girls to be forced to cover up in public. Why do we argue about banning the burka?

The answer, I think, lies in what constitutes culturally acceptable appearance and behaviour in our own cultural setting. Because we tolerate public expressions both of extreme modesty (eg in the wearing of the niqab) and extreme immodesty (eg wearing practically nothing) in women, it is assumed that we tolerate anything; that we are, if you like, perfectly tolerant. We are not. Being a free country is not the same thing as being a cultural vacuum. Because we seem to have abandoned many of our former social requirements does not mean we have abandoned them all.

The plain truth is that, in Britain and much of the West, it is not culturally acceptable for the face to be covered. The sight of a covered face evokes a deeply embedded response – a prejudice, if you like – which involuntarily associates it with criminal intent or activity. This is not to say that I suspect your average niqabed Bond Street shopper of plotting to rob the Hermès store or to bomb Parliament. It is a reflex controlled, metaphorically, by the spinal cord rather than the brain, and is (for the moment at least) hard-wired. We can prevent ourselves from acting on this response, but we cannot prevent it taking place.

Seen from this perspective, the current debate as to whether the niqab represents either the oppression of women or their right to choose is displacement activity. While they may be valid questions, they are not what is fundamentally at issue. What is at issue is the western hard-wired response to the publicly covered face. Are we capable of being re-wired? Should we even consider calling in the electrician? Or should we take the French route – framing our law to reflect our cultural requirement?

What’s the betting we won’t be brave enough to ask the real questions?

Father Silas is an undistinguished (he says) priest and deacon of the Church of England who loves it in spite of everything.

109 Comments:

Blogger LibertyPhile said...

Completely agree with your analysis. It's just so disheartening not many others have hit the nail on the head, as you have.

But the answer to your question is blindingly obvious, isn't it!! Vive La France

27 October 2013 at 08:41  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Here's a fascinating and rather chilling article on why Islam is incapable of producing any rational response to Western cultural influence, hence the growing alienation, polarization and rage.

27 October 2013 at 08:58  
Blogger LibertyPhile said...

There is, of course, another reason for banning face covering. The comment below was one of the highest scoring comments on the umpteen articles that the Guardian ran when the Birmingham College rules banning face covering hit the headlines.

".... the College argued for no Niqab partly to ensure that the students could be clearly identified when taking their exams, as well as to ensure non-students could not easily come onto the campus.

As someone who was once responsible for student discipline at a FE College, I can assure Victoria that the problem of outsiders coming into college premises (trying to sell drugs or to steal from classrooms for example) is a real one and not to be dismissed lightly."


The votes and comments against face covering on Guardian Cif articles were in line with the results recently published by Channel 4

Over 50% would ban veils completely, and 80% would ban them in schools, courts and hospitals. See: http://thelibertyphile.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/more-than-half-of-brits-want-full-face.html

Is anybody paying attention, I wonder?

27 October 2013 at 09:27  
Blogger Mr. Morden said...

If you do not like, or for that matter fear the majority in a culture, you are at liberty to go elsewhere. There are many countries, mostly in the Middle East and North Africa where this for of dress is either quite tolerated or, required. If that is how these societies wish to live, then so be it, it is none of my business.

But as the Article mentions. It is becoming more common even in Muslim Secular countries, for whatever reason. In Western countries we have chosen a different path whatever its merits or pitfalls - this is OUR home, and we have OUR rules. If they have to live in a society which does not readily accept their way of live, I am sorry, but that is really tough !

In a society which relies heavily on facial expressions to better understand and interpret others thoughts and intentions, we need to see their faces. Those who do not allow this naturally invoke suspicion in us. It has little to do with procedure, just normal human behavior.

Also, I wish to point out that I apply this both to men as well as women yet, the covering of the face by women ONLY is somehow sexist. Why just women ? To me it puts the women in a negative position whether they themselves see it or not. What message are they trying to convey and who too ?

In a society that sees people from all backgrounds as equal, wearing a garment that has nothing to do with their religion is an act of divisiveness. Someone wearing a cross, turban or scull cap is expressing a religious belief, and in a society that protects this right we should not encroach on them. But unlike the head scarf, the Burka or Naqib is not.

In short, I personally cannot accept this. Would I take their right to wear it ? No ! Would I support a ban ? Yes ! Hypocritical and perhaps bigoted ? Yes ! But since of any of these been a crime, and quite frankly I would not be alone since I feel that they too are the same in this regard.

Just my £0.02 worth.

27 October 2013 at 09:28  
Blogger Belsay Bugle said...

If we were to show a little more modesty in public, as we always used to until quite recently, they might have less to react against.

The sight of hordes of nearly naked drunken girls rampaging around our town centres is enough to make even me want to take the veil.

Covering the face is offensive (whether its muslims or bank robbers, it's the same impulse) because it says to the onlooker, 'we don't want to be part of your group and don't include us'.

But with muslims in Britain, this is hypocritical because they want to take all the material benefits that we have to offer, but refuse to be fully a part of the society that provides them.
And the glorious paradox is that if they do finally manage to turn us into an Islamic society they will have killed their host.

27 October 2013 at 09:35  
Blogger DannyEastVillage said...

Very nicely put. Thank you, Archbishop.

27 October 2013 at 10:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Silas: "The plain truth is that, in Britain and much of the West, it is not culturally acceptable for the face to be covered."

If people want to cover up their faces in their private lives (including in public places) then so be it. However, I don't feel obliged to interact with them at all as they're deliberately denying me some aspects of normal social communication. This is not merely a cultural thing, our faces have evolved to express thoughts and emotions. It's part of our intra-species communication. Denying visibility like that puts me at a natural disadvantage in any conversation and I don't see why I should put up with it when it is unnecessary.

"The sight of a covered face evokes a deeply embedded response – a prejudice, if you like – which involuntarily associates it with criminal intent or activity."

It's naught really to do with that for me. Secrecy, maybe. Exclusion, for sure. But not criminality.

27 October 2013 at 10:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Mr Morden: "In Western countries we have chosen a different path whatever its merits or pitfalls - this is OUR home, and we have OUR rules. If they have to live in a society which does not readily accept their way of live, I am sorry, but that is really tough !"

It's their home as well and we don't all live by the same social norms. I don't feel obliged to live by the social norms of others so why should they? I take the consequences of that, of course, but I have a say in how those norms come about. We're diverse society. You need to be careful because if people start demanding a homogeneous society then it is likely to be a secular one and the religious, including Christians, may need to conform or go elsewhere in the world.

27 October 2013 at 10:54  
Blogger IanCad said...

It is an unfortunate fact of life that many ladies of a certain age can look an absolute fright.

Disguise them with layers of foundation, fillers and various enhancers and they become unrecognizable.

I hear no braying for the suppression of Avon, Olay, Christian Dior and suchlike enablers of this deception.

If a Muslim lady wishes to wear her religious garb that is entirely her business. Cultural requirements go hang.

The real question is: What are we afraid of?

27 October 2013 at 11:08  
Blogger Albert said...

Personally, I don't think it is my job to be telling other people what to wear - with some situations excepted, of course. I worry of course that some Muslim women's dress may reflect misogynistic attitudes. But that is also arguably true of many Western women's dress - only at the opposite extreme.

In that respect, I think the following line is wise:

Their dress is an assertion of their identity, for the survival of which they fear.

To what extent is Islamism (if that's the word) an inadvertent creation of the West?

27 October 2013 at 11:22  
Blogger BeeLZeeBub said...

Just try being a Christian in Egypt and then you will see how far these Muslims tolerate you.

27 October 2013 at 11:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Proscribing dress is madness. No better start to imbibe a people with a sense of being persecuted. And with persecution comes violence. There is an Irish poem which contains the line “They’re hanging men and women for the wearing of the green”.

It’s also curiously, an accepted racist methodology, and this in a culture where a handful of supporters shouting monkey whoops at a black footballer could lead to matches being played behind locked gates.

This man has nothing to do with the Islam crowd in this country. He didn’t invite them in, so sees no reason to do other than ignore what to him is an alien culture completely out of place in these green fields. If anyone accuses him of being un-Christian in that, then they are wrong.


27 October 2013 at 11:30  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Well said Archbishop! I note that in public debate nothing has been said about the whole health and safety issue. I had a huge problem dealing with this kind of dress whilst working with students in Chemistry laboratories....imagine all that "stuff" dangling around bunsen burners,concentrated sulphuric acid,flaming magnesium ,and the like. Those in Western style dress were told to tie long hair back,but no rules were ever given to Muslim students.
There were also huge problems on the steep concrete stairs of the school,as the Muslim female attire has to drag along the ground.
This style of dress emanates from the fourth century and is incompatible with the life styles of today.

And how can these people fully integrate with in British society ....how do you run,jump,walk through muddy fields,play tennis(or anything with a ball)clothed like this;do you just remain in city areas and dominate the areas around the mosque?

I often speak to a young mother(she has small children so I know) who wears a niqab. I have no idea what she looks like and cannot see her smile .When she speaks she has to hold the veil close to her mouth so I can understand what she is saying.Is this good for social integration? I think not.
I have taken to smiling at these
women who really depress me in their all black attire .....but I can never see their response. As humans we communicate face to face;this is an enormous barrier and it is so very sad.

27 October 2013 at 11:46  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Wearing a uniform as an expression of affiliation of association with a political entity is illegal in this country.

Wearing the national dress of the home countries (or any other for that matter) on special occasions, is and has been culturally acceptable here without implying any 'political, national or religiously confrontational otherness' without difficulty in modern times.

As for making a religious statement, it is not required or demanded anywhere in Islam, that a Muslim has to dress like an Arab or a Pakistani to hold to the 'faith'and clearly a proto-political issue.

Apart from maybe the Hare Krishna troupes, I don't see Poles, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Mormons or JWs etc who live happily here, opting to wear their full national/religious dress as a daily matter of course as Muslims do. It is a clearly calculated action as much as any 'in yer face' mosqe that blights this land and is a code of practice made and encouraged by the faceless men that promote Islam world-wide.

These are not simply individual matters of dress choice or design, they are deliberate statements of intent to 'occupy' with impunity, regardless of the sensitivities of the majority of the host country. The wearers and builders are all too ready to adopt the cloak of victimhood if they are challenged or debated anywhere in the public domain. They have taken the individual's right to freedom, that our predecessors fought and sacrificed many lives for and used it as a weapon to attack us and we as a nation have done nothing in response.

The niqab, hijab, shalwar-kamise or ubiquitous full length night-shirts, that maybe seen as normal, if not 'national' dress in village-mentality Pakistan, send the calculated message of an identity that ties the wearers and builders to a different culture. They belong to lands with laws and ethics that are incompatible with the cultural norms of the UK. It begs the question why they came here (and worse still, if they are born here) if they didn't want to integrate and become truly British.

Their loudmouth rabble-rousers already claim this land does not belong to the British, but to Allah, and they see as their mission, to impose Sharia tick-by-tock, through ever increasing concentrated strength in numbers.

Why this has not been discussed openly, is down to a simple matter of EU PC interference, to which our politicians have no backbone to challenge.

One thing for certain, how our forefathers would have reacted, would have been a completely different and anything other than supine inertia.

27 October 2013 at 11:47  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

The plain truth is that, in Britain and much of the West, it is not culturally acceptable for the face to be covered.....

Begging your pardon, Your Grace, but culture-shmulture. If this was an issue of culture alone, I'd go to the barricades to defend the right of Muslim women (and about a hundred lunatic fringe ultra-Orthodox families with Jewish "burka-babes" in Jerusalem) to turn themselves into walking shopping bags with view-slits for the sake of their beliefs. People have a right to be idiots and to look like such too, Your Grace; you should see some of the silly novelty kippas I got. Ditto for "embedded responses" and "oppression of women;" bugger all that pap. We can get over the first...hey, we're ok with the near-naked, pierced and tramp-stamped slut-look on the street and increasingly at the office... and the "oppression" bit we can leave to our useless women's studies gurus and the radical fems to handle if they would find the time and the balls to crawl out of their cozy kitty baskets on this one and missionize their oppressed sisters.

The problem, Your Grace, is obvious: We do not or should not allow anyone to walk around in disguise on the basis of existing laws. At least in Canada, it's in the law books...although it's unfairly (un)enforced. So, for example, If Avi were to suddenly flip due to the pressures of trucking (or more likely the challenges of HTML 5) and decide he's tired of paying triple prices for kosher snack food and that he absolutely needs a juicy, charcoal-grilled treif hamburger with melted cheese and a crispy double bacon topping, washed down with a thick, cold strawberry milkshake, but would rather not be spotted by anyone who might know him and thus swaggers off his truck to the nearest Burger King, his strikingly handsome visage obscured by a balaclava or just a hankie, it's a fair guarantee that Toronto Police's S.W.A.T. team would have him on the spread-out and cuffed on the French-fries strewn floor with a dozen Hechler-Kochs trained at his silly head before he even takes his first bite. And with good reason.

The problem is not intolerance to a cultural need, the problem is the never-debated selective and blatant legal favouritism to a minority. Either we allow everyone to obscure his, her or it's face without exception, or we don't...without exception. If we don't tackle the unfairness head-on, soon enough the exception will be challenged, bit by bit, here and there and before we know it, fashionistas will take over and everyone out there will don masks and disguises until we all find ourselves living in a 24/7 Venetian masque. Maybe it's ok to have that...would be entertaining, for sure... but that's what we need to discuss first, not cultural sensitivities, oppression or human rights.

27 October 2013 at 11:48  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

their culture and traditions are under threat from Western influences [. . .] the ubiquitous commercial, materialistic and secular forces that seem to wash continuously from west to east like a cultural jet-stream.

Yes, westernization has been going on for several centuries now, ever since Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, if not earlier. The question that this this piece fails to address is a different one: China, Japan, India and other Asian civilizations have learnt to live with westernization and take advantage of the benefits it can bring. The Muslim countries are alone in their isolation and rejection. What is it about their culture that prevents them from addressing the issue rationally?

27 October 2013 at 11:54  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector walks around the subject and views it from the back...

Oh dear. He sees an island people with a long established and very successful monoculture come to the end of their tether. For centuries, immigrants have arrived here and successfully integrated and quickly at that.

Well chaps, the party’s over. The socialists and liberals have seen to that. The people YOU elected to represent them. And this is what they’ve done for you. The last comparable happening to take place on this scale was the arrival of the Normans. Did you know they were still referred to as Normans TWO HUNDRED years after the conquest, despite inter marriage with Saxon women almost immediately.

So, two hundred years from now, will we still be complaining about not being able to see muslim women’s faces. You bet your hat we will...


27 October 2013 at 12:04  
Blogger Albert said...

Uncle Brian,

The Muslim countries are alone in their isolation and rejection. What is it about their culture that prevents them from addressing the issue rationally?

A good question. But perhaps we should ask a different one. Are Muslims able to see that there is something fundamentally awry about the West as it currently is? Let's face it, although we have great technological and scientific advances, and the moral world-view of the Muslim world leave a lot to be desired, nevertheless, the West has enormous problems. It has created pointless, absurd and yet murderous ideologies. Human rights now trample on human rights. Our communities are dying, the family is sick and most people feel there is the stench of decadence and death about the West.

To say this, is not in anyway to promote Islam, but is it to observe reality?

27 October 2013 at 12:10  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 October 2013 at 12:11  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You see, Your Grace, most comments here veer off on some sort of imaginary "Western" standards and norms trip, sweeping up shalwars and whatnot in their attempt to find a norm. But has anyone here stepped out on a Saturday night and tried to find a "Western" norm? It's a bloody freak show out there.

Most of us would like to stick it to the Muslims, often for good reasons I dare say, but the point is that this need not become a silly culture war between goo-goo-eyed anything-goes human rights quacks and jingoistic culture-tyrants who want to put everyone in whatever the fashion industry decides is appropriate. Let's stick to the real issue: Will our laws and mores tolerate everyone going about with a disguised face?

27 October 2013 at 12:15  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

We certainly do need to take the French route, and more besides.

Our counterjihadist legislation should be at least as severe as anything on the Continent, otherwise we risk becoming a favourite haven for jihadists when they are displaced from other EU countries due to rising Islamic awareness among the indigenous citizens.

If we don't take action, the owners of the burka-clad breeding stock in France may decide to move their herds across the channel to graze and desertify more congenial pastures.

27 October 2013 at 12:22  
Blogger IanCad said...

"--But perhaps we should ask a different one. Are Muslims able to see that there is something fundamentally awry about the West as it currently is?--"

And the rest of the comment.

Great post Albert.

27 October 2013 at 12:24  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

O, go on, you people, this isn't about jihadis or the Muslim flood. Sticky problems to be sure, but bit too late for a debate on that, isn't it? Besides, jihadis can cut throats and blow themselves up just as well in trench coats and bowler hats as in shalwars. If you really want to have a chance of banning the burka, you insist on equal rights for everyone to hide his face up and you start doing so, en mass, in public, everywhere. That's when politicos and society will gasp and realize that we can't have any of that nonsense from anyone.

27 October 2013 at 12:35  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Albert and
Ian Cad

Even conceding your point about the sickness of the family and the murderous ideologies and the rest of it, including the disappearance of any observable standard or norm as Avi Barzel has pointed out in the meantime, the fact remains that the Indians, the Chinese, the Japanese and virtually every other country around the world, however ancient their civilization, have found it possible to face up to the challenge and devise solutions for it. They have borrowed freely from western ideas, good and bad -- Mao Tse-tung from Karl Marx and Deng Xiaoping from Milton Friedman or Margaret Thatcher or whoever --without, apparently, having ever felt the urge to simply turn their backs on us and blow us all up (like the inflatable doll in Blofeld's unforgettable joke, which I have now taken the liberty to disseminate on other blogs in an act of barefaced piracy).

So, Albert, my friend and co-religionist, answer me this: Why only Muslims?

27 October 2013 at 12:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Uncle Brian, what is their holy book called again, “Mein Kampf” isn’t it...

27 October 2013 at 12:52  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This issue is a surrogate for the fear of rising Islam. If this was about face covering of a few people in a marginalized religion, no one would care. But Islam is not a marginalized religion and people fear it's growing influence. In fact, I expected the article to suggest that an increased use of face covers was a sign of growing Islamic confidence. After 400 years of failure, Islam finally sees the possibility of displaying the West. The face covers become a way of saying 'We are winning and you are losing.'

This is really about Western weakness and not Islamic strength. The West decays into libertine dissolution and Islam sees itself poised to fill the vacuum. The West sees the same thing but doesn't quite know what to do about it - libertine dissolution being the essence of post-modern Western culture. So we fight about face veils in the hope that this will allow Western culture to remain ascendant.

The secular West is struggling to find some way to cope with a religion that is at root antithetical to the West. We have by and large made religion extraneous. We expect everyone else to do the same. At the same time however we expect them to adopt all of our cultural understandings that ultimately have their root in Christianity. But what if they say 'No.' What if they say 'I will use my freedom to create an Islamic culture.' How does the West defend itself from the malignant exercise of its own freedom? At present, it chooses to fight over face veils.

Religious freedom in the West came with the tacit assumption that the dominant Western religion would remain Christianity. That way the cultural assumptions of the West would not be challenged. That assumption has proven false. And we see the result.

carl

27 October 2013 at 12:54  
Blogger IanCad said...

Elizabeth @11:46 wrote:

"---nothing has been said about the whole health and safety issue__"

Dear Lord Come Soon!

So this country of ours has degenerated to the point that a bloated government agency should become the arbiter of religious liberty?

27 October 2013 at 13:03  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Further to Carl's point about our impotence problems, I'd like to add that our inability to deal with disguised people on our streets chafes because we know...instinctively and deep down inside...that after bravely jettisoning our own cultures and traditions for the easy life, we filled that vacuum with sheer crap and entangled ourselves with goofy, contradictory philosophies. And we can't untangle.

So, in a feeble, classical sore loser response, we drift off into pseudo-heroic action fantasies fueled by an imagined history of a glorious, chummy and culturally and religiously homogenous past where everyone knew his place and everyone just wuved it. Good heavens, has anyone taken a close look at British history? The deadly religious strife, the injustices, the casual cruelty, the civil wars, the poverty, the sick justice systems, the population displacements, the famines...all on massive scales? Put us in a time machine and throw us back a few centuries and we'd curl up in ball under a bush, weeping, soiling ourselves, mewling for mummsy to take us out of that Hell.

27 October 2013 at 13:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Uncle Brian,

So, Albert, my friend and co-religionist, answer me this: Why only Muslims?

I think that's a bit like saying Why do only some chemicals work in thermometers? I'm not suggesting Islam is a solution to anything (any more than I would say my thermometer is a solution to the fact that I feel cold). It may just be however, that Islam, like mercury in a thermometer, may help me to read what is going on.

Why is Islam able to do this? That's anyone's guess. I suspect however, it has something to do with the fact that Islam's view of God prevents it from being overly wowed by Western technology and science. It has a strong sense of identity: it is able to absorb Western technology, without being absorbed by its ideology. Thus it is a good material for reading certain elements of the West.

Thus, I think that in the end Carl's point is probably largely correct. Islam measures what's wrong with the West: a lack of clear values and norms (as Avi says). As Islam has a clear identity which is plainly opposed in many respects to this, it finds the West's world-view both a threat to itself and an opportunity.

I would find it hard to disagree with any Muslim who thought that, anyway.

27 October 2013 at 13:31  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Face coverings in any country invoke suspicion in humans as the face along with the body is the primary form of communication, what we speak out of the mouth is secondary to facial and bodily movements and stance. I met my friend on Thursday and as soon as I saw her face and the way she held herself I instantly knew she had bad news and was very upset. She explained to me the awful trauma her daughter had suffered. Had her face been covered up I would not have had that fore knowledge and been on the back foot and unprepared for her bad news. Facial and body language is inbuilt as part of our survival instinct so I don't think the electrician can rewire us or it might take him a few centuries?

I think muslim men are using the face veil to control and keep the women subservient to them.
Being veiled up discourages communication with others, so they can't properly flirt with the opposite sex! It's a form of gag.

27 October 2013 at 13:33  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

This "barometer" Albert alludes to also measures, in fine increments, the price of our much fought-for liberties. Let's face it, the universal, mass religiosity we look fondly back to was achieved not just through some idealized holiness and faith, but by the power of tyrannical measures as clergy imposed behaviours, taxed the Hell out of the producers, compelled them to attend church or synagogue under threat of fines or imprisonment. To be sure, I hear nostalgia from some of my coreligionists too; the halcyon Fiddler on the Roof phantasmagoria, which forgets about the tyrannical communal organization, the kehilla, the Crusaders, the Cossacs, the pogroms and finally, the Nazi onslaught. The Muslims too are susceptible to such fantasies, in their case a world-wide Caliphate in which they think religiosity, wealth and science coexisted wonderfully. It's not a clash of civilizations, it's a clash of fantasies.

Liberty brought a new age for us religious types. The tremendous benefits it brought came at the price of finding out that we can not count on the coercive powers of the state to enforce our tastes, but have to exist in a shrunken shell of our former selves, begging and pleading for rights and toleration, using our own wits and resources to hold onto what we think is of value. A few of us will succeed, most not; the sooner we face that and concentrate on holding the fort, the better off we'll be.

27 October 2013 at 13:51  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Your Grace and Uncle Silas(Were you in The Adams Family by any chance?)

May Ernst humbly propose the return to a form of traditional british garb worn by Ernsty and others up north whilst going to or returning from school on those frosty mornings, prior to modern fashion becaming 'de riguer'.

The balaclava?

The name "balaclava" comes from the town of Balaklava in Crimea. This type of headgear was first used in the nineteenth century, when British soldiers invented the balaclava. During the Crimean War, these knitted balaclavas were sent over to the British troops to help protect them from the bitter cold weather. They are traditionally knitted from wool, and can be rolled up into a hat to cover just the crown of the head.

(Tech Stuff) The modern balaclavas can be made from a number of materials, such as silk, cotton, polypropylene, neoprene, wool or fleece.
Modern balaclavas are also used in outdoor winter sports activities such as skiing or snowboarding to help protect the face from the cold wind and maintain warmth.
You can even get them with different prints on them such as zombies, disgraced politicians and your fab celebs etc and in various colours . Smashing, what! (End of Tech Stuff)

Additionally, balaclavas are often associated with our brave special forces units such as the SAS. We would be honouring our soldiers by wearing the british garment as well as making a statement to others. It's a bit annoying when you cannot see someone's clock...hmmm?

All balaclavas such be worn with the traditional Jedi robe (As the blessed Sir Alec Guiness was the first to wear one, it can be classed as debonaire British garb) and Ernst would be absolutely chuffed and delighted to see the wearing give an up, up, up this would generate on the economy and support and growth for British manufacturers these idea's may generate...*2nd stanza of Land of Hope and Glory is heard increasing in volume in background*

May have to rethink the chortling Erudites thing..It appears there is a computer game that asks halfwits in Everquest II to 'Agitate the Erudites'

Erudite's specs are below?

"Height is 6" above normal for their strength while their weight is 10 lbs lighter than normal for their strength. (Sounds about right) Complexion and hair range from dark brown to black. Silk Robes are prefered (See. It is worn by the Erudites but no mention of the Balaclava??perhaps this secret is kept from the non Erudites??)

An Erudite is the exact opposite of a barbarian (INDEED!!!), the Erudite or "High Man" prides himself on his intellectual abilities and social graces, to the almost total exclusion of the physical disciplines (By Jove..They've got us banged to rights). They pride themselves on being superior to all other races (Whoa..Steady on there chaps). They believe all obstacles can be overcome with intelligence and wisdom (Hmmm. Biblical, Fella, BIBLICAL!) . Pick up a sword? Bah, leave that to the lesser, unsophisticated beasts of the land (Strewth..Whose been spying on old Ernst? Mr Snowden, you and NSA are cads sir).

Erudites have very few friends outside their own race (Because they are sheeple, lad). Others find them very hard to associate with (We don't want your type in our tribe, ta very much). Their snooty attitudes and overblown egos can be said to be the main factors in this (*Coughs*Splutters*Sniffs*). But, only a party of ignorant adventurers would turn an Erudite away from joining them (Yeah, now you know which side your bloomer is buttered!!!), for their high intelligence and facile use of magic (Hardly, NumptyBoy !) comes in handy, especially when facing a powerful enemy (It's called WIT, dear boy, which you are showing is non existent in your *Ahem* tribe?). Clerics, enchanters, necromancers, and wizards, Erudites excel when magic (WIT..Again, WIT) is needed."

Think how the Muslims would react if we showed them how it felt..A quick disarming of Niqab etc may return them to normality in our tolerant society.

Blowers, at your service.

27 October 2013 at 13:58  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

PS. My apologies, Fr. Silas, I failed to note the authorship of the post, thinking I'm addressing Martyr Cranmer.

27 October 2013 at 14:00  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

PS

The balaclava?


It also helped cover up the indiscretion when your mother decided she could cut your hair better than 'Toni's barber shop', until the savagery was given time to grown out, what!

Saved Ernst from many an embarrassing situation whilst on the way out of me house. Mind you, Head Master took a dim view of wearing it in class throughout the whole day..Got 3 of the best for that!!

Mind you what a joy it was to see othersw going about their business with said balaclava on..What was it with Mothers and haircuts. *Chuckles*

Blofeld the Bald

27 October 2013 at 14:03  
Blogger pounce_uk said...

I was born into an Islamic family and at the very tender age was taken into care and left behind everything that Mohammed demands of his brainwashed followers.

During the 60 and 70s the only Muslim woman who wore the head covering were young girls at the mosque or women who wore it as a badge of honour in which to proclaim to the rest that they had been to Mecca.

However and a big however is that Islam today is like the church of old where so called relgious men use the stigma of 'Bad Muslim' in which to enforce their theological ways onto British people.

While I accept the fact that some women want to cover up, the fact remains a lot more don't oh they sprout the official line when asked in public, but they hate wearing it, however they hate getting a good kicking more, and we in the UK allow these bigots to get away with female oppression becasue we don't wish to be castigated as ....Racists.

Until we treat Muslims as equals and afford them no cop-outs (like we do everybody else) then we are just going to see Islam eroding our way of equality for all until they take full control.

27 October 2013 at 14:08  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

That's the spirit, Mr Blofeld! Your Erudites will not only frighten the Mohammedan, but will overwhelm the dear old judges who will in vain try to impose order by trying to stall a flood of masked Britons, while trying to exempt the ladies of the niquabs. Get the EDL youngsters to fight that one (you'r a bit long in the tooth...well not even that, Mr B), and when they get hauled into the court, they can dump a trashcan-full of equity claims, religious and cultural rights arguments and such on His Honour's befuddled head. A good time will be had by all.

27 October 2013 at 14:09  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Good points, Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms pounce_uk. Equality in treatment must mean just that....unless we want to see Mr Blofeld waddling down a dark alley in his painted balaclava and super-hero cloak, perish that vision.

27 October 2013 at 14:13  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"Good points, Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms pounce_uk. Equality in treatment must mean just that....unless we want to see Mr Blofeld waddling down a dark alley in his painted balaclava and super-hero cloak, perish that vision." May have to photoshop that one and post here?* Huge Chortles*

Now where did I put me light sabre??(Shouts in despair)MRS B....

27 October 2013 at 14:15  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Avi

Heard that you can get a balaclava with kippah,yarmulke stitched on..Why should you miss out on the jovialities??

Blowers

27 October 2013 at 14:20  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Getting too long in the tooth for such jolly adventures as well, Mr B. Kids, mortgage, debts, all that stuff; can't have little ones weeping as the One Who Must be Obeyed bails me out after a night as Her Majesty's guest and drags me home by the ear. Battles best fought by the young and reckless, otherwise youth is indeed wasted on the young, as they say.

27 October 2013 at 14:26  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Avi

"You can even get them with different prints on them such as zombies, disgraced politicians and your fab celebs etc and in various colours . Smashing, what!"

Just ordered my special 'Benjamin Netanyahu בנימין נתניהו' print. That should arouse some sort of response from the niqab and burkha clad ones.

Blofeld the Balaclaved

27 October 2013 at 14:28  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

PS

Just discovered a site that helps you make your own Jedi Robe, as worn by Sir Alec...http://www.degraeve.com/jedirobe/

'Blofelds' My own range of clothing - for the Debonaire Dressed Man

27 October 2013 at 14:31  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

...That should arouse some sort of response from the niqab and burkha clad ones.

Indeed, it should Mr B, especially when stuck to your parlour window. Make sure to put up an Israeli flag beside the Netanyahu poster in case some miss the point. Will arouse shouts of joy from your local glazier as well.

27 October 2013 at 14:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

The problem is that man is not by nature fit for liberty. Limited gov't requires that men voluntarily restrain their passions and actions. It was the long acquisition of moral habit under the tutelage of kings that produced the moral capital that made limited gov't possible. And we are squandering the capital at an alarming rate. The conceit of the modern secularist is that he can maintain his liberty without that capital. It can't be done.

The central problem of modern society is this: 'How do you get free men to deny themselves - to not turn their liberty into license - in the absence of religious beliefs?' The answer is 'You can't.' And so the West will revert to government by kings.

Liberty is not the end state of man. It is an unusual and very space occupancy in the history of man. And for a reason.

carl

27 October 2013 at 14:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

'Sparse.' Curse you, spell check

carl

27 October 2013 at 14:46  
Blogger Albert said...

Avi,

which forgets about the tyrannical communal organization, the kehilla, the Crusaders, the Cossacs, the pogroms and finally, the Nazi onslaught.

Clearly, Western society needed to move through some kind of serious development. The Europe to which the Bible was first preached was one in which the individual counted for nothing and watching innocent people be eaten by lions was a spectator sport. This was the soil on which the Bible was preached - often in a context of squalid poverty because the entire history of pre-biblical thought had failed to develop any kind of serious scientific and technological advance.

Given this context, and the mass uneducation which went with it, it is unsurprising that what grew up was, to say the least, less than perfect.

However, to fail to see that Hitlerism was a consequence of the loss of a religious culture is to make a serious error. The liberty of this age is transient, because it is not built upon a firm foundation, indeed, it cannot be, and so it is riddled with incoherence.

The West is as likely to spill over into tyranny now, as it ever was - only it will be done, and not for the first time, in the name of freedom (O Liberté, que de crimes on commet en ton nom!). To reject the instability of present liberty, is not to prefer that we go back to an era of enforced religiosity.

Christianity, and I am sure Judaism too, have developed their inbuilt sense of the individual and his freedom. It has developed from the key insights of the Jewish Scriptures, as well as the teaching of Jesus. It has taken time. No one wants to reject that. But to admit all that is not to say that the Western view of freedom is not weak and lacking in coherence. It's weakness is that it has no culture on which to build these things. Islam shows us that.

We are not faced with a choice between, what Carl describes as libertine dissolution on the one hand and enforced religiosity on the other. There is more depth in scripture than that, and we should not fall prey to the propaganda that there isn't.

27 October 2013 at 14:48  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Carl @1444. I think you've expressed the point much better than I did.

27 October 2013 at 14:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

As for 'She who must be obeyed...'

Just snap your fingers and say 'Woman! Make me a sandwich! ' It works wonders.

Trust me, Avi. I wouldn't steer you wrong.

carl

27 October 2013 at 14:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

More madness this day. Now we want to use abolishing the Bhurka to free Islamic women !

Leave these blasted people alone in peace and just ignore them, and there is an excellent chance they’ll afford us the same courtesy...

Incidentally, a fellow has just returned from his constitutional. There are some impressive gusts in Gloucester, that town that sits at the top of the Severn estuary, with nothing in the way of the place and the Bristol channel. He suggests all good Christians be in their homes by 9pm tonight. When it really kicks off...

27 October 2013 at 15:06  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Inspector General

I knew nothing until now of your geographical location. Were you there in 1989, I think it was, when the gales swept in from the Atlantic early one morning, with not so much as a word of warning in the last weather forecast, which can't have been long before midnight?

27 October 2013 at 15:18  
Blogger Nick said...

Interesting analysis Father Silas. As you say, our reaction to the niqab is partly an emotional one because it appears, franky, intimidating. It is also one of the better-known symbols of a religion that is renowned for hate and violence, thus adding to the sense of intimidation.

If I am honest, I have always been a little uneasy about the idea of the state telling us what to wear. But there are other factors to consider. The issue of people concealing their identity is a serious one. If we are going to make it illegal to conceal ones physical identity then this should apply to everyone from muslim women to students wearing party masks, false beards, dyed hair, etc.. Frankly, it could get a bit ridiculous.

Your point about muslims resisting Western secularisation I find more interesting. Certainly, Western Christians have generally been pretty poor at resisting it. The state of the CofE is evidence of that. Christians are more integrated into Western culture to start with so it takes more courage to resist than an outsider would need. But resist it we should. I think we have all been indoctrinated by it to some extent, so the move away from it will be long and hard I expect

27 October 2013 at 15:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack can think of no good reason why a woman or man should not be allowed to cover their face in public if that's what they want to do. Jack can think of some parts of the body he would wish to see covered more in public.

Happy Jack often wears a Balaclava around town when it is cold and people can only see his eyes. Of course, when he is talking to someone he lifts it up and does this when he goes into shops too.

Avi, Happy Jack has a business idea for you. A 'Glow in the Dark' Niqab for night time wear. Oncoming traffic would be able to see these ladies crossing roads if they were made out of glow-in-the-dark material with reflectors.

Happy Jack thinks Mr Blowers has a tendency towards the 'Malarkite Tribe' and forgets he is now the leader of the 'Etecetras Tribe' (Ernsty's Tribe of Erudite Chortling Evangelical Rascals and Scallywags)

27 October 2013 at 15:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Uncle Brian, one was in Cheltenham then, and remember the year well. It was 1987. You’ll have heard about the calm right in the middle of the storm. Well, it’s damn true, and Gloucestershire was largely spared. Only when tuning into the news on the morrow was the awful consequence realised...

27 October 2013 at 15:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack is sorry for his mistake. He should have written:

"Ernsty's Tribe of Chortling Erudite Teasing Evangelical Rascals and Scallywags"

27 October 2013 at 15:39  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You're on the right track, Carl, with the "moral capital" model, but you're casting your net in the wrong direction. The "moral capital" is a wired behavior pattern which predates kings and similar tyrants and braggarts. In fact one can argue that they helped destroy it.

The "moral capital" software was developed in our 99.99% past as hunter-gatherers, living in manageable bands of twenty to forty souls, huddled around little family fires, but within arms-stretch distance from each other, whispering gently and quietly with gutturals and alveo-palatal clicks, subduing aggression through ritual and by directing it outwards at survival, with everyone's critical eye on everyone else.

You and I, and I'm sure a few others here know a bit about that. As members of our faith communities, we are compelled to act responsibly, properly, predictably....much as the band member of not-so-long ago had to. Me, I can't walk to the store without half of my synagogue waving or honking at me...some days I could really use a niqab, whch suggests that perhaps the anonymity in their case may serve another role as well, a protective screen against their own.

In the long run, humans cannot depend on the external cerebrals of religion or ideology to sustain their humanity and social functionality without elbow-close communal proximity and total economic dependency on our "band." Things changed too quickly for us to update our software versions in a short span of 10,000 years or so, as our religions, governing strategies, economies and laws are still trying to catch up to the population explosion, the in-an-eye-blink rush through pastoralism, agriculture and industrialization. So, here we around our laptop "hearths," disconnected, alone, with invisible forces governing us willy-nilly, and we hope that "character" is going to save us?

27 October 2013 at 15:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

@Carl:

As for 'She who must be obeyed...'

Just snap your fingers and say 'Woman! Make me a sandwich! ' It works wonders.

Trust me, Avi. I wouldn't steer you wrong.


You relly have it in for me, don't you? (Shudders and cold sweat at Carl's jest)

27 October 2013 at 15:51  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Happy Jack can think of no good reason why a woman or man should not be allowed to cover their face in public if that's what they want to do. Jack can think of some parts of the body he would wish to see covered more in public.

Happy Jack needs to proceed with that train of thought and imagine a society in which everyone dons a disguise and moves about in a state of anonymity. Will that increase amity, courtesy, care, social unity, communal and individual responsibility, or will such anonymity bring out rudeness, atomization, indifference, casual and planned theft and violence?

27 October 2013 at 16:10  
Blogger non mouse said...

Father Silas: You ask several questions about a complex issue. Methinks, also, you ask us to base our responses on your underlying assumption that most westerners have this “hard-wired reflex.” But-- why do westerners alone possess this reflex - if indeed they do?

My initial answer springs from experience in foreign climes, before the Islamic invasion of Britain. My youthful reaction to burka’d faces and beetle-garbed bodies: in trying to communicate with the females, I found no alternative to focussing on their eyes. I sensed aggression and assertion of power in the requirement; and, in fixing me with their own eyes, burka-wearers knowingly practiced intimidation. So my reaction of dislike was, I think, not merely western. It was defensive, and therefore human.

I believe the same philosophy might underlie the general wearing of a black uniform: like the insects’ plating, it’s a kind of armour.

And yet, in time, I saw an advantage to the garb. Young and old, I had been bored and irritated by comments about my appearance– why so many thought they were the only ones to notice it, I couldn’t imagine. On one issue (legs), I’d got to the point of responding: “Thanks, but God gave them to me; I just walk around on ‘em.” After I adopted long skirts, the comments continued - to the effect that there must be something wrong with the legs, since they were always hidden. Really, I thought, we could all concentrate on something other than appearance if everyone were covered up. I wish I could use Mozzie dress. We could save time and money, too.

However, a westernised Iranian woman student assured me that appearance is very important to Mozzies, who spend inordinate amounts of time and money on maintaining it behind the doors of their dwellings. So - apparently, in private, they share our human failing of competitive pride in appearance.

Others today have covered several public aspects of your “hard-wired” western reflex - I would only add that, in earlier times, both wild western bandits and stage-coach robbers covered their faces to hide identity - that, I’ve heard, is why we developed laws against the practice. Otherwise, Mr. Blofeld provided a good parallel in his balaclava story (@ 13:58), which I suggest shows that both east and west understand the military - defensive/offensive - strategy of dressing.

So -- I support those who indicate that the present situation is less about reflexes than about the imposition of power. The Mozzie garb is a form of armor, and burka’d females whining “victim” are nothing of the sort. They are warriors in the army of an invader, and we should treat them as such. If we want to survive, of course.

Meanwhile, how about closing that Chunnel thing? Let’s stop the frogules from chanelling the enemy to us.

27 October 2013 at 16:13  
Blogger non mouse said...

PS: I do know how to spell "armour." Sorry.

27 October 2013 at 16:17  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I agree we have been so molly coddled especially over the last twenty years or so that we can no longer stand up for our selves. We cave in to every whim and demand from outsiders even if it is to our societies detriment. Maybe the influx of nasty Islamic people will make us a bit tougher again.

Avi @ 13:26
“So, in a feeble, classical sore loser response, we drift off into pseudo-heroic action fantasies fueled by an imagined history of a glorious, chummy and culturally and religiously homogenous past where everyone knew his place and everyone just wuved it. Good heavens, has anyone taken a close look at British history? The deadly religious strife, the injustices, the casual cruelty, the civil wars, the poverty, the sick justice systems, the population displacements, the famines...all on massive scales? Put us in a time machine and throw us back a few centuries and we'd curl up in ball under a bush, weeping, soiling ourselves, mewling for mummsy to take us out of that Hell.”

27 October 2013 at 16:24  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Nick at 15:20
It wouldn't be the state telling us what to wear, we don't cover our faces! By banning the burkha, niquab or what ever it's called it would only effect those who wear it and those who impose it upon women. This would be an exercise in making muslims living or staying in our country equal to everyone else.

Dyeing one's hair, putting on a false beard, eyeglasses, party mask etc.. is creating another identity, there will be a motive behind it either fun at a party or harmful activity, whereas a niquab is just hiding ones whole identity for no good reason. It would be boring to attend a fancy dress party in one and so the conclusion would be that they're up to no good.

27 October 2013 at 16:26  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Fr. Silas,
Full head covering for Muslim women could be likened to the Black Shirts of Oswald Mosley. They have become proud to show their so called devotion to their faith. The Black Shirts were likewise saying, 'we are here to stay and don't mess with us'.
How misguided is their behaviour to avoid the gaze of other men? This may be mentioned in Mohamed’s writing but has not been observed for hundreds of years. The wearing of specific clothing is common in cultural areas for special occasions and has had a revival in many cultures as people realise that they want to retain their cultural links. Not a bad thing, in fact it is a good thing, providing it does not raise tensions between cultures. The security issues are genuine but have only arisen recently.
I’m thinking of donning my suit of armour with helmet and visor. Wonder whether I would get picked on by the law?

27 October 2013 at 16:31  
Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

Before the current troubles, the Niqab was rare. How do I know? My stepdaughter lived in Damascus for six months, leaving only when things were clearly only going to get worse. Syria was a very tolerant society. It never will be again, as it will now be Islamicised regardless.

27 October 2013 at 16:40  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says back to Avi, just think of a society where people are told what they can and cannot wear on their faces in public.

Happy Jack agrees it's important to be able to identify people. In airports, police stations or court-rooms arrangements should be made to see faces. And with teachers, doctors or nurses, or any job with the public, it could be put into contracts.

27 October 2013 at 16:48  
Blogger Nick said...

Marie1797
@16:26

I agree that fancy dress parties would be boring without fancy dress! My point is that the main risk with the niquab is identity-concealment. But identity-concealment is a much wider issue than the niquab.One only has to watch Crimewatch to see that.

As to compelling muslims to accept our culture, what is our culture exactly? Unfortunately, our culture is to allow multi-culturalism, a facet of political correctness that has been espoused by all political parties except UKIP, and even espoused by the CofE now.

I think a law preventing identit-concelament in places of business / work would be a good idea. Outside the workplace it gets more tricky, unless the law is prepared to legislate exclusively against mmuslims. And that's something which, realistically, is not going to happen at the moment.

I would also add that the threat from Islam is not a matter of headgear, but a matter of the toxic mixture of a violent and increasingly pervasive religion and a permissive society too weak to oppose it.

We also have an institutional church that has mostly abandoned God, tolerates persecution of its believers and thinks Islam is a peaceful religion.

27 October 2013 at 17:05  
Blogger Len said...

Whilst we might be pondering over the pro and cons of whether to accept muslims who wish to cover the face or not the whole situation has become somewhat surrealistic.

Many Christians in Muslim Countries are not even given the choice whether they will live or die.
But the Media does not report the torturing or the murder of Christians on a Worldwide scale.

Perhaps discussing the advantages or disadvantages of wearing the 'Niqab' is considered more important?.

27 October 2013 at 17:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Nick, “As to compelling muslims to accept our culture, what is our culture exactly? Unfortunately, our culture is to allow multi-culturalism, “

Good point, that man. One fears Islam doesn’t actually do multiculturism. There is but one God and he is Allah, and there is but one people, the people of Allah – that kind of thing. So we can dismiss anyone hoping to ‘tame’ the blighters that way as loons...


27 October 2013 at 17:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector, a keen student of history, knows a great deal about the goings on in Europe during the first half of the 20th century. Sometimes, he even thinks he was around in those now far off years.

Coming to terms with Islam in Europe is frighteningly like the British coming to terms with fascism in the latter 1930s. The three questions everyone was asking at the time was how will it affect us, and indeed the Empire, and is it possible to avoid coming into contact with it. The third being, will we have to fight it.

Just to repeat – frighteningly like.

We tried to stop them dressing in black, here at least, for all the good it did...


27 October 2013 at 17:43  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Happy Jack says back to Avi, just think of a society where people are told what they can and cannot wear on their faces in public.

And so, Avi put on his thinking kippa and thought and thought, and suddenly, a bright incandescent light bulb lit up over his thoughtful head and he exclaimed, "Hey, how about our society?" For as things happen to be, we can wear anything on our faces as long is it doesn't hide them from our neighbours and not only that, everyone gets told, in very certain terms, to cover their naughty bits, especially the ones that leak and dribble icky things. Works for Avi and most folks too, he bets.

Happy Jack agrees it's important to be able to identify people. In airports, police stations or court-rooms arrangements should be made to see faces. And with teachers, doctors or nurses, or any job with the public, it could be put into contracts.

Avi is less worried about airports and police stations and ,ore or less responsible folk like teachers, doctors and nurses. He worries more about the folks on the street, the hoodies at the doorways, the pervs in the malls and supermarkets. Happy Jack needs to remember that the right to mask oneself will not end with a few harmless Muslim ladies, but will spread everywhere, changing society into something that's already anonymous as is, into a nightmare of masked mystery folks, doing as they see fit in their own minds.

27 October 2013 at 17:53  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Of course Islam doesn't do multi-culturalism Inspector! Things have to be faced up to and dealt with now before they get any worse. I

Nick
“As to compelling muslims to accept our culture, what is our culture exactly? Unfortunately, our culture is to allow multi-culturalism, a facet of political correctness that has been espoused by all political parties except UKIP, and even espoused by the CofE now.”

Well it's NOT covering women's faces, it's not stoning people or chopping limbs off either, it's not being cruel to animals, or killing someone and chopping their head off in broad daylight simply because they don't share the same beliefs, it's not using unnecessary violence and it certainly isn't persecuting others for not being Christian or secular. It's not 7th century barbarism Nick.

We're not compelling them just telling them to modify it in order to fit in with basic human behaviour of being able to read and communicate fully with another fellow human being.
Nobody is stopping them praying to Allah.

27 October 2013 at 17:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Nick, it's not that complicated, really. Most countries already have laws that ban facial concealment. The only thing that is happening is that the law has been unofficially suspended for Muslim women, but not for everyone else. Enforce the law; bust the burka babes, just as concealed rioters or bandana-wrapped gangstas and arrest and lay charges again and again until they get it or decide to find greener pastures.

27 October 2013 at 17:59  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says to Avi, there is no law in Britain stopping anyone wearing a balaclava or dressing up as Father Christmas all year round if they wish. Why should there be? And people do not do it.

Happy Jack wears a duffle coat with a big hood when it is cold and wears and a balaclava. Should this be a crime? And would insisting on a bare face mean banning beards?

No. Happy Jack agrees with Father Silas: "What is at issue is the western hard-wired response to the publicly covered face." Jack thinks Avi worries too much about "hoodies at the doorways, the pervs in the malls and supermarkets" and the world becoming "a nightmare of masked mystery folks."

27 October 2013 at 18:20  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! There was I, all in a rush, having dashed into the Post Office on Barchester High Street to buy a Penny Black to affix to the envelope of a letter to the dear Duchess of Omnium. Paying scant attention I posted my letter in the black-shrouded pillar box draped in memory of the late Prince Consort, only to be taken aback by a spluttering and coughing. How was I supposed to know that one of Mustafa Fatwah's harem was abroad? I was all of a mimsy, I do declare.

27 October 2013 at 18:42  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack has come up with an idea.

Everyone should carry a face hood of their choice. For Jews it could have a Star of David on it; for a Christian a Cross. Whatever a person wants. Then, when a Muslim lady approaches you to talk with you, you could put it on. Bingo. Problem solved. Everyone is equal.

27 October 2013 at 18:46  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Ha ha very funny Happy Jack, I don't think so.

27 October 2013 at 18:50  
Blogger IanCad said...

"And would insisting on a bare face mean banning beards?"

Good point Happy Jack.

We need no new laws restricting or mandating dress. There are too many people ever willing to appeal to Caesar for relief when their neighbours do someting that offends their sensitivities.

27 October 2013 at 18:51  
Blogger non mouse said...

Avi @ 17:53: a nightmare of masked mystery folks, doing as they see fit in their own minds. Exactly. They can see us; we can't see them. They know who we are; we can't identify them.

Operating 'under the cover of darkness,' they're like living cameras. It's all one-way.

It's all about menace and power.

So I agree with Fr. Silas on the 'displacement 'activity.' As long as we play the post-modern marxist, multi-culti, feminist game of 'debating' spurious "issues" - instead of defending ourselves - we're turning Britain into a hapless Heorot.

And there's no Beowulf in sight.

27 October 2013 at 19:05  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says "Hello" to Marie and regrets his serious suggestion did not met with her approval but pleased it made her chuckle.



27 October 2013 at 19:17  
Blogger Hannah said...

Well I personally think that it is a matter of those religions -Islam as well as my own- to look at how to apply 'modesty' laws in countries and cultures which are different. I think that the niquab and the burka are clearly middle eastern to asian cultural clothing- Christian women in the middle east will wear veils (the bit about paul telling women to wear stuff on their head) and when applied in extremis can lead people to feel they have an alien and foreign culture in their midst.

In Judaism married women sometimes wear bandana's and wigs (on the ultra orthodox side) and men can wear big black hats as well as looking like undertakers with no pockets black frock coats. This is a way of adhering to the modesty laws of Judaism, but the actual dress is more tradition and culture. I don't have a problem with any of that, but I think there should be flexibility to adopt modesty laws into a different culture. A kippah for men and for women, just don't dress with skirts up bums and low clevage. Being a farmer now, I'm not going to wear a bikkini in the mountains of Derbyshire, but dress appropriate to the role.

27 October 2013 at 19:20  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Happy Jack,
Why you'd want to cover that big smile of yours is beyond me. Btw, I wouldn't want to go back to the time when Jews had to wear star of David bands or wear conical hats...

27 October 2013 at 19:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello Hannah. Happy Jack would leave it to people to decide for themselves what to have on their hoods. Jack suggests it should not be a picture of Mohammed with a bomb on his head though! And Jack's hood would, of course, have his smiley face on it.

The more Happy Jack thinks about all this, the more he thinks it is a good idea. Imagine the fun people would have choosing their hood and there would be a boost to the economy too.

27 October 2013 at 19:41  
Blogger Nick said...

Marie 1797

"Well it's NOT covering women's faces, it's not stoning people or chopping limbs off either, it's not being cruel to animals, or killing someone and chopping their head off in broad daylight simply because they don't share the same beliefs, it's not using unnecessary violence and it certainly isn't persecuting others for not being Christian or secular. It's not 7th century barbarism Nick. "

I agree. That is why I am saying this is a MUCH more serious issue than dress-code. Banning the niquab by itself will do nothing to stop the scourge of Islam in this country.

27 October 2013 at 20:06  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

No, nonmouse, no Beowulfs allowed now. Too violent, misogynist, atavistic and exclusive. Mono-cultural, insensitive to differences and lifestyles. And when the Grendels knock on the door of your bed and breakfast, we have to invite them in by law and only enter a polite formal complaint when they eat your guests.

27 October 2013 at 20:12  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I'm also concerned at the propensity for some British police to wear ski-masks under their crash helmets when out harassing demonstrators, while their colleagues film the faces in the crowd - whats all that about?

27 October 2013 at 20:28  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Nick
We're singing from the same hymn sheet, yes it is very serious, but if we don't want to become Islamified we've got to preserve our way of life and that starts with the little things like disallowing the burka and niquab face covering as well as the insistence of adhering to our laws not sharia.

They are not going to like it but we have to have the guts to defend our way of life. I don't agree with appeasement as Happy Jack is recommending (hope he's really joking) with his idea of us carrying face hoods to be able to meet muslim women on their level.


Happy Jack
I don't think you'll revive the economy with that idea, lol

27 October 2013 at 21:04  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Marie, one never knows and its better than causing religious fights. Happy Jack always has high apple pie in the sky hopes!

27 October 2013 at 21:27  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Apple pie, now you're talking with custard yummy.

27 October 2013 at 21:31  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Ice cream for Happy Jack ...

27 October 2013 at 21:36  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Goodness me, you bunch are a right Nitty Picky crowd, aren't ya?!

If Ernst suggestion of balaclava and robe cause offence to muslim sensitivities or secular whimsy. How about...GURNING?

One could walk along the street and on seeing a niqabed or burkha-ed person, we could whip out a toilet seat, put face through and Gurn crazily?? Not a public offense order, now is it?!

Gurning contests are a very rural English tradition that could be carried into urban areas where there are infestations of mysteriously clad personages.

Egremont Crab Fair, is the earliest know where gurning was held annually, when King Henry III granted the fair a Royal Charter in 1267 AD. We have a royal prerogative then!

It is said those with the greatest gurn capabilities are often those with no teeth (HUZZAH..how timely, what..Each your heart out, ye toothed ones. I may yet become famous for something me mother would be ashamed of), as this provides greater room to move the jaw further up. In some cases, the elderly or otherwise toothless can be capable of spectacular gurns covering the entire nose (Lets see how Ernst can do..bleed'n heck, just scared the bejeebers out of myself..Will save that face for bedtime and MRS . *chuckling to self* Yer what..ooh ER, Nothing my dear.)

There, Ernst has settled the matter...now e off with ye to the bathroom mirror and start Gurning..Yaarrr.

Blowers, at your service, peeps or Blofeld of the abominable Boat Race. GUUURRRNNNN

ps

" Happy Jack said...Ice cream for Happy Jack ..." No more than two scoops lad or you will get the willies thinking about mysteriously clad super heroes and dark alleys and not get to peeps!

27 October 2013 at 21:41  
Blogger John Thomson said...

The article and most comments apparently assume that cultural expression is inevitably merely subjective, relative and morally neutral. Without addressing the specific issue, surely we must assume (as Christians) that some cultural expression is absolute... reflecting creational expectations and not merely human whims. At the very least we should acknowledge that some cultural expressions are morally more edifying than others (better express what it means to be made in the image of God).

John Thomson

27 October 2013 at 22:31  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 October 2013 at 22:44  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Avi,

That post at 27 October 2013 11:48, really made me chuckle and think that you should be a writer a la Neil Gaiman (:

27 October 2013 at 22:46  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Happy Jack,

Interesting idea. But your view is on the pre-idea that religious people should or need to be identified by a pre-defined mark or symbol. I think that, aside from my nose and the fact that when I'm 'dolled out' (as my uncle used to day) I wear a modest star of david neckless, the is no way you'd be able to tell I was Jewish. I personally prefer it like that, but I do appreciate that others want to make a statement -or proclamation about their religious affiliation (to me, my faith is about action as much as outward looks).

But I also agree that I wouldn't want to stop our Haredi Azkenazi Jews, or like our lovely Avi, from not being able to wear a nice Trilby or home knitted Kippah ,I think that a shtreimel or a Fez is quite cool, but is more to do with Jewish cultures in Russia/Eastern Europe/The middle east, than it is to do with a specific ruling that you need to put those specific hats on your head

27 October 2013 at 22:52  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

...the elderly or otherwise toothless can be capable of spectacular gurns covering the entire nose (Lets see how Ernst can do..bleed'n heck, just scared the bejeebers out of myself.....Will save that face for bedtime and MRS

There you go, Mr Blofeld, it's what the new generations don't get; how to keep a marriage young and sparkling with passion by always surprising and romancing one's lady at every opportunity.

O, and as a final act of chivalry, don't forget to hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door, Mr. B. T'will give your lady extra time to put some distance from the homicide squad.

27 October 2013 at 22:55  
Blogger Hannah said...

Forgot to add, I read today that women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive... so no surprise about how Islam sees women.

Incidentally, there is a bit of a myth about Islam being like Judaism. In fact it seems to me to be a copy n paste version of Christianity and Judaism. Although missing about the bits about how my faith gives women property rights, the right to good sex in marriage, to be decide about who to get married to and the spiritual idea that us girls have more "binah" (intuition, understanding, intelligence) than men. We also have our monthly minor festival called Rosh Chodesh, when we don't have to do any work because we didn't bow to the golden calf.

Oh, and Proverbs 31:10-31, which is traditionally read at Jewish weddings, speaks repeatedly of business acumen as a trait to be prized in women (v. 11, 13, 16, and 18 especially).

27 October 2013 at 23:10  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Thank you, Miss Hannah, glad you were amused. I enjoyed the dark fantasy of going off my rocker and plunging into a cheeseburger with bacon while being pummeled by special tactics cops. Nothing like sin followed by quick-response divine punishment. I think I also managed my longest run-on sentence to date.

27 October 2013 at 23:14  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Avi,

Speaking of going off rocker, I did recently come across this debate in your House of Commons, about the fear of a zombie invasion :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NXeXbCUiFE

Have I missed something here, or is the world 'zombie' something allegorical. Or do your Canadian politicians have nothing else to worry about?

27 October 2013 at 23:30  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Avi, my Boy

"There you go, Mr Blofeld, it's what the new generations don't get; how to keep a marriage young and sparkling with passion by always surprising and romancing one's lady at every opportunity. "

Indeed, however 'new generations don't get'; How to show bravery to 'Her who must be obeyed' by expressing manful defiance in difficult circumstances..True bravery is arriving home late after a libatious night out with the chaps, being assaulted by your wife with a broom in the kitchen, and still having the guts to ask her:
Are you up cleaning, or were you out flying somewhere my dear?

Blowers

27 October 2013 at 23:45  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack agrees with Blowers. The young are somewhat toothless these days ....

28 October 2013 at 00:04  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

It's the bravado of our Conservatives, Miss Hannah, joshing around while the nervous Nellies wring their hands and the States are groaning under Onightmare. Our economy's humming, housing is booming, the West is brimming with oil and gas...an exhibit what conservative policies can do in a few short years. Meanwhile the malcontents are complaining that Canada has given the finger to the Palestinians, shrugged off the UN, couldn't give green fig for Syria and ignores Onightmare's carbon tax directives.

You truly are brave, Mr B. I couldn't pull that with mine and walk away on my own two feet. She was in the Navy. But do you know why we men usually die well before our wives do? Because we want to. Tra-da-boom.

28 October 2013 at 00:07  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Happy Jack agrees with Blowers. The young are somewhat toothless these days .... *Toothless Gurn*

28 October 2013 at 00:51  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Avi

Why do couples hold hands and smile during their wedding day? Simple, Formality must be observed like two prize fighters touching gloves before the fight begins!!*Ding Ding*

Blowers

28 October 2013 at 01:07  
Blogger John Thomas said...

While I am not totally sure about the right or otherwise to wear a niquab in Britain, in any public survey I would vote against it, since a big majority against would possibly go some way towards getting our **** government to see that there is real, justifiable, anxiety caused by creeping Islamisation in Britain - and only if they could be forced to acknowledge this can anything be done to allay justifiable fears.

28 October 2013 at 11:19  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Good program on BBC 1 tonight now "Quitting EDL When tommy met MO"

28 October 2013 at 23:00  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Marie 1797

"Good program on BBC 1 tonight now "Quitting EDL When tommy met MO"

Dear Girl. It was more like 'Tommy Does Celebrity'.
Merely the BBC demonstrating how the islamification of Britain can be successfully achieved by the pushing forward of someone with a dubious public profile, desperately wanting a wider respectability, down the path of a liberal,wishy washy, sanitised version of Islam, that no-one believes exists, least of all the average muslim as shown, except the truly gullible and the skillful use of biased selective editing, to prove your point. Islam, according to the BBC!

If Nicky Campbell is involved, BEWARE!

It left more questions than it delivered answers.

Blofeld

28 October 2013 at 23:47  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

You're absolutely right Mr B.

I had to laugh at the look of sheer disbelief and shock on Mo's face when they were with the scholars and Tommy suggested they must re-work the Koran by taking all the violence and extremism out to become acceptable in the 21st century. Mo wasn't having any of it.


It remains to be seem what will come out of Tommy Robinson's relationship with the extremist founder of the Quilliam gang. What's the betting they'll have him converted before he can say “my name's Tommy Robinson.”

Hope your MRI scan was clear and that you don't put your jaw out practising your party trick, not nice.

29 October 2013 at 00:14  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

PS
Ernst particularly enjoyed the blather about niqab et all being about modesty for women as decreed by allah.
Strange, because the term 'modesty' bears no relation in English to what they declare. English: the quality or state of being unassuming in the estimation of one's abilities or reserve or propriety in speech, dress, or behavior.

Arabic/Koran: Domineering Camouflage in Black. The necessity to bundle over with excess baggage the flesh of women and young girls using the false art of assumed modesty (Good Lord, how can 6 year old girls be judged as acting improperly or indecently at that age, so must be covered up like something out of PAC MAN? GET A FLIPPIN GRIP) coz you ain't got any manly willpower or restraint...and just coz allah sez you own em.

TRY HALAL BROMIDE IN YOUR TEA! You can even buy muslin tea bags on Ebay. *Dyslexic CKLHUSEC*

Two days til I get me 'Netanyahu' balaclava from Bloody Amazing.com. I'm such a 'modest; debonaire gentleman.

Blofeld

"Hope your MRI scan was clear and that you don't put your jaw out practising your party trick, not nice. " Got it wrong. Consultant meeting first but after prodding around my spine he asked strange questions about the Big C and if it ran in my family (unfortunately on both sides). Wants an urgent MRI , so awaiting my date later this week.

"It remains to be seem what will come out of Tommy Robinson's relationship with the extremist founder of the Quilliam gang." Don't trust that lot at all...Reminds me of Medhi Hassan too much. The acceptable face of Islam but they both always blather on about British foreign policy causing all this Islamic extremism (Islamic fist bestrides Lying Tongue) and never about problems.

Robinson does not get that the problem is Qu'ran, Sunnah and sharia... The Unholy Trinity.

Muslims will never accept their separation or reduction. The solution is NOT to cut out verses of Qu'ran but make them swear an oath NOT to follow their subversive calls to action or the example/sunnah of Mohammed within their religion, encouraged within them?! This will never be agreed to or done!!!!!

29 October 2013 at 01:04  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

pps

Loved the nonsense stated by Salma Yaqoob that Our Lord's mother was covered up similar to Muslim women and girls..Mary and others in BURKHAS?. BONKHAS!!!
Is there nothing these people will not lie to deceive regarding justifying their disdainful rejection of Britain and our culture by their attire.???

29 October 2013 at 01:25  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Mr Blofeld
“Is there nothing these people will not lie to deceive regarding justifying their disdainful rejection of Britain and our culture by their attire.???”

Apparently not Mr B. they twist everything round to their advantage. Note how they wouldn't have it that it is mainly muslim men in this country doing the grooming of young girls, but when challenged on the subject they argued and deflected it to a generalisation that men of all nationalities not just Asians are guilty of grooming when the question was specifically about tacking the seriousness of why are there so many Asian grooming gangs inn this country? They just don't want to talk about it or the negative aspects of Islam here that we are having to endure and deal with.
We need to see to it that our laws here are upheld properly and not amended to allow them any leeway to practice what is contradictory and not in-keeping with our culture and values.

Keep us posted on how you get on with your scan. Everything is crossed for you.

29 October 2013 at 21:49  

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