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Former foreign secretary Jack Straw said Muslim women who wore full veils made community relations "more difficult", sparking criticism from Islamic groups who said the comments would cause anger in their communities.
Straw, now Leader of the House of Commons, said a veil was "a visible statement of separation and difference" and that he felt much more comfortable dealing with
people with their faces uncovered.
The Blackburn MP says the veil is a "visible statement of separation and of difference" and he asks women visiting his surgery to consider removing it.....
....."wearing the full veil was bound to make better, positive relations between the two communities more difficult".
Asking women to consider showing the mouths and noses could lead to true "face-to-face" conversations with constituents, enabling him to "see what the other person means, and not just hear what they say".
He said he made sure he had a female colleague in the room when asking someone to show their mouth and nose - and his constituents had so far always agreed to do so.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission said the Commons leader's request was selective discrimination.
But the Muslim Council of Britain said it understood Mr Straw's discomfort.
Without exception the Muslim women I saw being interviewed the UK news shows tonight said that there were far more important things to be concerned about and didn't seem particularly 'outraged'.
Jack Straw has been accused of being selectively discriminating by asking Muslim women if they would remove their veils when they visit his constituency surgery.
Three people are being questioned over a series of attacks on a Muslim-owned dairy in Windsor.
And Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has ordered an urgent review of a decision to excuse a Muslim officer from guard duties at the Israeli Embassy in London.
The Conservative Party described the remarks as dangerous
BTW Catherine Hossain (the young British-born Muslim woman doing the rounds of the TV studios last night here ) did not look at all 'outraged' to me.
Massoud Shadjareh, of the human rights commission, told the BBC it was "astonishing" that Mr Straw chose to "selectively discriminate on the basis of religion".
Baksedha Khan, 34, of Audley, Blackburn, accused him of using the issue to advance his bid for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party.
She asked: "Why is he making a big issue of this now? Does he have an ulterior motive? I think this is all about his political future and he is looking for publicity."
Just out of interest, how does this work with things like police interviews and the likes?
Originally posted by spencerjohnstone
If you had seen her on Sky news an the BBC news earlier she looked outraged to me.
Originally posted by Liberal1984
Personally I have to say the Met was quite wrong to remove him from his post…
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman added: "On occasions and for a variety of reasons, an officer may ask to be moved with a specific command. Every case is considered separately, balancing the needs of the MPS against those of the individual and the role which he or she is asked to perform.
Cases are kept under review.
He should have stayed there so that if a terrorist did come along, they could at least kill half the Israeli civilian staff before the policeman sounded the alarm.
In fact I think it’s a good idea if only people from Hamas can guard the Israeli embassy; and if people from Hamas (with relatives in the Middle East) don’t like guarding the Israeli embassy they should ether not join the police force, or just shut up (and not do their job!!!)
So you see it’s pretty clear that someone(s) amongst the media chat rooms, and networks has decided it would be a good idea if we could make all things anti Muslim, top of the agenda.
In my opinion, pro-Israel (coincidently Jewish) Jack Straw is only playing his part in that big scheme of things. I mean what a stupid thing to be saying? So clearly there’s more going on.
I would go for the “democratic approach” where local councils ask woman to take of their veils. You know at bus stations and public seats how they have those “no drinking signs”, perhaps they could also have one for the veil?
In the meantime (being the freeborn English citizen I am) if I see a Muslim woman and I want her take of her veil I will ask. But frankly because so many of their women are (to my eyes) ugly I wouldn’t. The veil after all is there for a reason. (So let them pass).
If her face was covered, how could you tell?
If not, why should she be outraged?
Originally posted by spencerjohnstone
Her face was not covered that is how I could tell that she was outraged....
.....I watched the interview with her on the BBC and Sky she looked outraged to me.
The Commons leader said he did not want to be "prescriptive" but he believed that covering people's faces could make community relations more difficult.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has defended the right of Muslim women to wear veils on the Sunday AM programme.
Scotland's communities minister has criticised Jack Straw's comments on the wearing of veils by Muslim women.