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The veil

Amid the current debate about the veil, you might be interested in reading about the experiences and opinion of one Iranian woman, Nasrin Parvaz.

Nasrin writes of her battle with her mother as a young girl living in pre-1978 Iran, in order to win the right to refuse the veil.

A passionate campaigner for human rights and freedom of speech, Nasrin came to the UK in 1993 after a long period of imprisonment and torture by the regime. You can read more of her short stories on her own web site here.
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posted by Blogger sokari at 1:25 pm

We have to differentiate here between the choice to wear or not to wear the veil as a personal choice and a state making that choice for you. I do not have to support believe in or desire to wear a veil - I am not even Muslim. However I do not think it is appropriate for the British government to dictate on the wearing of religious apparel especially in this instance when an MP who is in a position of power asks a woman to remove her veil.

Also one has to look at the racist and islamphobic discourse that accompanied and followed the statement    

posted by Anonymous Jonathan at 5:19 pm

We are witnessing a fabricated discourse. We must ask ourselves: why has the government chosen to launch this discourse at this time? It seems at least possible they are doing this to get back onside with alienated voters. It is absolutely sinister but not surprising, given the depths to which this corrupt government has already fallen. our of the gutter, into the sewer. This taken for granted, I find the veil disturbing, myself. I think it would be wise for everyone to recognise cultural sensitivites. I am not sure it is a positive thing that people are wearing masks on our streets. I also suspect that some women wear the veil as a deliberate provocation and manifestation of militancy. Certainly in Afghanistan andfthe Gulf, women have been assaulted for NOT wearing a veil. So it is certainly not a symbol of emancipation. But I agree it is nauseating listening to government ministers holding forth on this subject, and beholding the manufactured 'debate' in the media.    

posted by Anonymous Nasrin at 9:07 am

Jack Straw’s veil

For a few days now Jack Straw’s comment on the veil has been all over the newspapers. It is not only the newspapers that make news, Jack Straw too knows how to manipulate news. English people may not be able to see the real Jack Straw behind his words about being uncomfortable talking with someone whose face is covered, but we Iranians who fled the Islamic regime and its compulsory law of veil, know well that Jack Straw is himself hiding behind a veil, a dirty veil.

Yes, Jack Straw has no problem with the veil and all these years when he went to Iran and hugged mullahs, he never asked them why they made a law of 74 lashes for any woman who would not comply with the Islamic dress code, part of which is the veil. Jack Straw never had a problem with his colleague Clare Short wearing a veil when she went to Iran. Jack Straw’s government has funded too many mosques during the last few years. Jack Straw doesn’t have a problem with small girls going to school in UK with a veil. The small girls have to obey their parents and pretend to be happy with their outfit to win their family's love. These small girls had bad luck to be born in a Moslem family, otherwise they wouldn't have to go to school with religious symbols.

Ayatollah Jack Straw doesn’t have a problem with the veil, his only problem is that he doesn’t like to be talking with someone hiding behind a mask, while he has a mask. His mask is that he is helping the Islamic regime and the Moslems in UK but makes a fuss about a tiny percent of Moslem women who cover their face. His words against these Moslem women is a weapon to cover his guilty face for helping Moslems all these years.

This kind of attack against Islamic behaviour from a right wing politician like Jack Straw is only picking on a few Moslem women who live with a mask, he’ll never help those who are struggling against the Islamic regime or Islamic culture.    

posted by Anonymous Nasrin at 12:23 pm

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.    

posted by Anonymous Nasrin at 12:25 pm

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.    

posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12:27 pm

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.    

posted by Blogger dogano22 at 5:21 pm

I think it is wrong to allow a group of people to seclude themselves from society by masking their face. The veil worn in public makes it clear that 'they don't to be part of society'. In view of the reasons for the veil being worn 'men are pressumed to have no control over their sexual urges and women that don't cover are pressumed to be without dignity' i think it's highly immorally and offensive to all men and women, when this garment is worn. It judges all men to be sex beasts and women without dignity. No one should be given the right to discriminate against men and women in public. Nor should they be allowed to cry racist when challenged about showing their face. Racism doesn't come into it. Racism is a lever being used to further a right to wear a garment that is a religious symbol no less. Religious beliefs of this extremeness belong in the home or places of worship where they don't infringe on the rights of others. In addition, the veil gives out mixed messages to different people, i asked a young boy why he thought the teacher hid her face when the man came in the classroom, he replied 'the women had done something wrong and was scared of the man'. That insight from a 9 year old boy is shocking. That said, the actions of the veiled teacher teach young girls cover up its shameful to show ones body', it also teaches that women are submissive and that men are to be feared. These are indoctrinations we don't want to force onto children in schools. The veiling could also cause young boys to grow up resenting women as it tells them 'you are not worthy to share my space'.
As for the outcry in regard to jack straws request, a simple one that most of us never need to be asked 'can i see your face', i find it laughable that he was labelled as being racist. Eye tests require the face to be unveiled, so does dental treatment and operations? I take it that all veilers go without these things??? So are these people that offer these services also racist? I think not. When the racist card is played by veilers its nothing more than an attempt to get their own way. Where is my right to see who i am talking to? Racism has no place in this issue. This issus is about veilers wearing a uniform to identifiy their difference. I also perceive it as a display of their intolerance for people that are different to them. To allow a group of people to wear publically their beliefs over their head and face is intimidating, it also ensures they dont have to participate in society. The purpose of the veil is to cause a barrier, it does that with flying colours. I feel let down by the powers that be for allowing this divide to happen. Showing your face is respectful in uk. Helmets are removed out of respect, so are hoodies and hats. Why should a group of people be allowed to hide their face? No one elses difference offends me as they don't hide their face and peer out from behind a veil. This is 2007, not 700. No one should be able to make others feel as if they are not worthy. Religion has too much importance in society and it's all one sided. No one should have the right to wear a portable barrier to keep out those different to them. I do think human rights are being manipulated by veilers and that they have the upper hand. What about the rights of others that don't hide their face? We have none. Only in the workplace can a female be prevented from veiling, as it's sexually discriminating against men when they veil among them.
Communication problems caused by veils are another matter. Voices are muffled under a cloth. I could go on about this issue but i think the video of the teacher on u-tube makes clear the difficulty in understanding what the teacher was saying. She too had trouble understanding the questions put to her.
When veilers liken their right to veil to that of a surgeons, its laughable almost. Some other instances of masks worn are below: Bike riders helmet is worn to protect the head from injury should they crash.

Surgeons or dentists' surgical mask
is worn to protect from blood splashes and to prevent infection. It's also smaller and thinner and attaches around the ears. Its the surgeons/dentist duty to protect the patient and themselves from infection.

Rugby and hockey players face mask and helmet is worn to protect from injury.

Welder's mask is worn for health and saftety reasons.

Fencer's mask is worn to protect from injury.
Not veiling doesn't cause the wearer health and safety issues. Veils are also not required for speech. If they were life saving, i would accept them. If the person had a skin allergy to daylight, no one would object as exposure to light can kill people with this condition.
I think all religious dress symbols should be banned from the workplace and schools, so that no one can wear anything religious. That way the rule is fair. Schools are not there to accomadate religious requests, they are there to educate children. Religion belongs in the home and in places of worship. Until this loophole is tightened up, there will not be equality among men and women. France and Turkey imposed dressing curbs, why on earth can't the UK. On a larger scale, how do we know who we are talking too? If we can't see them....The veil is not a religious requirement in the quran and it's not compulory in Islam, so why is it choice here? How does one know all those that wear it, do so by choice? Given that females would be scared to speak out against their forcer.    

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