Monday, October 16, 2006

The burqa is an aggressive symbol

Burqa Babe . ( Its a pun...)

But symbols can be powerful and aggressive

All new religious schools could have to offer at least 25% of their classroom places to "non-believing" children, the BBC has learned. Education Secretary Alan Johnson believes the move could reduce religious and racial tension”

Why the sudden panic about Muslims then?The whole Straw inspired Burqa story was peculiar from the start. When I saw it I thought a transparent attempt of an outrider to chase down stray working class votes after having betrayed then for ten years . People seem to be taking it at face value but nonetheless talking about the wrong things . The issue with the Burqa is not about religious freedom its about cultural context and the meaning it gives to symbols. Sounds like baloney I know but think of this . Suppose I say I have a religion that believes all black people are better of dead .It is entirely plausible that such a religion should exist and I `m sure others can think of near equivalents. Now can I turn up at school with a tee shirt that proclaims the basic tenets of my “faith “? Clearly not . In our culture the fact this is religious is irrelevant it is politically and morally offensive in every way.
So ultimately the label religion is incidental . Politically ,is the wearing of a burqa something we might find offensive in to our culture? Perhaps yes . It says women are to be subjugated . Sex is evil and its mostly the fault of women. It also gives a political message of support for Islamic extremism and terrorism . Teaching at a catholic school in a Orange order attire ? Or a Jewish school wearing a swastika ?To what extent are these example similar or different ? To what extent can we tolerate inflammatory political statements counter to Liberal Western democracy ,especially in a position of trust with children?
I think it is over the line but my main point is that this dress is a symbol which is a deliberate aggressive assault on our values. It is an attack we can either live with or not and these are the terms by which we can decide.
For reasons mentioned above I do not for one second believe Jack Straw cares one way or another.
It is also obvious that noone will want to go to Islamic Schools except Muslims which demonstrates the tawdry opportunism of the quota initiative

1 comment:

Newmania said...

A work of genius ,I loved it

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