Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Burka - Lifting The Veil

The policy Ukip proposes of banning the Burka has provoked a storm of protest and controversial comment in the media and blogosphere. At the outset let it be clear it is suggested that it should only be banned in certain situations, ie where visual recognition is required (see comment from Gawain Towler)

Nigel Farage was interviewed today on the Politics Show  (approx 6.45 minutes in) today, alongside a proponent for wearing the burka. It was amusing to see a woman, attired in 'western' dress but wearing a form of 'headscarf', arguing the case for acceptance of the burka. Contradiction? Muslims appear to wish to assert their 'right' to wear the burka yet seem unable to accept our 'right' to object to the imposition of sharia law, which they demand. Contradiction? It could well be argued there is nothing extreme or radical or ridiculous about banning the burka in that it is a manifestation of many British Muslims’ indifference to society; it is an expression of wilful separation and their wish to not conform.

This basically comes down to the question of customs and practices. On a personal level, when I go to another country - whether that is to visit or stay - I accept their customs and practices. As an example, when visiting northern Cyprus, one of the first lessons I learnt was that when meeting a Turkish couple one did not, under any circumstances, address the women until such time as her husband/partner assented. Another example: Expat Brit women, when shopping and needing to ask a question of a male Turkish empoyee of a store, did not look that male 'in the eye' as it would 'cause offence'. Ridiculous to us Europeans, but that is 'their' custom and one has to respect that. Even now, after a few visits, it is still frustrating to experience the situation whereby the business section of the continent - well, Spain anyway - appears to 'shut down' for the afternoon - but that is their custom and practice and one has to accept it.

The old adage of 'when in Rome.......' springs to mind?

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