burqa ban
Freedom of Religion

There's nothing British about banning the burqa

 

Not content with a “total ban” on Muslim schools, Ukip leadership candidate Lisa Duffy now wants to ban Muslims from wearing burqas; those Darth Vader-like cloaks which some Muslims believe are ordained by Allah to cover women from head to toe because no part of their body may ever be seen by male eyes, other than those of their husband, son or pet cat Ja’far. Ms Duffy isn’t, however, proposing a total burqa ban: Muslim women would still be free to wear them in the bath or cooking a halal burgers in the back garden. It’s to be a partial ban: just in public – shopping centres, buses, trains and London Underground. You know, those places where people tend to get stabbed or bombed.

To be fair to Lisa Duffy, another Ukip leadership hopeful Bill Etheridge also wants to ban burqas, but nobody bothered much to report what he said when he said it. Perhaps it’s because he doesn’t want to a total ban on Muslim schools as well. But it’s a bit rich of him to accuse Ms Duffy of “chasing the bigot vote” by focusing “on small issues like Islam which makes us look small-minded”, and then to come out with his own manifesto pledge to ban burqas, which makes him look just as small-minded as Ms Duffy (though perhaps far more inattentive, for Islam is by no means a “small issue”).

The thing is, Ukip has been here before. Former party leaders Nigel Farage and Malcolm (Lord) Pearson both called for burqas to be banned. Farage said they oppressed women and were symbolic of an “increasingly divided Britain”; Pearson thought they represent fear and constitute a security risk. For Ms Duffy, it’s about all of these things, but also about creating a “well-rounded community”. She said: “This is about us working together to make sure there is an equality within faith groups and that they have the same freedoms that you and I both share.”

Except, of course, that by limiting what Muslim women may wear in public, you deny them the equality you claim, and remove from them “the same freedoms that you and I both share”.

It’s difficult to know what Lisa Duffy and Bill Etheridge are playing at with these announcements, for it is the most colossal distraction from their core raison d’être, which is, post-Independence Day UK, to ensure that Brexit means Brexit. One would think that advocating any other policy which may be a cause of division in the increasingly fractious ranks of their party might be a sure path to self-destruction. Ukip should be concerned solely with Brexit and the restoration of a parliament made up of the directly-elected representatives of a sovereign people. In the words of (Sir) Lynton Crosby, everything else is just barnacles on the boat.

A notion of liberty which stipulates which garments may or may not be worn in public soon turns to limitations on free speech and the banning of books. There is no doubt that some Muslim women are oppressed, and no doubt that some garments present a security risk. But some Muslim girls are equally coerced into wearing hijabs, and Islamists don’t generally seem too bothered about hiding their faces from security services or CCTV cameras. Martyrs-4-Mohammed tend to want the world to know who they are, if only to ensure the propagation of their cult.

European Christendom has an emerging problem with Saudi-Salafism, but Islamism and Islamophobia have got nothing on Islamomania. And Islamomania is what is driving the sorts of illiberal knee-jerk demands of Geert Wilders, Lisa Duffy and Bill Etheridge (who also, incidentally, wants to ban halal and kosher slaughter, so there’s another “small-minded” policy which is sure to bolster Ukip’s Jewish vote).

If this were an attempt to broaden Ukip’s appeal and address the genuine concerns of disaffected white working-class voters, they need to explain how criminalising (fining or imprisoning?) hundreds of Muslim women is going to create “a well-rounded community, a community that has an opportunity for all”. Isn’t it rather more likely to sow social discontent and breed more resentment?

Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council for Britain when Farage and Pearson first mooted the ban, said: “UKIP is supposed to be proud of Britain’s traditions and values, which include freedom of speech, association and religion. The overwhelming majority of women who wear the burka do so out of a sense of religious duty. It is their interpretation of their religion. UKIP have no right to overrule that. It is nobody else’s business.”

You may demur and insist that burqas are cultural garb rather than religious expression, but who are you? Who made you theologian-judge and divine jury over what garments are desirable for spiritual style or necessary for religious piety?

It is not a burqa which is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy, but the banning thereof. Unlike French laïcité, which inclines naturally toward such prohibitions, the United Kingdom has no tradition of the imposition of a hard secularism. We have instead three tortuous centuries of progressive freedom of religion, and that freedom was hard-won.

The proper operation of democracy begins with the people, and the collective is constituted of individuals, and these individuals must be free think, free to speak, free to associate and free to wear what they wish to wear within the limits of public decency. If one wishes to ban the garments of those who wish to cover their faces for religious reasons, one will also need to ban the ghost costume worn by thousands of children at Halloween.

In a free society, one must be at liberty to choose not to conform.

The liberty to conform only to the dress code and outward expression of religion as determined and defined by Ukip is no freedom at all: it is intolerance, oppression and tyranny; it is everything that Ukip professes to hate about the EU.

  • IanCad

    Three centuries of progressive religious freedom. Lost as in an instant.

    “—it is intolerance, oppression and tyranny” And from thence to enforcement, compulsion and incarceration. The limits on liberty commence only at the harm to others.

    • Dominic Stockford

      We can have no ‘liberty’ if it has no boundaries and no defenders.

      • IanCad

        The boundary is defined in my last sentence.

  • Coniston

    ‘The overwhelming majority of women who wear the burka do so out of a sense of religious duty.’ Doubtless some do. Others are forced to.

  • Dreadnaught

    It is not a burqa which is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy, but the banning thereof

    Try walking around in similar numbers in a Nazi uniform or Stormtroopers outfit and you will soon understand why your statement is such a profound misjudgement of the power of a symbolic uniform.

    • IanCad

      It is not illegal to dress up in such a garb is it?

      • Dreadnaught

        Uniform is illegal if attached to political activities. Islam is a political movement and gets a free pass because it demands tolerance by masquerading as a benign religion.

        • IanCad

          Never heard that one before. Boy scouts not allowed to participate in any cause they so choose?

          • Dreadnaught

            A constable may enter and search any premises for the purpose of arresting a person for an offence under Section 1 (prohibition of political uniforms) Public order Act 1986.

          • IanCad

            But a short step from political to religious interdiction.
            Thanks Dred – First I’ve heard of it.

          • CliveM

            What political activity are Boy Scouts connected with?

            This all resulted as a response to Mosely’s Blackshirts.

  • Uncle Brian

    Would that be the same Ukip that once mistook Westminster Cathedral for a mosque?

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2014/11/27/ukip-official-mistakes-westminster-cathedral-for-a-mosque/

    • IanCad

      It does seem that UKIP attracts the shallowest of our electorate. They have an idea, a feeling, an impulse – meet a few like minded people and conviction, even infallibility sets in PDQ.

      • wiggiatlarge .

        It does seem that UKIP attracts the shallowest of our electorate.

        Your not a Guardian reader by any chance, and our independence is nowhere near secured.

        • IanCad

          Yes Wiggy, I do occasionally read The Guardian. Mostly to reassure myself that we are indeed on a downward spiral. The almost unimaginable drivel penned by the likes of Owen Jones reminds be never to let my guard down.
          Oh Yes! Our independence is not secured. If history is a guide force of arms may be required to ensure its coming to pass.

    • Anton

      It is from the domes of Byzantine churches that mosque domes appear to derive, and the same explicitly inspired the architect of Westminster Cathedral.

  • We need to understand why Kemal Ataturk thought it necessary to ban the burqa in Turkey. He realised that the seclusion of women was incompatible with the modern democratic values that he hoped would characterise modern Turkey. Full participation in society is impossible when women are hidden behind the burqa.

    True, some Muslim women in the West might actually ‘choose’ to wear the burqa as a symbol of their identification with puritanical Islamic values and refusal to integrate. Is this to be encouraged?

    • IanCad

      It is precisely those women who choose the burqa whose rights should be secure. As to the unfortunates who are under the dominion of a tyrannical and wretched husband/master then, in this country the law should be enforced, that is, if there is such a law prohibiting cruelty to a person.

      • Since 9/11, the burqa has suddenly become quite popular in the Muslim world. In the previous century, most Muslim women in South Asia or Africa dressed in the local fashion, and only wore scarves over their heads in public. Yet, today in India, Pakistan, Africa and the Caribbean, Muslim women, whose mothers never wore the burqa, are imitating the Saudis in more ways than outward clothing.

        The burqa is not as innocuous as it looks; it is a sign of certain things happening within the Muslim community, which one should be cautious about tolerating.

        We are witnessing an inner revolution within Muslim communities – an awakening of hard-core Islamic values characterised among other things by intolerance towards Jews and other infidels, and a defiant rejection of Western values. The younger women who are not coerced to wear the burqa, but choosing to, tend to identify with Wahabbi values.

        Offering them special protection is all very nice, but as their numbers grow, their demands for special privileges will take on more aggressive and even violent forms. Finally, the choice will be taken away from other women – particularly Muslim women – who do not wish to enshroud themselves in the burqa. It is far better if they are quietly and firmly discouraged at this stage.

        • IanCad

          Anna, You always make a lot of sense, and you do now. I agree with your assessment – even to the point of unofficially discouraging the wearing of such a garb.
          However, we have plenty of laws to prosecute those who may wish us harm. We need no more.

          • bluedog

            Do we know what Muslim ladies wear under their burqas, or is it best not to ask?

          • RichardSplaken

            Another Burqa, and then another one, ad infinitum. They are, to quote Alan Partridge, “Never naked under their clothes.”

          • bluedog

            Like babushka dolls? The thought was that a burqa might be a huge painting smock to be worn on trips to Cartiers before being discarded for something more alluring at home.

    • Cressida de Nova

      I don’t think in many cases it is a manifestation of puritanical values when a lot wear tight fitting pants and tops with makeup with the token head scarf. The same with Orthodox Jewish women who wear glam Goldie Hawn wigs with full make – up rather than a scarf . All of it is gross hypocrisy.

  • Dominic Stockford

    1. There’s nothing British about the Burka.
    2. Can I wear a full-face Motorcycle helmet everywhere I go please?
    3. Or a balaclava?
    4. Thought not…

    • IanCad

      Unless I’m much mistaken, there are no legal prohibitions on items 1-3.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Can quoting you get me out of trouble if I do 2 or 3? Will your word help me out at the bank? Will you come and deal with the discussion at the police station for me?

        Or are they in fact, in practice, banned?

        • IanCad

          Dominic, I have no problems with banks adopting whatsoever security precautions they see fit. The effected customer is quite free to take his business elsewhere.

          • Dominic Stockford

            And my other queries? Will you be there for me? Or is your reference to banks to be generically applied? As the police already, in fact, do.

          • IanCad

            Dominic, If you were dumb enough (I’m not suggesting you are) to enter a bank dressed thus, and were hauled away for an interview I would be the last person to offer help.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You seem stuck on the banks. But why can I not enter Blue Water shopping centre in a hoodie, when women (and maybe men) can enter in a full burka.

          • IanCad

            I’m fine with a corporation doing whatever it feels best to secure the safety of staff and customers.
            Now, if they are so PC – or rather, afeared of the diversity lobby – that security is subordinated to compliance with the dictates of loudmouth Muslim preachers, then we have a problem that must be resolved ASAP.

  • The Explorer

    A Martian on being told that Muslims immigrants in Sweden object to scantily-clad native women would probably see a strange paradox.
    You would have expected something all-enveloping like the burqa to have evolved in a cold country like Sweden, and the light and exposing attire to have emerged in the hot countries of the Middle East.
    One would have to explain to the Martian that there were factors other than climatic considerations involved.

  • The Explorer

    In the photo accompanying the post there is a spoof white burqa. Do white burqas actually exist?
    When I visited Dubai I noticed Dubai males with two, three or four burqa-clad females in tow. The men all wore white robes, but the women were, without exception, dressed in black.
    Black absorbs heat. Is that the explanation?

    • Anton

      This is a complex issue. You have to look at emission and absorption of radiation on both sides of the clothing, ie between clothing and body, on the one hand, and between clothing and environment on the other. Black might absorb better from the environment but it also absorbs better from the body, which is what you want in order to stay cool. And in calculating the energy balance you have to consider all wavelengths of radiation, not just those visible to the eye. The answer to black or white clothing might be different indoors and out, ie in direct sunlight and otherwise. There are all sorts of cocky answers to this on the internet by people who forget to take all of the effects involved into account.

      • The Explorer

        I’m just going by my experiences of getting into a black car and a white car on a hot day. The one felt hotter than the other.
        I suppose my question is why do the men wear white and the women wear black?

        • Anton

          Perhaps because it works out cooler to wear white outdoors and black indoors. The competing effects at work make the answer non-intuitive, and the answer might be different indoors and outside in direct sunlight. I don’t know, and I don’t trust a quick pass on the internet. I learnt to my surprise that Bedouin tents are black, for instance. I wish people not to assume that the answer is necessarily to do with oppression of women.

          • The Explorer

            Re your first sentence, that would be fine if both sexes/genders wore white outdoors and black indoors.

            But it’s a complex issue. Greek peasant women wear black, despite the heat. When I asked about it, I was told that they were widows, and expected to wear black for the rest of their lives. In which case, oppression of women is not simply a Muslim problem. But don’t Greek priests wear black too?

          • Anton

            I’m phrasing my comments cautiously because I know (as a physicist) that the answer is not obvious. I’m not denying that cultural influences might be at work, either, just saying that people should not jump to the conclusion that the reason for the black colour of burkas is gratuitous suffering inflicted on women by men.

        • IanCad

          I have nothing to back this up, but I do recall and old Arab hand telling me it was due to the fact that blood turns black when dried, and where sanitary towels are unavailable convenience trumps all.

  • David

    This article jumps around a bit ranging from clothing to halal slaughter, thus trying to encompass what are very different debates, rather unsuccessfully I’d say. But maybe the linking factor is freedom, to reflect ones faith conscience – but does that trump animal welfare and who says so ?

    So looking at just clothing, then where security is vital, say in public spaces and places, clearly the enclosing nature of that dreadful oppressive mobile prison, the burka, totally defeats the opportunity for legitimate identification. Therefore yes, it is unacceptable. Similarly where communication is vital, as in a court room, a class room or a hospital situation, again such an outer all -enveloping layer frustrates the essential and legitimate activity of those places. Therefore, yes, again it is unacceptable.

    Whilst few object to the wearing for a head scarf, many including me, find the burka an unacceptable expression of a politically driven sharia system for the ordering of society; for does it not classify women as that sex which can be regarded as the property of male relatives or a husband, and therefore covered up, away from public view ? In terms of public life they don’t exist ! Truly it is a sort of mobile purdah. I for one do not appreciate that political system being proclaimed in public.

    The silence of the mainly left-liberal leaning feminists on this issue is deafening, as their value system, created within what is arguably a post-Christian western context, seems unable to recognise oppression within any other culture, even when intruded jarringly into western nations. Are they incapable of getting up to speed ? The inconsistency, to the point of acute cognitive dissonance, of the left-liberal tendency continues to amaze many like me who lean to the right, socially, as we defend the principles clustered around our freedoms.

  • john in cheshire

    I’m afraid that I’d like to see both muslim schools banned and the burqa banned in public places. I also would like it to be unacceptable for people, except tourists and temporary visitors to our country, to speak other than English in public. I’d also like any mosque that has any associations with muslim killers, either here or abroad, to be closed down and the imams, mullahs and ayatollahs connected with them expelled from our country and prevented from ever returning. I’d also like it if the muslims in our country married muslims in our country, rather than importing more spouses from abroad.

    • The Explorer

      How many women should a Muslim man in Britain be allowed to marry?

      • john in cheshire

        One. That’s what is permitted in our country.

        • Dreadnaught

          We should stop child benefits to unmarried mothers which would serve several purposes in the process.

          • bluedog

            It would be unfair to stop benefits to single mums who become single through no fault of their own after the bloke goes off wiv anovver bird.

          • Anton

            If they were married, he should be pursued for financial support. If they weren’t… that’s where modern society takes a different view from God in the Law of Moses. Modern society still goes after the man whatever; Mosaic Law does so only if the woman was a virgin at the start of the relationship. Interesting…

          • bluedog

            Sounds as though the plastic surgeons could be on to something…

          • IanCad

            Nail the impregnator. If he’s on benefits transfer them to the mum.

          • bluedog

            There’s a difficulty here. As one descends the social orders, the likelihood is that each pregnancy is instigated by a different ‘partner’, all of whom are on benefits. One could possibly formulate a law regarding the velocity of circulation of benefits following one-night stands. Paradoxically a similar situation persists in the upper reaches of celebrity circles, where bed-hopping seems just as common. In all regards.

          • The man should have to pay after all they are his kids and responsibility.

        • The Explorer

          The problem is, multiple wives have already been allowed, with wives 2,3 and 4 integrated within the welfare system as single mums.

          • john in cheshire

            So, we start somewhere; perhaps by saying as of tomorrow, all benefits will be allowed for one wife, and benefits for unmarried mothers are restricted to one child. In time, this can be eliminated so that only the married family receive any benefits, and only then once they have been here for at least, say, 10 years and have been paying into the system for that period.

          • David

            Totally agree.

          • pascal78

            I agree completely. Vote UKIP and start the restoration and protection of our Christian culture (what is left of it) . .Ban the burqa. It is a cultural and political weapon and must be eliminated for our sake and the sake of all women living in this land.

    • IanCad

      Apart from the first two sentences, and being a bit flaky on the last, I agree with you.

    • pascal78

      I agree with you 100%

    • Anton

      Speaking Welsh in public?

      • IrishNeanderthal

        Welsh is the senior language in Great Britain, being spoken here — in ancestral form — long before the Romans arrived.

        When I see, in our local civic centre, a list of languages where interpretation is available, I am miffed to see Welsh at the bottom. It should be promoted to the top, followed by Scottish Gaelic, which came over from Ireland a couple of centuries after the Anglo-Saxons arrived.

  • Anton

    In all courtesy I think it does not sit particularly well for Your Grace, in an essay insisting it is not for others to dictate what people should wear, to say that UKIP “should” be concerned solely with Brexit and the restoration of a parliament made up of the directly-elected representatives of a sovereign people.

    • David

      Quite !
      I don’t remember voting for His Grace to write Ukip’s policy.

  • Jon Sorensen

    One would think advocating rights for oppressed people is a British thing to do. Burqa is used as a tool for oppression of women in many countries where state, village or family forces women to wear burqas which also excludes women from many activities. Many news photos show women gladly removing their burqa when they escaped ISIS controlled are showing how many women hate it and what it symbolize.

    Shouldn’t we advocate banning the tools of oppression of women and banning women wearing burqas. I don’t really mind if men want to wear a burqa so I don’t think we should totally ban it.

    • bluedog

      When not wearing a white dish-dasha, British men should consider a black onesy to complement the burqas worn by their wives.

  • It is not a burqa which is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy

    A religion that classes women as an inferior species is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy. A religion that commands its followers to commit acts of violence is incompatible with freedom and democracy. For future generations to continue to enjoy a free and democratic Britain, Islam would have to discard its beliefs and reform itself beyond all recognition. As that will not happen, our only option is to stand up to that vile faith. Banning both the burqa and religious slaughter are the first steps along the road.

    • Anton

      Anna made a powerful point below in stating that Ataturk banned the burka.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Well, I advocate the return of the crinoline, shawl, tippet, poke bonnet and veil…that’s British ….

    • IanCad

      What about the guys? Bring back the codpiece.

    • bluedog

      We should probably introduce a uniform for politicians. Gentlemen, if one dares use that term, should be encouraged to wear a black jacket, waistcoat, conservatively striped trousers and a shirt with starched detachable stick-up collar to give the Neville Chamberlain look that seems so appropriate. Lady members in ordinary could dress like Mrs Pankhurst, while Mrs May would cut a splendid figure by channelling the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

      • Anton

        In the face of the present challenge we are behaving exactly like Neville Chamberlain, so why not dress up like him too?

      • IanCad

        Then, as according to Dredders further down the page, such a uniform would be a violation of existing law.

        • bluedog

          Politicians are above the law.

      • Hi BD,

        And a variety of top hats.

        • bluedog

          Excellent idea. If the mood swings to Churchillian, a black Homburg from Messrs Herbert Johnson would do nicely.

  • The Explorer

    Liberally-minded women I have spoken to say women should be free to wear the burqa if they want to. Should it be a requirement for all Muslim women? Of course not. A choice, not a requirement. Should non-Muslim women have to wear it? Don’t be silly. What planet are you on?

    This would be fine if all Muslims shared their live-and-let-live attitude. But one of the 9/11 planners said he dreamed of seeing all the women on Madison Avenue in burqas. He thought they would do so spontaneously when they saw the beauty of the religion; otherwise, the men would persuade them. Why all the women? Because if he had his way there would be no non-Muslims.

    • dannybhoy

      What is absolutely stoopid and disingenuous is that Islam is a religion of peace.
      But not ‘peace’ in the Western understanding of the word.
      Nor is it a religion of tolerance.
      Killing or maiming others who do not conform is not tolerance, it is bigotry.
      If some Muslims living in the West are anxious to make the West Shari’a compliant, why did they leave their country of origin?
      Are we forcing them to stay?
      No.
      Could it be that they don’t want to return to their country of origin because the system failed them?
      If that is true, then why would they want to impose a failed way of life on us whose way of life is better for them?
      Where they can protest and declaim the West in complete freedom?
      The logic is skewed.In fact the only reason that makes any sense is that we in the West must submit to the same unhappy system that these zealots labour under. I would hazard a guess that most Muslims emigrated to the West because they recognised it offered them far more than life under Islam ever could.

  • Sybaseguru

    It seems the question is whether Islam is a political movement or a religion. If the former, then the burqa, as a uniform, is already illegal. Its doctrine demands that Muslims dominate the unbeliever in all politics and culture, in fact large chunks of the holy books are given over to the subject of subjugating the unbeliever, to the point where an unbeliever can pay a tax to be allowed to continue his unbelief. This seems to define a political movement, and hence the burqua is already illegal.

  • len

    The only point of wearing a Burqa is for concealment for whatever reason.. If a religion wants to operate under a cloak of darkness (literally) then this becomes a problem for the authorities when trying to establish the identity of the wearer of the Burqa.Male terror suspects have escaped under the noses of police officers disguised as women because to ask the Burqa wearer to reveal themselves was consider ‘an affront’ to Muslims…
    In a civilised society ‘transparency ‘an ‘openness ‘are seen as having honest intentions, this is why’ hoodies’ are viewed with suspicion by some.

    • dannybhoy

      “this is why’ hoodies’ are viewed with suspicion by some.”
      Even other hoodies..

    • weirdvisions

      Still talking sense, Len. I haven’t been a communicant for a while but I’ll be dipping in from time to time as it’s nice to hang out With His Grace. You might remember me as Gnostic.

      • len

        Certainly do remember you , often wonder what happened to people…

  • sarky

    Would these people also ban nuns habits??

    Just asking!!!

    • Nuns only have good habits.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Indeed !

        • Well, not the American “Nuns on a Bus”. Bunch of modernist, feminist lesbians, apparently.

    • Hi

      I misread that at first and thought you’d said nuns rabbits!

      • sarky

        Don’t get me started on their ‘hare’

      • Cressida de Nova

        Bitch !

    • Eustace

      Of course nuns’ habits should be banned if burqas are banned. And every carved idol of Mary in every church should be re-sculpted to portray suitable attire for a young mother in a mixed-orientation marriage whose husband is clearly preoccupied with his carpentry business and the strong young lads he employs as apprentices. He won’t be insisting on his conjugal rights. So she should be free to seek solace elsewhere. Equality is every woman’s right, after all.

      • The Explorer

        There’s a statue in Winchester of King Alfred holding a sword. By your criteria, it ought to be re-sculpted to show him holding a machine gun.

        You might have been preoccupied with Joseph’s apprentices, but where in the written records is there any evidence that he was?

        • Eustace

          If you’re trying to persuade me that the statues of Mary one sees in Catholic churches show her in historically correct dress then you’ve clearly lost the plot.

          The Mary we see in Catholic art is a 19th century European invention. Disturbingly Caucasian-looking women with peaches-and-cream complexions cannot have been a common sight in Roman Judea. The real Mary, if she ever existed, would have been a small, sallow woman with Semitic features dressed in dun-coloured homespun. She certainly wouldn’t have swanned about in purest whiter-than-white linen and cerulean blue silk with golden roses on her Prada flip-flops. Yet that’s how she’s portrayed by the Church.

          A statue of a gun-toting King Alfred would be no more incongruous.

          • The Explorer

            Fair point. As a Protestant, the churches I frequent tend not to have representations of Mary except as pre-Reformation survivals. And Rembrandt, for example, tended to depict his biblical figures in the attire of his own day.

            For the rest, we are told nothing about Mary’s size. People in the past were shorter, on average, than we are and lived briefer lives. On the basis of that generality, we cannot be dogmatic about a given individual for whom we have no specific data. Many representations of Mary are pre C19. One Normandy abbey, for example, has a C!4 statue of Mary. And Giotto’s ‘Madonna and Child’ shows Mary with dun-coloured head covering.

          • Eustace

            Giotto’s most famous representation of Mary shows her wearing a dark veil bordered with gold and a fine and preternaturally white linen robe also bordered with gold. The dun-coloured homespun of 1st century Judea is nowhere to be seen. She’s dressed in Giotto’s idea of what a fine but modest Roman lady would have been wearing. There’s little or no attempt to situate her in her own time, culture and sumptuary class.

            All representations of the “Holy Family” are based on the artist’s imagination and almost all are therefore highly anachronistic. So why not replace Alfred’s very Victorian idea of a Brythonic sword and attire with modern army fatigues and a Kalashnikov? Both representations would convey the idea of a protecting warrior. Neither would be historically accurate.

          • The Explorer

            I was thinking, from memory, of ‘The Flight into Egypt’. We had it as a Christmas card last year. I should have specified. How about Cimabue’s Madonna?

            “All representations of the “Holy Family” are based on the artist’s imagination.” That’s true enough, but some are probably more historically accurate than others. It depends on the artist. To move to another medium, details in ‘Jane Eyre’ are vague, but in ‘Wuthering Heights’ they are scrupulously accurate.

          • Eustace

            “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights” are both stories set in periods either personally lived through by the authors or the very recent past, of which plentiful evidence of how people dressed and behaved would have been available.

            “Wuthering Heights” has a very strict timeline. “Jane Eyre”

          • The Explorer

            Jane Eyre redistributes her property while she is still under twenty-one, which in reality she would not have been able to do. In ‘Wuthering Heights’, every date and detail coheres perfectly.
            To return to Arthur, how he would be represented would depend on intention. If thematic as protector, a machine gun would be fine. If a C5 warrior, a gun wouldn’t be. C12, where Malory more or less puts him, would be different again.

          • Eustace

            Brontë may have meant us to understand that Jane Eyre’s legal guardian consented to the gifts she made to her rescuers. Or in an age before computerisation and centralised record keeping, her attorney may merely have turned a blind eye to the fact that she hadn’t yet attained her majority.

            We don’t know if what appears to be an error in Brontë’s plot really was.

          • Anton

            “When it comes to the Bible and more specifically the Wretched sorry, Blessed Virgin, virtually no attempt has been made to portray her as a 1st century Jew and to situate her within that ethnicity and that culture.”

            Not by artists, certainly. But plentifully by theologians.

          • Eustace

            Be they artists or theologians, all their ideas about Mary spring from the imagination.

            Not a single shred of evidence exists to confirm that she ever existed. So theological musings about her life are based on very shaky foundations. Was she a 1st century Jew? Was she a composite of a 1st century Jew, a Persian, a Roman and whatever feminine stereotype the particular theologian was personally familiar with?

            Show me some facts about Mary’s life and then we can discuss what she was actually like. Until then she remains a fictional character who can be written as whatever you want her to be.

          • Anton

            The evidence is in ancient documents which Christians call the four original gospels. I am happy for them to be analysed in the same way as other ancient documents, as I believe that their authenticity will survive such scrutiny. For a fuller discussion of that issue, please wait until I have responded to your other comment, later today. But merely ignoring them is as dubious a practice as ignoring ancient documents about Caesar.

          • Eustace

            There’s a wealth of supporting evidence for Caesar. The coinage for one. Temple inscriptions for another. Corroborated accounts of various events in each emperor’s life. And basic probability also plays a role.

            Emperors exist. We have physical evidence of this. So although it may be difficult to prove the existence of a particular emperor if physical evidence for him is scarce, his existence still remains in the realm of the possible and, depending on the evidence that does exist, may even become likely.

            The same is not true for God however. We cannot point to any evidence provided by other gods, deities or any kind of incorporeal spirit and claim that because they exist, it’s possible or even probable that the Christian God does too.

            I can point to a living monarch like the emperor of Japan, or to a dead monarch like Napoléon Ier or Charles V, to illustrate the fact that emperors can exist, have existed and do exist. So the existence of Caesar becomes possible, and depending on the quality of the evidence for him, may even be probable or certain.

            Try doing that with God and see how far you get.

          • Anton

            You have subtly shifted from talking about Christ and his mother, who had corporate existence, to talking about God in the sense of Christ’s father, who doesn’t. Very different.

          • Eustace

            Not different. Identical.

            Show me evidence of Christ and his mother’s corporeal existence. Stories about their existence abound. But there’s no evidence that any of them are true.

            And if God the Father doesn’t have (or can’t assume) a corporeal form, how come Moses was able to check out his butt on Mt. Sinai?

          • Anton

            That’s a good question. In my opinion Moses was given a premonition of the second person of the Trinity. Am I now to expect your measured exposition of that doctrine?

            I accept that there is no evidence of the existence of Mary and Jesus that you would accept. Does that speak about the evidence or about you?

          • Eustace

            Doctrine? You flatter yourself. If your weak attempt to find an interpretation of Moses’ encounter with God on Mt. Sinai that doesn’t involve him ogling the divine butt must be dignified with the term “doctrine”, then may your imaginary God help us all. If you are in charge of interpreting his word, we’re all in trouble.

            Interesting that you believe Christ dwelt in (or do you mean on?) God’s butt before being incarnated however. Was he balanced there like that infamous champagne glass in Kim Kardashian’s “I broke the Internet” photo shoot? Or were they more intimately connected?

            Which of course begs the question: how did he get from God’s backwards regions into Mary’s womb? A running jump? Did he ski down the ample slopes and leap into the great unknown like a divine foreshadowing of Eddie the Eagle? Or was it a Tomorrow Person-like jaunt directly from gluteus to uterus?

            The implications for surrogacy techniques are enormous. If an embryo can be produced in the small of a man’s back and then beamed directly into a waiting woman’s uterus for the “final bake”, as it were, the number of same-sex couples wanting children will explode. Some kind of battery-powered fanny pack where conception takes place using a modified sperm cell transformed into an ovum from one man, and unmodified sperm from the other. Technically possible as things stand in terms of conception under laboratory conditions, although the technology reproducing those conditions inside a portable fanny pack hasn’t yet been developed. And nor has quantum teleportation, at least not as a reliable means of transferring significant amounts of mass from one point to another instantaneously and contiguously. But there’s money in reproductive technology, so you can be sure that such developments are in the pipeline.

            And as for evidence for Jesus and Mary, there is none that I’m aware of. No bits of divine cadaver in crystal reliquaries. No portraits taken from life, or authenticated locks of hair, or even fingernail clippings. No documents attested to have been authored by either individual. No contemporaneous inscriptions or documents describing them and their lives. Just a big gaping hole that Christians desperately try to plug up with hearsay, rumour and fictitious accounts written long after the events they claim to describe are supposed to have happened.

            If you had to prove Christ’s existence in a court of law, you couldn’t do it based on existing evidence. He’s more of a phantom and an archetype than a real individual. That’s what you worship rather than a flesh-and-blood man.

          • Anton

            You are entitled to your opinion. As regards your last paragraph, however, I disagree. Several well-known books detail conversions by people both gentile and Jewish who decided to look at the evidence for themselves with the aim of disproving it for once and all…

          • Eustace

            I’ve looked at the evidence and have not been convinced by it. All references to Christ from non-Christian sources date from significantly after his supposed lifetime and are really nothing more than hearsay. All we can deduce from them is that Christians of that period were convinced that a man called Christ had lived and should be followed as a god. Non-Christians observed this and commented on it, but their comments are not evidence that such a man existed, and they certainly provide no proof of his divinity.

            Christ may be an historical figure of sorts, or at least based on the life of an historical figure. But we have no proof that this is so. In which case, the best we can say is that he might have existed.

            Can you build a faith on “might have”? Apparently you can. I can’t. King Arthur, Merlin and Sir Lancelot might have existed, but that doesn’t mean I believe the fantastical stories that are told about their lives.

          • Anton

            “All references to Christ from non-Christian sources date from significantly after his supposed lifetime and are really nothing more than hearsay.”

            What else do you expect of a man who did not seek fame during his life and was not popular with the leaders of his own culture?

            I am happy to argue this on the basis of all documents, ie Christian and non-Christian, and to treat the two categories of document on the same basis; in other words I do not ask you to take the former as true on grounds of faith. But to insist on drawing inference only from the latter while ignoring the former is prejudiced scholarship.

    • The Explorer

      1. You would have a case if the term ‘burqa’ also applies to hijab and chador. Otherwise, there isn’t equivalence.

      2. Nuns’ habits apply to nuns. They aren’t enforced on all women.

      • sarky

        No. But they are enforced on nuns.

        • The Explorer

          Nuns have presumably chosen to be nuns. If so, that’s like saying uniforms are forced on airline crew or soldiers.

    • len

      I don`t think nuns go for the eye slit thing with their head covering?.

      • sarky

        Still an outward expression of faith. Not really any difference apart from a face covering.

        • len

          Covering ones face is the first principle of disguise.

          • sarky

            Maybe in the movies…

          • IrishNeanderthal

            In “The Road to Morocco”, featuring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, at one point our two heroes did cover themselves in Arab women’s dress in order to effect an escape.

        • CliveM

          In fairness no one is suggesting banning the Muslim headscarf (niqab?), which would be more of an equivalent.

          • Dreadnaught

            Hijab

  • CliveM

    Let’s be honest UKIP is fast becoming as irrelevant as the current Labour Party. With it’s whole reason for existence having been achieved, it’s now scrabbling around looking for a purpose.

    UKIP aren’t going to achieve Government. Who it elects and what they stand for will be of little interest to the electorate. But for the record, demonising a minority is not ‘the British way’, it doesn’t protect our culture, nor will our enhance our values.

    We should use current laws for ensuring that violence isn’t promoted or tolerated. We should kick out those who come here and abuse our welcome, but those who lead lawful, peaceful lives should be left to get on with it.

    Not everyone who follows Islam is a terrorist, many (like within Christianity) are more token in their beliefs then dedicated. If we attack them as a community, we will simply create further tensions and alienation.

    Fortunately some of the nonsense suggestions coming out of UKIP and others about what we should do, have as much chance of being enacted, as HG has of being the next Pope.

    • IanCad

      A great comment Clive. Your good sense is needed here. The madness of the crowd is perking up.

      • CliveM

        Thanks!

      • ZX10

        ‘The madness of the crowd ‘ ? lol nothing like the smell of elitist sneering of differing opinions to perk up the smug !

        • IanCad

          My My!! A little robust disputation and the hankies are about to come out.
          We are talking liberties here Zen. Try to curtail them or neuter them and the gloves come off as far as I’m concerned.

          • bluedog

            Your liberties are already curtailed as security becomes tighter and tighter. Boiling frog?

    • ZX10

      No we shouldn’t demonize a whole group for the crimes of some how ever if the majority of that community remains silent, complicit and even supportive of those who commit these horrific acts then they are just as guilty !

    • Anton

      What you say is right for the present situation in this country. I hope things do not change for the worse.

      • CliveM

        Well whether things become worse, or not, is at least partially dependent on how things are handled now.

        • Anton

          There are better and worse ways for the indigenous community to behave in the present situation, but it is *not* the one that is pro-actively aggressive and that must be kept in sight.

          • CliveM

            Well I agree, but equally we need to focus on those who are being aggressive, isolating them from their wider community and dealing with them appropriately.

          • Anton

            The trouble is that policing is ultimately by consent and if a subcommunity does not consent and cooperate then it won’t get policed properly. It will either be policed less than it should be or more than it should be and neither is good. That is another reason why multiculti is a disastrous mistake.

          • CliveM

            Again we generally agree. Equally unfairly targeting a whole community for the actions of the few, would be a certain way of alienating it from the Police.

          • Anton

            But if they already don’t cooperate with the police…

          • CliveM

            I think we have enough evidence of the dangers of alienating a whole community e.g the Irish nationalists in the ’50’s and ’60’s and the black community in the ’70’s and ’80’s, to know what the outcome will be.

          • Anton

            We need to look to India and Israel for how to police the minority in question.

          • CliveM

            I’m not sure I would use India as a good example, considering the regular outbursts of sectarian violence.
            We don’t want a society with those problems.

          • Anton

            Too late. We shall shortly have one, thanks to Tony Blair, demographics and the scriptures of the religion in question.

          • bluedog

            Take a good look at India. They have bent over backwards to accomodate their Muslims, including the appointment of a Muslim president. But still the violence continues. Look at Kashmir, where the population is overwhelmingly Muslim, yet the government is Indian. Constant violence and unrest. Despite all the evidence your instinct remains ‘appease’.

          • CliveM

            I wasn’t the one suggesting using India as an example.

          • bluedog

            So what? Surely the point is that India is a democracy with a very large Muslim minority. Would you not agree that the experience of India in managing its Muslim population is relevant to other democracies with Muslim populations?

          • CliveM

            No.

          • bluedog

            Is this because you regard the Muslims in India as completely different to any Muslims in the UK or Europe? Are you able to give more detail as to the reasoning behind your response?

          • CliveM

            India isn’t suffering from recent immigration and has a long history of sectarian violence. Both sides are to blame for this and any lessons aren’t applicable to the situation here.

          • Actually the Hindus have a long history of tolerance and getting along with people of other faiths – Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. It is only with Muslims that they have had trouble.

          • CliveM

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Christian_violence_in_India

            And you will find the same for Buddists and others.

          • Historically Hindus have got along with people of other religions – and the examples quoted are relatively recent. In past centuries, communities fleeing persecution – including several Jewish communities, St Thomas Christians, Armenian Christians, Parsees and others – were given refuge in India.

            Right wing Hindu nationalism is a ‘relatively’ recent phenomenon – and confined to certain parts of India – which sprung up in the 20th century as a reaction to colonialism and the partition.

          • bluedog

            Your comments seem dangerous for three reasons:
            1) All Muslims in British India had the option of moving to the Muslim state of Pakistan on Independence and subsequent Partition. If they did not do so they implicitly consented to the terms and conditions of India, a secular democracy.
            2) The majority of Muslims in the UK derive from British India and are therefore virtually identical in belief and custom to the Muslims in both India and Pakistan, with whom they retain very close links.
            3) The period of time in which a Muslim population has been established and the method of establishment does not seem to have any bearing on the outcome in terms of social cohesion. The Muslims will, as commanded by their faith, seek to impose sharia and live according to the dictates of their prophet.

            It follows that how India is dealing with its Muslim population appears to be very relevant indeed to the situation in Britain. To deny that seems wilfully to ignore the origins of British Muslims and Islam in the UK. Note that the current Mayor of London is unlikely to dispute the facts set out above, being of Pakistani descent and married to a woman of Pakistani descent. The point remains, despite every opportunity to live in harmony with the Indian majority, the Muslims do not. We cannot ignore this precedent.

          • The Explorer

            Multiculti is the triumph of hope over experience.

          • Anton

            It’s a lot worse than that. It’s racist, for a start. If it is OK for India to be a home for Indian culture, the Punjab to be a home for Sikh culture, etc, why must Britain be the locus of an experiment for everybody else rather than the home of British culture? That’s anti-British racism. Then it’s intellectually incoherent, for the umbrella over the different cultures is British parliamentary democracy, which is British.

          • The Explorer

            The original is a quote from Dr Johnson about a widower who remarried.

          • Anton

            I knew it was a quote but not from what; thank you.

          • Dreadnaught

            Because Tony Blair and New Labour set about making it so.

          • Which is happening now. Police are scared to go to some areas.

          • Dreadnaught

            So then, what Islam related occurence/event would it take for you to become pro-actively aggressive?

          • Anton

            It wouldn’t be pro-active aggression if it were in response to an event!

          • Dreadnaught

            OK you give it a name and what form would it take; for instance, How many Lee Rigby’s or 7/7 events or Charlie Hebdo/Bataclan events? There are better and worse ways for the indigenous community to behave you said. Such as?

          • Anton

            OK, you are tickling me up to see how far I’d go, and as my answer does not transgress our (iniquitous) hate speech laws I’m happy to respond. I do not support extra-legal action and indiscriminate violence (although if the government continues to waffle then I’d understand why people might do it). I would lobby for certain changes to the law and begin by seeking to have Islam recognised as a political movement, as I’ve said here for a long time.

          • Dreadnaught

            So you get Islam recognised as a political movement – it already is and by themselves. Look up Organisation of Islamic Co-operation.
            But you are avoiding giving an example of what you would like to see happen in the here and now, as this woman is – assuming that UKIP under this person is in a position of power.

          • Anton

            I mean recognised as such by the government of the UK, of course. That means Islam can no longer play the religion card with impunity. What the government should do next depends on what happens next, but without further ado all incitements to violence should be pursued as criminal acts, the law should be enforced impartially across all communities, and (as Clive says above), “We should kick out those who come here and abuse our welcome”.

          • Dreadnaught

            But its not working is it?
            We have just had a referendum that shattered a complacent government and you advocate waiting until someone else takes direct action to defend this nation – after all your suggestions like mine are pretty worthless unless acted upon, but you haven’t a clue what to do – even in your imagination on a blog.
            Go on Anton – let it rip boy!

          • Anton

            I mean what I say. Which, by the way, I have added to a little, so please reread.

    • Dreadnaught

      You are the same as Anton; lots of cuddly knitting group talk and tut-tutting ,but not one single suggestion of what to do NOW!

      • Anton

        I have made concrete suggestions below.

        • Dreadnaught

          and I have responded

          • Anton

            I updated; please reread.

          • Dreadnaught

            You said That means Islam can no longer play the religion card with impunity.

            Well isn’t banning the burka just that – for starters?

          • Anton

            It’s a pointless gesture. If you’re going to do something, make it count. See my suggestions below.

      • CliveM

        I stand by what I’ve said. Prosecute those who promote violence. Kick out those who abuse our welcome. In addition ban publications that promote jihadism or advocate violence against others.

        But I don’t see you can defend our values by destroying them and that is what so much of the discussion seems to be suggesting.

        • Dreadnaught

          How do you kick out people who are born here?
          As for destroying our own values we have been to war many time to defend our values. We believe in peace, but went to war to defend our peaceful values.

          • CliveM

            I’m not saying you can, I’m talking new immigrants.

            We have also fought wars without abandoning our values.

          • Dreadnaught

            Clive – we suspended them [our values]. Compulsory military service. Thou shalt not kill – unless ordered to: of course we did, thats how we defended our values and that’s what’s required now to preserve our own freedom and future as Westerners.
            Islam has one clear objective…

          • CliveM

            We suspended some of them in a war of national survival. We aren’t fighting such a war.

          • Anton

            Yes we are, albeit spiritual rather than physical.

          • CliveM

            The spiritual battle has been won, or do you think Christ won’t prevail?

            The battle with ISIS is political and material. It’s not a war they will win.

          • bluedog

            Even if we defeat ISIS physically we will find that ISIS franchisees continue the jihad within the West.

          • Anton

            Of course Christ will return in triumph, and his faithful with him. But until then the world will darken, and our task is to save a remnant and fight evil.

          • Dreadnaught

            In your dreams.

          • CliveM

            ISIS might like to flatter themselves that they pose such a threat, I’m not going to flatter them as well.

          • bluedog

            The president of France and his ministers expressly disagree with your assessment. How long before the British government is forced to make a similar admission?

          • CliveM

            One of the problems with anything the French Government says, is that it says more about its own desperate battle for political survival.

          • bluedog

            Can we conclude that you completely dismiss the French government’s assertion that France is at war (with Islamists)? If so, what term would you use to describe Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan, Nice and the murder of Jacques Hamel?

          • CliveM

            I’d be more impressed with the rhetoric if the didn’t allow their terrorists to wander round with nothing but a bracelet around their angle. If they are at war, they don’t seem very serious!

          • bluedog

            ‘We have also fought wars without abandoning our values.’

            True, but by common consent many of the privileges and freedoms we enjoy were suspended during hostilities. Our freedom to get on an aeroplane without an intrusive body scan and minute inspection of our carry-on luggage has been suspended for some time. This illustrates the point that the threat of Islamist violence is already causing liberty deprivation. How much of this will the electorate take before revolt?

          • CliveM

            The issue here is that these are limitations we are all subject to. One section of society is not being targeted.

          • bluedog

            ‘One section of society is not being targeted.’ Where do I suggest that one section of society is being targeted or will be targeted? Which section of society are you referring to?

          • CliveM

            The whole topic refers to banning the burqa.

          • bluedog

            Of course! But nothing like the burqa has ever been worn by women in Britain at any point in time before the arrival of the Muslims. One can quite understand that some people regard a mobile tent as both unusual and confronting. Claims that the burqa can be used by terrorists, both male and female, to conceal weapons or explosives, are not hysterical and far fetched. If the burqa is banned, it is fair to say that would not be happening if it were not for Islamist terror. In short, the Muslims can’t have it both ways.

          • CliveM

            There is no static ‘British’ culture. We have stolen aspects of other cultures for centuries. It’s why even today we have a dynamic culture, unlike the French which is ossified and dying. British society today is very different from British society in, say, the ’50’s. It would be untrue to blame all or even most of these changes on immigration. Indeed my Grandparents would probably feel more comfortable with many aspects of Islamic culture (modest dress, disapproval of sexual promiscuity, focus on family etc) then modern indigenous culture.
            If banning the burqa led to a safer society, I would support banning it. But non of the outrages to date in the UK or France have any link to the burqa, so I don’t see a single life being saved. We need consistent policing, with a crack down on those who promote hate and violence. Banning the burqa would only feed into these people’s narrative and would achieve nothing.

          • bluedog

            ‘If banning the burqa led to a safer society, I would support banning it.’ It would so you should. It’s a question of eliminating risk factors, and the burqa clearly is one in that it can be used for concealment – it’s designated function. Even if a burqa has not yet been used in the UK, why leave it as an option? No responsible minister or policeman can justify the risk.

            You say, ‘Banning the burqa would only feed into these people’s narrative and would achieve nothing.’. Weak is not the word. We have to make somethings absolute clear to the Muslims; we don’t accept terrorism or intimidation and you will almost certainly lose your life if you try it on. We should not be afraid of a very firm approach. If they find that uncomfortable, they have the freedom to leave Britain.

      • dannybhoy

        As in the government to announce a whole raft of well thought out legislation, designed to deal with individuals caught carrying out terrorist attacks (death penalty -no ifs or buts).
        individuals caught plotting terrorist attacks (deportation with immediate family and no chance of return).
        No pubic incitement to violence or overthrow of host culture/society/values and practices (prison term -no remission.)
        I think that essentially is what Clive is saying, but it has to come from the people badgering their elected parliamentary representatives to insist on change.

  • Orwell Ian

    I wonder how many burqa bombs it would take to persuade the champions of liberal democracy that there might be some merit in banning this cloaking device?

  • Hi

    I think Judaism, and Christianity , as well as Islam all have something to say about dressing modesty etc :

    St Paul tells Christians it’s a mitzvot for women to cover their heads and be modest in dress and Mary , Jesus’s mother also wore a veil according to the tradition of the Christmas cards.

    In Judaism we have Tzniut. So if you are Orthodox Jewish, then married women cover their hair , but this can be determined by mesorah or minhag, so will either be via a hat, a wig , head scarf, a bandana or a veil of sorts. Orthodox Jewish men tend to dress in suits and cover their head with a kippah and sometimes fedora, or in the summer a Panama hat, rather than a fez .So the point I’m making is these religious requirements can be adapted to local custom, without diminishing the broad idea of religious modesty for one’s faith.

    There is also an argument against big government and governments who try and dictate something like dress sense seem far too dictatorial or tyrannical for my liking.

    In any case when a minority group of people face a backlash , it almost always ends up making these people defiant, as they begin to protest what they see as infringement of their religious freedom. Not just that but more specifically people’s dislike of government inference in personal clothing choice, especially when that choice has previously existed for a very long time.

    An example is during the days of the Shah in Persia , the government tried to westernize the country by banning the veil. It was women ,educated at universities, who defied this prohibition. Ironically today almost because it is compulsory to wear a veil in Persia , the defiance goes in the opposite direction.

    So my thought is “let them alone” (as per American ) and spend money on getting the real criminals, drug dealers , murderers etc etc. It’s not the role of government to tell people what can and cannot be worn. The government should allow for personal choice in these matters.

    • dannybhoy

      “It’s not the role of government to tell people what can and cannot be worn.”

      ….Although Hannah, what people wear as representative of their faith or culture is is of interest to the government of a liberal democracy, if it represents a faith or philosophy antagonistic to democratic freedom; which some of these folk are.
      France has banned religious symbolism in its schools and town halls because France upholds the principle of a secular identity.
      http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/07/economist-explains-2

      What you wear in public can mark you out as subscribing to another set of beliefs and values that may be at odds with those of your country of residence.

      • Hi Danny

        Strangely enough I was at thr doctors earlier and lost the lid of my pen. A very kind Muslim lady found it and gave it back to me , she was wearing a scarf and I was wearing a star of David necklace. So as usual I’m humbled to remember about books and covers.

        Anyways …..

        I fear a “slippery slope”, once you ban one religious item of clothing what’s next on the list ?

        France is French, so they take a different approach to these things.

        Wearing things that natives don’t does set you apart. And sometimes as a magnet for abuses . But if you feel your religion tells you to , say, dress with a skull cap , you just have to I guess. Interestingly Mormons have religious dress and modesty code and a particular undergarment that are religiously ordained (by them as “temple garments ” ).

        • dannybhoy

          books and covers uh?
          But human beings aren’t books. Books are inanimate. They may contain knowledge but they can’t determine what you do with that knowledge. They can’t exert pressure on you to use it for good purposes or evil.
          Of course there are good people.
          There are good* Muslims in the UK just as there were good* Germans in Nazi Germany. What the individual is morally has no real consequence if the majority use violence or the threat of violence to ensure obedience.
          An example:
          A morally good Muslim scientist living in the UK has family living in an Islamic nation. A Muslim organisation demands that he/she use their scientific knowledge to manufacture some deadly virus or gas to be used against the perceived enemies of Islam.
          If they refuse to cooperate, the organisation will begin torturing and murdering their nieces and nephews in that land.
          What do we expect a good Muslim to do?
          What did we expect a good German do?

          *good in the Judaeo/Christian sense of the word.
          I accept that there are many decent people in the country, but once we acknowledge that there are political or religious organisations that demand loyalty to their cause, what then?

        • dannybhoy

          ps
          “But if you feel your religion tells you to , say, dress with a skull cap , you just have to I guess.”
          But Judaism is not an enemy of Christianity, nor seeking to destroy it.

  • len

    There is a real clash of cultures where Islam meets the West. In Islam (and other Eastern religions) a woman’s body is so provocative to men that it needs to be covered lest their passions be aroused.
    Which is the problem affecting many parts of Europe now..

    • Dreadnaught

      The problem is Len that Islam has to be viewed from a distant perspective to appreciate how corrosive it is and not on the basis of an individual experience with a perfectly decent fellow human being who happens to be a neighbour..

      • len

        I think Islam is quite a mix, parts of Islam are at war with itself just as Christianity was.But Islam has one dead prophet and cannot progress beyond that. There is a transition in Christianity before Christ and after Christ.A living Christ in Christianity and a dead religion In Islam, all Islam can produce is death.

        • dannybhoy

          Very perceptive Len.

    • The Explorer

      In Sweden (more than anywhere else) the indigenous males seem able to cope with the visibility of women’s bodies, but the immigrants can’t. So is there something wrong with the attitudes of the immigrant males, or is there something wrong with the attitudes of the indigenes?

      The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. The degree of sexual freedom we have now in Europe is something new. Until relatively recently, sex was recognised as such an explosive force that it had to be protected with qualifications and restrictions. The European era of chaperones etc was probably closer in spirit to Islam than to modern Western liberation.

      • len

        With ‘liberation’ comes responsibility.Perhaps this can only be learnt over time and a gradual transition?.

    • carl jacobs

      It’s more to do with ownership than passion.

  • Jonathan Bush

    Some might consider it sad that someone goes out in public faceless, but other folks do it, e.g. motorcycle riders wearing full face helmets, or kids going out in fancy dress. That is part of freedom. Where freedom gets curtailed is where security overrides. So, for example, places like banks require customers to remove their helmets. In those circumstances, it is also just as reasonable to ask other folks not to wear other forms of head/face covering. If a Muslim woman is entitled to retain her burqa, then a motorcyclist should be allowed to retain his full face helmet – But he is not. Justice and fair treatment dictates that one rule should cover both. Some might say that a burqa prevents full engagement with society. Maybe, but where is the rule that says I MUST engage? Encouragement is not the same as enforcement.
    So, I say ban the burqa, BUT only where a full face helmet is already banned! Fair’s fair…

    • Well said.

    • Inspector General

      One can see a flaw in your argument, that man. You see, the wearing of a full face crash helmet off the motorcycle is not prohibited anywhere by the law of the land…

      • len

        Lot of shops ban entry to helmet wearers and hoodies..

        • Inspector General

          Can’t be much fun for you sandwich board types either…

          • Dreadnaught

            You wicked old Inspector person you! chortles etc

      • Jonathan Bush

        As Len said, it doesn’t require a law of the land.There are other rule sets, such as banks and shops apply. Far better to avoid a law, so as to avoid the risk of yet another poorly written law with unintended consequences.
        There is already a privilege that allows a bank to give customers the choice to remove a full face helmet, or leave. By exactly that same privilege, that bank should be allowed to put the same choice to a person wearing a burqa. That bank should not be accused of racial, sexist, or religionist crimes. So long as rules are reasonable and applied evenly, that should be that.

        • Inspector General

          “The bank should not be accused…”

          And as we are here tonight, those parasitic pirates, the so called human rights lawyers are just waiting for an ethnic to be denied service because she is an ethnic…

    • John Main

      Perhaps you are unaware that Sikhs have long been granted exemption from the law requiring the wearing of motorcycle helmets as it has been deemed that their religious needs to wear a turban takes precedence. Your justice and fair treatment rule was abandoned decades ago, but you have yet to wake up to the implications.

      • Anton

        People should be free not to wear motorbike helmets but they don’t get NHS treatment on the taxpayer in the event of a crash.

      • Inspector General

        The Sikh exemption from the crash helmet legislation is somewhat interesting in that the idea was to protect the citizen from greater harm should he have a spill. Nothing else. Looking at it from another direction, it could be argued that the government of the day held Sikh welfare in such low esteem that it was quite unconcerned if Johnny Singh expired immediately after splitting his head wide open on hitting the road whereas he would have had a better chance otherwise.

        In the 1970s, one had a summer student job dragging the milk cart around to wards of a busy district general hospital at 7:30am. The shifts changed around that time of day, so a porter who had authority to be there anyway would generally go unnoticed if he got a bit nosy. The sights seen have stayed with this man forty years on. Plenty of road traffic casualties, including a few no hopers they didn’t even bother transferring to Bristol at the time. (The city has since become a regional centre of excellence for brain injury, but one suspects back then facilities weren’t that much better than could be offered locally). Anyway, the point is, NEVER be tempted to ride around off road without a crash helmet on…and if your wife has bought you a quad bike as a ‘present’ – she wants you dead…

        • bluedog

          Very true about the quad bikes. One read somewhere that over 10,000 Americans have now died in quad bike accidents, not sure over what period, but it’s a horrific figure.

  • Just ban the damn thing for a period of ten years to be reviewed then and let’s see how we get on.

    • IanCad

      For the life of me Marie, I see no reason to stop Muslim ladies, who, of their own free will, wish to wear it.

      • Because it’s incompatible with British life and climate. Freedom needs boundaries and to be carefully managed.
        Our culture does not mean everybody all doing their own thing and anarchy,terrorism and takeover ensuing due to lack of boundaries and control. You can’t please all the people all of the time.

        We always have to keep in mind the highest and not the lowest common denominator when making law. Allowing the freedom to cover the face for whatever reasons is encouraging darkness, negative, and dubious behaviour. it contributes to taking society in a backward direction and ends up reducing freedom. Whereas prohibiting face coverings does the opposite, it supports openness, transparency and a more honest society taking us forwards and lifting up.

        • IanCad

          Marie we do not need the re-imposition of sumptuary laws. We do need to abolish anti free speech laws.

          • Hardly recommending the sumptuary laws IC! Don’t get hysterical.

          • IanCad

            A little less hyperbole would be appreciated Marie.

          • Mike Stallard

            The huge joke is that the Koran does not insist on the burqa. all it says is that women – especially the wives of the Prophet – be decently clad. Quite a reasonable thing really.
            And, as we know, in a lot of Muslim countries (Iran, Saudi, Abu Dhabi, Singapore’s Malay section) the face doesn’t have to be covered at all.

          • Anton

            Yes. This shows that it’s a statement of difference. Best kept to a different country, but it’s too late for that.

      • Anton

        I wouldn’t ban it, Ian, but I doubt that many wear it of their own free will.

        • IanCad

          I would bet that most are forced to wear it; and for those so enslaved we have rules to protect them.
          A great deal of this Muslim nonsense would disappear given a firm and evenhanded application of our existing laws, combined with stricter scrutiny of those receiving state payments.
          Why are so many able bodied Muslim men in prison or on benefits?

          • Anton

            On benefits – because benefits are available; they are not stupid. In prison – what kind of culture does Islam engender?

  • Inspector General

    It’s rather refreshing to see comments from UKIP supporters deriding this campaign against the burka.

    You see, those of us who were drawn into supporting UKIP, the Inspector included, did so for the sake of freedom. Freedom to be ourselves in this marvellous country without continental types running our show for us. Yet here we are – attempting to deny the same freedom to be themselves to a community who also call the UK their home. It doesn’t fit well at all, and will resultantly lose UKIP support.

    It would make more sense to work towards the restoration of capital punishment for terrorist conspiracy than to hound little brown women out doing the shopping. It’s just not British to do this.

    Smarten up, UKIP leadership, or lose us on the way!

      • Uncle Brian

        … or this:

      • The Explorer

        It’s a small picture. What is the sex/gender of the individual with the face covering? And has s(he) got the bloke on a leash?

        • If you cannot tell, notwithstanding the small picture, then, friend, Jack really can doing nothing to assist.

          • The Explorer

            Fair enough. Can you give a clue as to the event in which the two appear to be participating?

          • The “event” appears to be the BDSM 100 metre stroll. Instead of a medal, the prize is 50 lashes.

    • IanCad

      Good Man Inspector!!

      • Inspector General

        It’s of the heart, Ian. It couldn’t be any other way…

  • len

    UKIP is a spent force , like a rocket which has reached the upper point of its trajectory and is now falling back to Earth .Farage saw that before some of the others.

    As each problem with our society arises ‘solutions’ are sought .I believe the process is called ‘firefighting’ because as each ‘fire’ breaks out people rush to extinguish it before the next one breaks out.And so on.
    The problem mankind faces is himself in his fallen state.This is the root of the problem and without tackling the root ‘the tree’ will continue to produce ‘bad fruit’.

    God has given us through Jesus Christ the only solution He is going to offer us namely the New Creation through Jesus Christ .All else is merely ‘firefighting’which is getting incrementally worse each year….

    • Inspector General

      UKIP is as the New Model Army after parliament prevailed. They are not going away…

      • Anton

        Parliament prevailed BECAUSE of the New Model Army, Inspector. And it was the Army which came up with the “Head[ing]s of Proposals” document that, if implemented, would have got us a superlative constitution several centuries earlier than actually happened. This didn’t happen because of Charles’ duplicity and intransigence.

        • Inspector General

          Indeed, Anton. Do not even try to dismiss the army…

          • Anton

            The New Model Army would cheerfully have disbanded having won the Civil War for Parliament but Parliament perfidiously refused the Army its promised back pay and declined to indemnify it for its wartime actions. Small wonder it began to act independently, but even when it entered London, where Parliament was of course based, it behaved in a disciplined fashion.

  • Dreadnaught
    • Inspector General

      Ah, bless him. One wonders if he’ll end up dead in Europe with a few police bullets in him…

      • Dreadnaught

        More chance of being topped by a Muslim than a cop.
        It amazes me that even our young Lenny here has more about him when it comes to seeing Islam for what it is than some wet trousered apologists I could mention.
        The face covering issue is a small matter and not an end in itself – it would however be the first token to be laid down, that we openly declare that we will not supinely permit the Islamisation of our country.

        • Inspector General

          The best way to inform Islam in the UK that our dearly loved land is not going to be Islamic, is to hang a few of them. Over 40 plots discovered since the London bombings…

          • Dreadnaught

            Couldn’t agree more – and the same for their enablers.

          • Mike Stallard

            Auschwitz here we come!

          • Anton

            Don’t you approve of the death penalty for murder?

          • Mike Stallard

            Yup. I do – after a fair trial, including habeas corpus, according to the English Common Law.
            I do not approve of wiping anyone off the face of the earth because they might be going to be a trouble in the future. The Muslims might well be telling us something we do not want to hear but something which could really enrich our lives if we take the good bits. (I am paraphrasing Hegel here, not being naif).

          • Anton

            Agreed.

          • Pubcrawler

            Nuremberg, rather.

  • chefofsinners

    Beards. Hide the face. Ban the beard. Especially on women.
    And make up. Ban the blusher.
    And sunglasses. Ban the Rayban.

  • MrsJ

    I’m not in favour of banning the burqa, but I am in favour of some education. Rickets was once almost eradicated, now it’s seeing a robust return in our black-shrouded brethren. Along with other problems caused by vitamin D deficiencies. On the plus side, it does makes Muslims easy to identify.

    • chefofsinners

      I believe our black shrouded brethren are actually sistren. Most of them. Unless you refer to the clergy.

  • Stefan Allison

    Perhaps I have misunderstood Lisa Duffy, but isn’t she only proposing a ban on the full face veil only where currently hoodies have to be removed and motercycle helmets? It makes sense and seems fair that areas where the face must be shown, it must be shown by all (provided that there is a real reason for it). If however she is arguing that burkhas are banned completely in public then I very much disagree with that.

  • Malcolm Smith

    “Ban the burqa” makes a great slogan, but what do people actually think it means? Many people do not know the details of Islamic headgear. The headscarf is called a “hijab” and a veil is a “niqab”, while the “burqa” is a veil with the addition of a mesh over the eyes. The black shroud covering the body is an “abaya” in Arabic, and a “chador” in Persian.
    In my opinion, the best approach is that proposed by Daniel Pipes: Muslims should be allowed the same rights as everybody else, but no accommodations. After all, that was the original contract. They or their parents came to Christendom in order to enjoy the higher standard of living, knowing that society was not run according to their specifications. Now they must take take the rough with the smooth.
    As far as clothing goes, this means: because British women wear headscafts (sometimes), there is no good reason to ban the hijab. However, if it happens to conflict with a business’s dress code, then the dress code should prevail. Anti-discrimination laws should butt out in such cases. Also, when it is worn, the wearer should be put on notice that, while it is legal, it is socially unacceptable. And the hijab should definitely be banned in schools, because it is the thin edge of the wedge, and the visible symbol of, female subjugation.
    On the other hand, the veil and burqa both fall under the laws and policies concerning security. There have been quite a few crimes committed under the cover of these garments. Banks and shops are entitled to refuse admission to those who wear them. There are also circumstances where it would be appropriate to legally ban it.
    I should also like to comment on HG’s sentence: “Unlike French laïcité, which inclines naturally toward such prohibitions, the United Kingdom has no tradition of the imposition of a hard secularism.” Great Britain does, however, have a tradition of a state church, and religious tolerance means just that: toleration, not acceptance.

  • John Main

    Perhaps there is nothing traditionally British about banning the burqa, but then there is nothing traditionally British about burqas.

    I find it strange that those who complain most about immigration and the failure of many immigrants to assimilate, then go on to talk as if British culture and attitudes are irrevocably unchangeable. British culture is of course a shifting mindset. As more and more British residents have foreign backgrounds, cultural attitudes when averaged out across the entire population have themselves changed and will continue to do so, perhaps to the point where banning things is indeed British. The problem is that many contributors on this site have not yet noticed.

    Some theoretically legal activities and behaviours have already been effectively banned in some areas of the UK. UKIP proposed bans are getting publicity. The more informal bans are more effective because they are little reported.

  • Mike Stallard

    As a Catholic, have I the right to insist on wearing an IRA balaclava while discussing my investments in the bank? Or when walking in areas where there are those intrusive little cameras? Or in court where identification and reading faces is so vital?

    • sarky

      I a balaclava part of your religious identity as a Catholic?

      If not, then no.

      • Anton

        But how does secular society decide whether something is part of somebody’s religious identity?

        • sarky

          Tradition!!

          • Anton

            Grey areas – sunni and shia have different traditions and what of a mixed marriage? You might think I’m merely being pedantic but this is what it will come to in court cases.

  • chefofsinners

    Lest we forget: In 2012 the Cameron government used taxpayers’ money to argue in the ECHR that Christians have no right to wear a cross in the workplace and could be sacked for doing so.

    • dannybhoy

      Which went against the accepted and official identity of our nation as “a Christian nation.”
      Logically then Cameron should have also argued for the banning of the CofE, the Monarchy and other great offices of State…

      • Eustace

        One of the great missed opportunities of history!

        Oh well, we’ll just have to let it die a natural death, won’t we? Once there isn’t a single member of the government or even the royal family that believes in the charade of a Christian nation any more, all the mummery and pretence will disappear of its own accord, to be replaced with something secular and dignified.

        Can’t be long now.

        • The Explorer

          “to be replaced with something secular and dignified.”
          Leave off the last two words and you’ve probably got it.

        • dannybhoy

          Oh Linus, I believe in all those things. I don’t want them to be abolished!
          I was simply pointing out the incredible duplicity politicians often employ when they find themselves in a predicament which requires real balls to solve.
          (In fact this may well be the reason why Margaret Thatcher was able to stand up to the bullies and wreckers of the time:
          she had no need of them – balls that is.)
          Our politicians believe in compromise to the ‘nth degree, which being interpreted means,
          “Yes we will give in to your demands, but we need to do it slowly so that the voters don’t notice…”

          • Eustace

            Politics is the art of compromise. Even Margaret Thatcher knew that. She hated admitting it and always did her utmost to limit concessions to a bare minimum. Even at the height of her power she didn’t have everything her own way.

            Compromise is clearly something you hate, which is characteristic of doctrinaire religious types. Yours is the whole and only truth and no other truth can ever be admitted. The problem with that way of thinking is that it sets various groups and viewpoints against each other and guarantees political and social conflict.

            You think that if a miracle happens and a hardline Christian party is voted into power that all of the British will suddenly embrace your religion and the country will become a Christian paradise? ´Fraid not. Opposition might reel from the shock of it for a while, but would gradually coalesce around new leadership and make the country ungovernable unless key concessions were granted.

            A political approach built around compromise takes account of every group and tries to make it possible for all to exist. Only a political monoculture can exist without compromise. And that’s just a pipe dream. We live in a diverse world and getting everyone to agree with you is impossible, whereas getting everyone to agree that we don’t have to agree as long as we respect each other’s right to exist is eminently more doable.

            That’s the aim of modern politics. Your definition of it belongs to another age.

          • Anton

            The New Testament admits the freedom to disagree. The quran does not. Therein lies the problem.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t hate compromise Linus. Far from it. A more affable Christian chap you couldn’t wish to meet.
            The thing about compromise though, is in whose favour and why, compromise should be made.
            Indeed I seem to remember in the early days when you were content to be plain ‘Linus’, I supported you as a self confessed homosexual about to get married.
            I continue to accept homosexuality as a fact of life although the practice thereof is condemned by Scripture. I have absolutely nothing against gay people, but I don’t want to be blackmailed or forced to endure gay marches, gay pride, gay anythings.
            There is only one way to true peace of mind and happiness, and that is through Christ Jesus who died on the Cross for you and for me.

          • Eustace

            Glib religious slogans that convey nothing except the smugness and self-satisfaction of those who utter them have always baffled me. Especially when they sing the praises of a God who’s just as invisible, and has about the same effect, as the emperor’s new clothes.

            The hypocrites and the liars all shout out loud about how God has transformed them, and then continue to wallow in hypocrisy and lies. They believe their own propaganda. But they have no idea how hollow those claims appear to others.

            This is Christianity’s big problem. For every convert, there are hundreds to witness the falsity of his claims and the reality of his hypocrisy. We can see with our own eyes that Christianity does not perfect its believers, and that the concept of “fruits of the Spirit” is a manifest lie.

            Anyone who spends just five minutes reading the comments sections of this blog has proof aplenty that Christians are as vengeful, angry, querulous, back-biting, abusive and unpleasant as anyone else. The religion just doesn’t do what it says on the tin. It does not perfect. There’s no love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness or faithfulness. Just anger, hatred, abuse and condemnation. And what really makes that fact hit home is the disconnect between how Christians see themselves and the way the really are.

            So keep on doing what you do so well: providing the rest of the world with an inexhaustible supply of evidence of the self-interest and self-justification that form the core of your faith. You could hardly be doing a better job. Keep it up!

          • Martin

            UE

            You didn’t realise that homosexuality is God’s judgement on a nation.

          • Eustace

            Homosexuality is a naturally occuring variant of animal sexuality observable across many species. It has always existed and probably always will.

            The only thing about homosexuality that varies across human cultures is how it’s expressed. Some cultures accept it, some don’t. Some start by rejecting it and then gradually come to accept it.

            This is the case in our culture, which has led to a greater visibility of homosexuality in recent years. As we feel less likely to be discriminated against, attacked or even killed, we can be more open about who we are. Of course this can create a misconception, especially among the less well-educated (or the downright stupid and/or crazy) that there are more gays than there were before. Which of course feeds into the kind of paranoid nonsense peddled by religious obsessives like Martin about God visiting a plague of homosexuality upon us.

            The absurdity of such an idea should be plain enough for even the most average intelligence to grasp, but dogma kills intelligence stone dead, as Martin illustrates so well. In reality there are no more gays today than there were yesterday, but we appear more numerous because we’re more visible.

            So if homosexuality is God’s judgment on a nation, then apparently he treats us all equally. There are just as many gays per head of population in countries like Uganda and Cameroon as there are in France and Britain, but in the first two countries they keep their heads down because if they dare to reveal their presence, they’ll live to regret it.

            Martin takes this invisibility as “proof” that there are no gays in countries where his intolerant vision of the Christian gospel is observed. If he only knew the truth of it and what many firebreathing African pastors who rant on about the evils of homosexuality do when they think their flock isn’t looking, he’d expire of shock and horror.

            The rule of thumb with anti-gay preachers is that the more they malign the LGBT community, the more likely they are to be caught with their trousers around their ankles in places frequented by others like them, and not for the purposes of evangelisation!

          • Martin

            UE

            You are silly, you’re dogma causes your thought to stultify. It is quite obvious from biology that homosexuality isn’t natural. And the fact that you align yourself with the mentally ill who imagine they’re in a body of the wrong sex makes your position even more laughable.

            Remember, Sodom was so in love with homosexuality that the whole town came to Lot’s door. It doesn’t matter how many there are, numbers do not make it right.

            No doubt you will say that Sodom’s sin wasn’t homosexuality, in that you would be partly right for the sin that caused God to withdraw His restraint in such a way must have been great. And the sin of our nation that has caused God to do likewise must be equal, if not greater.

            How bitter and twisted you must be to write that last paragraph.

          • Eustace

            It’s quite obvious from the enormous number of species in which homosexuality has been observed that it’s completely natural.

            You’ll never admit it of course, which hardly matters. Rail against homosexuality as much as you like. Rail against transgender rights too. Rail against everything your dogmatic little mind hates. You won’t change anything. But if your homophobic, transphobic, spiteful little sprite of a god really does exist, making such a public spectacle of yourself may buy you the place in “paradise” you clearly covet so much.

            Good luck to you. Spending eternity with your unpleasant and vengeful bully of a god sounds like an appropriate fate for you. Eternal bliss? Eternal fear and walking on eggshells, more like.

          • Martin

            UE

            What a stupid thing to say. Nature is damaged by Man’s fall so obviously such aberrations are to be expected. The facts of biology are enough to show you that.

            That you lust after sexual pleasure is nothing new, it’s the nature of evil men to do such things. That you try to dress it up as ‘natural’ shows how wicked you are.

            As to ‘transgender’ who are nothing of the sort. You ally them to your cause of sexual perversion when what they really need is mental care. You even oppress those poor souls in the aim to satisfy your lusts. That is really spiteful and wicked.

            And of course you invent silly words ending in ‘phobic’ to denigrate those that see through your evil schemes. You try to shut people up, not by argument but by pointing the finger and accusation.

            So then you point the finger at God, the God who gave you life, who feeds and clothes you and gives you all sorts of things. The God that warns you not to go outside His design parameters for it will harm you and cause your eternal separation from all that is good. The God you ignore and despise. Why should He not condemn you?

            As for me, I’ll not fear or ‘walk on eggshells’.

          • Eustace

            Ah, so the two people eating fruit caused homosexuality in penguins, did it?

            You really are a lunatic, aren’t you? I knew that already but the full scope of your lunacy had escaped me.

            Have a nice life on the margins of society being laughed at and/or ignored by virtually everyone in the way that ranting religious freaks tend to be. If it gets lonely, just tell yourself that it’s where you belong, and what God planned for you.

            Hope the reward you’re expecting in heaven is all it’s cracked up to be. Something tells me you’re heading for a huge disappointment.

          • Martin

            UE

            Eating fruit wasn’t the problem, disobedience was. And continued disobedience brings God’s judgement on a society. The results of that disobedience is listed in Romans 1:24ff.

            The society that laughs at God’s people is described in that passage, our society bears those marks.

          • Eustace

            I see, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, so in a fit of pique he zapped the penguins and made them gay. Or some of them, at least.

            The more you talk to fundamentalist Christians, the more you begin to understand the similarities between religion and mental illness. In extreme cases, symptoms include paranoia, delirium and delusions of being “special” or “chosen”.

            What better description could there be of Martin? And what better warning about the deleterious effects of religion on the human mind?

            Keep it up, Martin. You must have converted hundreds to atheism. One look at you and the effects of religious obsession is all it takes. You’re like the photos of diseased lungs on packets of cigarettes in countries like Australia. You should come with a government health warning: Religion Rots The Mind: Careful Or You Might End Up Like This Poor Wretch!

          • Martin

            UE

            Actions have results, just as homosexual acts result in sickness in body and soul. That you don’t understand that is evidence of the sickness in your mind.

            And Atheism is a natural state of Man, who is in rebellion against the God who made them. Your religion of self worship, of self pleasure, is self destructive.

          • Eustace

            All sexual acts have physical consequences. Heterosexual acts are responsible for some of the worst. The average woman’s body ravaged by multiple births is in a far worse state of repair than the average gay man’s. So if you judge God’s will by consequences, he must hate heterosexusl sex more than any other kind. Otherwise why would it visit so much pain, suffering and physical harm on women?

            Not that such simple truths will have any effect on your obsessive and deranged thought processes. Excuses will be found and justifications plucked out of thin air with one aim only: to bolster your faith against any accusation that can be levelled against it. That’s how mindless zealotry works. When facts and common sense conspire to undermine belief, all the zealot needs to sweep them away is an an act of faith that declares them to be false no matter how convincing they may be.

            That’s the religion you follow. It goes with your personality type: rigid, unbending, obsessive, prejudiced, narcissistic and utterly convinced of your own holiness.

            People like Martin will always exist, but thankfully they form a tiny minority with little or no power to influence anyone but themselves. Let him rant on. His shrill condemnation of everyone except himself only serves to highlight his delusional state.

          • Martin

            UE

            So here we see the venting of your anger against God, against those who love God and against those who point out your folly. You know God exists, you know His laws yet you choose not to obey them and when challenged produce laughable diatribes like this. Tell me, why would you so rant if it were true that we were an insignificant minority? Could it be that you know your judge awaits you?

  • Will Jones

    The idea that we have freedom of speech and association in this country is a joke. Have you read the Equality Act? Have you heard of hate crime? You can only say what is permitted by our ‘liberal’ masters, and you can only discriminate in the ways they allow. Freedom of speech – as long you don’t offend our numerous niceties. Freedom of association – as long as you don’t exclude anyone that we like for reasons we don’t agree with.

  • Eustace

    And thus has it always been. With power (i.e. the democratic power of the vote) comes responsibility. Exactly what that responsibility should be is decided by the government you help to choose.

    Don’t like it? Vote for someone else.

    The party you voted for didn’t win a majority? Campaign to change that at the next election.

    Your party still didn’t win? Suck it up and understand that in a democracy, decisions are made by the majority.

    Can’t live with the majority’s decisions? Emigrate.

    Of course you probably won’t find any country to take you in. In which case, you can always use blogs like this one to vent your frustration. You’re in the right place here. Bitching about how much better the world would be if only you ruled it is the whole raison d’être of this gruesome little online clump of malcontents. You should fit right in.

    • Anton

      Why do you spend time here?

      • Uncle Brian

        He just told us why.

        … you can always use blogs like this one to vent your frustration. You’re in the right place here. Bitching about how much better the world would be if only you ruled it

        • Darn-tootin’ right, that the world would be a better place if I was to run it. First project: A trans-Atlantic pipeline for single malts from Islay to Toronto…with the terminal tap in my study.

          • Wow! That would be something. lol

          • Yeah. Totally doable too; all it takes is some money.

          • You should start a crowd funding account and appeal to a few eccentric billionaires.

          • Who am I kidding? Product testing will finish me long before the business plan is drawn up !

      • Eustace

        I spend time here to remind you that you’re a small group of marginal extremists who, despite your attempts to “set the world to rights” on blog comments threads, have no more power to effect real change than does any other vanishingly tiny minority.

        Without voices like mine, you might start to believe your own propaganda. We already know what happens when religious sects start to take themselves too seriously. Wars. Crusades. Jihad. Terrorist campaigns. The very personality types that swell the ranks of the Islamic State are also to be found here. And to think, the only thing stopping you from exacting the same sort of revenge on the world for its crime of disagreeing with you is one man’s political genius. Not mine of course. But a certain Roman emperor’s.

        Smart cookie, Constantine the Great. His epithet was well deserved. Insisting on non-violence and passive acceptance as the price of legitimising Christianity was a masterstroke that stands us in good stead today. Without his forethought we’d be awash in Christian martyrs and suicide bombers. Pity he wasn’t around when Islam started to make its mark. The world might be a very different place.

        • Anton

          Christians were entirely peaceful before Constantine began to grant the church worldly wealth and power, because only persons committed to the message of its founder, rather than the promise of prestige, joined the church; that message is not one of violence. Martyrs, yes, suicide bombers, no. But within a generation of church leaders of Rome accepting the temptation offered by Constantine in 312AD, supporters of rivals to be Rome’s next bishop were brawling mortally in its streets (366AD), and the first execution for heresy took place in 385AD (Priscillian). The corruption of the church took just one lifetime. I can understand that non-Christians such as yourself believe Christianity to be a political religion, but that is just centuries of unscriptural church tradition. You needn’t take my word for it, as you can read the words of Jesus for yourself in the four ancient gospels.

          • dannybhoy

            Well said Anton.
            And I hope all those of other traditions who regularly post here will accept that this is not an attack on what they believe..
            At the very end of the day an individual Christian may be called upon to lose their life for what they believe, but never to take the life of someone because they believe differently..

          • Eustace

            Christianity as we know it is a compound religion incorporating elements of many earlier religions and cults. What you call the “four ancient gospels” are a compilation of many writings formalized at least 350 years after the events they claim to relate. Some earlier fragments exist, but the entire story as handed down to the Church dates from the time of Constantine and must therefore be assumed to have been heavily influenced by his political design for the religion.

            What existed before Constantine is debatable. Was there such a thing as an “early Church”, or was it more like a loose patchwork of various cults, each preaching a different version of one of the common religious themes of the ancient world: the resurrection of a deity born to a virgin?

            There quite simply isn’t enough documentary evidence to conclude that something recognizably Christian existed before Constantine. The idea of a primitive and idealized Church of martyrs and perfect Christians corrupted by a wily emperor seems likely to be just a highly romanticized story. There was certainly a wily emperor, but we have no proof he “took over” any one existing faith or cult that we would recognise as Christian today. More likely he created Christianity from scratch by cobbling various cults and myths together.

            Protestants who desperately want to deny the validity of a central ecclesiastical authority will of course reject this argument out of hand. To deny the existence of an early universal, pre-Catholic Church is to deny their claim to be returning Christianity to its roots. But does an artificially-created religion have any “roots”, or should we more properly be talking about “ingredients”?

            A quiche certainly contains eggs, but in a form very different from the contents of an eggshell. It also contains a lot of other ingredients too, each one adding its flavour and texture to the overall culinary experience. Christianity as we know it is a quiche cooked by one imperial chef de cuisine to his own particular recipe.

            So much for it being the Word of God. The word of a despot, yes. But certainly not a divine one.

          • The Explorer

            “There was certainly a wily emperor,”

            What is your evidence a) for his existence, b) for his character?

            I’m not saying your statement is wrong: it may be perfectly accurate. I’m simply asking why you consider your statement reliable.

          • Eustace

            The physical evidence for Constantine the Great speaks for itself and supports his characterisation as a great Roman emperor.

            Some or even many of the details of his life and reign may well be inaccurate, exaggerated or even downright untrue. But the literary sources we do have are all remarkably consistent in describing his character and main achievements, so my feeling is that he’s as historically verifiable as any figure from the ancient world. He passes the basic test of historicity. But what about Jesus Christ?

            If we had even a fraction of the physical evidence for Christ that exists for Constantine, his existence (at least as a human being who walked the Earth if not as a god) would be difficult to dispute. But as things stand it’s impossible to say whether there was a real man called Jesus, or whether he’s merely a composite literary character acting as a hook on which a new religion developed specifically for crowd control purposes was hung.

            It’s all about the evidence and for Jesus, there is none.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you. Very clearly expressed.

          • Martin

            UE

            It’s amazing how ignorant you are. It rather destroys the value of any of your other comments.

            I suspect that a lot of this nonsense derives from the same desperate need to deny that you know God exists.

          • Eustace

            This conversation is following the usual pattern that all conversations with religious bigots like Martin follow. A prejudice is expressed and then debunked, so all the bigot can do is resort to general abuse, followed by the blind repetition of his dogmatic belief, which remains impervious to all reason, common sense and logic.

            In Martin’s case he’ll keep repeating “you know God exists but you just won’t admit it” until he draws his last breath. Nothing can make him believe otherwise because the facts just don’t matter to him. The only thing that does is what he has decided the truth should be.

            Saying something again and again doesn’t make it true. It does turn it into a mantra however. Careful Martin, you’re skating on very thin ice. Mantras are pagan and blasphemous. Are you worshipping an idol? You know what happens to those who do… :-0

          • Martin

            UE

            That you post utter nonsense has probably been noted by others here. Indeed, it was rater exposed by the “as we know”. If you cannot be bothered to defend your claims it rather reveals they are indefensible.

            As for ‘mantra’, I think you need to look that word up. It certainly doesn’t apply to the morsel of truth I gave you. As usual you denied the truth as you always will.

          • Anton

            You say that “Some earlier fragments exist, but the entire story as handed down to the Church dates from the time of Constantine and must therefore be assumed to have been heavily influenced by his political design for the religion.”

            Not so! In that case the gospels would present a Christ who called for Constantine’s program of a politicised church, which was to be spread by making it the religion of state in as many places as the Emperor ruled. Instead, though, we see Christ rejecting politics until it came to get him.

            Constantine was clearly not a Christian at the time of his victory at the Milvian Bridge, but he was looking for a unifying principle and alighted on Christianity. For this interpretation of him, which fits the facts better than any other, see the scholarly work “Constantine and the Bishops” by Harold Drake.

            As for what existed before, your scholarship matches that of ultraliberal churchmen more than anti-Catholic protestants, but it is a few decades out of date. Of course we have only Christian sources from the earliest times, because from the viewpoint of Roman historians of the first century, Jesus was a nobody. But you can piece together almost all of the New Testament from copies of copies within a small number of generations. If you are genuinely interested, please see the first few chapters of Josh MacDowell’s book “He walked among us”.

          • Eustace

            Why do we have to “piece together” the word of God? Shouldn’t it stand on its own without needing to be pieced together?

            Irenaeus in Adversus Haereses sums up the absurdity of the processes that were used to cobble the Bible together. He claims that only four of the many gospels on offer could be treated as divinely inspired: ‘For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the church is scattered throughout all the world, and the “pillar and ground” of the church is the gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars…’

            And there you have it. There are four gospels because ignorant men thought the world consisted of only four zones and that a mystic correlation existed between the flow of air in the atmosphere and the tall stories told by religious obsessives.

            Had Irenaeus lived in Marseille, no doubt there would be eight gospels. In Lyon the Mistral blows from the north, however in Marseille, it veers round to the northwest. So the silly man would have been forced to take the ordinal as well as the cardinal points of the compass into account while working out how many gospels there should be.

            Honestly, you couldn’t make it up. And otherwise sensible people (I’m being generous) take this nonsense seriously?

          • Anton

            “Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.”

            Exactly! Nobody did make the gospels up. Thank you for making my argument for me.

            Check the dates of the earliest fragments of the four canonical gospels and of the earliest fragments of any other purported gospels. Notice the difference.

          • Eustace

            “You couldn’t make it up” is shorthand for “it’s so absurd that you couldn’t make it up”, meaning that if somebody did, he must be seriously deranged.

            But of course you know that.

            If you want to base your belief in a reanimated sky fairy on the ravings of a madman who claimed that the dominant winds in his home town determined the number of gospels the Bible should contain, be my guest. But don’t be surprised when you’re laughed at and treated like a madman yourself.

            Like I said, it’s so absurd, only a madman could make it up. Next you’ll be telling me there are two testaments because Christ had two testicles therefore two testaments were the maximum number of testaments the Bible could ever contain.

            Hmmm, now that I think about it, if that were true then the reason for the unusually wrinkled and furrowed leather bindings of my mother’s ancient family bible would suddenly become very clear. The wretched thing is a yard and a half long and weighs a ton. So the only animal capable of making the supreme sacrifice needed to fit both testaments into one suitable housing would have to have been a bull elephant.

            One hopes they knocked the poor animal out before gelding it for the glory of God’s word. And to think that until the more modestly dimensioned Douay-Rheims translation became available, most recusant families must have owned similarly unwieldy vulgate tomes. What did they do with them when the queen’s commissioners came calling looking for evidence of popish practices? Hurl them into the moat? Bung them in the priest hole? Drape green baize over them and use them for billiards practice? Played with how many balls, I wonder?

            And I also wonder, do late 16th century records of Portuguese trading expeditions to Africa make reference to the melodious soprano trumpeting of os elefantes castrados? Is this when they started to become an endangered species? It’s a good thing the Reformation came along when it did. If Catholic biblical symbolism hadn’t been blown out of the water when it was, elephants might be an extinct species by now.

            Sound ludicrous enough for you? More ludicrous than basing the number of gospels in the Bible on the cardinal points of the compass? Hardly.

          • Maxine Schell

            You have convinced me…… that you really are a cosmos accident.

        • The Explorer

          “The very personality types that swell the ranks of the Islamic State are also to be found here.”

          You’re right. I’m off to the slave market to buy a couple more Yazidi women that my right hand can possess. Right after I’ve beheaded any infidel male whose name begins with ‘E’ or ‘L’. After that, I’m going to blow up Stonehenge.

          • Eustace

            Is that a death threat? Careful. You may fall foul of the anti-terrorist laws.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Please do not blow up Stonehenge!

          • The Explorer

            I must. It belongs to the time of darkness: like the Buddhas of Bamiyan and Palmyra.

        • Inspector General

          There’s a thing! “Vanishingly tiny” is the best description of the number of Pink News commentators of late, compared to the years beginning, we’ll say. Your Inspector puts that down to plenty of them keeping a low internet profile since being caught up in that UK police exercise that targeted traffickers of indecent images of children. Over 800 awaiting trial for that, you know…

      • carl jacobs

        If you ignore him, he will go away. He comes here to get a reaction and to affirm his own superiority in his own mind. He can only do that if you interact with him. The worst treatment you can give him therefore is to ignore his posts. He can’t get anything out of this site unless people respond.

        • The Explorer

          Eustace/Linus is providing a vital social function. He’s stopping the contributors to this site from turning into a murderous Christian terrorist group.

          Each time I consider turning myself into a human bomb, the words of Eustace/Linus hold me back.

          • Anton

            Jack and the Inspector deserve to spend a day in each other’s company.

          • dannybhoy

            :0)
            God bless Linus and bring him (kicking and screaming) to repentance and newness of life!

        • Anton

          I understand that, but while my reply is to him, it is not exclusively for him.

          • carl jacobs

            “This is what Sennacherib king of Assyria says: On what are you basing your confidence, that you remain in Jerusalem under siege? When Hezekiah says, ‘The Lord our God will save us from the hand of the king of Assyria,’ he is misleading you, to let you die of hunger and thirst. Did not Hezekiah himself remove this god’s high places and altars, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before one altar and burn sacrifices on it’?
            “Do you not know what I and my predecessors have done to all the peoples of the other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand? Who of all the gods of these nations that my predecessors destroyed has been able to save his people from me? How then can your god deliver you from my hand? Now do not let Hezekiah deceive you and mislead you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my predecessors. How much less will your god deliver you from my hand!”

        • dannybhoy

          “He comes here to get a reaction and to affirm his own superiority in his own mind.”
          In the sense that he needs reassurance that he is right and we are wrong I agree. I don’t so much believe that Linus thinks he is superior, rather that despite all his much vaunted freedom he is unhappy; but he is not yet reconciled to the idea that God loves him, wants to forgive him and give him a new life.

          • Eustace

            You’re confusing me with someone else, which doesn’t surprise me given the Christian propensity to lump all opponents together into a sort of composite enemy figure guilty of every sin in the calendar.

            When have I ever talked about being freer than anyone else? That’s entirely your invention.

            Secular reason doesn’t create freedom. I have pretty much all of the same obligations I would have if I were a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim. Salaries must be paid, feelings must be taken into account and situations must be dealt with no matter what one believes in. If you live in society, you can’t be free. We’re all caught up in a web of duties and obligations.

            Of course in comparison to Christians with their ideas about divine autocracy, I suppose you could say that atheists are less put upon by external forces and therefore should feel freer. However in reality we face the same daily grind as everyone else with all the limitations imposed on us by our material existence. So although we’re not troubled by ideas of a busybody God breathing down our necks and judging and condemning our every move, we still have obligations and duties to attend to.

            Freedom is an illusion created by social animals as a way of dealing with the more unpleasant side-effects of constraint. Nobody is truly free. And quite where you got the idea that I think I’m any freer than you, I cannot begin to imagine.

            Perhaps it’s wistful thinking on your part. “Look at him and his refusal to bend the knee to our demanding and autocratic God. He must feel so free!” As if! I have income to generate, salaries and charges to pay, houses to repair, gardens to impose some kind of order on, a husband to prioritize and make time for, family and friends making unreasonable demands on my time and resources, pets to feed, exercise, charities to support, and on top of all this, a duty to expose the Church and those who support it as the selfish and pernicious abusers of Mankind they really are. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

            Free? Don’t make me larff!

          • The Explorer

            It all sounds remarkably like the way Linus used to describe his lifestyle.

        • Eustace

          What, you mean they should ignore me like you ignore me?

          If I was here to provoke a reaction, you would be one of my main reasons for staying.

          Your pseudo-intellectual pomposity strengthened by a superiority complex the size of a heaving American beer gut (which is to say obscenely enormous, and getting enormouser) are endlessly entertaining. As are your pronouncements, drawn as they are pretty much verbatim from Conservapedia.

          You try and try and try not to react to what I say, until you can stand it no longer, and then out come the hatred and the contempt you’ve been storing up since the last explosion. The venom is so concentrated, it provides a very clear warning to others of what happens when you mix chauvinism and a mediocre intellect with the out-of-control narcissism of a evangelical Christian.

          Keep up the good work! You win converts for secular reason every time you post.

    • The Explorer

      Grumble grumble. If only I ruled the world and could exterminate all those who disagreed with me. I could build paradise. Grumble grumble.

  • It remains a big mystery to me why this is always framed as a cultural/religious issue, when what’s relevant is the right to wear a facial disguise and if so, whether it is to be applied universally.

    Exemptions and qualifications are always problematic for a democracy…who gets to decide the rights of a cross-gender man claiming to be in the process of conversion to Islam? Or the right of non-religious people, such as feminists, people with body image oroblems, or just folks who want to go to the store for a carton of milk incognito to avoid chatter with neighbours? A blanket ban on facial disguise is ethically preferable to legislated special ecemptions to select groups.

    • Anton

      Criminalising false beards? Father Christmas?

      • Context and norms. Festivals are already broadly exempted, and police and establishments have a right to ask someone to remove a disguise. Try walking into a bank as a Santa. In open-carry Texas. Or not;you’re a nice guy, it would be shame if something happenned to you….

      • IanCad

        Wouldn’t the criminalizing of the false logically lead to the same indictment of the true?
        I’ll take a mighty dim view if anyone tugs on mine to see if it’s real. Ouch!

    • dannybhoy

      The voice of common sense speaketh unto us all…
      How are you Mr Barzel?

      • Common, me?

        Very well, Sir. Trusting you are well as well.

        • dannybhoy

          I’m fine, my lungs are not quite so fine as the rest of me.
          Did you see BFG yet Avi? Great cgi stuff..

          • Oy, sorry to hear that, friend. Worry about the old bellows (and pressure from the family) finally got me to quit ciggies…hopefully in time to make a difference down the road.

            Had to look up BFG. I’ll wait for Netflix, as with most movies. Can anything beat the ice castle scenes in Frozen?

          • Hi Avi,

            Nah. Batman verses superman is much better. Plus who’d have thought that wonder woman would turn out to be Israeli Jewish?

          • No, no, no none of these comix based films for me! The first 15 minutes, where all the special effects are expended, are great, then I start slowly dying from acute boredom. I get dragged about once a year to such by my kidult buddies, usually after a few pints at a pub, when I’m a hostage to the designated driver. I think the last one I saw is the Transformers one; noticed that most of the audience was adult guys! Odd.

          • dannybhoy

            Transormers – Pah! I don’t go for any of the Marvel characters brought to cinema. Instantly forgettable. Now ‘The Incredibles’ was genuinely clever and involving.
            “Go home Buddy. I work alone…” :0)

          • Oh, oh, Marvel vs DC Comics. Faux pas. We’re still friends, right?

          • dannybhoy

            We took our goddaughter to see BFG, but actually we really enjoyed it too. Not as dark as Dahl’s original.
            Haven’t seen ‘Frozen’ though. Too sloppy for me.. (he said in that macho way he has…)

          • Our daughter was 13 when it came out; took her 3 times for the 3D shows and watched the DVD with her a gew more times. Fortunately the ddetails of the stunning artwork kept me entertained. It’s her singing every song from the movie for the next 2 years that was the killer.

          • dannybhoy

            Lol!

    • Hi

      Thr security answer would be to use Iris recognition? Mine are stored in America. I was actually in Canada and crossed the border. I noticed the smuggling of a truck load of rich white Canadians attempting to cross the border to pick fruit (:

      • Hi Hannah!

        Our fruit is better, isn’t it?

        Iris recog is of limited application and is useless for CCTV. It’s not just about logic or techno solutions; law is nine tenths custom, which in the West frowns on disguises, occasional masques, theatre and festivals notwithstanding. And I could go either way, provided it’s a blanket permission for anyone, not just Muslim women. That one tenth is about fairness and consistency.

        • Hi

          I agree there are legitimate concerns and issues here, alongside the principle of religious liberty. However my fear is as expressed to Danny below that we could get into a slippery slope and a precedent. If religious freedom arguments can be overruled with this one , then what’s next? I don’t just mean something like banning kippah or fedora or wigs , but infant male circumcision? Kosher slaughter? Normally I’d roll my eyes too at the leaping from a burqa to these matters, but it isn’t me who has to link them. In today’s scary through the rabbit whole world…

          • dannybhoy

            In Israel Hannah, Israelis run the risk of being attacked by people in robes or in jeans. But it goes with the territory, in that the Palestinians are there and have been for a long time.
            In the UK and all of Europe, Muslims of all persuasions and in such numbers, are a new phenomenon.
            We made it possible for them to come in, and too late we find out that there are is a minority who mean us harm.
            So logically as the host nation, we should do all in our power to protect ourselves without harming the majority of Muslims who are content to coexist in our secular democratic society. (Even though strictly speaking, Islam can only exist as being the preeminent faith..)
            So the question is, should a UK government allow innocent indigenous British citizens to be targets of terrorism so as not to provoke Muslims; or should they make it clear that they will do everything possible to protect British citizens, even if it offends some Muslims?

          • Hi

            I’m not buying the idea that everyone who dresses in a particular way is out to get us. The bar has to be set higher than that.

          • Hi

            As an example a white Muslim convert or a westernized dressed Muslim could be a terrorist or not. So could a conservatively dressed Muslim. You aren’t a mind reader or telepath and don’t know just by plain sight.

          • dannybhoy

            “You aren’t a mind reader or telepath and don’t know just by plain sight.”
            So we agree, you can’t tell. But I go back to my point which is if you come from an Islamic nation to a Western secular nation, and have no intention of adapting or integrating, and keep yourself separate; why did you come?
            What was so wrong with your country of origin that you left it but have no intention of assimilating into your new country of residence?
            Not only that, when children from the second or third or fourth generation still see themselves as separate and even become openly hostile to the prevailing culture, then what?
            Why should the indigenous people be the ones who have to change to meet the requirements of those who have chosen to live amongst us?

          • Hi

            Exactly . So if you can’t tell who is a threat by just looking at them there is no point in banning this on terrorism or security concerns. You admit that in this post and the real issue is about the cultural and religious identity of great Britain which is a more convincing one. The idea of dressing in what is a giant bin bag isn’t my culture either, but the danger of all of this is that by seeking to ban such an item you could potentially increase radicalism for no good reason. This isn’t uniform even with Muslims , but I’d suggest tackling the ideology of Islamists head on is of greater concern than dress, cultural or religious

          • dannybhoy

            But on the other hand if you do nothing and allow people to practice their lives as they wish…
            We accept arranged marriages, honour killings, female genital mutilation, the imposition of Shari’a on all Muslims in Britain?? All so as to avoid radicalism?
            Isn’t it better to insist on everybody conforming to British values and customs seeing as it’s Britain they have chosen to live in?
            Do Muslim nations allow Christians and Jews and others equality before the (Islamic) law?
            No they don’t. In fact they give them a good kicking whenever they need a whipping boy. So I would guess that leaving them to their own devices is not very sensible.

          • Hi

            “our secular democratic society”

            I’m sure you argued on my blog as this was a Christian country the church of England shouldn’t be disestablished? You’re buying into a secular state?

          • dannybhoy

            I think I argued that whilst I believe there should be a disestablishment of Church and State, to so at the present time on the UK that would be a very dangerous and destablising move.

          • Hi

            Not sure any one would notice much on a practical level. Maybe at the national level.But that’s one for another day!

          • But it’s not a religious freedoms issue; it’s holding onto traditional custom-based laws in our Western culture against appearing in disguise in public. I can apply the slippery slope argument too; if allowing people to obscure for religious reasins, what of nudist Pagans and their religious rights?

          • The Explorer

            Bring ’em on. Females anyway, since they’re the issue on this thread.

          • Am I to understand that you are pro-burka only because you hope this will lead to nude girls prancing around the isles of your local supermarket?

            Now, next time you’re at the market, look around and imagine all those people butt-nekkid. Aaah…maybe not such a great idea, right?

          • Hi

            Is this thing about disguise English or Canadian? I get law enforcement, but surely you should be free to dress up as robin hood if you wanted?

            The second bit is more interesting and touches on the issue of religious liberty, rights and responsibilities. Maybe to us this isn’t a matter of religious freedom, but to them it is: on this blog we have had discussions on kosher and infant male circumcision , some have argued we have no religious rights on these matters . Is that the end of the matter? Why no it’s not. We do fight those arguments..

          • Uncle Brian

            Hi Hannah! The only issue is face concealment, surely. Nobody has ever objected to the flowing robes sometimes worn by West Africans, both male and female, or by some Middle Eastern men. That would make no more sense than objecting to the Nehru suit in the fifties or to the Mao jacket in the sixties. The true analogy, as I see it, is motor cycle helmets, which I’ve always seen people having to take off to be allowed into any office building in London.

          • I,m guessing Common Law. Costumes and such depend on circumstances and we never had problems distinguishing a store Santa from someone in disguise for no good reason. We can’t over-legalize everyrhing. We have to rely on custom, tradition, history and common sense. Disguising the face while going about one’s business is a no-no in European culture.

            Ditto for shehita; apart from the fact that it’s more or at least as humane as stunning is, Jrws have been around since antiquity in Yurup and it has historic precedent in the West not just for the Jews, but as a regular slaughter method on the farms.

          • dannybhoy

            “We have to rely on custom, tradition, history and common sense. Disguising the face while going about one’s business is a no-no in European culture’
            Which comes about through acquaintance with and acceptance of the customs and values of a culture. For example it took me a while to adjust to and begin to appreciate the nuances of life in Israel.
            But even before I knew anything about life in Israel I already respected it because I knew the basics of Judaism and that Jewish people were/are decent people…

  • Context and norms. Festivals are already broadly exempted, and police and establishments have a right to ask someone to remove a disguise. Try walking into a bank as a Santa. In open-carry Texas. Or not;you’re a nice guy, it would be shame if something happenned to you.

    • carl jacobs

      • Anton

        No remorse?

        • Complete the call: ….

          Anyway, still dont know how to delete and it wont let me keep a blank window.

          • Anton

            You could always think of something to say…

          • Go to the comment in your profile and click the icon on the right and delete. What’s difficult?

          • Oh…that’s how they do it. Clever.

          • Uncle Brian

            The icon on the right? Mine doesn’t have an icon on the right. What does that icon look like?

          • Top right hand corner. There are two icons. One is a minus sign; the other a reverse triangle. It’s the triangle you click. Are you using a phone?

          • Uncle Brian

            No, a notebook. Does that make a difference?

          • Dreadnaught

            position the cursor over the post you have made – the ‘minus’ and triangle will appear – delete the post by clicking on the triangle.

          • Uncle Brian

            Ah. You’ve cleared up the mystery. I never knew about that! Thank you.

          • Possibly.

          • carl jacobs

            Be nice. He’s Canadian, after all. It’s not easy connecting to the Internet with a Marconi wireless.

          • Just a reminder, Carl. With the Felon or the Orange Ape as your only options, you”ll be sending smoke signals after November.

          • Uncle Brian

            You can’t leave it blank but you can type in, e. g., “Comment deleted”.

          • Ah, yes, but that makes too much sense. More than my three dots…

          • Uncle Brian

            So that’s what your three dots were supposed to mean! I thought it was some kind of North American in-joke you were sharing with Carl and that went over my head.

          • Busted. We communicate in Morse. Three dots is “s,” in code for “secure the launch codes before either Hillary sells them to the Saudis or The Donald blows away the next dork who pisses him off.”

        • chefofsinners

          Join the dots.

        • carl jacobs

          • .– …. -.– —

          • carl jacobs

            Wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong to the nth degree. Metaphysically wrong, even. The next letter in sequence is …

            –.

          • ? ?

          • carl jacobs

            Phillips and Bride would be disappointed in you, Jack.

          • Ah …. should have remembered from last time.

            -.–

          • carl jacobs

            SOS DE MGY. Although it’s more properly formed as CQD DE MGY.

            Looking back, I put the “D” in the wrong place. I’ll have to fix that.

          • Jack is aware of CQD and MGY but what’s the DE all about?

          • carl jacobs

            DE = “This is”

  • DanJ0

    I wouldn’t stop people wearing them in public. I’m not actually sure whether private institutions such as shops, banks, garages etc can refuse entry to those wear burqas and nicabs. If they can stop people wearing motorbike helmets, hoodies, and balaclavas then burqas and nicabs should be fair game too for the same reasons.

  • HedgehogFive

    There is an Arabic poem which goes (translated) as follows:

    Say to the tasty dish in the black veil,
    What have you done to the fasting hermit?
    He had just arranged his clothes for prayer,
    When you passed by him in front of the mosque door.
    Give him back his prayer and his fast,
    Do not lead him away from the path of Muhammad’s religion.

    If you want to search for the original on Google, try قل للمليحة في الخمار الأسود

    • Uncle Brian

      There’s another one, though probably not by the same author, which ends with the following couplet (in the original English):

      … Which accounts for the hump of the camel
      And the sphinx’s inscrutable smile.

      • Seadog

        Come on, don’t be shy.

        The sexual life of a camel
        Is stranger than anyone thinks;
        At the height of the mating season,
        He tries to bugger the Sphinx.
        But the Sphinx’s posterior sphincter
        Is all clogged by the sands on the Nile.
        Which accounts for the hump on the camel,
        and the Sphinx’s inscrutable smile.

  • So the Germans have wised up. If they can ban the burkha, end dual citizenship and deport hate preachers then so can we.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/10/senior-german-ministers-call-for-ban-on-wearing-the-burqa/

  • weirdvisions

    Actually there is one place I would most certainly ban the burqa – behind the steering wheel of a vehicle. I was on the M6, just south of Preston, a while ago and ahead of me was a small hatchback whose driver was having great difficulty staying in lane. Thoughts immediately go to either drunk or drug driving but no. As I eased past the delinquent hatchback I saw a woman in a burqa driving. Her peripheral vision, from what I could see, was poor to zero. She was a danger to herself, her passengers and other road users.

    • CliveM

      Yep fair enough.

    • David

      A crazy situation as first class all round vision is essential. Sounds like “dangerous driving” to me.

  • Jacques Bergier

    so, bishop. you can wear it as you wish. or wear it every day. obligatory clothes to you it should be.

  • cathy catowl

    I prefer the burkalaclava. The interbreeding between a balalclava and a burka hood. The only differnence between the burqalaclava and a normal balaclava (for normal citizens) is that you have a zipper on the hole in front of the mouth. Opening the zipper enables you t drink a beer.