Monday, October 16, 2006

Cruel Britannia

A followup to a previous post on the hypocrisy of the so-called multi-cultural British society when it comes to dealings with Muslims. It seems that some religions are more equal than others.
Following the row over Muslim veils in the UK, a Government minister, Phil Woolas, has called for 23-year-old teacher Aishah Azmi to be sacked for refusing to down hers. In a totally unrelated development, the British Airways uniform policy, which calls for all jewellery and religious symbols (including the Christian Cross) on chains to be concealed, has been described as "loopy" by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain. There, of course, have been no calls for the sacking of 55 year old check-in worker Nadia Eweida who claims she was effectively "forced" to take unpaid leave after refusing to conceal her cross necklace. On the contrary Kent Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe urged a boycott of BA. She said: "My view is that Christians do not have to take this." Well put! Muslims don't have to take it either.


Acolyte said...

You've got to love those wonderful double standards!

xx said...

I see what you are getting at, but I think there is more than a tiny bit of difference between someone coverning themselves from head to toe in black and a 10mm cross!

I've nothing against anyone wearing veils, but if it wasn't necessary to wear it at the interview for the job (given by a male), I can't see why it is necessary to be covered head to toe in a class of primary school children!

As for BA, I'd guess they're looking for cheap advertising. My guess is that if what is reported is true (which isn't always the case), then BA will lose this one; however it is probable that there is more to this than just wearing a small cross!

Gathara said...

The issue here is the right to freely practice one's religion. If the BA order to conceal all jewelry, which only incidentally affects religious symbols is an infringement on the right, how much so a ban that specifically targets the Islamic veils?

It shouldn't matter that she went to the interview unveiled. How she chooses to practice her faith is her business and noone else's.

And, so far as I can see, noone has proved that veiled teachers are less effective than unveiled ones.

xx said...

"And, so far as I can see, noone has proved that veiled teachers are less effective than unveiled ones."

I don't think the issue here is her ability to teach, but is about what is acceptable in society.

In an islamic country, people dressed head to toe may be the norm, but it is not in the UK - that is what a lot of people find uncomfortable.

I don't think any sane person would dispute a persons right to practice their religion or dress as they believe is right, but there needs to be a balance.

Because this item is main news, I strongly suspect that there is trouble making going on on all sides, and whatever the teacher's intentions, this has now become another 'oh no, muslims causing trouble again' issue, and they don't need that.

Getting on in society is about both sides understanding and living with each other, and while we should understand her wishes, she (or muslims) should understand why people are uncomfortable with it. Otherwie there is no way forward! :-)

Gathara said...

I agree about the need for understanding all round. But democracy is also about respect for the fundamental rights of others, especially the right of minorities to be different. People may be uncomfortable with burkhas but that doesn't mean they should be illegal. I'm sure the Muslims are just as uncomfortable with mini-skirts and jeans.

xx said...

Only France I understand has made them illegal and there's no will to follow suit in the UK.

Question: Would a Muslim school in a Muslim country allow a teacher to wear a mini-skirt and jeans? It would be understandable that they would not.

Unfortunately, freedom to believe inside employment differs from the freedom one can express outside it, and I think that is the issue here.

Gathara said...

Muslim countries are hardly the epitome of liberal democracy. We should be seeking a higher standard not falling to the lowest common denominator.

Gathara said...

BTW Jon,
It now seems multi-cultural Britain is dead and buried. The new policy is integration. At least that's the Gospel according to the Telegraph.

xx said...

1st point: fair comment. 2nd point, multi-cultural is D&B when there is open warfare between all cultures. The Telegraph speaks only for the Tory rightwing, the ocean of 'middle-Englanders' in the countryside.

Comments on the case, she lost. You can only go to a Tribunal if you’ve been in employment for over 1 year, so it would appear that she chose not to wear the veil during the period she could have been sacked without any repercussions. She was awarded £1,000 for ‘hurt feelings’ which would suggest that her employer was less than tactful in the matter.

Sadly, the biggest loser is of course the Muslim community; since what this event has done is further alienate understanding between the vast majority Christen population and ethnic minorities. I still widely suspect that political capitalisation is being made on both sides.

The Editor said...

Re Double Standards: For instance:
It's illegal to discriminate against homosexuals in the Uk. But society has to respect religious views including their discrimination against homesexuals because its part of a religious belief rather than simply a prejudice? errr....