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Burka ban raises ugly head

Islamic burka

A Conservative party politician is seeking to ban
the wearing of a burka
in public. Philip Hollobone, the MP for Kettering
has tabled a private members’ Bill that calls for the introduction of a Face
Covering (Regulations) Bill that would ban Muslim women from wearing the veil
in public.

Hollobone was the subject of a complaint to police from the Northamptonshire
Race Equality Council five months ago because of remarks he made about burkas.

He was reported to police in February after he said wearing a burka was “the
religious equivalent of going round with a paper bag over your head with two
holes for eyes”.

The increasing calls in the UK for the burka to be banned is a sign of growing
level of Islamaphobia. The idea that you can legislate for what people wear
is laughable, as is the notion that a woman in a burka is a threat to British
values or security.

Luckily, such a move would be doomed to fail without government support. Nevertheless
yesterday, he secured the right to have it printed. “I think it is inappropriate
to cover your face in public, whether it’s a burka, a balaclava or anything
else,” he said.

“We are never going to get along with having a fully integrated society
if a substantial minority insist on concealing their identity from everyone

During the election the UK Independence Party chose not to field a candidate
against Mr. Hollobone because his views on Europe were so close to those of
UKIP. He was reported to police in February after he said wearing a burka was
“the religious equivalent of going round with a paper bag over your head
with two holes for eyes”.

Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim
Council for Britain
has condemned the move. He said: “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. No-one has the right to overrule

But Shaista Gohir, of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, said: “I agree that
wearing a face veil has a negative affect on community cohesion and the majority
of Muslims do not believe it is a religious obligation”.

She added, “But a ban would be a completely disproportionate response.
There are a million Muslim women in the UK and only a few thousand are estimated
to wear a veil. Banning the veil will not help those few women to integrate.
But it will play into the hands of extremist parties”.

Belgium became the first European country to impose a full ban on wearing the
burka. Women now face jail for hiding their face in public places.

France is also preparing to vote on a ban on the burka and niqab later this

Mr. Hollobone’s Face Coverings Bill is one of 20 Private Members’ Bills that
could make it into law during this Parliament.


4 Responses

  1. Dear OBV and Supporters,

    Hollobone is a dinasour whose extremist views have no place in a modern Conservative Party. I would strongly urge anyone who disagrees with his repugnant views to contact their MP and complain about the matter.

    Freedom of expression must not be curtailed for the benefit of an MP looking to make hay from a populist need to demonise honest, hard working tax payers.

    Its not the first time MPs lacking in intelligence or parliamentary support try to hijack the news agenda. its sad, but cheap tricks such as this always seem to be lapped up by some newspapers in particular.

    Silly old Jack Straw! I think we can trace the origins of Burka bashing clearly to his door. It is Jack Straw, after all who has ‘normalised’ burka bashing when he effectively ran a highly successful national media campaign against the burks by insisting that he would not see his many Muslim constituents if they continued to wear a burka in surgeries.

    It is fascinating that a former NUS president would stoop so low into the politics of discrimination. The last time I visited Leeds Univerisy, where Jack was President, there was a plaque outside saying that he was no longer in to the union – that of course was because of his firm support for the Iraq war.

    Labour – the party that took us to war.
    Labour’s anti-Muslim politians.
    Labour’s anti-terrorism bill that targeted Muslim for stop and search.
    Does this resonate? It should. Labour can never again be trusted as a force for good when it comes to equalities. Voting Labour is essentially a form of self hate if you are Black, and especially Muslim.


  2. Imran

    Your last sentence is disingenuous and partisan. Neither of you can claim the moral high ground, none of the major parties can.

    You could have equally stated “Conservatives – colluded with apartheid”; “Conservatives – degrading comments about Africans”; “Conservatives – refused an inquiry in to the Stephen Lawrence case”.

    Is this is ‘new politics’ (forget your past but criticise your rivals record) or some form of political amnesia; and lets face it, that is the past 30 years alone. I don’t even have to reach in to the bag for ‘swamped by immigrants’, Enoch P, or ‘n*gger for a neighbour’.

    Oh, and by the way, your party did not oppose Iraq one jot, only your new coalition mates did, so to pin that on Labour is laughable.


  3. David,

    It was the Labour Party that took us to war on fake evidence – not The Conservatives. It was Labour that lied about evidence not Conservatives. Under those circumstances, no, many Tories didn’t oppose war. Although my MP, was not in favour of war.

    By the way David, I’m not saying the Tories haven’t done things in the past which are things I would not support, my point is that Labour badly treated BME communities as their clients. Black people have smacked Labour in the face and said – no more.

    And seriously, Enoch P was a while ago. Jack Straw was like yesterday. Jack Straw ‘Take your Burka off’ MP.


  4. So you took Blair’s word over vast swathes of criticism from within the Cabinet, several backbenchers and the general public. I think some of you were actually more pro-war than most but may be we recollect differently.

    Your point was “Voting Labour is essentially a form of self hate if you are Black, and especially Muslim”. Not badly treated. All I was saying is, on that basis Tories have a cheek considering the recent past.

    You’re right to point out that Enoch P was a while ago though – that’s why I said I don’t have to go there – although one of your candidates in 2007 suggested he was right.

    You’re also right about Straw, Hodge, even Gordon Brown, stooping to the lowest of depths for popularity in ‘Labour heartlands’.

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