Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A comment about banning the burqa

My comment to this Samizdata post by Perry De Havilland:

It’s one of those situations where you have to laugh, because if you don’t laugh you will cry.

The Establishment has, belatedly, nerved itself to say (after obligatory frantic protestations of non-racism) that burqas are, y’know, a bit, um, er, socially undesirable.

This after decades of putting in place measures to make sure that any social disapproval of burqas was punishable in law.

Many of you no doubt remember the discussion in the run-up to what became the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. Bad as it is, this law would have been even more repressive if not for two amendments made in the Lords. The Labour government failed by one vote to overturn these amendments. During the debate in the House of Commons, Home Office Minister Paul Goggins himself offered up as an example of speech that would be punishable under the Act the suggestion that burqas might be used to hide that someone was a suicide bomber. I repeat, that was not scaremongering by opponents but the Minister’s own example of speech he thought ought to be forbidden.

Here’s the quote from Hansard: Link:

Dr. Tony Wright (Cannock Chase) (Lab): A number of hon. Members have provided the Minister with example statements and asked him whether the Bill would catch them. In each case, he has said that the Bill would not catch that statement, but it would be helpful if he provided an example of a statement that the Bill would catch.

Paul Goggins: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point and shall provide him with an example that I used earlier today and on other occasions. The example involves a poster that depicts women, some of whom are white British and some of whom are not, wearing the burqa and that includes quotes from the Koran. The poster states that such women cannot be trusted, because they are recruited in various parts of the world as suicide bombers, and asks what they are hiding under their ugly clothes. That could be the kind of material that would be relevant under the Bill.

That is but one example (not forgetting that although the worst few words in the Act were softened, in the main it was passed as originally intended) of the numerous laws and other types of state-backed pressure that have been used to stop individuals attempting to peacefully dissuade others not to wear the mask.

In other words the Establishment laboured long and hard to stop in its tracks the sort of “pressure” that does not violate anyone’s rights and which actually works – as it did work to diminish almost to nothing the barbaric custom of putting women in black bags over the nineteenth century and the first two thirds of the twentieth century.

And now, when burqa-clad women – and men pretending to be women – are known to have used the burqa to hide weapons of murder many times, to say nothing of the less drastic but more pervasive evils of the custom, the clowns of the Establishment STILL cannot move themselves to allow their fellow citizens to oh-the-horror discriminate. Like an alcoholic whose only solution to his drunkeness is another binge to stop him thinking about it, the only strategy the Establishment can think of is more force in the opposite direction, this time banning the burqa.

Despair is a sin. Best to laugh.