The British Politician and the Muslim Veil
After Jack Straw’s Communist student days, the student militant reinvented himself as a Labour Party activist, rising to the post of Home and Foreign Secretary in the three minority Blair governments at the turn of the twenty-first century. These largely Scottish ‘New Labour’ governments (with many non-practising Jewish and practising Evangelical advisers) ruled over the UK with their targets, plans, ‘initiatives’ and directives.
In this way they resembled the old Soviet elite which ruled over the Soviet Union, also bankrupting the nation along the way. Over nine years the authoritarian New Labour regime, in fact more Tory than the Tories, was responsible for several war crimes. These included bombing Serbia and invading Afghanistan (like the old Soviet regime) and Iraq, not to mention later standing by, while 1,200 men, women and children were massacred in the Israeli invasion of the Lebanon in the summer of 2006.
In spring 2006, sensing the ‘fin de regime’, Jack Straw became disillusioned and began to speak the truth about the failed occupations and the bloody and lost wars which they had created. This led to his sacking in May 2006. According to the London Times in August 2006 he had in fact been sacked at the behest of Washington for speaking out and condemning the neocon fantasy of bombing Iran. The embittered sixty-year old now began to criticize his former master. Clearly trying to promote himself as a populist in the next phase of Labour administration after Blair’s ignominious departure in 2007, Straw’s latest intervention on 5 October 2006 concerns Muslims. He finds it unacceptable that Muslim women should veil themselves. In conversations with them in his constituency in Blackburn, which is 20% Muslim, he asks them to unveil themselves.
It seems curious that a man of Jewish ancestry, apparently now an agnostic or atheist, should object to Muslim dress. Presumably he is not against Jews wearing skull-caps, Christians crosses and Sikhs turbans. After all, it was his Labour Party which began to bring Muslims to this country after 1945. (In fairness it should be said, of course, that the Conservative Party entirely shared in the policy of allowing mass immigration from Pakistan, Bangladesh and certain other Muslim countries).
fact is that if governments allow mass immigration from Muslim countries,
then they should accept the consequences. In other words, they should
have accepted that these people would want to practise Islam, build mosques,
dress as they wish and refuse to become secularists. If these politicians
did not want this, they should have thought of this before. In a supposedly
free country, Mr Straw has no right to criticize the dress of others.
I would like to object to his necktie – perhaps it reminds me of
a hangman's rope around the neck. Perhaps, if ever I meet him, I should
insist that he takes it off.
As a Christian, I can support neither Islam nor Judaism. As an Orthodox Christian, I can support neither the historic hatred and violence preached by the Popes of Rome in their anti-Muslim Crusades, nor the arrogant colonialism of modern Protestant Crusades against the Muslim world. Neither of these ‘messengers’ has anything to do with the message of the Christian Gospel. 'Christian' aggression will never convert Muslims to Christ. (No wonder that during the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries, both Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox preferred the tolerance of the sultan’s turban to the intolerance of the papal tiara).
Personally, I find it strange that a woman wishes to veil her face. But I would certainly not insist that she unveil herself before I speak to her. In any case, I find it even stranger that young women (and men) nowadays cover themselves with tattoos, piercings with rings, studs, pins in ears, noses, eyebrows, tongues and elsewhere, dye their hair the strangest of colours, mask themselves with hoods, wear T-shirts with demonic logos, cannot open their lips without foul-mouthing others and cannot go out in the evening without getting drunk and vomiting in the street, dressed as the most shameless prostitutes, baring almost every part of their deformed bodies.
As a matter of fact, if these two extremes were the only choices, then I would prefer women to wear veils. I suspect, however that this would offend the secularist sensibilities of the Jack Straws of this world. For they in fact conceal a profoundly irreligious and even anti-religious view of the world. Either Mr Straw has to accept that we live in a free country, or else he will have to promote openly the dictatorship, which he and his political cronies sometimes appear to prefer.