Not supportive of Shabina Begum


by Sunny
19th March, 2006 at 5:02 am    

School rules on the uniforms children wear could be thrown into chaos this week by the final law lords judgment in the case of Shabina Begum, the Muslim girl who was banned from wearing full Islamic dress at school.

Headteachers have told The Observer that if the judgment goes in her favour, making it unlawful to exclude children for refusing on religious grounds to wear proper uniform, it would ‘undermine the authority of schools’.

Denbigh High School in Luton, whose case is now supported by the Department for Education, originally sent Begum home because she insisted on wearing a jilbab, or full-length Islamic gown. Begum, now 17, stopped going to school in 2002 and spent two years at home, before enrolling into another one that allowed her to wear the gown. [Link]

One of the stupidest cases to have found currency in UK courts, I hope the law lords chuck this out. Although I’m not in favour of the French model of banning all religious garb at school, this case is about one person’s interpretation of her religion and I don’t see why schools have to play fiddle to that. If she doesn’t like it, she can stop attending school.


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  1. Jay Singh — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:05 pm  

    The thing about this case is that the Muslim headmistress, the Muslim girls and their families, and the local clerics and imams were all consulted and perfectly happy with the uniform. The campaign of Shabina Begum and her sponsors is targeted at them. Although, as the risible speech that she made outside the court, positing the judgment as a victory against the persecution of the ummah, mouthing the usual inane Pizza hut Tahrir rhetoric, truly idiotic, tries to turn this into a ‘clash of civilisation’ thing, the truth is that the main people who are in the line of Shabina Begum’s fire are the Muslim headmistress, the imams who approved the uniform, and those girls and their families who are happy with the uniform as it is.

    In other words, although Shabina Begum and her Islamist sponsors use their snake oil salesman rhetoric to make it out as some kind of campaign for human rights, and use the smokescreen of ‘Ummah versus West’, the truth is that this is an insidious attempt to bully and strike at other Muslims, the ones that do not share their paradigm. This is part of an internal Muslim dynamic, of moderate Muslims being hounded by bullying extremists. If the courts side against the Muslim headmistress of the school it will give a message that Muslim moderates are not being supported, that ‘human rights law’ has become a stick with which to beat moderate Muslims, and that wider society has failed to vest authority in Muslims, supported by mainstream imams, who plough a moderate and modern course in British society. It will be a victory for the extremists and we will have abandoned the side of the majority of moderate Muslims, their families who are perfectly happy with the uniform as it is, the imams who are happy with it, and the Muslim girls at school who should be protected from the pressure to alter the dress code further.

    This is a question of supporting Muslims against the machinations of extremists. It is not an ‘us and them’ scenario as the Pizza hut Tahrir want it to be seen as. No – it is a question of Muslims being hustled by Pizza hut extremists. We support our moderate British Muslims 100% – I hope the courts will make the right decision and support our British moderate Muslims and the headmistress of the school.

  2. Sahara Knite — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:09 pm  

    Shabina Begum lost two years of her education to fight to uphold her religious rights and duties. What would the educational authorties wish her to wear, a micro-mini?(we shouldn’t judge but you know what I mean) I hope this brave 16 year old womyn wins her battle for her human rights. If she is victorious then it will be a victory for the entire Muslim community and wider society as a whole.

  3. raz — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:16 pm  

    I agree Jay. Not only are people like this is a minority, their actions end up making the whole Muslim community, most of whom couldn’t care less about jilabs, look stupid and petty.

  4. Jay Singh — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:18 pm  

    Hmmmm….why is a man with the name of a porn star from a Muslim background writing inane bollocks about the need for Muslim girls to have the ‘right’ to over ride the authority of a Muslim friendly consensual school uniform policy in favour of stricter dress codes? I wonder.

  5. Jay Singh — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    raz

    It only makes Muslims look like that to people who are ignorant. If the Muslim headmistress was to speak publically (I don’t know if there are legal restrictions on her doing this) it would become even clearer what the true dynamics of this are, and that it is an attempt to hustle the majority of Muslims by Pizza hut ideologues with a political agenda.

    I think it is really sad though that some white lawyers and commentators are taken in by this – that Cherie Blair really believes that what she is doing is positive and a good thing, that they are oblivious to the local conditions and dynamics of the situation.

  6. raz — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    Jay, there are a lot of ‘odd’ characters with agendas on PP these days. I’m sure you’ve noticed

  7. raz — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:27 pm  

    Jay,

    The thing about these ‘Pizza Huts’ is that while they don’t have wide support, they are VERY well organised and disciplinged – I’ve seen this, particularly at universities. In contrast, most moderate Muslims are disorganised and not very PR savvy. This is why the extremists have been so good at trumpeting their nonsense.

  8. Jay Singh — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

    raz

    It is the same with the Sikh Federation types – they know that if you write e-mails and letters with a certain amount of intensity and vehemence, and protest about certain things, and ‘make noise’, that they will get attention.

    University politics are always extreme anyway – look at the amount of extreme left socialist activists on campus, at least in the past, who were not at all reflective of the political leanings of the majority of left wing people in society as a whole.

    I also am reminded of the extreme Trotskyites like Militant who in the 1980′s infiltrated the Labour Party and took control of councils with their militancy.

    They are clever – they know how to work the system, how to use human rights law to pursue their agenda, how to speak the rhetoric of human rights and freedom to lull oblivious white liberals into believing they are benign. That is what they have done here with the Shabina Begum case.

  9. Sahara Knite — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

    Jay,

    What makes you think I’m a bloke? I might be a porn star (I prefer adult performer thank you very much) who has an interest in my own background and the diversity of opinion of the South Asian Diaspora. We’re not all thick slags you know.

  10. Jay Singh — on 19th March, 2006 at 12:55 pm  

    Dude, you’re not even smart arse funny, you’re just an arse.

  11. Sahara Knite — on 19th March, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

    If I were a fly, I’d be all over you, because you’re the shit!

  12. Jay Singh — on 19th March, 2006 at 1:22 pm  

    You are the shit, boy.

  13. Don — on 19th March, 2006 at 1:26 pm  

    In the remote possibility that Sahara’s question was prompted by ignorance rather than malice; no the school did’t ask her to wear a micro mini. It asked her to wear;

    Shalwar: tapered at the ankles, not baggy.

    Kameeze: between knee and mid-calf length, not gathered or flared. Fabric must be cotton or poplin, not shiny, silky or crinkly.”

    Girls are also permitted to wear headscarves so long as they comply with three specific requirements. They must be lightweight and navy blue, and worn so that the collar and tie can be seen. They must also cover the head, be folded under the chin and taken round to the back of the neck, with their ends tucked in in conformance with health and safety requirements.

    http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/judgmentsfiles/j3114/sb-v-denbigh_high_school.htm

    It should be noted that neither the girl nor her parents made any objection to the uniform, but that after she was unfortunately orphaned and came effectively under the guardianship of her brother ( reportedly a member of HuT ) a politically sophisticated campaign was launched to create an issue where none had existed.

  14. Sunny — on 19th March, 2006 at 3:18 pm  

    . What would the educational authorties wish her to wear, a micro-mini?(we shouldn’t judge but you know what I mean)

    What kind of stupid thinking is this? Is a shalweer kameez now a micro-mini?? This is why Hizb ut tahrir followers are so stupid, they lost any sense of proportion a long time back.

    Jay – please avoid getting into cussing matches.

  15. Sahara Knite — on 19th March, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

    Thank you Sunny, Jay can really go over the top.

  16. Jay Singh — on 19th March, 2006 at 3:43 pm  

    Sunny – please avoid rising to the bait of the troll.

  17. Don — on 19th March, 2006 at 4:20 pm  

    Ironically, if the school had no uniform policy pupils would be equally free to wear either the jilbab or a micro-mini, or indeed the ceremonial uniform of a Bratislavian hussar.

    Which is why this excellent headteacher ( who turned a failing school into a heavily over-subscribed success, ranked in the top ten for ‘value added’ in the country;

    http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/109/109683.pdf.

    [Take the time to look at it. This is a bloody good school. As a teacher, I can tell you that isn't down to luck.] ) introduced an eminently sensible, consensual and popular uniform policy.

    Quite apart from the uniform issue itself, the fact that the head has been, in effect, accused of religious bigotry and autocratic insensitivity makes me spit nails.
    I think she should get ‘Teacher of the Year’ for the restraint and professionalism she has shown.

  18. Bikhair — on 19th March, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

    Don,

    There is an Islamic school in my very small Muslim community and the girls have to wear their jilbabs a little shorter than normal for safety reasons when they are out to play.

    You can smell the hizbiyah of this whole issue. These hizbut Tahrirs are hardcore hizbis that desire attention more than religion or truth. Rather than preserve this girls modesty, which is what the uproar is over anyway, they are over exposing her.

  19. Don — on 19th March, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

    Bikki,

    Once again you send me in search of a definition. ( A suprising number of google results for the word refer back to yourself.) I gather it means something like ‘political partisanship masquerading as Islam’? Is that about right?

    In which case, once again, I find myself agreeing with you.

    But really, hizbiyah,hizbut, hizbis … it gets very confusing. Does anyone know of a reliable glossary on the net?

  20. Bikhair — on 19th March, 2006 at 5:56 pm  

    Don,

    Seriously, my bad. I think everyone understands what it means. You are correct in your definition.

    Hizb= party. Like Hizbullah= Party of Allah

    Its Bikhair.

  21. Britoz — on 19th March, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

    I’ve just commented about this on my blog. I am a teacher and if this goes through, it will undermine even further schools and their ability to set policies. It’s an absolute piss take and the government/laws allows people to do it.

  22. Don — on 19th March, 2006 at 7:24 pm  

    Bikhair.

    Thanks.

    It’s an affectionate dimminutive, but I’ll drop it if it bothers you.

  23. Sunny — on 19th March, 2006 at 7:37 pm  

    Interesting blog Britoz, and yeah I do agree with you. It annoys me when such people make a mockery out of the system and use their religion as a cover.

    Don – good point about the teacher and I agree.

  24. Reformist Muslim — on 19th March, 2006 at 7:46 pm  

    The problem with a lot of discussion about this case is people looking at a legal issue through a socio-political perspective.

    The initial ruling was not that the school did not have a right to enforce uniform policy. It was to ensure that when schools set policies they are aware of the human rights implications and think twice before acting.

    If after thinking twice if they are confident that, for example the rights of other young girls will be affected by being forced to wear the jilbab they are perfectly entitled to implement the uniform policy.

    Therefore the case was initially decided on procedural rather than substantive grounds. Say Shabana was expelled for being disruptive, but the school had given no consideration to the impact on her education if she was forced from school etc.

    Even though the grounds for the decision were correct, the procedural process would have been severely lacking.

    The Human Rights Act has been important at placing respect for the individual at the centre of decision-making. On occasion it may be outweighed by collective interests but those decisions can not be taken lightly.

    I will post again on this after the HOL releases their decision.

  25. tom — on 19th March, 2006 at 8:43 pm  

    freedoom of expression should go in to all aspects of life this would include dress. however this should not be done in such a way to create unfair unequalities under unclear religious tradition. why not allow the muslim councill of britain to set a religous dress for british pupils of islam?

  26. Yusuf Smith — on 19th March, 2006 at 8:56 pm  

    I don’t know if anyone saw the picture in the Evening Standard of a girl in the “correct” school Pakistani-style clothing, but it was far too close-fitting to be appropriate for a Muslim girl who was serious about hijab. It also left the lower arms bare. No Muslim authority worthy of the title would call that acceptable.

    The fact is that some schools do in fact allow girls to wear micro-minis to school as part of uniform – I’ve seen them here in New Malden. And before we uphold the right of a school to get rid of a girl for wearing a long dress, shouldn’t we be thinking of allowing a school to get rid of its trash – vandals, bullies and the like – which they at present can’t do? You can’t get kicked out for beating up pupils; you have to do something really serious, like bring in a bit of dope or wear the wrong clothes. Pathetic.

  27. Al-Hack — on 19th March, 2006 at 9:27 pm  

    What does a Muslim authority have anything to do with school what is acceptable? That should be the girl and her parent’s choice.

  28. Don — on 19th March, 2006 at 10:11 pm  

    Tom,

    Congratulations. ‘why not allow the muslim councill of britain to set a religous dress for british pupils of islam?’ goes into the next round of ‘Dumbest Suggestion of the Year’.

    Yusuf,

    ‘shouldn’t we be thinking of allowing a school to get rid of its trash’

    No we shouldn’t. In fact, we shouldn’t be putting ‘trash’ into a schools context at all.

    ‘some schools do in fact allow girls to wear micro-minis to school as part of uniform – I’ve seen them here in New Malden’

    May I refer you to post #13? New Malden is, of course, a law unto itself.

    Al Hack,

    ‘That should be the girl and her parent’s choice. ‘

    Of course it should. In conjunction with the school.

  29. Fe'reeha — on 19th March, 2006 at 10:17 pm  

    why not allow the muslim councill of britain to set a religous dress for british pupils of islam?

    Well, they have, check their website:

    http://www.mcb.org.uk/faq/answers.php?id=104

    I knew about this one because I wrote it.

    But anyway, the problem is Muslim dress is not really followed zelously or uniformly (no pun intended) everywhere.
    For instance, Turkey, Pakistan and Saudi Arab are all Muslim countries but the dress code is dfiferent in all of these countries.

    I am not sure about this. I think quite a few Muslims agree only half arms need covering.

  30. Fe'reeha — on 19th March, 2006 at 10:23 pm  

    Also, this debate brings me back to a question I have so often asked.

    Dress code is not just for women in Islam.
    Even men have their own special code, which does not allow wearing shorts and even burmudas. So how come noone ever talks about Muslim athletes?
    All muslims cheered Muhammed Ali because he was a convert.
    They even cheered for Isam-ul-Haq but had probs with Sania. From tradional Islam, both have broken a barrier, but why is there more sound and fury when a woman does it?
    If progression could come for men, why was it not allowed for women?

  31. Don — on 19th March, 2006 at 10:54 pm  

    Fore-arms? half arms?

    I appreciate that there is an issue with clothing for many people. I find it offensive when I see parents dress their twelve year-olds in ‘Porn Star’ T-shirts and I support uniform policies which see the need for modesty. A school is a place of work, of learning, of raging teenage hormones. Cultural issues aside, most teachers I know are quite keen on minimising fleshy distractions. So the shalwar kameeze is fine with me.

    But fore-arms?

    This is about arousing male lust, right? So someone gets aroused at a schoolgirls fore-arm?, he should seek counselling. Urgently. It is his problem, not hers.

  32. Don — on 19th March, 2006 at 10:59 pm  

    Tom,

    Sorry, I was a bit ill-tempered there.

  33. Bikhair — on 19th March, 2006 at 11:46 pm  

    Fe’reeha,

    Get real. You know there is a double standard that speaks to the differences, Differences, DIFFERECES, between men and women.

  34. Bikhair — on 19th March, 2006 at 11:47 pm  

    Don,

    “But fore-arms?

    This is about arousing male lust, right? So someone gets aroused at a schoolgirls fore-arm?, he should seek counselling. Urgently. It is his problem, not hers.”

    Its about the correct way for a woman to dress which includes covering the forearms.

  35. Reformist Muslim — on 20th March, 2006 at 12:10 am  

    Bikhair,

    Differences b/w men and women is taken into account in different dress codes. I think Fareeha’s point was that under the dress code for Muslim MEN, it is required to (a) cover your legs down till your knees and (b) cover your body up till your navel, both of which were violated by Muhammad Ali and of course Amir Khan.

    Of course we don’t care because he was a great man. Now lets imagine if say Kelly Holmes (insert any athlete) were to convert, become a fierce critic of the Iraq war but continue to race in the clothes she currently competes in.

  36. Reformist Muslim — on 20th March, 2006 at 12:15 am  

    As for the forearms, its part religious, part cultural. Part religious in that most literal interpretations of the Quran require the forearms to be covered.

    However its also cultural as in the subcontinent for example, half sleeves are perfectly accepted and not considered to be immodest e.g look at all your, women riding buses to go to work, women shopping in the market, women tv presenters etc, etc.

    On the other hand, in some Arab culture any skin except for the hands and sometimes the face is considered immodest.

  37. jamal — on 20th March, 2006 at 1:03 am  

    Im actually undicided on this.

    On one hand I think that if uniform is the rule, then it can easilly be adapted to incorporate religious requirements. On the other hand, since we respect religious freedom in the UK, people should have the right to dress in accordance to what is applicable to them.

    Either way, if she wins her case, it will be a minority of people that will dress accordingly based upon the ruling.

  38. Kulvinder — on 20th March, 2006 at 3:09 am  

    I hope they find in her favour, and just incase they’re reading, ill be incredibly upset with you if you don’t.

    The argument put forward by Cherie Booth was far far superior to that of the school, and Justice brooke had a nice clear judgement. Those of you who rage against the barbarians at the gates are ripping apart a strawman, an imaginary strawman at that.

    Britain is not a secular nation, further to that the ECHR (article 9 (1)) gives you the absolute right to manifest your religion, practise and observe it. That right is not without limitations, any institution is perfectly able to limit those rights under 9(2) for public safety etc etc provided it shows just cause – the burden of proof is on them. The fact that Shabina Begum decided after a period to manifest her religion in different way and against the prevailing view of the local population is utterly besides the point, it is her faith.

    Considering all that has been said, Denbigh High School could probably have excluded her under 9(2) had they followed a rigorous path in that direction, instead they took the rather idiotic view of ‘do as you’re told’.

    None of you seem to be able to comprehend that the appeal court ruling, or the law lords judging in her favour would set no precedent other than making schools more aware of the law.

    If you want another example, from a sikh point of view. Banning a kara from being worn would be against the law, however if a particular student behaved inappropriately with his/her kara – threatening others etc the school could after a couple of warnings ban that student from wearing it to school. There would be nothing wrong with that. They couldn’t place a blanket ban on every student, but having shown just cause and warned the student they could enforce that ban on him/her without any problems.

    Justice Brooke did not dismiss the views of the school, if they had followed a more rigorous approach to their ban they might very well have won.

  39. Zobia — on 20th March, 2006 at 4:01 am  

    I apologise, it’s 4a.m. and I’m not terribly articulate currently, however, although I far from agree with Muslim extremists, and am in fact a moderate (okay, let’s be honest: liberal, at best) muslim my self, I wouldn’t say allowing Shabana Begum to wear whatever the hell it is she desires is a blow to the moderate Islamic society: they’re not enforcing to full jilbab on every student…
    I don’t necessarily agree with all her beliefs and how she wishes to manifest them or that there is anything wrong with the current system; I just don’t see what the problem is; if what she wishes to dress in is not inciteful, provocative, lewd, inflammatory and does not encroach upon the health and safety rules, just let the girl wear what she wants. I, personally, believe the media devotes far too much attention to crap like this when there are far more important campaigns they could associate themselves with; this whole Shabana Begum deal is such a non-issue in my opinion.

  40. Sanjeev — on 20th March, 2006 at 10:35 am  

    Totally agree with Sunny and Jai’s take on this. It is absurd and if this girl and others like her wish to play this stupid i.e beyond reason, then quite frankly they can stay out of school.

    The problem is bending to the whims of individuals using religion beyond an acceptible compromise.

  41. Sanjeev — on 20th March, 2006 at 10:45 am  

    Kulvinder, I do not think your point on the Kara stands in the first instance. It is a part of sikh identity, it has meaning, just like islamic dress has. If somone came into school with a hefty Kara that could be misuded then the school would have the right to ban that form. Why becuase there is a compromise that can be made, the kara symoblism is in its meaning NOT how big and dangerous it is. You only have to go to the Gurudwara to see that a kara can be an inoffensive bangle.

  42. Jay Singh — on 20th March, 2006 at 11:02 am  

    This is about more than Shabana Begum’s ‘right’ to wear the jilbab in school. Some of you don’t seem to have understood the consequences of the ruling going in her favour. This is about the authority of a school and headmistress being challenged over the consensually decided school uniform policy. Decided and agreed by every single Muslim parent with a child in the school, the local imams, and the Muslim school head. Scroll up and read Don’s posts and the links he gives regarding this.

  43. Jay Singh — on 20th March, 2006 at 11:04 am  

    I wish the headteacher at the school was able to speak up and articulate her position.

  44. Kulvinder — on 20th March, 2006 at 11:23 am  

    Kulvinder, I do not think your point on the Kara stands in the first instance. It is a part of sikh identity, it has meaning, just like islamic dress has. If somone came into school with a hefty Kara that could be misuded then the school would have the right to ban that form. Why becuase there is a compromise that can be made, the kara symoblism is in its meaning NOT how big and dangerous it is. You only have to go to the Gurudwara to see that a kara can be an inoffensive bangle.

    I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make, a school could ban a student from wearing a kara regardless of its thickness – if it was being misused.

    This is about the authority of a school and headmistress being challenged over the consensually decided school uniform policy. Decided and agreed by every single Muslim parent with a child in the school, the local imams, and the Muslim school head. Scroll up and read Don’s posts and the links he gives regarding this.

    Actually this is about how a school would decide that a particular students interpretation of religious dress was or was not against 9(2) ECHR. I have read Don’s link. I’ve read i before. Justice Brooke gave some pretty fucking strong hints about how a (the) school could (should) go about justifiying its position. Would you like me to point it out?

    I wish the headteacher at the school was able to speak up and articulate her position.

    So do i. If she had and if the school had, articulated their position to Shabina Begum in a more considerate and rigorous manner they would have won .

  45. Chris — on 20th March, 2006 at 11:47 am  

    Not if she is an HuT stooge they wouldn’t…

  46. Kulvinder — on 20th March, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

    Very strict muslim and liberal muslim are relativistic terms he uses, he apologises for anyone who may find them unsatisfactory – they’re not meant to insinuate anything.

    Nothing in this judgment should be taken as meaning that it would be impossible for the School to justify its stance if it were to reconsider its uniform policy in the light of this judgment and were to determine not to alter it in any significant respect. Matters which it (and other schools facing a similar question) would no doubt need to consider include these:

    Whether the members of any further religious groups (other than very strict Muslims) might wish to be free to manifest their religion or beliefs by wearing clothing not currently permitted by the school�s uniform policy, and the effect that a larger variety of different clothes being worn by students for religious reasons would have on the School�s policy of inclusiveness;

    Whether it is appropriate to override the beliefs of very strict Muslims given that liberal Muslims have been permitted the dress code of their choice and the School�s uniform policy is not entirely secular;

    Whether it is appropriate to take into account any, and if so which, of the concerns expressed by the School�s three witnesses as good reasons for depriving a student like the claimant of her right to manifest her beliefs by the clothing she wears at school, and the weight which should be accorded to each of these concerns;

    Whether there is any way in which the School can do more to reconcile its wish to retain something resembling its current uniform policy with the beliefs of those like the claimant who consider that it exposes more of their bodies than they are permitted by their beliefs to show.

    Read between the lines.

    Article 9(2) states

    2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

    Incase theres anyone from the DfES or any teachers reading, ‘for the protection of public order’ is a nice vague plump term, dontyathink?

    Think of this like giving an exam answer, the school simply wrote

    ‘because the uniform policy sez so’

    if they’d bothered articulating to her the entire nature of their decision making process for the uniform policy, inclusive of the effect it would have on other ethnic minority members of the school, maybe even stating categorically that they were taking into consideration the wider needs of the muslim society (‘protecting the rights and freedoms of others’) etc etc they’d most probably have been ok.

    Give a coherent reasoning for your uniform policy, with regards to the community you serve, get it checked by a lawyer (lol) and you’ll be in a secure position should someone dissent.

    Ill leave you with what justice scott baker said;

    Had the School approached the problem on the basis it should have done, that the claimant had a right under Article 9(1) to manifest her religion, it may very well have concluded that interference with that right was justified under Article 9(2) and that its uniform policy could thus have been maintained. Regrettably, however, it decided that because the shalwar kameeze was acceptable for the majority of Muslims the claimant should be required to toe the line.

  47. Jai — on 20th March, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

    Kulvinder,

    Okay, let’s look at this from another angle. Would you support the right of a baptised/Amritdhari Sikh to turn up at school in the full Nihang outfit, if he insisted that he belonged to that particular sect of Sikhism and that he therefore wanted to manifest his religious beliefs in this manner ?

    (Let’s assume that we are talking about 2 hypothetical individuals — one who was prepared to compromise and that his weapons were “sealed” into the scabbards, and another individual who insisted that sealing the weapons and removing the ‘chakras’ from his turban and the rest of his attire would defeat the point. Let’s also assume that both individuals really are going for the “full-scale” outfit, ie. large dastaars with farlas etc).

  48. Jai — on 20th March, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

    Sanjeev,

    =>”Totally agree with Sunny and Jai’s take on this.”

    Hello there. I’m assuming that you’re the same Sanjeev I recently corresponded with on the BBC Asian Network website (my apologies if you are not) — I should mention that I don’t use the name “Singh” as part of my username here on PP or Sepia Mutiny, and that “Jay Singh” is therefore a different person.

    (Jay Singh – I know that you’re probably finding it hilarious that I’m telling yet another commenter that “I am not Jay Singh” — and yes I’m laughing right now too — but I think I’ve spoken to Sanjeev before and in fact I recommended SM and PP to him a few days ago, so I have to clarify our respective identities so he doesn’t mix us up ;) )

  49. Kulvinder — on 20th March, 2006 at 1:00 pm  

    Okay, let’s look at this from another angle. Would you support the right of a baptised/Amritdhari Sikh to turn up at school in the full Nihang outfit, if he insisted that he belonged to that particular sect of Sikhism and that he therefore wanted to manifest his religious beliefs in this manner ?

    Not only would i defend his rights to his own religious beliefs but so would the law.


    (Let’s assume that we are talking about 2 hypothetical individuals — one who was prepared to compromise and that his weapons were “sealed” into the scabbards, and another individual who insisted that sealing the weapons and removing the ‘chakras’ from his turban and the rest of his attire would defeat the point. Let’s also assume that both individuals really are going for the “full-scale” outfit, ie. large dastaars with farlas etc).

    They have a right to their beliefs, BUT (notice big but) it is not something that is unchallengeable. If they presented a threat to public safety they would be required to change. If their was a threat of ‘ethnic confrontation’ between different sects, they would be required to change.

    You’re making the same mistake the school made. It is not enough to state ‘this is the school uniform’ and require someone who looks different to adapt. If their religious observance is detrimental under what is very broadly outlined in 9(2) you CAN exclude them.

    The law isn’t there to give either the student or the school carte blanche to act as they wish. It protects the rights of the individual by putting the onus for explusion on the school, that doesn’t mean it is in any imaginable way impossible for the school to exclude the student.

    To prevent schools or other institutions becoming prejudicial it requires them to articulate their reasoning.

    Whats wrong with that?

    To turn the question around, why would you have a problem with an Amritdhari who was a conscientious, hardworking and non-disruptive student?

  50. Reformist Muslim — on 20th March, 2006 at 1:41 pm  

    I have to agree with Kulvinder on this. I think the reason for the confusion is that the school did consult with community leaders.

    The problem is that consultation does not satisfy the need for articulation of the decision after it is made. There are sound reasons for this.

    Mainly that there is a presumption in favour of the individual especially in an area such as the freedom of religion and right to education and the school authorities should think hard about their decision and give sound arguments to justify their policy.

    I would point out though that on balance having such a uniform policy is probably the correct one. Not only is there the link with better educational and discipline results, but there is a genuine fear that allowing the jilbab would force girls who may not to wear it to wear it.

  51. Sunny — on 20th March, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

    The school has a perfect right to say ‘do it because we sez so’ on uniform policy and other guidelines. Otherwise where do you stop? Rastafarian and Muslim kids arguing that discussing evolution is an insult to their religion? Sikh kids wanting to go around with full swords?

    I don’t care what the religion is, there has to be some standards enforceable by the school that should apply to all kids when there is an adequate indication that their human rights are not being violated. In this case I don’t buy the argument that her human rights are being violated.

    She is an HuT stooge, simple as that, which where this ‘everyone is out to attack me’ mentality comes in.

    I would buy your libertarian arguments Kulvinder if I agreed that students should be allowed to manifest their human rights across the board and take it to whatever extent they want. But I don’t.

    In which case it may be that the school and the judges decide that religion should have no place at school otherwise students are just going to take the piss.

    There is also the argument that the ruling will plce more pressure on other girls to match up to shabina begum’s so-called “shining example”.

  52. Grumpy Muslim — on 20th March, 2006 at 4:28 pm  

    Absolutely, what’s more worrying is that the authorities are taking this lot seriously. I met a ‘Muslim youth leader’ who was involved in the post 7/7 consultation who challenged me to a game of Islamic semantics to prove that it was ‘part of the Sharia’ (something I can’t dispute ‘cos obviously I’ll burn in hell) for Jilbab-lovers to wear it if they so wish. He then moved on to the subjugation of Muslims in the UK as demonstrated by the lack of state-funded Muslim schools – what?!?

    This guy wasn’t HT – he was young and a so-called ‘moderate’. Worryingly, he was quite a nice, likeable, intelligent guy, but had all the usual ‘Ummah under fire’ issues going on.

    It’s time ‘Muslim representatives’ stopped demanding special favours for British Muslims who don’t see the benefits and started focussing on the things that matter – like the fact that Muslim women are among the highest qualified but most underemployed people in the country.

    And it’s time that men on both sides – both western and Muslim – stopped using the appearance of Muslim women as a tool to denigrate the other side (look how shameless your women are vs look how subjugated yours are).

  53. BevanKieran — on 20th March, 2006 at 5:04 pm  

    The HuT connection in this case is implied. If there is a solid connection, then surely that is grounds enough for expulsion? The downside is that Shabina has had her education disrupted for several years, and this might put a terminal block on any ambitions for further education. On the positive side, kicking organisations such as HuT and the B.N.P off high schools completely (admittedly, their presence is miniscule but infiltration does happen. Imran Waheed, leader of HuT Britain, was recruited in high school.) may prevent them from manipulating young children to further their ideological goals.

  54. Kulvinder — on 20th March, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

    I would buy your libertarian arguments Kulvinder if I agreed that students should be allowed to manifest their human rights across the board and take it to whatever extent they want. But I don’t.

    ‘To whatever extent they want’ is limited by 9(2).

    In which case it may be that the school and the judges decide that religion should have no place at school otherwise students are just going to take the piss.

    What the schools ‘think’ is irrelevant, the judges have already pointed out britain is not a secular nation. Noone can exclude religion. Well you could, but you’d have to abolish the monarchy, britain was a republic once. Long ago. We learned our lesson about revolutionarys and never went back.

    There is also the argument that the ruling will plce more pressure on other girls to match up to shabina begum’s so-called “shining example”.

    Once again, i point out the less than subtle hints

    Whether it is appropriate to override the beliefs of very strict Muslims given that liberal Muslims have been permitted the dress code of their choice and the School�s uniform policy is not entirely secular;

  55. Don — on 20th March, 2006 at 5:43 pm  

    Grumpy Mulim,

    Quite agree, especially with your last point. The best reply I have heard to the ‘Your women are …’ line was Dawkins’ ‘They’re not my women.’

    Kulvinder is of course right about the legal point which lost the school their case, but I think he is being unduly harsh with; ‘if they’d bothered articulating to her the entire nature of their decision making process …’

    Hindsight is always 20:20. The school did not have any way of knowing what they were being sucked into. This was four years ago, it’s been a steep learning curve for all of us since then.

    There was no prior warning, no letters, no request for a discussion. Just;

    ‘At the start of the new school year in September 2002 she attended the School dressed in a jilbab. She was accompanied by her brother and another young man. They saw the assistant headteacher, Mr Moore, who told her to go away and change into proper school uniform. He felt that the young men were being unreasonable and threatening. The three then went away, with the young men saying that they were not prepared to compromise on this issue.’

    http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/judgmentsfiles/j3114/sb-v-denbigh_high_school.htm

    They were bushwhacked and they weren’t ready. Why should they be? There simply wasn’t an issue until someone chose to make it one. someone who, I would guess, had already made the legal calculations that Kulvinder outlined, and had their campaign ready to roll. All they needed was for the girl to be excluded. For her to show up at school with two young men to announce that the rules had now changed and no compromise was possible was a certain way of achieving that. The assistant head said he found their manner threatening. That was his perception, we weren’t there. The brother (and by implication his companion) is said to be HuT. I don’t know on what evidence. But this is not a court of law and I find both those statements believable.

    Lord Justice Scott Baker made the point that;

    ‘They did not appreciate that they faced four square an issue that engaged Article 9 of the ECHR. It is perhaps understandable that a school that can rightly be proud of its contribution to the welfare of members of a multicultural society should have taken the line that it did, albeit one that on careful analysis has been shown to be erroneous in law.’

    ibid

    It is reported that the ‘case is now supported by the Department for Education’. Bear in mind that means that legal and other costs up until that decision would have been borne by the school. I stand ready to be corrected on this, school funding is increasingly byzantine, but it would be the case in my local authority. I have no idea what those costs were, but I am certain they would punch a hole in a schools budget.

    Shabina Begum’s costs were covered I know not how, presumably by altruistic well-wishers who admired her independence of spirit.

    Sunny mentions the pressure put on the other girls to follow suit or appear ‘less muslim’. That is certainly the view of Shabina Begum;

    ‘At the Appeal hearing the Claimant indicated that although she does not regard Muslims who wear the shalwar kameeze as bad people, she does think better Muslims wear the jilbab.’

    The point her brother made is also salient, one of his objections to the shalwar kameeze was that it was not specifically muslim as hindus and sikhs were happy to wear it.

    He does sound a bit hizbi, doesn’t he?

  56. Sunny — on 20th March, 2006 at 5:59 pm  

    The HuT connection in this case is implied. If there is a solid connection, then surely that is grounds enough for expulsion?

    The Hizbi connection is a definite. They were with her throughout the controversy, were her advisors, and have been with her in most media interviews.

  57. raz — on 20th March, 2006 at 6:33 pm  

    “And it’s time that men on both sides – both western and Muslim – stopped using the appearance of Muslim women as a tool to denigrate the other side (look how shameless your women are vs look how subjugated yours are)”

    I agree, but it’s not just men who are using this argument to denigrate the other side.

  58. Reformist Muslim — on 20th March, 2006 at 8:20 pm  

    Sunny, just to pick up on a point which you made. This isn’t about having a right not to have your religion insulted but on having the right to manifest your religion.

    Your question about the Rastafarians is a good one but easily answered. The school does have a right to place restrictions. However, it has evaluate each case on its merits and make sure that there is no other available solution.

    Also the fact that she was advised by Hizbi’s is rightly irrelevant to the judge when making his decision. Just as suspected Al-Qaeda shouldn’t be locked in Gitmo without trial, so just because a case is brought by HT people doesn’t mean it should be thrown out if it has merit.

  59. grumpy muslim — on 20th March, 2006 at 11:18 pm  

    Point taken Raz, you’re right of course, women are as guilty of this whole cultural one-upmanship as men.

    I have to reiterate though that I think that we need to be careful and not assume that these views stop with HT. It particularly hits you when you meet very young people who claim to be passionate about ‘the suffering of Muslims’. I recently met a 13-year-old who was going on about the need to preserve Islam against it’s enemies. Also gave me a lecture about how I need to look inside myself and be more religious (I’m a head-scarfless woman). Scary stuff.

    Having said that I still think that the majority of Muslims (who haven’t been brainwashed) are sick to death with all of this.

  60. rockette — on 21st March, 2006 at 11:47 pm  

    At present schools set their own uniform code and in this case it was agreed with all the religious groups represented at the school until HuT got in on the act and so foolishly did Cherie Blair.

    I went to a school which had a compulsary school uniform and we had to wear it without exception at all times. Or be expelled. The short sleeves – long sleeves debate is spurious, my uniform included long sleeved or short sleeved shirts depending on the seasons and I imagine no one would ban someone from the school for wearing long sleeved shirts.

    This sort of campaign is not only insidious it also gives moderate moslems a bad name for not speaking out against it. I assume the obsession with wearing this sort of uniform is intended to make other female moslems feel less religious because they aren’t similarly dressed.

    Did anyone see Anjem Choudhary in a late night interview session recently? His was a typical attitude of this sort of moslem..He criticised the male moslems present a the discussion for not having the full bushy beard and the females for not wearing headscarves. This is a middle eastern interpretation of Islamic dress code which the Wahabbi-ists are trying now to enforce on everyone else.

    If Shabina didn’t like the entirely reasonable uniform rules then she should find a school which allowed her to wear what she liked. There are also all girls schools she could attend where presumably there would be no Islamic men to be inflamed by a glimpse of her wrists or even elbows.

    If HuT think this sort of campaign is going to encourage widespread conversion to Islam among the mainstream youth of the UK they must be even more deranged than I imagined.

    Incidentally I worked for a year a few years ago in a very conservative part of Algeria. Out in the streets many of the women wore the full black jilhab. When they arrived at work, they took off the black outer garment and worked in long dresses and a neat headscarf.

  61. Kulvinder — on 22nd March, 2006 at 7:12 am  

    The law sees a difference between an institution sating

    We recognise your right to your religious beliefs but have decided not to allow you practise/observe them for the specific reasons in relation to you

    and

    We’ve already decided on a uniform, we talked to everyone in the area, they’re muslims, you’re a muslim they’re ok with it so you should be aswell. Go and get changed.

  62. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    The House of Lords has ruled in the school’s favour:

    ===========

    Britain’s highest court upheld a school’s decision to require a Muslim pupil to change out of her Islamic gown into the school uniform, reversing a lower court decision.

    The Court of Appeal in March last year ruled that Shabina Begum was unlawfully excluded from Denbigh High School in Luton, north of London, after she refused to change out of the full-length jilbab into school uniform.

    The school then appealed to the panel of five judges at the House of Lords, Britain’s

    Advertisement
    de facto supreme court, which ruled Wednesday that the school was fully justified in acting as it did.

    “It had taken immense pains to devise a uniform policy which respected Muslim beliefs but did so in an inclusive, unthreatening and uncompetitive way,” Lord Thomas Bingham ruled.

    “The rules laid down were as far from being mindless as uniform rules could ever be. The school had enjoyed a period of harmony and success to which the uniform policy was thought to contribute.”

    He said the rules were acceptable to mainstream Muslim opinion.

    “It would in my opinion be irresponsible for any court, lacking the experience, background and detailed knowledge of the headteacher, staff and governors, to overrule their judgment on a matter as sensitive as this,” he said.

    “The power of decision has been given to them for the compelling reason that they are best placed to exercise it, and I see no reason to disturb their decision,” he said.

    Begum, now 17, took the school’s headteacher and governors to court for denying her the “right to education and to manifest her religious beliefs” under the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

    She had worn the shalwar kameez (trousers and tunic) and headscarf from the time she started at the school at the age of 12 until September 2002, when she and her brother, Shuweb Rahman, announced that the rules of her religion required her to wear the head-to-toe jilbab in future.

    Shabina was sent home to change. She did not return to the school and later enrolled at another school where the jilbab was permitted.

    In an interview with BBC radio before the ruling, Begum said she pushed her case at first because “my human rights were being infringed,” but conceded it developed into a broader issue.

    “It is more about other children now, the fact that I would not like to see other children going through the same problem and missing two years of their education just because they are wanting to practise their religion,” she said.

    In the same interview before the ruling, lawyer Laurie Barrie said the case could yet move on to the European Court of Human Rights.

    Barrie is with the Children’s Legal Centre, a charity providing legal advice to children, their carers and professionals working with youngsters.

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22032006/323/britain-s-highest-court-backs-school-s-right-muslim-girl.html

  63. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 11:20 am  

    BULLSEYE:

    He said the rules were acceptable to mainstream Muslim opinion.

    “It would in my opinion be irresponsible for any court, lacking the experience, background and detailed knowledge of the headteacher, staff and governors, to overrule their judgment on a matter as sensitive as this,” he said.

    “The power of decision has been given to them for the compelling reason that they are best placed to exercise it, and I see no reason to disturb their decision,” he said.

  64. Don — on 22nd March, 2006 at 11:30 am  

    Beat me to it, Jay. Coffee break?

    They could still take it to Europe, of course.

    It isn’t clear whether the school restructured their case the way Kulvinder outlined. Be interesting to the the ruling when it’s available.

    Also be interesting to see who’s paying the bills.

  65. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 11:41 am  

    Don

    Either way. whoever’s paying the bills, the lawyers will always get paid!

    Yes they will take it to Europe. Pizza Hut Tahrir want to highlight the oppression of Muslim girls, and the Uncle Tom Muslims like the headmistress who are part of this dastardly plot. Pizza Hut Tahrir who despise all the institutions of this society, on their hands and knees begging for their ‘rights’ from those institutions, invoking ‘human rights’ when they have nothing but contempt for the secular democratic polity that they derive from, the snivelling hypocrites.

    Well, the thing about this judgment is that the law lord said that he was in no better position than the headmaster of the school, their Muslim governors, and those involved in the consensual production of the uniform policy to understand the sensitivities of the case.

    This is a good day for Muslim moderates like the governors and the headmistress who have been supported by the House of Lords, a good day for mainstream Muslims, and a good day for schools in general. The implications of the ruling going Pizza Huts way would have had mad implications for schools in general and their authority, not just on the issue of the jilbab.

  66. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 11:45 am  

    Don

    You can read the judgment here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldjudgmt/jd060322/begum-1.htm

    Mr T has written on it already at Harrys Place

  67. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 11:47 am  

    From the judgment, about the headmaster:

    The head teacher, Mrs Yasmin Bevan, was born into a Bengali Muslim family and grew up in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh before coming to this country. She has had much involvement with Bengali Muslim communities here and abroad, and is familiar with the codes and practices governing the dress of Muslim women. Since her appointment as head teacher in 1991, when it was not performing well, the school has come to enjoy an outstanding measure of success.

    Seems like she has turned the school from a failing institution into a successful one.

  68. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 11:54 am  

    Turns out that the Chairman of the Luton Council of Mosques was a governor at the school and approved of the uniform.

    This was such a blatant attempt by Pizza Hut to ambush the mainstream and moderate Muslims of that area and school and push their agenda outwards from there.

    This was not about ‘Muslims versus British Society’, this was about Muslim moderates being hounded and the attempted bullying of them by the Pizza Hutties. I am glad that the law lords have sided with our mainstream British Muslims who at this school were the subject of this hijack and persecution. The headmasters results speak for themselves. She turned around a failing school and made Muslim girls successful – these Pizza’s tried to hound her for it.

  69. Kulvinder — on 22nd March, 2006 at 12:29 pm  

    ‘oh well’

  70. David T — on 22nd March, 2006 at 12:29 pm  

    Begum will have qualified for legal aid.

  71. Rohin — on 22nd March, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

    I, as you might expect, am very happy with the result for the same reasons. But I’ve noticed a bit of a change in the public perception.

    Several months ago when she was first in the public eye, people at large seemed to know the reality – that the school had done their best to comply and she was just being silly and manipulated. However now when I watch the BBC or ITV, it sounds far more like she’s some victimised little lamb oppressed by the infidel school. I just hope nobody jumps to her defence without understanding the actual story. Although that’s probably wishful thinking, you just have to read Internet fora or even a few comments here to know that there are plenty of Muslims who immediately take her side without checking the facts.

    Anyway, good result.

  72. j0nz — on 22nd March, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    Miss Begum said she was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision, and would discuss with her lawyers – including Cherie Booth QC – whether to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

    Wonderful. The Prime Minister’s wife to argue the case of Hizb gut Tahrir and Islamic fundamentalism?

  73. Kulvinder — on 22nd March, 2006 at 12:42 pm  

    Incidently i obviously diagree, ill post later (everyone agreeing with a single POV is boring isn’t it?), or maybe sunny wants a new article. Hes not reading his emails so i can’ tell :(

  74. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

    it sounds far more like she’s some victimised little lamb oppressed by the infidel school.

    As I said, this is a great day for mainstream Muslims. The Law lords have shown that they will stand up for them against the bullying of the ideologues. Those Muslims who take Shabina Begum’s side don’t know the facts. They pitch it at the basest communalist level – ‘We Muslim girls being oppressed!” because they want to evoke sympathy.

    But the Muslims of Luton, the headmaster of the school, and the mainstream society of British Islam have won a victory today against the bullying tactics of the extremist minority. Good stuff.

    By all accounts the headmistress is a superstar. Maybe she will come forth and explain to counter the bakwaas of the Pizza Hutties.

  75. Rohin — on 22nd March, 2006 at 12:57 pm  

    Yes and yes Jay, it is a good day for normal Muslims. But that communalist faction is larger than I thought and not helped by a media who seem to pussyfoot around saying that Begum is, in short, a silly girl controlled by a silly bunch of silly people.

    Hell if you’re going to come out in support of her Kulvinder, that’s what I’m talking about. There should be no grounds for defending THIS girl. It is entirely different to things like French schools banning hijabs or turbans. It worries me when Muslims jump to the defence of other Muslims for the sole fact they’re Muslim, without realising what’s going on. But it worries me more when non-Muslims do the same thing as they see oppression when it isn’t there.

    j0nz Cherie’s been involved from the start. Silly bint, what on earth is she doing in a case like this?

  76. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 1:02 pm  

    Rohin

    Lawyers take whatever work comes their way. This is Cherie Blairs specialist field I belive, the Human Rights Act especially in regard to children. Lawyers are strange.

  77. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

    Rohin

    The thing that makes me annoyed the most is how the Pizza Hutties position those opposed to them. They wanted to persecute the headmistress and cast her and all the governors in the light of being in some way less Muslim than them, lesser Muslims, sell outs. It is a good thing that the law lords saw good sense.

    I just posted this on HP

    ====

    From the BBC news website Shabina Begum says:

    She said the shalwar kameez (trousers and tunic) which Denbigh High School allows Muslim pupils to wear, “did not satisfy Islamic clothing”.

    “I feel it is an obligation upon Muslim women to wear this [the jilbab], although there are many other opinions.”

    =========

    I suspect there is another factor in play here. The shalwaar kameez is a perfectly modest and simple and versatile dress. It is originally a Punjabi dress worn by people of all religions, Sikh, Hindu and Muslim, and so Sikh and Hindu girls would wear it too.

    So I think part of this is to differentiate her from her South Asian roots, which unfortunately have a composite, pluralist identity, in short she doesnt want to be associated with those infidel Sikh and Hindu girls. True Muslim girls wear the jilbab etc etc -

    =========

    Like I said, this was an ambush by ideologues to persecute the majority of mainstream Muslims and bully Muslim girls and a successful and excellent Muslim headmistress.

  78. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 1:10 pm  

    a silly girl controlled by a silly bunch of silly people

    I don’t think they are silly – they are clever, calculating, communalist, ideological extremists, hypocrites and sophists. They know what they are doing. Thankfully so do the law lords, and made the correct judgment in light of that.

  79. Bea — on 22nd March, 2006 at 1:12 pm  

    Perhaps sheand HuT guys should contact Hogwarts. There won’t be any issue with school uniform policy what with gowns and all.

  80. Rohin — on 22nd March, 2006 at 1:27 pm  

    “they are clever, calculating, communalist, ideological extremists, hypocrites and sophists”

    True. But doesn’t stop them being silly ;)

    Interesting point you raise about differentiation from infidel Hindoos and Seekhs, hadn’t thought about that angle before.

  81. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 1:31 pm  

    Rohin

    There are dynamics at play in this that are not obvious to non Asians

  82. j0nz — on 22nd March, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

    j0nz Cherie’s been involved from the start. Silly bint, what on earth is she doing in a case like this?

    Really? Dear god…

    I’ve mentioned it everywhere else so I might as well here… Al-Reuters headline says:

    Schoolgirl loses right to wear Muslim garb

    Also Jay, you might have a point there. Arab supremacism in the mix aswell, perhaps??

  83. Rohin — on 22nd March, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

    “There are dynamics at play in this that are not obvious to non Asians”

    It wasn’t that obvious to this Asian either! j0nz that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about – I fucking hate the way this is getting twisted. An American site, for example, could easily get the wrong end of the stick if you just hear the verdict and not the background. Anyway, time to move on.

  84. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

    I don’t know if I would call it Arab supremacism JOnz. As much as it is aimed at a rejection of Hindus and Sikhs and a differentiation of Asian Muslims from their ethnic and cultural roots, it is aimed at the majority of British Asian Muslims who think they are demented and are peferctly secure in their ethnic and culture identities and see no reason why being Muslim should alienate them from their ethnicity, nor make them aspire to Arab ideals, nor alienate them from their non Muslim Asian cousins. I suspect people like Raz and Fe’reeha and Sid will be able to say more on it.

    As always, like I said from the start, this is primarily about mainstream Asian Muslims being challenged and hounded by the fringe.

  85. Sanjeev — on 22nd March, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    I am glad of the outcome. If it had gone the other way it would have been a disgrace.

  86. Jai — on 22nd March, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    Compare this to the photos of those two Lahori girls at the cricket match which Raz posted yesterday. It’s ironic that many (Asian) British Muslim girls/women are becoming more conservative than their counterparts in the country their parents came from.

  87. Siddhartha Singh Muslim — on 22nd March, 2006 at 2:35 pm  

    I’m with Zobia, who at 4.01am was lucid enough to articulate the opinions of Muslims. And I stress Muslims without the need for reaching for qualifications such as “moderate” or “strict” etc.

    Muslims have been sending their kids to schools in wchool uniforms in dozens of countries for hundreds of years and in order to do so, it has been incumbent on the parents and the kids that they respect the schools’ rules. *sigh*
    Lets get this straight: The full back jilbab is a modern (at least of the last 200 years) and cultural interpretation of an Islamic tenet of modest clothing for women. Muslims should not feel forced or obliged to follow this interpretation and its not even Sunna (optional, recommended), let alone Fard (obligitory).

    Shabina Begum’s school was not prejudiced, uncooperative or inflexible to the requriements of Muslim dress for girls in any way. Quite the opposite, they’ve been exemplary.

    Just as Don finds it offensive to to see 12-year olds in ‘Porn Star’ tops, I also find it offensive to see girls as young as 4 or 5 covered up. Are these people suggetsing tha men should find them sexually attractive? When I ask parents why theey have little Sara (aged 4 and three quarters) in a full hijab, I’m invariably told “She needs to get used to it”.

    Its a shame that the loudest and most regressive group of Muslims are motivated to do their best to force their interprestations (based largely on awkward-ist identity politics) on Muslims in the UK to appear to be *the* consensus for Muslim parents and schoolchildren.

  88. Robert Swipe — on 22nd March, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    Is this the right forum in which to enquire what Shabina intends to wear on mufti days?

    http://rswipe.blogspot.com/2006/03/crisis-in-our-schools-personal.html

    ..thought not.

    Bob

  89. Rohin — on 22nd March, 2006 at 2:44 pm  

    I agree with what you say Sid, completely – but when you say you’re with Zobia, wasn’t she saying she supported Shabina? She said “let her wear what she likes as long as it doesn’t compromise health and safety and isn’t offensive”.

    Surely that’s not what you’re saying as that undermines the entire concept of school uniform.

    However I do agree with Zobia that too much has been made of this.

  90. raz — on 22nd March, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

    The insiduous way that the ‘pure’ Islam of the Wahabist/Pizza HuT types is pushed onto moderate Muslims, particularly South Asians, is sickening. I’ve seen this happen in Pakistan, where the mad mullahs rant about ‘Hinduised’ Weddings and festivals such as Basant, and try and suppress music and film. It’s a shame such attitudes have emerged in this country as well.

  91. Jay Singh — on 22nd March, 2006 at 3:50 pm  

    Raz

    Yeah, but it’s not happening, there is no groundswell amongst desi Muslims to forsake their ethnic and cultural roots – rather the opposite. That’s why they have to resort to foot stamping techniques like this to try and get their way. To manufacture alienation.

  92. sahara knite — on 28th March, 2006 at 1:44 pm  

    Pls can people not use my name to post on this forum to air there views.

    thanks
    Sahara

  93. Forida Khatun — on 31st March, 2006 at 11:56 am  

    i personally feel that the victory of shabina begum is an example to all. we should be entitled to freedom of expression right?just like the danish newspapapers using freedom of expression to insult the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). in islam a muslim woman is has to wear overgarment ie a jilbab to cover the clothing she wears at home.although kameez is acceptable a jilbab is a prerequisite to the society today.by covering herself a muslim woman is liberated, her body is not on display for strangers to ogle at, she is too precious for that.we should praise the british high courts for the decision,it shows that we are not moving backwards like the french in what they call ‘secular’ which i find rather ridiculous nut we are moving forward and accepting our human rights as ie freedom of expression.

  94. BevanKieran — on 31st March, 2006 at 12:07 pm  

    Err Forida… SHE LOST!!!!!

    Great to see the benefits of covering up and letting it go on adjacent comments…only on PP!

  95. David T — on 31st March, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

    No, she won.

    She won in the sense that

    (a) Hizb ut Tahrir got on the telly, where they were left to spout about fundamental freedoms and basic rights, like a bunch of fluffy liberals;

    (b) They also got to spread their message that ‘muslims are under fundamental attack in all aspects of their life CREATE THE CALIPHATE NOW!!!!!!!!”

    (c) The tab for this public relations blitz was paid by Legal Aid. Didn’t cost them a penny.

    Of course Begum didn’t get to go to school for two years for no good reason at all, but hey, in this life, you gotta make sacrifices.

  96. Jay Singh — on 31st March, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

    LoL!

  97. Jay Singh — on 31st March, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

    That LoL was @ bevan kieran

  98. Jay Singh — on 31st March, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

    My reaction to Mr T was ‘hmmmm’

  99. Siddhartha Singh Muslim — on 31st March, 2006 at 12:38 pm  

    They also got to spread their message that ‘muslims are under fundamental attack in all aspects of their life CREATE THE CALIPHATE NOW!!!!!!!!

    I didn’t see much of that thankfully.

    BTW, the tab for promoting the BNP as a bunch of gentle high-minded protesters fighting for the Right for Freedom of Expression and values of the Enlightenment was also picked up by the Legal Aid in the last Nick Griffin trial. Meanwhile, violent racist attacks are up by 6%.

  100. David T — on 31st March, 2006 at 1:01 pm  

    Well, in fairness to Nick Griffin, he didn’t launch the prosecution against himself.

    Still, if the state want to fund this sort of pr for paranoid racists, fair enough. At least it provides work for lawyers.

  101. Sunny — on 31st March, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

    Woohoo! I got pornstars reading my blog too now. Beat that David T!

  102. David T — on 31st March, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

    That’s nothing. I sometimes get strange, neatly arranged, chinese letters which are linked to blogs in Hong Kong.

    At least – unlike Milosovic groupie Neil Clark – you don’t carry on conversations with them:

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=17766817&postID=113603271998970249

  103. Sunny — on 31st March, 2006 at 2:15 pm  

    Yeah but my porn stars beat your chinese any day.
    Yeah, I’ve seen that conversation before – absolutely hilarious.

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