OK, so while I am on a roll for controversial blog posts, I thought I would go with this one.
A few years back people started chanting 'ban the burka' and rightfully so... Or was it?
With the rise of Britain First and all the other UK supremacy oriented Facebook groups, Twitter accounts and other such stuff, the ban the burqa thing has really made a comeback. With pictures of 'please remove crash helmets' signs side by side with a woman wearing a burqa, asking why one and not the other. So today I want to look at this.
Let me start by saying I am thinking and considering all this on the fly, so if I contradict myself it is because I have made sense of something while writing (unlikely but possible).
Lets start with crash helmets, at least most will understand the significance of these. Designed to protect the head in the event of an accident. However its important to realise that humans have used helmets of some form since 900BC. Protecting the head, a vital part of the human body has always taken priority for some reason. As the years went on, full face crash helmets for use on motorcycles became very popular.
Sadly some clever person had a long hard think about it, and realised it was the perfect normal looking, non suspicion raising items which could be worn in a street without causing alarm, then whip their sawn-off shot gun out of their bag and rob a bank. All the while, with their identity protected, and on the off chance of intervention, their head protected from the whack of a truncheon too.
Now, it was not until this point that businesses, mainly of a financial sort, started requesting their patrons removed their crash helmets when entering their premises. When these signs first started appearing there was no real noticeable uproar from the public about it. Lets face facts, its a little bit rude to try and hold any kind of person to person interaction with someone with a crash helmet on. Even by today's rude society standards, fast food delivery drivers lift their helmets to interact with the customer.
In short, the signs seen in public places asking you to remove your crash helmet have been around for years, decades in fact. If you want to blame anyone for this, or complain that its unfair, blame the blagging, bank robbing people of the 70's and 80's.
OK, so lets move on to that outrageous device, invented to irritate the UK, terror inducing, and fear provoking. THE BURQA !
Invented in 2001 just after 9/11, the burka was designed to give shelter to the evil Muslims of the world, and like ninja's, allow them to move around in society unseen, unidentifiable, and of course completely protected from any legal intervention. Protected by European law the burka leaves EVERYONE in the UK at severe risk of an imminent Muslim attack....
Oh hold on, sorry, that's UTTER BOLLOX ! I was quoting from LeftiePedia!
(no offence to Muslims intended :) )
Alright, seriously now. Firstly, the origins again. Harking back to the origins of the Islamic faith, but with no clear cut definition of its requirement or purpose, the burqa in short covers a woman from head to toe, allowing only a small gap over the eyes. In some cases even this is absent. With a thinner material or meshing over the eyes. Some belief it is for the sake of modesty, others that it allows only the husband of the wearer to see their true beauty.
However you look at the garment, one thing is clear. It has a LONG history, well documented, and one surrounded in faith, belief and tradition. It was around a long time before modern day terrorism, and even before most people in the UK had even used the word 'Muslim' or 'Islamic'.
One of the more surprising things the lack of robberies and crimes committed wearing one. Yes of course there is record of some robberies using a burqa as a disguise, but then again stockings have been used for years, but ladies are not asked to remove them before entering a bank.
More info on the burqa here...The Burqa
Of course the burqa hides the identity of the wearer, as do many many other things worn in every day life, hoodies, beanie hats, sunglasses etc, they have all been used, but granted are not banned from being worn into a bank or other establishments.
As I said before, the crash helmet was the focus of attention because it suddenly played a big role in crimes, and was something that was practical to be asked to be removed. Most obliged, and still so, with no issue whatsoever.
So the burqa.... Apparently some in the UK feel a direct parallel should be drawn between the burqa and the crash helmet, and they too should be removed before entering places where crash helmets are banned. Fair enough, so lets look at that argument shall we.
First of, who is responsible for the request to remove helmets. The government of course. Oh no hold on, its UK Immigration policy of course.... Road Traffic Act..... NOPE! The owners and operators of the premises they are banned from. Private land owners, who have stipulated some rules for entering their premises. The same as McDonalds who display signs that shirts must be worn, clubs who say no trainers, and exclusive establishments which require you to wear a suit. Its no different, honestly its not! They are simple rules, set by people who want things done in a certain way on their premises. The list of examples is endless.
IF, the banks etc felt there was a serious enough threat, im sure some sort of guideline would be put in place to ensure the safety of the people in the buildings. Alas, poor bigots, as of yet, this has not become the case.
Instead it is left to the people with issues against Muslims, burqa's, people of other nationalities and faiths to some how draw parallels to the banning of crash helmets in banks, and somehow associate this with Islamic faith and traditional dress codes.
Lets flip it for a second, when was the last time someone went on holiday to an Islamic country, and was told to take off their 3/4 length combats, their garish coloured Primark special holiday t-shirt, and stop trying to grow a beard, because you look like a dick?
Yes its true, people in Dubai for example have been arrested for sunbathing topless, or shagging in the sea... but if you do that in most of the UK you will probably find you are arrested for that here too.. Shocker I know!
Truth of the matter is, somehow, maybe because of the initial fear put in us following 9/11 and 7/7, some of us became a little over sensitive to the whole 'who is that under there' and took it a little too far. Fired on by the scaremongering of the racist population, 'ban the burqa' grew momentum, and suddenly, rather than being an anti immigration, nationalist belief, it somehow found its way into the mainstream, and was seen as a fair comparison.
I will happily admit that I became more cautious following the attacks, and had moments of feeling a little threatened, various cases and scenarios, but none that I recall were caused by seeing a group dressed in burqa's. Lets be honest here, most people in the UK would feel more threatened by seeing a group of youths on the corner of a street wearing hoodies.
Speaking of hoodies..... They were banned from being worn in shopping centres and town centres too, seen as anti social and causing alarm, Safer neighbourhood teams were encouraged to get youths to remove them. Sensible adults applauded the move, and the habit faded out a little.
But even with this example of a garment which conceals an identity being discouraged from such places, the people screaming ban the burqa missed their chance to draw comparison, and open the debate if hoodies and burqa's posed the same threat.
Of course this would be a stupid debate for one reason, the same as the crash helmet. Both the hoodie and helmet have numerous records of use in ridiculous numbers of crimes, stereotyped in the movies and TV dramas, highlighted by the PM with his 'hug a hoodie' initiative (doh!) both caused enough genuine concern to receive serious attention, and be dealt with. Meanwhile the burqa remains a lifestyle choice, a tradition, and poses little risk to members of society, unless of course you are of a nervous disposition.
This subject came to mind this morning, driving into Croydon, and seeing a large number of women taking their children to school, mums in burqa's, kids in normal nursery and school clothes. No bias shown towards hiding identities, but their choice as a citizen of a pretty liberal country. One driven by any number of factors from fashion to faith. But who are we to question what they wear and why. How often do you see people on trains being asked why they have dared to wear green and pink in one outfit. Idiots who wear sunglasses bigger than ski goggles, covering 70% of their faces are not dragged from buses and banned from Costa Coffee. Rude boys wearing sunglasses at 11pm are looked at more with pity than fear..... But burqa's.......... They are the work of the devil!
Now to even the keel a little here.
While I bash the radicals in the UK, I too frown on the radicals of any country and faith who try and impose their beliefs on others in a foreign nation. A well established faith, national traditions, and rituals and activities belong in their homelands, and in other places WHERE INVITED.
I do not believe for one second that radicals of any country or faith should be allowed to demand the rights to conduct activities banned on the soil they are on, purely based on the fact that it is the done thing in the homeland. From domestic violence, to the preaching of hatred, which happens in all directions between every faith and nationality (lets be honest here)
I have very simple beliefs on these matters.
Behave within the law (in all walks of life, not just on this matter)
Respect others beliefs. You may not agree, but its legal, and their choice.
Do not impose your beliefs and lifestyles on others. Religion, drugs, alcohol, sexuality, they are all personal choices. If someone displays interest, go ahead, share. If not, enjoy YOUR choice, don't impose it.
Multicultural integration has worked for decades. I can remember people from Asia being an uncommon site, I can recall surprise in a Welsh town at seeing a black person. Most remember the great invasion of the Polish, but this has all become the norm now. Yes there are issues, of course there are clashes, but this happens between red blooded, pure 5th generation Brits every weekend once alcohol is introduced, so lets not be ignorant here.
We don't want the Irish banned from our favourite places based on the atrocities of the IRA back in the 79's , 80's and 90's. In fact most have either never heard of the IRA, or have long forgotten about it all. Now its them there Muslim folk! For those not familiar with the IRA, I have put this link in for you. The IRA
Not comparing actions in any sort of parallel, but just drawing attention to bombs, hatred and death imposed.
Not all Muslims are terrorists.
Not all terrorists are Muslim
None of the 7/7 or 9/11 terrorists wore burqa's, although some did use them to evade arrest, cant deny that. But then again a hoodie or other disguise could have been used with ease. I will stereotype and guess that a burqa was to hand and suited purpose.
In short, to sum up... I think the burqa can be a beautiful garment, they are worn with pride, and in the name of belief in a tradition or faith. They are a lifestyle choice, and in fairness, given that most people would shy away from wearing one due to the restrictions wearing one can cause, I have respect for women choosing to wear one rather than the attire of the rest of the school run mums.
Concentrate on the nasty evil preaching radicals, and ease up on the burqa people, its not hurting anyone.
As usual, I am open to opinions, comments and all other observations on this blog, BUT I will remove anything seen as inflammatory or offensive .