Ignorance of the Veil

There is some sort of kerfuffle going on over in the UK about muslim women wearing their veils when they visit their elected representatives and at their jobs.

I would put this in GD but it is political enough that someone is going to want to call someone else an asshole or idiot.

Blair frames it as an issue of integration, muslim leaders say its open season on muslims.

IIRC, the kerfuffle is over a teaching assistant who was asked to remove her veil when in the classroom. However:

a) schoolchildren complained that they couldn’t make nead nor tail of what she was saying because of the veil.
b) she didn’t wear the veil to the job interview even though she now demands that the school allow her to wear it when in the presence of males.

It isn’t a Britain vs. Muslim issue. It’s an issue of a piece of clothing impeding the job that she is being paid to do.

From the BBC -

Veil teacher ‘should be sacked’
Minister ‘reckless’ over veil row
Debate about veils is ‘healthy’
Blair’s concerns over face veils

We are talking about a woman employed in a school whose face is not visible to those around her.

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that someone could enter the school dressed like this teacher and do some damage. Presumably anyone wishing access to the premises wearing a balaclava helmet would be refused entry.

She claims she removes the veil in the classroom as long as no adult males are present. Of course this would make it difficult for her to assist a male teacher. Or what if a male administrator needs to observe her class. Or what if the door has a window on it? Etc.

If she doesn’t like the rule that says she can’t wear it, she can just quit. The school/government shouldn’t budge an inch on this. If she insists on wearing it, fire her ass and let the chips fall where they may.

There was also the issue of the Foreign Secretary saying women who requested a face-to-face meeting with him should not wear the veil. Seems reasonable. Why do you think they call it a face-to-face…? If you want to not be seen, call the guy on the phone.

One comment I have seen from Muslim men who are asked to comment on this is that not wearing a veil means that the woman can be more readily seen by unwanted men, and this makes them more vulnerable to things such as rape.

Not all muslim men say this, but I wonder just what it says about those who do, are they trying to relate the urges they might feel ?

They somehow don’t understand that actually, most of the rest of the world copes without veils rather well, that the mere sight of a womans face does not automatically send men into a sexual frenzy that must be satisfied with rape.

I would be surprised if a rapist would be deterred by a veil.

I am not going to express myself here very eloquently or well, but I say that the veil is well, stupid.

Ok, it’s a sign of your faith. I mean no offense to your faith-or anyone’s for that matter. I don’t mock the sidelocks that Hassidic Jews grow or the yamulke or the little boxy caps some people from Africa wear (dunno what they’re called). I respect the dog collar and wimple as well. All well and good.

But when it comes to hiding your face-the very thing that humans base most communication on–I am not with you. I need to see you eyes, your mouth, your forehead, your eyebrows and nose to really understand your message.

I have no time or patience for anyone being coy behind a veil or mask. Wasn’t there a case in IL a few years ago about a woman who insisted that her driver’s license picture have her covered? We are talking about a form of picture ID-hard to do that w/o an image of the face. (afterall, think of how different blonde, blue eyes, 145 pounds can look…).

So, this is not anti-Muslim or anti-religion or anti-ethnic minority at all–this is plain common sense in the 21st century. I do hope someday that those who adhere to these practices will join us in it.

I have to agree. Liberal as I am, and pro-religious freedom and all, when a religious custom interferes with others’ freedoms, or when it egregiously breaks a law, it needs at least to be openly discussed.

Not that [sorry, hit wrong button] wearing a veil inarguably does either; only that it’s not comparable to, say, not eating meat on fridays: it extends itself to one’s interactions with others, and thus should be open to public debate.

I think you expresssed that extremely well! There is an objective (not subjective) difference between covering your legs and covering your face, and that has to do with communication. Communication is much, much more than just words. If someone covers her face, she is essentially saying: I do not want to communicate with you. And I see nothing wrong with not changing society’s rules and customs to accomodate that. If you don’t want to communicate, then don’t expect people to want to communicate with you or employ you in situations where communication is important. Telemarketing might be a good field to look into.

I think the school should work with her on some sort of compromise.
We’ve gotten enough Muslim folks angry as it is. It would be nice to have some on our side.

Nobody has offered that as an explanation for her firing, and it’d be a crappy, paranoid reason. If schools are worried about that, they shouldn’t hire anybody with an identical twin. :stuck_out_tongue:

There are good reasons not to want a teacher to cover her face, and I can see the logic to telling her “drop it or quit,” but I’m not sure why the highest levels of British government have hurried to comment on this. It seems to me that they’re just pissing people off, and that’s something every country in Europe should be trying to avoid.

And what the fuck is this remark about?

He seriously isn’t sure if a woman can contribute to society if she’s wearing a veil? Is his years-long campaign to look like an idiot finally reaching its climax?

I think I consider a person’s face part of their identity, part of who you are. The mobility and expressiveness of human faces makes them important for communication, as said above, and also for a certain humanity of interaction. It isn’t a “faceless” entity. Things without faces are eerie or inhuman. Hiding a face seems sly, or arrogant, or deliberately mysterious. I think, for Westerners, these things are so ingrained that it’s hard just to claim it’s a matter of religious freedom.

I can’t cite it, but there was some research done and seeing the mouth of the person speaking is very important to understanding what they say.

this isn’t just an issue of polite communication, or muffled words, or of an individuals right to practice her religion .
This is another of the opening shots in the new world war known as the Clash of Civilizations.

Lots of minorities act “weird”, but we tolerate them with no problems.
Hasidic Jews look weird and eat funny food, Amish people look weird and drive funny buggies, witches look weird and an do funny things at Stonehenge…
Yet we tolerate them with no problems.
So why does a Muslim veil seem worse than a Jewish yarmulke or an Amish hat?
Because all of those other minority groups recognize that they are a minority. They don’t try to force the society or country they live in to change its own social customs.

The huge problem with this teacher’s veil is not her veiled face–it is the underlying assumption behind her private choice of lifestyle:
that Muslims have no intention of ever integrating into western society, and will continue to demand that westerners change their own laws to accommodate Sharia law.

Europe is not Saudi Arabia.
Europe will not become Saudi Arabia.
But only if its leaders have the courage to stand up and defend themselves before it’s too late.
Ask Theo Van Gogh, or Salmon Rushdie what the alternative is.

Well, I’m not sure of the details, but if she agreed to uncover her face I think that’s a decent compromise. She can dress like a nun if she wants, but leave her face exposed.

There’s no point in needless getting people pissed off, but frankly if you don’t accept a least a modicum of Western values, you fucking shouldn’t live in the West.

On what planet?

[Inigo Montoya]I don’t think you know what that word means.[/Inigo Montoya]