Niall McCrae: Time to banish the burka

‘This is a garment that should have no place in British society. Both the burka and the niqab should be banned, as they have been in France, Belgium and elsewhere.’

So says Dr Taj Hargey, director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford. He was writing in the Daily Mail on the creeping Wahhabism of British Islam, with its intolerant creed and regressive customs. Integration is hopeless, because a weak and misguided establishment is hiding behind platitudes about multiculturalism and liberal values while failing to confront divisive forces in our towns and cities.

On moving to Whitechapel in the East End back in 1991, I was innocently excited by the exotic cultural atmosphere: signs in Urdu, the aroma from cheap curry houses on Commercial Road, bhangra blasting out from bashed Nissans, the early morning call from the mosque. From colourful nylon shirts and hijabs to squat people dressed in drab multiple layers for the climate of the Himalayan foothills. But one thing I found unwelcoming was a dark cloak worn by a minority of the local Somali women, covering all but a gauze-protected slit for the eyes. To me this was sinister. Imagine a sick child, already fearful, seeing such ghoulish figures in the corridors of Whitechapel’s Royal London Hospital (nowadays, an inquisitive child must be hushed by parents anxious not to appear racist).



When the burka is tentatively discussed by the commentariat, the focus tends to be on misogynist oppression. Many women may be forced by husbands or ‘community leaders’ to don an outfit originally designed for the Arabian desert. But there are also assertive adults who choose to wear it, and they challenge white do-gooders who want to empower them by taking away their liberty. This is a justifiable rebuttal of the wrong argument.

Middle-class liberals should stop infantilising female members of ethnic communities. Sometimes, hateful aggression lurks behind piety. Recently Channel Four news, in a feature promoting Muslim women who ‘reject stereotypes’, included Nadia Chan, who described herself as ‘an anti-colonial Islamist’. Chan was later found to have tweeted some gravely racist messages, such as calling for ‘honkies’ to be killed by any means necessary. In the Tower Hamlets childcare controversy, where the five-year-old daughter of a Christian mother was placed with an Arabic-speaking and burka-wearing foster carer, the latter allegedly denounced white women as stupid drunkards (although this is denied by the beleaguered council). Neither should we believe that all women of hardline Islam harbour such ill feeling, nor should we assume they are meek and vulnerable.

Instead of fussing over whether women are able to decide for themselves what they wear, the emphasis should shift to the rights of the majority. In society, choice is not simply made at individual level. Behaviour is regulated by social norms, rules of the house or the law of the land. Often restrictions exist for safety, such as use of seatbelts in cars, but they can also be for social reasons. Nudity won’t hurt anyone, but it offends decency. The niqab is the polar opposite: physically just a piece of cloth, but socially harmful in segregating, alienating and denying human interaction.

Cultural licence sometimes overrides social norms. This may be acceptable, and may genuinely contribute to multicultural enrichment. But the law should apply equally, as should policies in the workplace. There is a troubling power differential when the burka-clad can see you, but you can’t see her. And, as concerned former Labour minister Jack Straw at his constituency surgery in Blackburn, a masked woman may not be who she says she is, with potentially dire consequences. Furthermore, when a female student covers her face on a male student or lecturer entering the room, this is blatant sex discrimination. Feminists constantly complain of women being sexually objectified, but there is silence when men are at the receiving end.

Critics of the burka may be accused of prejudice if not petty fascism. If we’re honest, authoritarian and libertarian streaks co-exist in each of us. The younger generation and the liberal middle-class claim tolerance as a principal value, yet attitudes to freedom of speech and aspects of Christian faith betray their intolerance. We are selective in what we tolerate in others, and civil society is necessarily a compromise. Hijabs are fine by me, but the burka detracts from social cohesion, and with its increasing appearance we should consider the broader needs of society.

I’d prefer we banish rather than ban the burka. I hope, eventually, that it becomes socially unacceptable. But for now it should be forbidden in civic institutions such as schools, universities and courts of law. Hospitals already bar clinicians from wearing it, and this should go further. Supermarkets and other private service providers must be supported when they enforce a legitimate policy. And malevolent offence-seekers must not be encouraged to make spurious ‘hurt feelings’ claims against organisations or staff.

Certainly, the burka is not required by Islam. As Taj Hargey stated, it has already been proscribed in several countries of the supposedly progressive EU. Covering the face pronounces difference and division, and many Muslims dislike the practice. Wearing of the burka should be understood for what it is – a culturally hostile act.

Choose light.

Niall McCrae

  • Jean de Valette

    A fantastic piece. Thank you, Niall.

  • mudlark2

    I don’t think any reasonable person would disagree with anything you have written and you describe the problems the burka presents with great clarity. I would be very interested to learn your thoughts on recent reports that many schools are now incorporating the wearing of the niqab into their uniform policies for girls as young as four or five. I find this idea almost more troubling. We sure do live in a topsy turvy world where this approach is being pushed at the same time as shops such as John Lewis are abolishing the whole concept of boys’ or girls’ clothing.

    • mudlark2

      Sorry, I think I meant headscarf, rather than ‘niqab’ which is a full face veil.

      • Damaris Tighe

        I think you meant ‘hijab’.

        • mudlark2

          Yes, you are quite right.

    • Elizabeth Smith

      My understanding is that children, i.e. pre-pubescent girls, are not required to cover themselves in this fashion. Furthermore, all that is actually required of both sexes is that they dress modestly, and nobody can have any argument with that. I wish some of these witless ‘slebs would.
      There are light years between the pretty scarves that all women from the Indian sub-continent traditionally wear (where some sort of head covering to protect yourself from the sun is necessary) and the hijab, niqab, jilbab, burka and all the horrors of Wahhabism

      • Damaris Tighe

        The only part of Niall’s post I didn’t like is his acceptance of the hijab. I see it as a hostile religio-political uniform. I accept that some wearers don’t have this intention, but that is what many others have made it in the last decade or so.

        • Reborn

          Exactly.
          We passed the Public Order Act in the late 1930s forbidding the wearing
          of political uniforms – particularly targeted at Mosley’s fascists.
          There is no religious requirement to wear even a headscarf in Islam,
          (not that I care),.
          If we must tolerate this alien ideology in the UK,
          let it be the sects that believe in peace & toleration (attacked & even
          murdered in the UK by islamists), & best of all ex muslims.
          As I have previously noted, when white Americans try to set up
          their extreme Protestant organisation in the UK, where men wear white robes & hide their faces, the government, rightly bans it.
          BUT, the KKK does not bomb planes & trains & demand its own legal system, and freely practice FGM or prostitute children.

  • noix

    Those who advocate for it, but are not Moslem women, should try wearing it for a while outside on a hot day and see what they think then. My wife tried it in an Islamic country and found it uncomfortable in many ways. It is certainly not a garment one would choose to wear.

  • grumpyashell

    Ban halal as well as i see it as being cruel to the animals

    • CRSM

      Ban Halal and Kosher slaughter. The barbaric practices of tribal religions of the desert regions have no place in Europe.

    • Reborn

      Our cowardly politicians haven’t even the guts to demand that all religiously
      slaughtered meat be so labelled.

  • Thomas Katz

    Ban the Burka, Ban savage Halal/Kosher slaughter, Ban giving benefits/services to anyone who hasn’t paid in for at least 20 years, in fact ban everything that is not compatible with the British values of the first half of the last century! and especially Ban the BBC

    • lizmilton

      :):) If you put “BBC lies” into the search box on

      Globalresearch.ca

      You will find pages and pages of examples , some admitted …happy reading…

    • CRSM

      Harsh, but fair!

  • lizmilton

    Look at the longer term…

    Our society is being deliberately manipulated…for complete control of the population…all for our own good, of course…read

    “2030: your children’s future in Islamic Britain ” by David Vincent and

    “Britain’s great immigration disaster ” by Gavin Cooke. Both on Amazon.

  • Jenks

    Never mind ban the Burka……. Ban Islam!

  • Bolly1

    Until 1997 I lived and worked in the northern mill towns with large Asian populations. I don’t remember any of the women wearing the full face veil then and not many wore black. Moved to London and began to see more and more of the full face veil and all black, and it is now commonplace in the towns with large Asian populations. In my view therefore, this has become a political statement as there has not been any change to the rules of Islam since then, just a more harsh interpretation of them

    • Groan

      Yes it has been striking the transformation here in Lancashire. Quite often one sees a family out with older members quite “western” in garb and the younger generation fully covered. It does indeed seem a “statement”. In a strange way youthful rebellion appears to be toward “conservative” islam.

      • Bolly1

        Yes, my experience was Lancashire and Gtr Manchester. The younger generation, either Muslim immigrants or 2nd generation Muslim immigrants, are much more ‘conservative’ compared to their parents. In my view the authorities need to look at why this is – something has changed in the past 20 years. Until we can identify it, we cannot challenge it. If you are on twitter, have a look at Nora Mulready – Labour activist (not my politics) but excellent on suppression of Muslim women

        • Damaris Tighe

          I believe most of the original Pakistani immigrants (grandparents of the younger generation) were Sufis. There is a strong Sufi tradition in Pakistan and Sufism usually emphasises spiritual practice rather than politics and war. It’s not orthodox (the Pakistani version produces very popular hypnotic music, some of it updated to include techno-rock). Sufis also practice religious dance (eg the whirling dervishes of Turkey). Orthodox Sunnis see Sufism as heretical and IS destroyed many Sufi shrines. Many of the younger generation have rejected Sufism in favour of orthodox Sunni sects.

          • Bolly1

            Thank you for that explanation – I did know some of that, but not all. Do you have any insight as to why the younger generation rejected Sufism? Tom Holland, the historian, did a good documentary on ‘Isis; The Origins of Violence’ which went some way to explain ISIS’s quest to set up a new caliphate

          • Damaris Tighe

            I’m no authority on this but some of the answer lies in money – the Saudis heavily financed fundamentalist Sunni preachers, clerics and mosques. And my own theory is that the grandchildren of immigrants often have an identity crisis, are less grateful to their country than the original immigrants, and turn to more aggressive expressions of identity found in fundamentalist Islam.

          • Bolly1

            Yes, I agree, those are issues. Others have voiced those concerns, but we seem unable/unwilling to confront the Sunni preachers and the Saudi funding, which is a worry. There is a movement of reasonable Muslims – Maajid Nawaz being one of them. Niall Ferguson and Ayan Hirsi Ali (married to each other) the latter being a Somali refugee, have interesting things to say, but I believe that most of our political class try to ignore what they say

          • Damaris Tighe

            I think the reason why our governments are afraid to confront Saudi and Qatari subversion is that Saudis and Qataris invest billions into the UK, as well as lucrative arms sales to Saudi worth billions. At the end of the day we’re hostages to money. Also decades ago there was a European trade agreement with Islamic countries which agreed to the promotion of Islam in Europe as a quid pro quo.

          • Bolly1

            I had no idea about that trade agreement – do you know which one it was specifically?

          • Damaris Tighe

            I think it was called – ironically – the Barcelona Agreement (Barcelona something anyway).

          • Bolly1

            Ok, thank you. I will look that up

          • Damaris Tighe

            If not Agreement it may be Protocol.

          • Bolly1

            It appears to be the Barcelona Declaration of 1995 – I will have a read later

          • Damaris Tighe

            Thanks. I’m on strong painkillers at the moment (acute back pain) and they’ve nuked my memory!

          • Liberanos

            Commiserations. Hope you feel better soon.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Many thanks 🙂

          • lizmilton

            Apologies…just seen this 🙂

          • lizmilton

            I think it was the Barcelona Agreement of 1995… the balder listing makes interesting reading….

  • It really shouldn’t be for the state to tell people what they can and can’t wear, but the burka should be treated the same as a hoody – something that people can potentially use to avoid being identified in a criminal act – and required to be removed in certain areas.

    This wouldn’t even be such a live subject if it weren’t for our weak and pathetic leaders putting the feelings of one subset of one religious minority ahead of everyone else.

  • paul parmenter

    “In society, choice is not simply made at individual level. Behaviour is regulated by social norms, rules of the house or the law of the land.”

    When I stand back and realise how such basic good sense has now taken on an aura of heresy, or been abandoned altogether, I realise just how far down the slippery slope we have allowed ourselves to slide.

  • Nockian

    The problem isn’t a bit of cloth, but the ideology behind the cloth, those who give monetary support to build mosques and install hate preachers whilst western governments are too cowardly to confront the source of the problems and prefer appeasement to conflict.

    For certain it would be a beginning if the Government supported peaceful discrimination by private individuals, but it’s long thrown that away under the guise of tolerance/diversity/multi-culturism – which is code for letting tribalist groups who threaten trouble for the Government get away with murder-literally in some cases. It’s easier to dump on law abiding, peaceful people, than to have to deal with those who like to bully and burn.

    The country which supports Islamic totalitarianism is Saudi Arabia primarily, the shining beacon of British Foreign policy that buys our weapons, sells us oil, buys up our country and gets a red carpet rolled out every time it’s leaders visit here. Saudi is a barbaric country that lops off more heads than ISIS and is busy bombing the hell out of its neughbours. It is a country that supports terrorism and its therefore a country intent on killing us, or installing Sharia law in the West. Yet it’s a country that can and should be nullified and hence would remove the arrogance of those who wish to march like nobility around our streets safe in the knowledge they can do more or less whatever they want and will never be touched for doing so. It’s the equivalent of paying a bully whatever he wants. We are doing the same thing with the EU.

    • UKCitizen

      “It’s easier to dump on law abiding, peaceful people, than to have to deal with those who like to bully and burn.”
      This is the exact same policy you see in schools when dealing with bullies and is a typical leberal/left approach to dealing with the problem.

      • Nockian

        It’s the mindset of the moral pragmatist who does not comprehend the nature of Western civilisation as being anything other than a kind of fluid which will transfer automatically over time. Thes people do not understand they have to fight for western civilisation or there won’t be one.

  • geordieboy

    There will never be cultural integration as long as Muslims continue to live as they do in their harsh ideology of religion and laws.

    • Reborn

      Exactly.
      Islam stands for everything we dislike & fear.
      Sadly, fear is the characteristic of most of our politicians.

  • launcher

    A little Muslim kid gets lost in a supermarket, a member of staff asks,
    “What does your Mum look like?”
    The kid replies,
    “She’s got brown eyes”.

  • UKCitizen

    “On moving to Whitechapel in the East End back in 1991, I was innocently excited by the exotic cultural atmosphere.”
    So what you are saying is that even as far back as 91 Whitechapel had ceased to be anything one would associate as British.
    What is wrong with people travelling to exotic places to be culturally enriched in that cultures place of origin, rather than requiring it to be imported whole into our backyard. Have we become that lazy and decadent.

  • Peejos

    Was n’t there pressure, even possible legislation, a while back, forbidding the wearing of hats or caps that obscured the face from CCTV cameras? Everybody seemed to see the benefit, sauce for the goose etc.

    • Kathy Gyngell

      This is the point – obscuring your face in a public place is anti-social and should be deemed socially unacceptable. What people do in private is one thing but in public … it stands to reason that you need to see a person’s face to communicate in a civil way.

  • UKCitizen

    Our establishment and therefore the left are doing the usual of lumping Muslim identity as one amorphous blob that they can then address and manipulate.
    But this is a dangerous game to play with an ideology such as Islam with its various factions and schisms and tendency to suddenly become extreme destroying everything they deem not pure, even fellow Muslims.
    We need to be aware that some factions are more dangerous than others and act accordingly.

    • Mill House

      Sounds to me that you want to kowtow to them and kiss their backsides – anything to save antagonising and confronting a group of people, many of whom are hell bent on transforming our western society into something resembling Saudi Arabia.

      You bend your knee to them if you want but don’t include me in your pusillanimity
      .

      • UKCitizen

        Not sure how you infer that from my comment.
        They are here and short of wholesale deportation we are going to have to deal with it. Identifying which end bites and defanging it to try and socialise the remainder would be a start. Restricting immigration “a la Trump” from extreme Muslim countries would also help.
        The way we are currently dealing with it is the worst of all solutions which was the point I was trying to make.

        • Mill House

          You say that “this is a dangerous game to play with an ideology such as islam” but a dangerous game is going to have to be played eventually unless we take a stand now.

          You must be aware that many of them want to change our society to their way of thinking and even the rest wouldn’t care if that happened. If something isn’t done there will one day be civil war.

          • UKCitizen

            You are preaching to the converted here.
            The dangerous game they are playing is dealing with Islam as a whole based on a few westernised liberal Mulsims who would be swiftly ostracised in most majority Muslim countries. They are either naively or deliberately ignoring the darker and more powerful side of Islam at their and our peril.

  • Liberanos

    It is the uniform of subjugation, like the collar on the dog, the star on the Jew, the brand on the slave.

  • TRAV1S

    How can we ban the Burka, the symbol of the Labour Party.

    • Reborn

      Beautifully expressed & absolutely true.
      It is muslim voting techniques that ensure Labour will probably win the next
      election.
      If the allegedly Conservative government don’t want this, all it has to do is
      1. Ban postal voting for all but a narrow range of specific cases
      2 Ensure students don’t get two votes, one at home, one at one of Mr Blair’s
      ghastly “unis”
      3. Insist on photo ID at the ballot box.
      Easy.
      But in the UK cowardice masquerades as tolerance, so get ready for a Corbynista government in a few years. It will be the 70s rerun but without punk & pub rock.

      • TRAV1S

        When I was a kid, the left kept telling what the future would look like under socialism. What they didn’t say was that it would look like the front cover of the science fiction novel Dune.

        • Reborn

          When Corbyn formed his unpleasant views he could go on cycling
          hols in the Peoples’ Republic of East Germany, possibly on a tandem seated behind Ms Abbott’s rump.
          East Germany was only a short flight away, & beyond that lay the delights of the Soviet Union, or Rumania, Albania etc.
          That has all gone now, even Communist China is now the most
          aggressive capitalist state ever to have existed – beyond Henry Ford’s wildest dreams.
          And yet Corbyn & his miseducated youthful followers think the UK can
          achieve a socialist utopia that even the Russians could not.
          His views are dangerous & demented.
          if a civilised and relatively cohesive nation such as Germany could fall prey to a ranting socialist who stands unique in European history for
          his destructive capabilities, think what Corbyn could do to a divided,
          multicultural mess like the Disunited Kingdom.
          He may be funny, but so was Hitler.
          Until he got power.

          • Shaunr19

            Fine comment, but I doubt the bicycle that could handle the Abbottamus has been invented yet.

      • lizmilton

        If you read the books I gave mentioned in an earlier post, you will see that Blair set up a special unit to bring scores of illiterate migrants, mainly from Bangladesh etc into the country…

        The author of one of the books queries how many postal votes are now completed in Karachi etc

        If you read globalresearchdot ca…
        There was an interesting article on Election Day saying the result that day would be determined by the Muslim vote in 38 constituencies ….

        • Reborn

          Thanks.
          I will follow up.
          Currently reading Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe.
          So called liberals & multiculturalists have so much for answer for.
          The trouble is, history is written by the winners, & I’m not sure that
          we are going to win.
          I doubt if we’ll even get out of the Blairs’ foul Human Rights Act, let
          alone the Eu.

  • LoveMeIamALiberal

    There is an argument for strengthening the law to allow individuals and businesses to have the right to ban the burka on their premises but banning the burka per se is illiberal, enforcing the ban would be a waste of police time and it may have the effect of keeping some Muslim women permanently indoors. It’s also a distraction from the real ways in which government is not addressing Islam’s pernicious effects on our society; the failure to face up to Pakistani muslim child rape gangs; no prosecutions of female genital mutilation; the de facto acceptance of Sharia law and polygamy. Banning the burka misses the much bigger points about Islam in our society.

    • Reborn

      I sympathise with your objectives, but I still think banning this repulsive &
      frightening garment gives out a strong message.
      When Westerners choose to live in muslim lands, they get no benefits & no
      concessions to their beliefs or taste in dress.
      We are under attack in the West, especially demographically, and it is
      cowardly not to resist.

      • LoveMeIamALiberal

        ‘gives out a strong message’

        You sound like a politician. The point is not to send out ‘messages’ but to do something that actually makes a difference.

        • Reborn

          The burka etc is a strong message, like KKK robes & hoods.
          They are the politicians sending out the strong message,
          & our politicians are too cowardly to respond.
          The fact that this political uniform is worn on our streets makes a difference, and a very shocking one.

      • lizmilton

        Agree completely…having lived and worked in Dubai for a while, we were naturally very respectful of their customs and dressed appropriately…otherwise, we were in danger of causing “an incident”…
        Though scores of their men would drive to the beaches to ogle the white women in their swimsuits and bikinis……..

  • Trojan

    It is a stupid garment representing a stupid set of beliefs. In the past stupid ideas and clothes were ridiculed and that was that. Today we have a Government who are empowering the police to stamp out as extremist hate crime those who take the mickey out of this stupidity. No need to use the power of law to rid us of this stupidity; get rid of a Government that endorses it..
    Enjoy this address from a Conservative Party leader. Does anyone really think she could be persuaded to ban the burka?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=aFQslqJZ4qQ

  • J M

    I am fed up of being told I have to respect the customs and beliefs of others. I, and I suspect pretty well everyone else in our secular western society, find the not being able to see a person’s face deeply offensive. When are my cultural values and beliefs going to be respected?

    • DespairingVoter

      Ditto. I’ve only ever heard one psychologist point out that face covering goes completely against western cultural sensitivities. As far as western people are concerned the act of obscuring or covering the face is associated with banditry or nefarious activities and we don’t like it, so why should we have to put up with it?

    • Reborn

      And yet they are allowed to wear it in court.
      Here, of all places, facial recognition & reaction is vital.
      We are being made fools of in our own country by undesirable immigrants.

  • evad666

    Well Tony Blair encouraged all the Wahabi preachers in. The guy should hang for that.

  • Maximum Overdrive

    Doesn’t go far enough.
    Ban the hijab too.

    • Little Black Censored

      “The guy should hang for that.”
      That doesn’t go far enough either.

  • Liberanos

    It’s a vivid token of islam’s attitude to women. Not just a travesty of equal rights but an affront to civilisation. Tragically, we’re in danger getting used to it, and therefore underestimating its nauseating implications.

  • Jonathan Tedd

    Over at Going Postal someone posted a photo of a muslim man walking with his three wives and numerous children. Tower Hamlets or Bradford, we’ll see it Ditchling in a few decades…

    As Gavin McInnes at rebel media asked “why black polyester in a hot country? It’s clearly meant to punish the woman”.

  • Gareth

    Oh dear oh dear, “the emphasis should shift to the rights of the majority”, oh dear oh dear. Individual rights over group think thank you very much. Never let the state tell you what you can and cannot wear. Choose light you say, I say choose liberty.

    • Niall McCrae

      I didn’t say the burka should be criminalised. Better to promote integration and cohesive social norms. Liberty is a virtue but I doubt if you think this can be total. A key consideration is whether one person’s liberty (e.g. of a teacher to wear the burka in school) imposes on the liberty of others (i.e. the schoolchildren).

      • Gareth

        No balaclavas in winter then? I’m asking this because I ride a motorbike and cannot fill up at a petrol station wearing a helmet, unlike a person wearing a face veil. The issue I have with your point, which I do recognise is made with good intentions is who makes the decision on the norm. I’m worried about what comes next on the ban list, I want the Government out of my life as much as possible.

        • Niall McCrae

          Well, I think people rely too much on the government. We don’t need laws preventing freedom of speech, and we don’t need laws banning clothing. But society, if it means anything, should regulate behaviour. Not in an oppressive way – just negotiating what works for most of us most of the time. Wearing a burka doesn’t work for anyone but the wearer (and that’s debatable).

          • Gareth

            It appears to be a statement, or even a uniform, I agree.

        • Kathy Gyngell

          Balaclavas that completely cover the face as masks, as worn by bank robbers, are not acceptable to I would have thought to anyone!
          Balaclavas for winter warmth that still show the face and are quite different

          • Gareth

            Fair enough. What about masks though, only for fancy dress parties or halloween, not for rallies?

          • Reborn

            Most definitely not for rallies.
            Such persons are fascistic or anarchistic criminals & have no place
            in our politics or in our society.

          • Gareth

            They may be so, but I have no confidence that the state will, of it’s own accord, ever be the defender of liberty. Individual rights over any group definition of what’s right. One cost of this is people dressing up in bags, their mistake.

  • Tricia

    I agree with you. The burqa has no place in our society and we should make that clear. Cultural dress of covering yourself appropriately or covering your hair is acceptable. I have no problem with hijabs(apart from children being made to ear them), or Sikh turbans or Jewish scull caps. They do not prevent identification and conversation with others. We are at a time when the western world is under attack from Wahhabi Muslim fanatics and we should ensure that they cannot hide in this way. If anyone is associated with the burqa they should be seen as a terror risk. There is also the problem of second and third generation Muslims who are adopting this form of dress as a politico/religious statement. I was in Marks and Spencer in York a few years ago, when I heard some female broad Yorkshire voices shouting on the escalator. I was astonished to see a group of burka clad “Yorkshire” women calling to each other. York is not a place you see many burqa clad women – they were obviously on a trip from Dewsbury or Bradford where they had been born. The women are born and bred here – there can be no cultural context for dressing in this way, apart from accepting a dangerous ideology which threatens us all.

  • MorganCourtenay

    The niqaab/burka sends a fundamentally negative message. It certainly should not be encouraged in public places, although if one chooses to wear it in the home or down the road, that is legally their business and their right. But in a society where people communicate face to face, the burqa/niqaab is a direct obstruction to that, preventing women from engaging in today’s society.

  • Ozfan

    Ban it, its a political uniform.
    Like Mosleys brown shirts.

    • Should Next and Marks & Spencer remove brown shirts from their stores?

      • Ozfan

        No, Mosley is not a threat to us anymore. Go ahead and buy your brownshirt, but I find it an uncool look bro.

        • Even if he was a threat still, would it be right to remove Brown shirts from sale?

    • Reborn

      I’ve submitted an inoffensive & totally accurate response.
      I doubt that you’ll be able to read it.
      I’m sure no conservatives are at work here, I’d love to know who.

  • Benthic

    Ban it, it has no place in this country.

  • Odo Saunders

    This problem has come about due to the medieval attitude adopted by the Wahhabist faith, hich is being actively encouraged in this country due to money given by the government of Saudi Arabia. Time to break off any further connection with that bunch of locusts.

  • Otto von Bismarck

    It’s totally un-British to dictate to people what they can and can’t wear. Of course it should face the same restrictions as people wearing motorbike helmets and so on but that’s quite different from a full ban.

    • Andy

      Well up to a point I agree – it isn’t the British way. So we could start by applying the same restrictions to wearing motorbike helmets. No one could object to that…..

  • Hugh_Oxford

    Disagree. You don’t solve a problem by hiding it, you make it worse. You can ban the burka all you like, but you’ll still have Islamic fundamentalists living in your country, displacing you, and ultimately presenting your children with the existential threat of homelessness and dispossession.

    St Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle both shared the same view of immigration: that it should never compromise the security and future of the host nation, and that citizenship should only be granted after many generations, when the host nation could be certain that immigrants were assimilating and didn’t present a threat.

    The answer to Islamic fundamentalism – in the current global climate – is stripping them of the UK citizenship and deporting them. That is the only moral course of action. It is the only course of action that secures the future of this nation for its rightful heirs.

    In fact, banning the burka will simply allow us to remain in denial about the scale and nature of the threat that faces our children and grandchildren. It is, in itself, a reprehensible act.

    • Reborn

      Your penultimate paragraph is the answer to the problem, and is guaranteed to not
      be put into place short of a bloodthirsty civil war.
      History suggests that there is no reason why the UK should be immune from what has happened without fail everywhere suffering from muslim occupation.
      But then we are a very special country & perhaps generation snowflake, when in authority,
      will voluntarily make us an islamic state.

  • Ian Walker

    I’m just too much of a libertarian to want to ban adults from wearing them. At the end of the day, no-one gets hurt by a burka. If you want to ban clothing that makes people feel uncomfortable, I’d go for yoga pants in any situation that is not a yoga class.

    But I would ban religious dress in state schools. The best weapon against intolerant culture we can give to girls is an education. Let their education be as broad and open-minded as possible during the hours when we have contact with them, and the burka will fall into disuse, just as the bonnet, bustle and wimple have.

    • Reborn

      So, you have no problem with KKK uniforms ?

      • Ian Walker

        To answer your question with another: do you think that we should make things illegal if they make us feel uncomfortable or we just don’t like them?

        Have you considered that by insisting that these women dress a certain way, you are defeating your own argument?

        It is a leftist narrative that certain words or objects can be ipso facto a crime. Only people can hate and oppress – not clothes, not headwear, not cartoons or greetings cards.

        I’d certainly question why someone in a KKK uniform was wearing it, and I’d probably refuse to associate with them if they continued, but until they try to harm others, then my discomfort should be mine, rather than foisting it on the state like the special snowflakes infesting our universities want to do.

        Concentrate on the human under the mask, and their actual deeds and words. If you concentrate on the clothing, you’re doing exactly what your enemies want.

        • Brilliant response. We should be free to refuse service or ridicule those who wear certain clothing, without fear of the law.

  • A ban on the burqa (and face veils) is authoritarian NOT libertarian. The introduction of further powers to the state to dictate what people can and can not wear is authoritarian. Anyone who calls themselves “conservative” should rethink their position if they take this path of introducing such laws. How long will it be before laws are altered to ban other items of clothing for which they may not agree? This is why I am against banning in the first place, it just implicates other garments and create a slippery slope.
    Free countries do not have state enforced dress codes. I hope that the UK does not end up down this path of telling its citizens how to dress.
    What we need in this country is the freedom to ask people to show their face when asked in reasonable circumstances (like we do with motorcycle helmets). Freedom cannot be defined by giving power to the state. We should be free to mock and ridicule without fear of prosecution.

    • forgotten_man

      I get where you are coming from as long as the state doesn’t intervene in individuals decisions on whether to accept a mode of dress as well.
      I’m thinking of a hair and beauty salon in a ‘trendy’ location that got the state machinery enforcing the ‘rights’ of a burka clad job applicant who was refused the job as she , quelle surprise, didn’t ‘fit’ the image the salon was presenting.
      £12k the poorer the salon …and ultimately their customers had to pay to uphold the ‘rights’ of this individual.
      At a cultural subliminal level covering your face is considered evasive and these people should be willing to abide by a few of the host society’s norms also.

    • Flaketime

      So you also have no objection to a group of men blacking themselves up as the Jamaican Bobsleigh team?
      And presumably no objection to a male Salafi who decides to exercise his right to wear what he chooses – a suicide vest ?

      The UK already has enough oppressive laws dictating what white people can and cannot think let alone wear, one single law for the Muslims and you’re up in arms – there’s a word for that isn’t there?

      • Suicide vests and “blacking up” as a comparison is your argument? Give me a break. Come back when you have an argument.

        • Flaketime

          I do have an argument and clearly it is one which you are unable to address

          • Given that explosives are already illegal your point is irrelevant.

  • Spartacus

    I would like to see the majority of these Muslims given an economy ticket back to the hell holes they originate from.

  • Landphil

    Ban sandals with socks – that’s Corbyn gone.

  • Mar Lizaro

    There’s a v big difference between burka and other ‘unusual’ type of dress (such as Goth, Orthodox
    Jewish, etc). In the present context it may be viewed as the uniform of a conquering army, similar to the ‘brown shirts’ for instance. It is this association which probably inspire fear among many but banning the burka is tantamount to hiding one’s head in the sand!

  • Flaketime

    Alas this is a Naïve piece, dealing with the symptom and not the cause.

    For a start if you cannot correctly name the offending garment (the Jilbab) then what chance is there in getting anything else right?

    We often hear our government talk about the so called ‘moderate Muslims’ as opposed to the extremist, and yet no one stands up to say that the sheep are already separated from the goats.

    At least 20 Muslim countries have banned the practice of Salafism, of which Wahabism and the Deobandi movement are a sub part.

    Because those who want to follow Salafism in countries which have banned it cannot practice it at home, and cannot move to the Arabic countries which do because of strict immigration laws, they look elsewhere, and because of the lunatic policies in Europe they come here.

    Salafism is the ideology which drives ISIS, and so it is unsurprising that more UK Muslims have gone to fight with them than have joined the armed forces in the UK.

    Banning Salafism would solve many complaints, including the veil, Sharia courts, terrorism and a whole slew more.

    One deeply unpleasant incident which has largely gone unreported is that of Amina Lone a Labour councillor for Hulme in Manchester who complained that the Muslims in her Ward are being intimidated by Salafi Muslims. As a result she has been expelled from the intolerant party for speaking out, although they are claiming it’s a result of ‘poor campaigning’ (an unusual excuse).

    Let us not campaign to ban the ‘burka’, lets campaign to ban the cause of the ‘burka’ bearing in mind the other benefits which accrue from doing so.

    • Tricia

      You make an excellent point that it is the Wahabbi Salafists who are the problem. Saudi Arabia has been funding mosques in this country for years and we are reaping the whirlwind. Saudi Arabia dies not allow churches to be built. These mosques should be closed and there should be a ban in place. Egypt banned the Muslim Brotherhood and we should take action.

      • Flaketime

        Saudi is also the second largest funder of UK universities after the UK government, with the proviso that they promote Wahabist / Salafist interests, and the instances of anti Semitism arising, especially in Middle Eastern Studies departments is frightening.
        Theresa May has asked Mona Siddiqqi at the Prince Alwaleed centre at Edinburgh University to report on whether Sharia law is discriminatory against women – I think we all know what the answer is going to be before the report is even written given the £8 million a year the university is receiving !

        • Ozfan

          What a stitch up! Sharia May has to go pdq.

  • David Kane

    Mass Muslim immigration came to Britain when Blair’s Labour Party threw open our borders and told the electorate that this would be good for the economy and that immigrants would pay for our pensions and welfare state. If that were the case surely the economy would be booming now after 20 years of demographic change? A look at the latest Treasury statistics on UK borrowing make sobering reading. The deficit climbed to £6.9bn in June, up £2bn compared with June 2016. In this financial year so far the government has already borrowed £22.8bn, a rise of £1.9bn on the same period of last year. The national debt now stands at £1.75 trillion, when excluding the bank bailouts, which is equivalent to 87.4pc of GDP, a record high and makes Britain the biggest external debtor nation in the whole world. Politicians of all hues are quick to pounce on “rich pensioners” with their triple lock and bus passes and free TV licenses as a solution to this debt. What pensioners get from the state is transparent and revealed each year as part of the statistics produced each year showing who gets the biggest slice of the welfare cake, which this year will be more than £140 billion. Yet here is the biggest elephant there has ever been in any room, Muslim welfare payments. Ask the DWP how much of the welfare cake Muslims consume and you will never get an answer other than the stock PC response that statistics based on ethnicity or religion are not released. According to (modest) numerical calculations based on government statistics from wikileaks and a leak from Ritt Bjerregaard, the Danish Socialist spokeswoman for immigration and integration (1999), the following conclusion was arrived at. Muslims, who in 1999 made up 5% of the Danish population, were receiving 35% of all welfare payments. Britain has a similar ratio of Muslims in its population to Denmark and an equally generous welfare system so we can estimate, as has migrationwatch and The Daily Telegraph, that Muslim welfare benefits clock in at just short of £50 billion each year and counting (thanks to an average family unit of 6 children compared to the UK average of 1.2), far more than that “given” to pensioners who, unlike Muslim immigrants, accrued their benefits with PAYE contributions. There’s someting rotten here, and it isn’t just in the state of Denmark. The Government’s tax haul may be on the rise as the economy grows – so far this financial year current tax receipts have come in at £164.2bn, up 4.7pc on the £156.8bn raised last year but total current spending has risen by 5.6pc to £176.7bn, so the Government has had to borrow more to plug that widening gap. Financing the debt cost £4.9bn in June alone, a rise of more than £1bn from £3.7bn in the same month of 2016. We are literally borrowing to service a lie, without Muslim welfare payments Britain would have NO annual borrowing requirement and the national debt could begin to come down. Muslim welfare payments are literally bankrupting Britain but the public are not allowed to know (read: “2030: Your Children’s Future in Islamic Britain” by David Vincent, Amazon and Kindle), I would urge all of you reading this to send in a Freedom of Information request to the DWP and ask them the same questions and see how far you get on the biggest X-file in British history.

    • Ozfan

      Indeed and it’s not just welfare payments to consider. There’s the lost tax revenues from so many being economically inactive (or claiming to be). So tax burden for others rises disproportionately.

  • The Banana

    I was totally in favour of the hijab being entirely legal on libertarian grounds until I discovered that wearing an SS uniform or indeed any political uniform is an offence.

    Sauce for the goose etc. And it certainly rules out any libertarian argument unless you’re in favour of also rescinding the law on political uniforms (Which I personally am but none of the lefties I argue this point with seem to be). Certain articles of clothing are already illegal to wear in public.

    • Reborn

      Exactly.
      I have been censored previously for pointing out that the Public Order Act of c1938
      was brought in to stop Mosley’s fascist wearing political uniforms.
      I’ll say no more & see if this one squeaks through.

  • ethanedwards2002

    Well we all know which party will never do anything about the Burkha don’t we. For fear of losing the Block Vote that the head of the household delivers unto Corby’s team.
    I’m disappointed just how craven our political class is by the potential loss of all those votes.

    • Reborn

      All mainstream politicians are terrified of the BBC.
      The Guardian, which has an identical agenda is a loss making rag, which only survives
      due to its charitable status.
      The BBC, however, is still the main source for political news in the UK.
      Abolish the BBC tax, replace it with a subscription, and our short terms politicians would start following agendas set by the Sun & the Mail, which is much more
      desirable & democratically representative.
      Personally, I’m a Times reader, but, unlike Al BEEB, I respect democracy.

      • Ozfan

        The Beeb of course also supports The Guardian by bulk purchase, appearance fees to it’s journalists, regular favourable plugs in “papers review” items and top jobs for it’s ex journalists. All paid for by us license fee payers under threat of imprisonment.

        • Dorothy Webb Davies

          Does anyone believe what the Beeb has to say about anything? It has now lost its credibility as an impartial body.

  • CheshireRed

    Great piece and am in 100% agreement.
    OK, then let’s do something more than just write an angry article and nodding-dog answers for a minority blog, let’s get a campaign started. Niall, having written this piece you now have exactly the platform upon which to base your call for a complete ban on face covering in public. No burqa, no niqab and no other religious garb which prevents members of the public from identifying the wearer. No exceptions.
    If the greatest cultural country on earth (France, if you had to ask) can ban these garments then we most certainly can.
    Fine words, now time for action.

  • spacely sprockets

    “Instead of fussing over whether women are able to decide for themselves what they wear, the emphasis should shift to the rights of the majority.”
    All well and good, for now. 20 or 30 years from now the majority in Britain is going to look very different however.

  • LewisDuckworth

    One feature marks out Islamic terrorists and their sympathisers: their womenfolk, and that usually includes all the daughters, wear the burka.

  • LewisDuckworth

    It’s almost difficult to recall that in the first three decades of post-war mass muslim inmigration, official government documents always stated the objective of integration into British society.

  • Dave S

    The reality I find is that most of us in the still English shire towns and villages do not care much either way. The assumption is now that integration is not going to happen on any real scale.
    The same presumably goes for the Muslim citizens. The best we can hope for is reasonably peaceful co existence. Our problem is that government and the liberal media cannot understand this.
    If anybody had bothered to think this would have been obvious but since when did politicians know their history .

    • Ed McA

      I believe you should care as we’re being overrun and the country is being drained of its culture and resources.

    • Ozfan

      Well, the “reasonably peaceful co-existence” isn’t working out so far is it?
      (And btw hasn’t worked out anywhere else for 1,400 years.)