Burqa-ban MP Philip Hollobone steps up his campaign against the veil

Burqa-ban MP Philip Hollobone steps up his campaign against the veil July 18, 2010

THE Conservative MP says he will refuse to hold meetings with Muslim women wearing full Islamic dress at his constituency surgery unless they lift their face veil.
According to this report, Muslim groups condemned Philip Hollobone and accused him of failing in his duty as an MP.
The Kettering MP said:

I would ask her to remove her veil. If she said: ‘No’, I would take the view that she could see my face, I could not see hers, I am not able to satisfy myself she is who she says she is. I would invite her to communicate with me in a different way, probably in the form of a letter.

Fascists are seizing on the burqa issue to attack Muslims as a whole, as this picture posted on Stormfront (Motto: White Pride Worldwide) indicates

He added:

I just take what I regard as a common sense view. If you want to engage in normal, daily, interactive dialogue with your fellow human beings, you can only really do this properly by seeing each other’s face.

Seventy-five per cent of the usual communication between two human beings is done with personal experience. God gave us faces to be expressive. It is not just the words we utter but whether we are smiling, sad, angry or frustrated. You don’t get any of that if your face is covered.

Hollobone also railed against Turkey’s potential membership of the European Union. With David Cameron expected to visit the country this summer to endorse its attempt to join the EU, Hollobone warned that Turkish membership would be “a disaster” because EU rules allowing free movement would encourage many Turks to move to Britain.

I could anticipate hundreds of thousands, if not more than one million, Turks heading our way. I am sure that the Turkish people are lovely people, but Britain is full up. We cannot cope with another mass wave of immigration.

Hollobone is to bring in a Private Member’s Bill to ban women wearing the burka or niqab in public and hopes that the French parliament’s decision this week to ban the wearing in public of the full-face veil will tip the balance in favour of similar bans in other European nations.

France is a large country, widely respected around the world. People will quite rightly sit up and take notice.

Hollobone’s Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill is due to have its second reading on December 3, but, as it lacks government backing, is likely to run out of parliamentary time. He said:

It is an issue that is not going to go away. Sadly, the House of Commons is likely to prove itself out of touch with public opinion.

He claimed that 95 per cent of the “hundreds” of letters, emails and phone calls he had received backed his measure and he had “quite a few” messages from Muslims saying they were embarrassed that women chose to cover themselves in this way.
Hollobone added that British people often say:

When in Rome, do as the Romans do … They say that when women come to this country, they ought to adapt to our way of life. The Muslim population is growing across western Europe, as is Islamic fundamentalism. It is important to stress I am a respecter of Islam as one of the world’s great religions. I also respect the right of Muslim women to protect their modesty.

Hollobone said that he objected just as strongly to men wearing a full-face balaclava in public – which will also be outlawed by his Bill.
Hollobone admitted that “freedom of choice” was the strongest argument against his proposal, but said:

It is not an issue about different modes of dress. I am not seeking in any way to restrict the right of people to wear unusual clothes, for religious or other reasons. I have got absolutely no problem with a Sikh turban, a Mohican haircut or facial piercings. You can see their face and identify them. If [they] wear a full-face burka or niqab, you cannot see their face.

Shaista Gohir, executive director of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, hit back, saying:

He is just being pedantic and trying to fan the flames of intolerance. He would be failing in his duty as an MP. If someone has made an effort to come and see him and participate in a democratic society, he should take the opportunity to engage. He might learn from the process.

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  • Scott

    Muslim Canadian Congress calls for a ban on the burka and the niqab, arguing that they have “no basis in Islam”.

  • Al

    He can get away with refusing to meet burqa wearers because the number of muslims in that part of Northamptonshire is relatively small. I have never seen a burqa in Kettering and can’t recall seeing anyone wearing a hijab for that matter. I think he’s just trying to ride the wave of publicity that the issue is causing in Europe.

  • Susan

    This subject again? Definitely not going to stand for the likes of this one telling me what I can and can not wear.

  • Great Satan

    It is good that at least one MP has the guts to stand up for something that the majority of British people want.
    The burqah is a badge of fundamentalism and part of the repressive apparatus of islam’s subjugation of women. Banning it would send a clear signal to political islam that we simply won’t take this rubbish anymore.

  • tony e

    Personally I agree with him.
    No doubt somebody is already crying ‘racist’ in his direction.
    However I have always felt that the muslim women who attest that they like to wear the burka, have the luxury of hiding the bruises from their loving husbands, in public

  • Stuart H.

    He’d have a point if he was talking about removing a veil for a situation where it’s legally necessary to identify the woman, but an MP has a duty to make him/herself available to constituents with a legitimate concern, or just a general purpose whinge, not pick and choose which ones to listen to.
    And what if a burka-wearing woman wants to see him to get help escaping violent relatives?

  • barriejohn

    You’d think that Hollowbrain had better things to do with his time. His government have said that there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of any such legislation ever being brought before parliament, so this is just political posturing for the sake of effect. What concerns me much more is the fact that Gormless Gove is rushing through his legislation to allow schools to apply for Academy Status before September, without giving MPs adequate time to consider the matter in depth. This is a very succint article from the BHA:
    Be sure to follow the link to Andrew Copson’s site as well.

  • harriet

    i am a white british born senior citizen and feel very insulted when i see asian women covering their face!!!!! when in rome do as the romans. these women are not part of british society they are a separate population except for free nhs, education handouts etc. if they want moslim values, they should be living in a muslim country. there will never be integration whilst this is going on. and lets not forget the terror threat. all the barbaric acts recently have been from islamic members. we are far too soft in the uk and “political coorectness” has gone plain barmy!!!!!!

  • tony e

    Stormfront and their ilk are increasing in number, esp since the election of Obama. The above poster is not dissimilar to the ones used by the Nazi’s to promote an irrational fear of the Jews.
    The rise of extremists is worrying. Esp nowadays with instant global communications.

  • ZombieHunter

    To be honest I don’t see any difference between Hollobone’s campaign against the burqa and keith Vaz’z campaign against violent video games, it’s just oppurtunist bandwagon jumping on an issue that happens to be in the media a lot right now, a few weeks from now it’ll be something else and another bandwagon jumping MP and if we’re going to have a serious and rational discussion about and oppurtunist MPs, media hype and knee jerk regulations won’t help matters any and one thing that definetly won’t help are those wankers on stormfront.
    Also Hollobones bill doesn’t single out the niqab or the burqa so these new laws will be used to harrass people who have their hoods up or scarves or hats on just like section 44 was used to harrass photorophers and tourists taking pictures.

  • barriejohn

    In a way you have to laugh at the idiocy of a slogan which reads: Say No to Muslims in Ireland, but I don’t suppose for one moment that the idiots who came up with it would understand why!

  • Rog

    Looks like it won’t happen any time soon:
    “Copying French ban on burqa would be un-British, says minister –
    Immigration minister Damian Green says ban on Muslim women covering faces in public would be at odds with ‘tolerant society'”
    On Hollobone take a look at http://www.stonewall.org.uk/what_we_do/parliamentary/general_election_2010/3870.asp I see the beginnings of a pattern here; I’m just saying that I suspect that his motives have got something to do with “Traditional Christian Valuesâ„¢”; I really doubt he’s all about the secularism…

  • Rog
  • Etiene

    Personally I’m still not sure where to side on the Burqa Ban issue, despite hating what they stand for, but I can see the security issue with them. In the situation of the MP one could misrepresent the support/opposition for a particular issue by meeting the MP several times in several different burqas.
    Of course, the same could be done with a letter writing campaign, but one suspects that more weight is given to those who take the time to visit the MPs surgery rather than just write in.
    Anything requiring positive identification should already refuse to serve individuals in burqas if they refuse to remove it in an appropriately private situation, in my opinion, including refusal of international travel.

  • Harry

    Modest would be to blend in. A burqa is a huge sign saying “Look at me, I’m a muslim” – immodest to extremes.

  • Juan Carlos Perez

    All countries that I know of regulate the dressing in their territories,
    if you do not believe this try getting around in the nude and tell me what happens. I recommend trying this in summer.
    So if you want dressing a burqah just move to any place where it is legal.

  • barriejohn

    Talented Top Tory Totally in Touch (Twat!)
    I bet she thinks those chastity belts are great for upholding the sanctity of marriage!!

  • barriejohn
  • Har Davids

    Banning the burqa may not be possible, apart from security reasons. Let’s just have the burqa tested to see if you can drive a car or ride a bike; from what I’ve read, wearing one doesn’t make it easy to navigate outside your own home. If I wanted my hypothetical wife’s face to be covered when going out in public, I would let her wear a big hat with a veil, like some women used to wear way before WW 2.

  • barriejohn

    Puritanism – the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. (H L Mencken)
    Proof that Muslims are stuck back where Christians used to be hundreds of years ago:

  • barriejohn
  • Broadsword

    The muzzies make a big fuss over a lady’s modesty. If someone’s oggling my bird I take it as a compliment. Flirting’s a laugh too. Mrs B is such a tease.

  • Patsy

    Totally agree with Harriet (comment number 8)
    It is time our Polititians did their jobs and represented the majority of the British people and not allow such obvious problems to grow. There will be unpleasantness now, but very much more in the future if it isn’t stopped. My face is on CCTV and theirs should be no exception. Damian Green MP says it is unbritish to ban the burka. I say it is unbritish to allow it and to expect the majority of Brits to tollerate it. Integration is just an empty word. A woman in a burka, and in particular the face veil, gives me a clear message – “I don’t want to know you and I do not want you to know me”. The burka is not religious nor is it Islamic. It is a tribal thing brought about 200 years after the death of the Prophet.

  • barriejohn

    I remember it well, Broadsword. I always eat my swedes as God intended! I did some of my Teaching Practice in Catholic schools (in Lancashire), and had a friend who taught in one (he always claimed that he only ccepted the post because of all the free time he would get due to their numerous Holy Days and religious activities!), and I could hardly believe it when otherwise sensible people would choose to sit on a hard chair in the staff room to “do some penance”. (That was in the 1960s, BTW, and not the 1360s!!)

  • Broadsword

    Harriet and Patsy summed it up for me.

  • Brian Jordan

    Perhaps the answer would be not to ban the burquas but to tax them. Muslims would surely not object to religious taxes, since Islam imposes them when it can.

  • FedupwithR

    And for me too. The difficulty, it seems, in such a class conscious place in britain, where there is such a sharp divide between Conservative and Labour, is that it is so difficult to get people to think outside of their political box. A common sense proposal by a member of the opposition is more than likely to be dismissed simply because it comes from the opposition. Many people can’t or are unwilling to think or reason for themselves.

  • Harry

    Syria just banned face coverings in universities.

  • Broadsword

    You, my friend, have made a cracking observation.
    Socially, I’ve transcended the “divide” but I have hardwiring that prevents me voting Tory. I would probably benefit more from their policies but it would shame my father if I backed them. He wouldn’t even know but I would still bear the guilt.
    There we are then, that’s me. At least I’m not trying to justify religious hypocrisy. You’ve got me staring at my belly button now.

  • Brian Jordan

    Here’s an extract from the BBC report.

    Secular identity
    However the BBC’s Lina Sinjab in Damascus says the ruling could be a sign that Syrian Society is becoming more conservative.
    “In recent years, Syria has witnessed an Islamic revival with more and more women wearing the Hijab,” she reports.
    “This decision could be seen as a step by the government to enforce its secular identity.”

    So are these Tories simply confusing conservative with Conservative or are they, in a mirror image of the Syrians, trying to reject our secular identity?

  • terry

    The burka is one of a ghastly litany of repression, ranging from honour killings to female circumcision.
    adding up the ways in which religion in general, not just Islam but Roman Catholicism, puritanical forms of Protestantism, and orthodox Judaism, have treated women: all the way from closeting them, covering them up, and silencing them, to sewing up their vagina’s.
    When I hear or read a Muslim woman defending the headscarf or the burka which, they say, are so liberating, I am reminded of that dangerous idea: the idea of complicity in one’s own repression,
    They say the victim can come to love the torturer.

  • frankyv

    Its called ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. Its a way that women stop themselves being tortured and murdered.
    Wearing these extreme garments is a huge insult to moslem men, who are not taught to be responsible for their own actions and cannot be trusted, if feeling a little lustful not to rape her. She then gets accused of being impure, and at best gets flogged and at worst gets stoned to death. In an article a few months ago, Jasmin Alibi-Brown, a moderate, says she feels uneasy at the number of women in her lectures are now wearing the burka, and asked if they wore them willingly. They all said yes, but sometime later one girl asked to see her in private, and when she removed her burka, the girl was covered in bruises and scratches all over her body. So it is hard to see if even the apparently keen ones are coerced. Wahabi money goes to poor familes to force their daughters be more ‘modest’.

  • terry

    Yes thank you frankyv
    Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser I am familiar with the term.

  • barriejohn

    I’ve just come across this one by pure coincidence!

  • barriejohn
  • FedupwithR

    Your reply started me thinking about prejudices. We are all born atheist and free from religious dogmas, racial and class prejudices. As we grow our minds will be formed, informed, and misinformed by our environment and our experiences. The intellect, for the vast majority of mankind, is stultified. If only every one’s brains where treated with as much care and attention as the flowers in Key Gardens, then perhaps they would not be the pathetic little boxes that most are.

  • mal

    Are all kinds of halloween masks outlawed under this legislation then too?
    I don’t know, while I hate the whole concept of burqas, I do support the right of a woman to wear one. Now are a lot of women forced to wear them? Yes, but forcing a woman to wear a burqa is already illegal. Outlawing the voluntary wearing of the burqa sounds to me like outlawing sex because of rape!
    Also, it makes no sense to me to outlaw the voluntary wearing of a burqa just because it offends my values… and even less sense to argue in this way on a “freethinker’s” site as many in the comments did.
    “I could anticipate hundreds of thousands, if not more than one million, Turks heading our way. I am sure that the Turkish people are lovely people, but Britain is full up. We cannot cope with another mass wave of immigration.”
    One million? Just for Britain? And then I guess another million for France, right? Another two million for Germany as it has a large Turkish community already? Two more million for the rest of Europe?
    So basically, it seems like he thinks that when Turkey gets accepted into Europe, 10% of its population will immediately flee the country. Yeah, right.

  • Nash Ginai

    i think Mr Hollobone is feulling the fires of religious intolerance. In a society that is quite happy to release convicted criminals earlier than their original sentences, problems with petty crimes, drug abuse and all other malfunctions, he decides to pick on women whose only crime is to follow what they belive to be a modest, righteous way of life without any reliance on the state. All they want is to be represented by their MP who has taken on that role therefore agreed to represent all his constituents not just the ones that he likes the look of. Does he not understand that the whole reason for these women’s modesty of dress is so that they do not open themselves up to free mixing in social circles as a means of protecting themselves from the unwanted glances of men. Whether he agrees with this sentiment or not is hardly the point, just that he shows his understanding and respect for the moral code of his constituents who may have higher standards than he himself.
    When i first heard Mr. Hollobone, it was one the radio not on the TV, yet his message was quite clear to me. i did not have to see his face to understand his message.
    I disagree with the commets above that Mr Hollobone has guts, i reckon it’s more a case of bigotry and naziism peppered with ignorance and prejudice.
    What is this about “When in Rome …….”, that’s a laugh. Wherever the British have gone, they have taken their habits, lifestyle and reluctance to intergrate with them. How many of them took to wearing dhotis in India, nomadic lifestyle of the Masai, or living in Teepees as the native Americans.
    i really regret voting conservative at the last elections.
    In case you hadn’t guessed already i am a muslim and i make no apolgy for it. I don’t wear the burka but if my siters wish to then that is their right and i fully support them. For them it is as it would be to ask Mr Hollobone to conduct his day to day business in his b’day suit.
    Is he prepared to do that ( not that the burka ladies would want to be anywhere in the vicinity if he did …. actually maybe that’s the way he can get out of this situation).

  • Pingback: Philip Hollobone – Heroic Prophet or Complete Idiot? « Men In Suits()

  • kachro

    The burkha issue is too big for the UK. It should be taken to the UN and an international agreement negotiated there. At the same time global rights to free speech, alcohol consumtion, right to wear any type of clothing should be brought in the negotiations.
    Until an agreement is reached the will of the democratic majority in each country should be allowed to decide for that country.

  • Pete

    Why is it any different from asking someone to remove a crash helmet? It is common courtesy to remove the helmet, these women are obviously totally lacking in any such thing. Further, they have, over the centuries, had it beaten into them that if they do not cover up, any man would be justified in raping them. The fault would be theirs.

  • Mary Johnson

    Banning the burkha?! A symbol of their faith for all muslim women. Why not bann the sikh turban aswell?! Christians wearing crosses?! These are all religious symbols. Why are only muslims being targeted!? I am sick and tired of muslims being discriminated against in such a way. I never expected such an outrageous suggestion to be made in what they call “multi-cultural” Britain. This is simply disgraceful.

  • Mary Johnson

    Why is it any different from asking someone to remove a crash helmet? It is common courtesy to remove the helmet, these women are obviously totally lacking in any such thing. Further, they have, over the centuries, had it beaten into them that if they do not cover up, any man would be justified in raping them. The fault would be theirs.
    – Pete, i suggest you keep your ignorant opinions to yourself until u read and study the teachings of the holy Qur’an instead of making your own assumptions about it. Disgusting.

  • Sophie Bush

    I think there are larger and more important problems facing this country than simply women wanting to cover their faces. Seriously, these MPs should start doing their job.