Wednesday, June 29 2016

Jack Straw apologises for his anti-niqab comments at ENGAGE hustings in Blackburn

 The former Justice Minister, Jack Straw, made a public apology last night over comments he made in October 2006 that have since sparked controversy on the wearing of niqab in the UK and across Europe.

Participating in an election hustings event organized by the local ENGAGE unit in Blackburn Mr Straw said:

“To be blunt, if I had realised the scale of publicity that they [his comments] received in October 2006, I wouldn’t have made them and I am sorry that it has caused problems and I offer that apology.

Can I just say, this is about an issue of communication (you understand). I wasn’t raising it to say it [the burqa] should be banned – quite the opposite. Let me say, I’m not responsible for those in France or Germany or in this country pursuing this. That is their business. I am fundamentally opposed to what they are doing. But if you ask me the specific question: Do I regret the fact that it [my comments] had then got taken round the world and taken out of context? Yes of course I do and I go on seeing people – Muslim women, wearing the full veil in my constituency/advice surgery. I wouldn’t dream of treating them other than with respect and I think they know from me that I do give them respect and I give them as much help as I give anybody else whatever their faith. And I am really glad to have had that opportunity to clear that up.”

The apology comes at a time when Islamophobia is on the rise across Europe with the national debate in France focussing on the implications of the French government’s proposal to introduce legislation to ban the full face veil from public places in what has been dubbed "burqaphobia".

Here in the UK, the BNP and UK Independence Party (UKIP) have both come out in support of a ban on the burqa in their election manifestoes.

European Human Rights Commissioner - Thomas Hammarberg has condemned the bans proposed by the French and Belgian assemblies as a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Footage of the full hustings debate in Blackburn will be screened on Wednesday 28th April at 7pm on Islam Channel TV (Sky 813).

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 May 2010 17:28


0 #6 Zoe 2010-07-05 12:36
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0 #5 Khalid 2010-04-27 10:19
Mr Straw ain't this very convenient to apologise now? You could have done it as soon as the incident blew out of proportion. It led to sisters wearing the niaqb being attacked and put Muslims in a bad light yet again.

We won't forget your take on the niqab, nor will we forget your take on:

Voted for Invasion of Iraq ( Iraq - Declaration of War, 18 Mar 2003)

Voted for Air strikes on Afghanistan (Coalition Against International Terrorism, 1 Nov 2001)

Absent for vote on Indefinite detention without charge, without trial (Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill - Clauses 22 to 24 - Indefinite Detention - 21 Nov 2001)

Absent for vote on Renewal of above law (Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 - Renewal of Part 4 sections 21-23 - 3 Mar 2004)

Absent for vote on Control orders – house arrests (Prevention of Terrorism Bill - Third Reading - 28 Feb 2005)

Absent for vote on Proposed amendment to Education Bill forcing all new state funded religious schools to reserve at least a quarter of places to children from other faiths thereby effectively destroying the religious ethos of the school. This disproportionately targeted the Muslim community as out of around 7000 existing state funded religious schools that would escape this law only 4 were Muslim - all new Muslim schools would be effected.(Education Bill - New Clause 1 6 Feb 2002)

Did not sign EDM on Call for BBC to sack Kilroy-Silk for his racist comments. (EDM 383, 08.01.04)

Did not sign EDM on Call for the government to work actively to end religious slaughter in the UK (EDM 104, 26.11.03)

Did not sign EDM on Call for UK & EU partners to protest France's ban on religious symbols in schools. (EDM 461, 21.01.04)

Did not sign EDM on Call for suspension of EU-Israel Association Agreement which gives Israel preferential trade terms with the EU. (EDM 1288, 26.05.04)

Did not sign EDM on Call for sanctions against Israel for not complying with the International Court of Justice decision on the illegality of the separation wall.(EDM 162, 24.11.04)

Did not sign EDM exposing double standards in US foreign policy regarding terrorism and democracy. (EDM 664, 04.02.05)

As Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw is rightly held responsible for much of Britains appalling policy towards Muslims around the world - from the invasion of Iraq, invasion of Afghanistan, to supporting Israel in its oppression of the Palestinian people.

Whilst Jack Straw was absent from voting on the anti-terror laws he has always defended them and last December he attacked the decision of the House of Lords that the indefinite detention of foreigners without charge or trial was in breach of human rights laws.

During Labour's first term in power Jack Straw was the Home Secretary. As Home Secretary he introduced the Terrorism Act 2000 which proscribed parts of Hammas and Hizbullah as illegal terrorist organisation's.

When the Guardian newspaper asked one of Jack Straws Muslim constituents what he thought, he replied "He has done nothing good for Muslims, he's siphoned the vote off us for many years. As home secretary he introduced anti-terrorism laws which totally discriminated against Muslims and now as foreign secretary he is going around the world subjugating Muslim countries.All he has done is abuse the power the Muslim community has given him."


It's not often that the fascists of the British National Party have a good word to say about a Labour politician, but they're happy to applaud Jack Straw for "quite rightly, observing the problems of communication arising from the wearing of veils by Muslim women", and they contrast Straw's principled stand with the position of "other figures in the British establishment" who are "allowing the country's native majority to descend headlong into a state of dhimmitude." Source

“One of the things we’ve got to do is give these leaders the confidence to face down terrorism justified by Islam,” says the foreign secretary (Jack Straw) in an interview with the Financial Times. Source

In a speech at the Muslim Leadership Dinner in February 2010, Jack Straw noted, 'the vital and valued role Muslims and the Islamic faith play in our society'.” source

"Jack Straw, the ex-foreign secretary, has angered Muslim groups by suggesting women who wear veils over their face can make community relations harder." source

"Universal jurisdiction is a major development in the world legal order. It seeks to give practical effect to the global commitment to human rights by facing those whose power protects them at home with the prospect of being tried for their crimes if ever they venture abroad....To withdraw the citizen’s right to seek an arrest warrant for suspected war criminals and torturers would be a retrograde step, and no change in the law is justified. If Jack Straw has kicked the issue into the long grass, that is where it ought to remain." source

Voted moderately for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.

Voted moderately for introducing ID cards.

Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.

Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.

Voted strongly for introducing student top-up fees.

Voted moderately fora transparent Parliament.

Voted moderately against laws to stop climate change. Source They Work For You
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0 #4 Blackburner 2010-04-27 09:06
Political Opportunism... A sign of dying empire clinging on to what remains.
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0 #3 Words are cheap 2010-04-27 08:57
An apology now when he knows his votes are on the line. Words are cheap. What practical action is he taking to undo the damage?
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0 #2 Sheikhen Not Stirred 2010-04-26 18:16
No apology can wash the blood of innocent Iraqi children off his hands.

The Muslims voters of Blackburn should remember this on May 6th above all else.
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0 #1 Anon 2010-04-26 14:19
I welcome the belated public apology by Jack Straw in the Blackburns hustings. I am somewhat a little sceptic why he has taken until now to come out with his, oh yes, its to gain credability for the votes. Every thing in life has a cause and effect and undoubtly his stance on the niqab has caused a ripple effect here and in Europe.
I wonder how many niqabi women faced persecution, harrassment and indifference in the western society in their everyday life since this issue was broadcasted. hmm
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