| ||The Daily Mail reports that outspoken atheist, Professor Richard Dawkins, described the burqa as a “full bin-liner thing” and told of his “visceral revulsion at the burka”.|
The Daily Mail reports,
“Last night he stood by his remarks and told the Daily Mail: ‘I do feel visceral revulsion at the burka because for me it is a symbol of the oppression of women."
A ban on the burqa has been enacted in countries such as France, Spain and Belgium and a similar call was made in Britain, which was rejected by Immigration Minister, Damien Green, saying that a ban would run contrary to a “tolerant and mutually respectful society”.
This is not the first time the debate on the burqa has been stirred up and once again we have someone describing their negative reaction to the wearing of the burqa by some Muslim women. However, it cannot escape our notice that once again the voices of the very Muslim women in question have not been expressed by the Daily Mail. Their voices are a vital part of any democratic deliberation on the matter.
As for Professor Dawkins’ remarks about the burqa being a symbol of oppression, Baroness Warsi eloquently states that “if a woman has a choice, and she chooses to wear whatever she chooses to wear then she’s not oppressed is she?”
Professor Dawkins made his remarks ahead of his documentary on faith schools, which is due to be aired next week.
The Daily Mail article finishes with the comment that, in 2008, Professor Dawkins said, “It’s almost impossible to say anything against Islam in this country, because you are accused of being racist or Islamophobic.”
Engaging in a mutually respectful dialogue on Islam is not Islamophobia. Some things are classed as Islamophobic and some are not. Making gratuitously disparaging remarks about the Islamic faith, its customs and its adherents, however, is not the same as engaging in a respectful dialogue that increases the understanding of both sides.
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