To veil or not to veil?
Jack Straw, the former British foreign secretary, commenting for a piece in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, stated today that concealing the face was “a visible statement of separation and difference,” and one that makes community relations “more difficult.” Straw, now the leader of the House of Commons, represents Blackburn, where Muslims make up about a ...
Jack Straw, the former British foreign secretary, commenting for a piece in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, stated today that concealing the face was "a visible statement of separation and difference," and one that makes community relations "more difficult." Straw, now the leader of the House of Commons, represents Blackburn, where Muslims make up about a quarter of the population. He stated that he now asks female constituents who have meetings with him to remove their veils so they can truly talk "face-to-face":
[W]e are able to relate particularly to strangers, by being able to read their faces, and if you can’t read people’s faces, that does provide some separation.”
Straw’s comments have received mixed reactions from the Muslim community in Britain – the Islamic Human Rights Commission claimed his request would lead to “selective discrimination,” while Dr. Daud Abdullah of the Muslim Council of Britain argues that it should be to the discretion of individual Muslim women whether to veil. But the statement looks poised to grow into a full-blown controversy. A mere week after Straw made controversial statements about the situation in Iraq, it seems that aloof bluntness is his new strategy – and one that may upset many of his constituents.
More from Foreign Policy
At Long Last, the Foreign Service Gets the Netflix Treatment
Keri Russell gets Drexel furniture but no Senate confirmation hearing.
How Macron Is Blocking EU Strategy on Russia and China
As a strategic consensus emerges in Europe, France is in the way.
What the Bush-Obama China Memos Reveal
Newly declassified documents contain important lessons for U.S. China policy.
Russia’s Boom Business Goes Bust
Moscow’s arms exports have fallen to levels not seen since the Soviet Union’s collapse.