Emails to the MCB on issues and events since Sept 11
|18 June 2004|
I believe that the decision by the high court over the
young girl's right to wear the Jilbab is the correct
one. School Uniform is there for several reasons,
among which are:|
1) It helps forge a single identity for the school and
2) It ensure's all pupils look the same, thereby
stopping more affluent students picking on those who
are wearing less fashionable clothing.
3) If this young girl is allowed to wear her Jilbab,
then will other pupils ask to wear jeans or other
items of clothing? Thereby destroying the cohesiveness
of the school.
No doubt there are those amonsgt the Muslim faith who
would say my e-mail is a rascist one, but that is not
my intention. I merely wish to state the point of
If Muslims want to integrate into British society more
than at present then stop building barriers demanding
special attention because you're muslim and accept our
ways as much as we have accepted the ways of the
|18 June 2004 |
I am extememly concerned regarding the stance you are taking about the
recent court ruling in the case of Miss Shabina Begum, and her "right" to
wear a Jilbab to her school in Luton.
Now correct me if I'm wrong here, but my understanding is that her schools
dress code had been drawn up with the various religious faiths in mind and
had even gone to the lengths of conducting various consultations before
deciding their school uniform policy. Something I would have thought would
be welcomed by all.
Muslim headscarves were permitted, as was headwear from other faiths, and
there were variations of the standard school uniform available, ie tunic
trousers, to accommodate those who fealt the standard uniform wasn't
"modest" enough. I'm sure that both she and her parents must have been
aware of the schools uniform policy when she was first enrolled.
I am therefore somewhat alarmed to see that your organisation is trying to
infer her beleifs are being descriminated against because she refuses to
comply with school uniform policy. The vast majoroty of secondary education
schools in this country have school uniforms, which its pupils are expected
to adhere to, why should this one individual be any differant?
If she were allowed to go ahead and wear only what she thought was
apropriate, this would simply create divisions within the school as the
of the pupils would no doubt be complaining about why the schools uniform
policy only applies to them and not her. Which would simply do more harm
To make maters worse, I have also read that she has refused to negotiate on
returning, has refused placements at other schools and clocked up a huge
legal aid bill trying to fight what many people see as her own personal
crusade to flaunt school uniform policy. I'm sure if any body else had
missed so much school in two years, social services would have jumped on
them from a very great height (metaphorically speaking).
There is also the greater issue of what happens when she wishes to choose a
career? Many proffessions require their empolyees to adhere to some sort of
dress code, be it the armed forces or police, who all have to wear a
standard uniform, the medical proffession, or even the humble Electrician
or Plumber who have to wear overalls with their company logo on. Is she going
to start taking them to court as well when they tell her she has to adhere
to their uniform policies?
Whilst I am aware your organisation tries to promote the building of
between communities, I fail to see how siding with Miss Begum is going to
help, as this does NOT appear to be a case of the school dispresecting her
dress code, but rather her disrespecting the schools dress code.
In this case the school has appeared to have literally gone out of its way
to accomdate the various faiths, but Miss Begum refuses to meet them even
half way. Suggesting that school uniform codes should only apply to
non-muslims, which is what many people will see this as, is going to cause
many problems and I am concerned that this issue may be hijacked by
extremists on both sides.
It would be much better to promote integration, rather than this
self-imposed segragation. But if certain elements won't meet us half way
then how are we supposed to get on togethor?
|18 June 2004|
Below is my comments on the recent Luton Jilbab case. I would appreciate
it if you could post this on your email section and forward to the
I disagree fundamentally with the stance the MCB has taken regarding
Shabina Begum. Compromise works both ways. While it is right that we
campaign for more rights for Muslims we must also show willingness to
compromise and not push things too far. The Islamic dress code demanded
by the School was established following consultation with local Muslim
representatives. These are practises and approaches which your
Organisation has encouraged.
The School showed good faith in accommodating the wishes of Muslims in
establishing a dress code, which ensures modesty. Up until now no one
complained. Until Ms Begum, decides using taxpayers money that the uniform
is not Islamic enough. This is quite pathetic. With Muslims in some
European countries being banned from even wearing Hijab we have Muslims
here pushing for their own interpretation of what is strictly Islamic. A
complete waste of time and money for all concerned. I feel that this issue
has more to do with the fact that there are groups that have a chip on
their shoulder regarding traditional Pakistani dress and that they feel
they need to disassociate themselves from this and adopt a "strict,
authentic Islamic dress code. If the court were to rule in favour of Ms
Begum then it would surely open a "hornets nest" of similar requests by
other pupils to apply for their own specific dress code. And soon the
whole system of school uniforms would eventually break down. It is a
great pity and terrible indictment of our condition that we are unable to
see beyond our own narrow self-interest. Unfortunately, there is now a
culture amongst some Muslim girls, who have adopted a militant, defiant
"me first" attitude regarding their appearance simply for the sake of
being defiant and anti-western and they expect the whole world around them
to adjust themselves accordingly. If they are uncomfortable with living
here or if attempts by the indigenous culture to accommodate Muslims are
not good enough, then I suggest Ms Begum migrate to another country. I am
fed up with the Hijab / women's dress issue, as are many other Muslims,
and I just wish that we could re-direct our discourse to other more
pressing and urgent concerns.
We Muslims have not come out well from this and this is likely to fuel
additional loathing of Islam and Muslims amongst non-Muslims. A
responsible organisation like yours should have advised that Ms Begum drop
her case and resume her education.
For further information please contact the MCB:
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 52
Tel: 020 8903 9650
Fax: 020 8903 9026