UK copies French path to promoting anti-Muslim racism


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Brown supports Straw over veils

Gordon Brown has backed Commons leader Jack Straw 
over his comments on Muslim women wearing veils.

The chancellor told BBC political editor Nick 
Robinson it was important to "have a proper 

Mr Straw believes it would improve integration if 
women did not wear veils covering their faces, as 
they were "a visible statement of separation".

Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Blair said his 
colleague had been "perfectly sensible" in 
raising the issue.

'Cultural changes'

Asked on BBC One's Six o' Clock News whether Mr 
Straw had been right to say it would be better 
for integration if people did not wear veils, Mr 
Brown said: "Yes, but I think he's not proposing 
new laws.

"He's proposing a debate about the cultural 
changes that might have to take place in Britain, 
and I would emphasise the importance of what we 
do to integrate people into our country, 
including the language, including history, 
including the curriculum."

Then asked if he thought it would be "better for 
Britain" if fewer people wore veils, Mr Brown 
replied: "Well that's what Jack Straw has said 
and I support."

It was time for a politician to raise the issue of the veil
Hussain Ebrahim, Kuwait

The integration debate had to look at citizenship 
ceremonies and the teaching of British history, 
he said.

Mr Brown also said immigrants "should speak the language of English".
'Measured, considered'

Earlier, Mr Blair said the Commons leader had 
raised the issue in a "measured and considered" 
way, and cautioned against people getting 
"hysterical" about it.

Author Salman Rushdie also backed Mr Straw, 
saying that veils "suck" as they were a symbol of 
the "limitation of women".

The controversy arose after Mr Straw said last 
week that he now asked Muslim women to take off 
full veils at his constituency surgery.

He said he did not want to be "prescriptive" but 
he believed that covering people's faces could 
make community relations more difficult.

Mr Straw is Labour MP for Blackburn, where 
between 25% and 30% of residents are Muslim.

Some Muslims have called his remarks insulting 
but others said they understood his concerns.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/10/10 21:27:23 GMT


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