I don’t pretend to understand why some Muslin women wear veils and to be perfectly honest I don’t want to. I find that if things have to be explained to me then I’m not going to understand the reasoning. Any reason I am given, though no doubt logical and obvious to the person giving it, will not necessarily make me go “Ahhhh, I see. Well, that’s OK then.”
All I need to do to is accept that, for whatever reason, some people in this country choose to wear a different style of dress to me1. Why should Muslim women wearing a veil be any different to a youth wearing a hooded top? Why should either of these groups be any more dangerous than someone whose face is unobscured?
The only reason the discussion about veils and hooded tops is even an issue is because of the scare tactics we’ve borrowed from the Americans. If you can’t identify someone, you can’t track their movements. The quote I keep coming back to is “You can make people do anything if they’re scared enough”. To be honest, when it comes to obscuring identity, I’m considerably more worried about the ne’er-do-wells who don’t care if you see their face.
What’s the next step? Banning all loose fitting garments; overcoats, skirts, jackets, because you could be hiding a bomb? Banning clothing altogether because it is possible to incorporate explosives into the garment? Will there come a time where we are all forced to wear government-mandated unitards, colour-coded to identify our race? There’s a fucking scary thought… What about facial hair? Will you be forced to shave every day because you can hide your true appearance under a beard?
Surely veils and such like can be classed as National dress? Are they going to ban all forms of national dress just because of the connotations? They banned kilts back in the day, so I wouldn’t put it past them. It comes down to what we associate clothes with. Tie = office worker, Jeans / No belt = construction worker, wetsuit = Tory MP, etc. All this bollocks does is forever link the veil / burka / etc with the idea of female suicide bombers.
The veils thing is all window-dressing anyway; it’s just fog obscuring The Real Issue; that which is really at stake here. Society. The notion of different peoples living togther in peace, sharing their culture and ideas. Britain The Island is historically anti this sort of thing, because in the past, cultural exchange meant dropping bombs on each other. The fear of foreign influence is so ingrained it will not go away overnight.
The solution? Accept it. Accept that we don’t understand, accept that different is not necessarily bad, accept that it will take time, accept that not everyone means you harm, accept the new blood into our Society and realise that we are stronger because of it. Take action. Do nothing.
1 Being a Scot, I am accustomed to wearing “a different style of dress”, not that the kilt is a dress, you understand…