Wear the bag

Keep in mind it’s the Telegraph, but still – the aforementioned Telegraph reports that “Islamic schools” (I think Maryam would say that should be Islamist, not Islamic) in London mandate the burqa for girls.

A number of the religious schools enforce uniform policies where such clothing is mandatory, even for girls as young as 11.

Under the dress code stipulated by the Madani Girls’ School in Tower Hamlets, East London, all pupils must wear a black burka and long black coat when outside.

The girls must also wear headscarves in the classroom and the school says on its website that its uniform rule “conforms to the Islamic Code of dressing and must be adhered to at all times”.

What “Islamic Code of dressing”? That’s not a thing. That’s why those schools should be called Islamist not Islamic. It is far from being the case that all Muslims or all “Muslim scholars” or all anything except Islamists agree that all girls and women should be buried and muffled in fabric whenever they are in public.

The Ayesha Siddiqa Girls School, in Southall, West London, insists its pupils wear a navy blue burka or Jilbab, a long, loose-fitting garment that does not cover the face, when walking between lessons, The Times reported.

According to the school’s website, it is “not willing to compromise on any issues regarding uniform”.

That’s not “uniform” as normally understood. It’s blatant unapologetic oppression of girls and women.

Via Taslima.


  1. AsqJames says

    what needs to be kept in mind?

    The Telegraph used to be an excellent newspaper which reported facts in well written articles by intelligent people who almost exclusively held conservative political opinions. Being human, and thus subject to all the standard biases and cognitive failings inherent in our species, the stories they prioritised and the variations in light given to different aspects of those stories were coloured by those political leanings. However you could at least trust that the paper’s depiction of reality was not unduly twisted. The editorial and comment content, while distinctly and unashamedly old-school Tory, was kept properly separated from the news reporting.

    In recent years it has been given the moniker “The ‘Maily’ Telegraph” because of its apparent attempt to rival the Daily Mail in as many ways as possible. If you’re not familiar with the Daily Mail’s reputation (or rather, lack of reputation) for impartial accuracy in news reporting I envy you.

    Both papers do a lot of good reporting too, but they also have a habit of misrepresenting or exaggerating stories to suit a particular agenda. Thus I would not take extraordinary claims to be true based solely on the word of either.

    I haven’t clicked through, but I fear that in this case they are unfortunately not exaggerating or misrepresenting the facts. The misguided expansion of, and the increase in independence given to, “faith schools” under Labour mean the facts related above are consistent with what we already know.

    On the other hand, as Ophelia says: “it’s the Telegraph”, so maybe they’re over-egging it a little.

  2. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    In order not to penalize girls unfairly they’ll simply have to make all students wear the same uniform. Problem solved!

  3. James Howde says

    It might actually be a good thing overall.

    The government knows it is going to take flak whichever whatever it decides about the veil so it has been trying very hard not to have a position and have things decided at lower levels.

    Several schools have banned the niqab etc on the grounds that it isn’t part of the uniform (thus avoiding the real issues) and it was fairly predictable that a faith school would flip this idea and make it part of their uniform.

    Hopefully this will force the MPs to come up with some kind of decision.

  4. johnthedrunkard says

    Somewhere in the ‘Letters and Essays’ Orwell wrote:
    ‘The truth is still true, even if it appears in the Daily Mail.’

    Stopped clocks are right twice a day.

  5. lorn says

    As long as the face is still exposed I have no major objection.

    I think it is silly and wonder what people are thinking sending their kids to a school with that sort of uniform. I assume the boys are not similarly burdened, so there is clearly some sexism and/or double standard operating but I think that uniform selection is too delicate an issue for the blunt instruments of the state to deal with as long as there is a real choice of schools available.

    I also suspect that as long as the school is surrounded by a wider population free to dress as they like, that the kids will rebound healthily from their enforced restraint during their time in school.

    The issue would need to be revisited if there grew to be a substantial closed community where girls never have a choice or substantial exposure to the non-burka wearing female population. The extremist and fundamentalists will, of course, seek to develop a cloistered community so there is likely to be friction trying to keep options open for children within that community. The better choice may be to make sure any schools are located well outside any segregated community.

  6. says

    Got in late on a BBC Radio 4 report the other day, so I don’t know whether it had to do with this particular situation, but a woman was saying that we have it all wrong, that nobody forces anyone to wear anything because it has no meaning if it isn’t the individual’s choice, and her daughter had told her recently that she didn’t want to wear the hijab (I think it was), and that was just fine. The mother said that she hoped the girl would want to wear it someday. The interview went on, but eventually circled back and THIS time, the mother said “so if she doesn’t want to start wearing it yet” that would be okay.

    And that may not sound like much, and there was more to it that I’ve forgotten now, but that “yet” was chilling. In context, it seemed to negate all of the ‘free choice’ rhetoric. It left me in no doubt that that girl would someday be expected to wear the thing. And put together with he ‘nobody is forcing anyone’ stance just was…chilling.

  7. Stacy says

    As long as the face is still exposed I have no major objection

    If it’s a burqa, the face is not exposed.

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