I was raised as an observant Muslim in a British family. Women, I was taught, determine their own conduct — including their ‘veiling’. We’d cover our hair only if we freely chose to do so. That’s why I’m baffled by the notion that all good Muslim women should cover their hair or face.
My entire family are puzzled by it too, as are millions like us. Not until recent years has the idea taken root that Muslim women are obliged by their faith to wear a veil.
It’s a sign, I think, not of assertive Islam, but of what happens when Islamists are tolerated by a western culture that’s absurdly anxious to avoid offence. This strange, unwitting collaboration between liberals and extremists has been going on for years. But at last there are signs that it is ending.
In response to cases brought by two veiled Muslim women from Belgium and France, the European Court of Justice has ruled that employers have the right to stop employees wearing visible religious symbols, including headscarves worn in the name of Islam.
This ruling includes not only the burka and the niqab (already entirely banned from the public space by a number of European countries) but also the face-revealing hijab. The ruling goes two ways: if the company does tolerate religious symbols, then no employee can be asked to take them off. [The Spectator] Read more