Saturday, March 05, 2005

The jilbab Is Just the Beginning...

This week the UK Appeals Court ruled that Shabina Begum, a 15 year old Muslim girl living in Britain, had been improperly discriminated against by her local high school when school administrators refused to allow her to don a jilbab - a traditional Muslim garment that covers a woman's whole body, save for face and hands - instead of the school's mandatory uniform (see post from Wednesday, March 2). The court found that under the UK's Human Rights Act Ms. Begum had every right to supplant the school's policy with her own preference, and that the school would simply have to accept it. Ms. Begum hailed the ruling as a "victory for Islam." According to an article in today's UK Times, Ms. Begum represents just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Muslim girls living in Britain who for fundamentalist Islam.

According to the Muslim Council of Britain, an increasing number of teenage girls are wearing Islamic clothes and are embracing the religion more intensely than their parents.

“They have fewer direct links with their country of origin compared with their parents and so more of the younger generation find an awareness of their identity through religion,” said Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the council.

“Many of them follow Islam more strictly than their parents and there is no doubt that an increasing number of young Muslim women are wearing the hijab and jilbab,” he said.

The Times notes that Ms. Begum's case is exemplative of the trend of Muslim girls in Britain rejecting the Western values of the society in which they live in favor of Islamic fundamentalism.

Increased hostility towards Muslims after September 11, fringe Islamic groups with radical ideologies, the death of her mother and a culture of poverty and despair in Luton all had an effect on Miss Begum. The influence of Muslim groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir and the now disbanded al-Uhajiroun are undeniable. Luton is an ideal recruiting ground for radical groups; its Muslim population of 25,000 consists of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, concentrated in Bury Park, a small run-down area. The unemployment rate among men is 20 per cent and the number of madrassas (religious schools) has grown from four in 1989 to 15. Former classmates of Miss Begum, who did not want to be named, said she had gone from being a “normal”, girl to one who had become a devout Muslim almost overnight.
This paragraph begs the serious question: why has the British government permitted this? Does the British government place so little value on the survival of the British nation and culture that it would permit large numbers of foreigners - from cultures bearing no similarity to Britain's - to settle parts of Britain and fester like an open sore? Of course, similar questions could be asked in every European capital and in Washington too. Note that Muslims in Britain, like most other European nation, are often hard pressed to find work and subsist on welfare benefits. These conditions - combined with the immigrants' natural desire to reside among fellow Muslims and native countryment - lead to the creations of Muslim ghettos like Luton, which become progressively isolated from the European culture surrounding them. Isolation and difference quickly become hostility, particularly when the immigrants' religion paints outsiders as a "infidels" whose lives are worth less than those of believers and whose culture contradicts the extremists religious strictures.

Friends of [Ms. Begum's] family — her father died in 1992 and whose mother died in 2003 — say that her brother had started supporting Hizb ut-Tahrir around this time. They described Shuweb Rahman, 22, a computer science student at Hatfield University, as intelligent and hardworking. Since the death of his father Mr Rahman had taken on responsibility for his sisters, Shamina 18, a student, and Shabina. Hizb ut-Tahrir has a record of targeting young people and is banned in many Middle East countries. Al-Muhajiroun also had a high-profile presence in the area. Shamina Begum, who also wears the jilbab in public, spoke to The Times from the family’s small terraced house. “They (Hizb ut-Tahrir) supported Shabina but didn’t give any money. Lots of groups helped us. I think their influence has been exaggerated.

“We are not going to sue the school for compensation, that’s not what this case was about. Shabina has been very happy and cheerful since she won.”

Well, how thoughtful of them. They've made it possible for Muslims in Britain to legally isolate themselves from British culture - furthering the alienation and ghettoization that breeds support for Islamist radicalism. Assimilating such immigrants into Western societies will be especially difficult if the courts uphold the rights of immigrants not to participate in the assimilation.

Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, said: “Hizb ut-Tahrir targeted the school, they grandstanded this case, they are trying to pick a fight . . . social services should have looked at this case. A 13-year-old girl does not make statements and decisions like that on her own.”

Mr. Mahmood is kidding himself, or the Times. Had social services dared to investigate Ms. Begum's family, the cries of racism and "Islamophobia" would have thundered from the lips of every "human rights activist" and Muslim advocacy organization in Britain. Social services would have found itself facing legal action. Lower courts originally dismissed the case, but Ms. Begum and her backers pressed on, knowing that they could exploit the higher court's desire to demonstrate its multiculturalist sensibilities. The Islamists have learned how to manipulate Western court systems to further their own ends. They also understand all too well how guilt and self-loathing has infected Western intellectuals and crippled the West's willingness to defend itself. Ms. Begum termed the ruling a "victory for all Muslims
who wish to preserve their identity and values" but she could just have well described it as a "defeat for the Western culture and values."


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