Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A 'Victory for Islam'

Shabina Begum is a 15 year old Muslim girl living in Britain who sued her local high school because its administration decided that she could not wear a jilbab - a traditional Muslim garment for women that leaves only the hands and face exposed - in defiance of the school's mandatory uniform. Ms. Begum accused Denbigh High School in Luton, Bedfordshire, of denying her the "right to education and to manifest her religious beliefs." A lower court dismissed her case, but the Appeal's Court overruled the lower court, affirming that the school "had denied [Ms. Begum] the right to manifest her religion, and denied her access to suitable and appropriate education." Ms. Begum faced the press triumphantly.

Speaking outside the court this morning, Shabina, now 16 and attending a school where the jilbab is allowed, called the decision "a victory for all Muslims who wish to preserve their identity and values despite prejudice and bigotry".

She said: "The decision of Denbigh High School to prevent my adherence to my religion cannot unfortunately be viewed as merely a local decision taken in isolation.

"Rather it was a consequence of an atmosphere that has been created in Western societies post 9/11, an atmosphere in which Islam has been made a target for vilification in the name of the War on Terror."
In Ms. Begum's mind it is bigotry for the British to insist on standards native to their culture and which support the equality of women - yet another western infidel concept. Notice that Ms. Begum insists that she has a religious right to wear Islamic garb, which allows her to preserve her identity. Anyone who disagrees is guilty of "prejudice and bigotry." Ms. Begum further accuses Western society of forstering an atmosphere of "vilification" of Islam after 9/11. Really? Did westerners destroy the World Trade Center? Bomb the Madrid trains? Blow up the nightclubs in Bali? Stab Theo van Gogh to death? Commit honor killings of Muslims who don't tow the fundamentalist line? Are western clerics holding lectures praising suicide attacks against civilians and recruiting for terrorist organizations? In the Islamocentric world-view of Ms. Begum it is Islam that is under siege - not the infidels that Muslims continue to slaughter world-wide. That says a great deal about the mindset of those with whom she keeps company. And there is every reason to believe this story is more complicated than it seems.
Yasmin Bevan, the school's head teacher, said last year that one of the reasons the school maintained its jilbab ban was to help children to resist the efforts of extremist Muslim groups to recruit them.
Ms Begum, whose parents are both dead, had worn the shalwar kameez from when she entered the school at the age of 12 until September 2002, when she and her brother, Shuweb Rahman, told the assistant head teacher that would now wear only a jilbab.

The judge said when she arrived dressed in a jilbab, she was told to go home and change into school uniform. She was accompanied by her brother and another young man, whom the assistant head teacher felt were unreasonable and threatening, he said.

So, until Ms. Begum was 15, she didn't feel religiously compelled to wear the jilbab. Her decision to don the traditional gard - designed to erase women from public scruitiny - came one day after the second anniversary of the Islamic attacks on New York and Washington. Moreover, on the day she opted for the jilbab, she arrived at the school accompanied by her brother and another male. The presence of the two men indicates that either Ms. Begum - or the men who very likely guided her sartorial decision - expected the school to object and presented themselves to intimidate the school officials. Indeed, the school officials felt them to be "threatening." Perhaps the court should have investigated the nature of Ms. Begum current living circumstances to determine what prompted her decision and exactly who influenced her. Of course, such an inquiry might have produced politically incorrect answers.

The school administration argued vainly that it alone had the right to set the standards of attire for its students. However, the Appeals Court ruled that under the UK's Human Rights Act, Ms. Begum had a "right" to override those standards to accomodate her religious beliefs. This bit of ridiculousness subordinates the school's administration to the student's authority and will likely lead to an end to the school's dress standard. Similar judicial nonsense in the US has obliterated public school officials' control over student dress and behavior in the name of "freedom of expression." This has greatly contributed to the lack of discipline in American high schools, and their deterioration into violence-ridden, intellectual sewers. (It is the natural outcome of the idea that education is a right, rather than a privilege extended to young people by a generous society.)

Lost in all of this is the right of Britain to maintain the standards of British culture and cultural norms against those who have willing choses to migrate and live in Britain. You'll notice that Ms. Begum adamantly demands her right to religious freedom, a distinctly Western concept. She does not want to be Western, however, or even British. She is a Muslim living in Britain. Just that and nothing more.

Last June, High Court judge Mr Justice Bennett dismissed the girl's application for judicial review, ruling she had failed to show that the "highly successful" 1,000-pupil school, where 79 per cent of students are Muslims, had excluded her or breached her human rights.

The school already allowed girls to wear a headscarf with the shalwar kameez - loose trousers and tunic approved by local Muslim leaders.

Well, isn't that lovely. The direct consequence of Britain mindless open-border immigration policy. Given the high fertility rates of Muslim immigrants to Europe - especially for women cloaked in the jilbab - in twenty years there will be many, many more women like Ms. Begum crowding the halls of British schools. That is, until the local imams decide that women no longer need education and forbid girls from attending schools. No doubt the British Appeals Court will promptly rule that forbidding women to attend school is a righful manifestation of Muslim religion.


At 6:01 PM , Blogger Mover Mike said...

This whole business is maddening:
This is the saddest story I've read today: THE DEATH OF A MUSLIM WOMAN

In the past four months, six Muslim women living in Berlin have been brutally murdered by family members. Their crime? Trying to break free and live Western lifestyles. Within their communities, the killers are revered as heroes for preserving their family dignity. How can such a horrific and shockingly archaic practice be flourishing in the heart of Europe?

I am a father of two daughters. I told them since they were little girls, that they can do anything, be anything. In America, sex does not matter. Let's congratulate all of the women's organizations that made it happen. Sure, the job is not done, but there are bigger challenges.

NOW, etal, your work is needed elsewhere. It is time to liberate the Muslim women. It is time to liberate women from genital mutilation in Africa. It is time to end the sex slavery in SE Asia. It is time to end these barbaric practices. (hat tip to the Free Republic)

Mover Mike

At 12:07 AM , Anonymous credit said...



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