Conservative MP calls for burkas to be banned in Britain

From The Telegraph

Philip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, told the Commons: ”This is Britain. We are not a Muslim country.

”Covering your face in public is strange, and to many people both intimidating and offensive.

”I seriously think that a ban on wearing the burka in public should be considered.”

His call came in a debate on International Women’s Day and follows previous comments by the MP that wearing a burka was like ”going round with a paper bag over your head”.

Today, Mr Hollobone said wearing the full-face burka was ”oppressive and regressive” to the advancement of women in society.

He said it was not until he took his children to a park recently and saw a woman wearing one that it ”came home how inappropriate and, frankly, offensive, it is for people to wear this apparel in the 21st century”.

”In my view, and the view of my constituents, wearing the burka is not an acceptable form of dress and the banning of it should be seriously considered.”

By wearing them, women were effectively saying they did not want ”any normal human dialogue or interaction with anyone else”, and ”effectively saying our society is so objectionable … we aren’t even allowed to cast a glance upon them”.

He said: ”It goes against the British way of life. If we all went around wearing burkas our country would be a very sad place.”

One Reply to “Conservative MP calls for burkas to be banned in Britain”

  1. He is quite right, on a superficial sort of level. But at a deeper level, besides it going “against the British way of life” (something which is not in itself necessarily evil), the face-covering niqab is a negation of personhood, of what it is to be essentially human. The face is the outward manifestation of the individual self, it is an icon of the person. Indeed, the very word “person” derives ultimately from the Greek “prosopon”, meaning “face”. There are frequent references in the Bible to the “face of God”, and man is created in the “image and likeness of God”. The face-obscuring niqab is thus both a negation of the wearer’s personhood and of her spiritual reality as having been created in the image and likeness of God. Similarly, in the Bible, in the Psalms for example, it is said that God’s creatures die when he hides his face from them, causing them to return to their dust. The face of God is a metaphor for His life-giving energies. To hide the face is thus a symbol of death, a spiritual death, the annihilation of the person as recipient of God’s breath of life. It is therefore quite natural for any non-Muslim to feel intense unease on seeing women wearing the niqab. It is an issue that needs to be thought about more deeply – psychologically, sociologically, theologically, even metaphysically – rather than merely in terms of it just not being British, old chap.

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