Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
The Deputy Prime Minister said that he can “totally understand” why people say that children should not to be allowed to wear full-face veils during lessons.
Mr. Clegg said that teachers “want to be able to make contact” with their pupils.
His comments came after he said that he was “uneasy” about Birmingham Metropolitan College’s decision to ban Muslim students from wearing the niqab, a veil that leaves a slot only for the eyes.
The college has ordered all students, staff and visitors to remove any face coverings so individuals are "easily identifiable at all times".
The move led to claims that Muslim students were being discriminated against.
Speaking during his weekly Call Clegg programme on LBC 97.3 radio, the Deputy Prime Minister appeared to disagree with the college’s policy.
He said that he was "not intuitively supportive of what the university have decided to do".
However, he said that there are “exceptional circumstances” under which women should be made to remove veils.
“I can totally understand, of course, if you’re passing through security checks at airports, say, of course for those reasons you need to make sure that the security staff can do their job,” Mr. Clegg said.
“I can totally understand in the classroom, this is more about full veils - that you want to be able to make contact, certainly eye contact and face contact with your pupils.
“But as a general principle other than those rather exceptional circumstances I’m really quite uneasy about anyone being told what they have to wear.”
In 2007 the Labour government issued new guidance allowing schools will be able to ban pupils from wearing full-face veils on security, safety or learning grounds.
Birmingham Metropolitan College’s policy was disclosed to one prospective Muslim student at the start of the new term last week.
The 17-year-old girl, who did not want to be named, said: "It's disgusting. It is a personal choice and I find it absolutely shocking that this has been brought in at a college in Birmingham city centre when the city is so multicultural and so many of the students are Muslim.
"It upsets me that we are being discriminated against.
"I don't think my niqab prevents me from studying or communicating with anyone - I've never had any problems in the city before."
Personally, I’m all for this. Self-imposed dress codes usually have a solid psychological basis, and in this case, it’s the fact that I’ve repeated multiple times here: Islam is a rape culture. The women are habitually forced (or brainwashed) into wearing piles of clothing, because…drum roll please…the men can’t be trusted to not rape the woman. And of course, if that happens, it’s woman’s fault, even when it’s obviously not her fault.
It’s a good old-fashioned double-standard bias against gender.
Sure, there’s a subconscious bias in the West: usually people who hide their faces are hiding something: a disfigurement, on the run from the law, or just plain old criminal intent.
In the case of female veils, it’s just plain cultural sexism and chauvinism. And if it incorporates either or both of those aspects, an I could give a rat’s fart in a whirlwind if it’s ‘part of the culture’: it’s just plain wrong. On every level.
Till the next post, then.