Monday, October 09, 2006

Veiled Villains ?

The Guardian in 2004, on the religious hatred law :

Tony Wright, a clever Labour MP, said we had heard enough from the minister about who would not be prosecuted under the act. But who might be?

Mr Goggins - his boss, Charles Clarke looked simultaneously stony-faced and embarrassed at his side, which is quite a trick - said vaguely that you might get a poster "showing women wearing burkas, saying that such women are not to be trusted, er, could be suicide bombers, er, who knows what they are hiding under their coats, a poster of that kind ..."

The Times in 2006

A MALE suspect in a major anti-terrorist investigation in Britain escaped capture by allegedly disguising himself as a Muslim woman dressed in a burka, The Times can reveal.

The man, who was wanted in connection with serious terrorist offences, evaded arrest for several days as police searched for him across the country.

The fact that a fugitive remained at large after disguising himself in an Islamic dress which covered his face will further fuel the debate sparked by Jack Straw, Leader of the House of Commons, about the wearing of the veil.

Probably time to revisit this 2004 story :

Burka-clad gang in jewellery raid

An armed gang wearing burka headdresses escaped with jewellery after a raid on a shop in Halifax.

The three raiders - whose faces were covered by the religious gowns - entered the jewellers in Queen's Road, Pellon, at 1100 GMT on Monday, asked to view some gems and then produced a gun.

The shop owner was punched in the face and left blindfolded with his arms tied up.

At least two of the raiders, who fled in a car, are believed to be male.


Anonymous said...

Is that how transvestite Muslims do bank raids ?

johnm said...

you might get a poster "showing women wearing burkas, saying that such women are not to be trusted, er, could be suicide bombers

Interesting that since that is practically a description of the BBC advert for it's Radio 4 series on the hidden face of Iran. I think it's finished now but it showed a Muslim woman in a veil loading a gun, with lots of close ups to get an dangerous atmospere. Then it broke the spell suddenly by showing the woman in long shot at a shooting range. This promo trades on precisely the imagery suggested although it undercuts it at the end.

some screen shots here

verity said...

I think we should have a national "cover your face" day! I believe it's illegal to cover your face in public in Britain, except if you are a member of a coddled minority. But we should have one day where people could wear a mask of their choice - some may go for George Bush, some for Ann Coulter, some could be light-hearted, as in a mask of Victoria Wood or Groucho Marx. Some may descend into horror, as in a mask of Yasmin Alihba-Brown, James Naughtie, Johnathan Ross or Orla Guerrin.

But no one would be identifiable. One could push burqa-ed muslim women off the pavement anonymously, as they do to Western women. One could trip them up, as they do to us. One could stick a sharp elbow in their ribs. As they do to us. If could be quite a sporting day.

Anonymous said...

Shahid Malik, Labour MP for Dewsbury, warned this case was a highly unusual use of the dress. He added: "If this is true then it is the first case of its kind in Britain and an isolated incident.

"We must not get hysterical. There have been many hundreds of cases where robberies have been committed by men wearing women’s stockings on their heads - but no one is talking about banning stockings.

But people wearing stockings over their heads will likely be challenged whilst still in the queue.

verity said...

Ace point, anonymous 4:32!

The other point is, of course, that women do not routinely pull stockings over their faces as a matter of habit. So a woman with a stocking over her head would be as likely to challenge as a man.

In other words, Malik, a stocking over the face advertises itself unequivocally as a disguise and the malintent of the wearer.

Duh. But take a lesson from this, readers, because it is typical muslim argument. They take a tangential, foolish point and slyly introduce it as a legitimate reference in the hope of confusing the hearer. Often this approach, no matter how stupid, works.

verity said...

Anyway, Salman Rushdie has now weighed in with the succinct comment: "Veils suck".