David Blackburn

The burka is a symbol of division, but it should not be banned

The burka is a symbol of division, but it should not be banned
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On the face of it, Nigel Farage is right: “There is nothing extreme or radical or ridiculous” about banning the burka. It is a manifestation of many British Muslims’ indifference to society; it is an expression of wilful separation and a symbol of a nation riven with cultural division.

In the sphere of private behaviour becoming political, the burka engenders intolerance – reactionary Islam’s intolerance of liberal democracy and vice versa. In this atmosphere, writers and politicians of all hues have drawn the same conclusion and there is capital to be extracted (perhaps cynically) by taking the seemingly sensible decision to ban the burka. To do so would be misguided as well as intolerant. Whether the target is booze, sex or gambling, prohibition always exacerbates. Enforcing outward conformity does not stop reactionary Islam and its fascistic elements threatening everyone else. Coercing Muslim women into BHS cardies will merely galvanise jihadists into blowing me out of my cardie and into a Keffiyeh. 

Permitting the burka is common sense not appeasement. No one on either left or right asks Muslim women why they choose to cover their faces or why their husbands apparently force them to. By failing to engage with the misogynistic tenets of this growing fashion, we have awarded them silent assent.