I saw one enraged female, dressed in the Hijab, asking how Mr. Straw would feel if someone told him to remove an item of his clothing! She went on to say how violated he would feel and how it's simply not right to expect a person, in a free country, to abide by such a profane request.
Well. Stop right there. Is it really a free country? When was the last time you went to a bar only to be told that you couldn't come in because you were wearing jeans? When did you last see a person wearing a hoodie or a baseball cap in a shopping centre or at school? Why can't Fiona Bruce wear her crucifix when she's presenting the news?
It would seem that 'British' people are much more willing to comply by the imposed 'rules of attire'. We might grumble a bit but ultimately we'll relent. Maybe that's the reason we're having such a hard time understanding all of the fuss and nonsense brought about by Mr. Straw's request.
Ah, yes, back to that request. He asked that the women remove their veils because he felt that it alienated them. Well, of course he felt that. If you can't see a person's face then you don't know who they are. For all intents are purpose they're a bit of dark cloth with an occasional slit.
Not wanting to make light of the issue but am I the only one here thinking Nazgul?
Yes, I'm aware that a woman was attacked for wearing the Niqab and maybe this was prompted by Jack Straw's comment. But, personally, I think this comes from deeper down. As much as we like to fool ourselves that we're an evolved an enlightened species, the plain and simple truth is this: We're not. We don't like anything that's different. Things that are different inspire fear. Self-reproach turns that fear into hatred. That hatred is then channeled back into that which causes the fear.
What the solution might be I really don't know. It seems that the beautiful melting pot of the British Isles has cracked. The gunk has hit the flame and it's really starting to smell.