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Veiled threat

Posted by Richard on December 20, 2006

A couple of months ago, many Muslims were outraged when British MP Jack Straw politely suggested that Muslim women uncover at least their noses and mouths when meeting with him:

Jack Straw, the ex-foreign secretary, has angered Muslim groups by suggesting women who wear veils over their face can make community relations harder.

The Blackburn MP says the veil is a "visible statement of separation and of difference" and he asks women visiting his surgery to consider removing it.

The remarks attracted an angry response from some organisations representing Muslims.

It was "astonishing" that Mr Straw chose to "selectively discriminate on the basis of religion", said Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

Rajnaara Akhtar, who chairs the organisation Protect-Hijab, suggested the "appalling" comments showed "a deep lack of understanding".

Mr Straw was putting women "into a very awkward position by compromising the faith they believe in and that is ill-placed", Council of Lancashire Mosques chairman Hamid Kureshi told BBC Radio Five Live.

Well, now we know at least one reason why radical Muslims stridently defend the wearing of the burqa and niqab: it makes it so much easier for terrorists wanted for murder to travel freely in and out of countries that value political correctness and multi-culturalism above security, common sense, and equality before the law:

Only here in the UK could this happen, Mustaf Jama wanted over the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, assumed his sister’s identity — wearing the niqab and using her passport — to evade supposedly stringent checks at Heathrow, according to police sources.

The use of the niqab, which leaves only a narrow slit for the eyes, highlights flaws in British airport security. At the time, Jama was Britain’s most wanted man, while Heathrow was on a heightened state of alert after the 7/7 terrorist atrocities in London five months previously. Not so much a secure state as an episode of the Keystone Cops.

Detectives believe that Jama, 26, was allowed to board an international flight from Heathrow because no attempt was made to uncover his face.

A good libertarian argument can be made against requiring airline passengers to identify themselves. But this is simply absurd: They require IDs — and demand that the name on the ID exactly match the name on the ticket. They check those IDs against a terrorist watch list. But if you say, "I’m a Muslim woman and I don’t believe in showing my face," (actually, you don’t have to say anything, so your voice won’t give you away), they just wave you right through.

It’s reverse profiling — taking the least precaution with the highest-risk passengers. Welcome to Bizarro World.

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