Friday, October 06, 2006


Good governance needs bridges not barriers in relating to Muslims
Many people will no doubt argue that Commons leader Jack Straw has been brave and comparatively sensitive in raising the question about whether the full veiling of Muslim women is an impediment to positive community relations in plural Britain. But irrespective of the view one takes about the specific issue of coverings (and it is a very complex one), Mr Straw’s approach reveals, yet again, a subterranean negativity in its relations with diverse Muslim communities. What is being promoted is the policing of boundaries, rather than the positive building of bridges. In considering the purpose and impact of Mr Straw’s remarks, and in highlighting constructive alternatives to the government’s ‘boundary control’ strategy, it is important to see them as part of a wider pattern. Continued.

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