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Some people are predicting that the clash of societies visible in much of Europe between “the West” and Muslims will be making it’s way to North America before long. There’s a post on the subject here: As Goes Britain?
The recent news on this front is the controversy caused by the British minister Jack Straw. He’s proposing that Muslim women not wear a veil because it makes dialogue between communities more difficult, or something to that effect. Take off your veils, says Straw.
This is a very tough issue, but to be honest most of what I read by the people of this opinion seem to be discriminating specifically against Muslims. I’d be able to take them more seriously if they were advocating removal of all traditional religious symbols. Examples: crosses, Jewish skullcaps, traditional Catholic school uniforms.
Straw apparently requests that all veils be removed when constituents visit his office. But really, why is this? Is it the fact that he can’t see their face? Does he not talk to people on the telephone or via email? His attitude really seems like “be like us or get out.” Unfortunately that attitude doesn’t work within a liberal democratic society (which most of the “west” is, not confusing that with the liberal/conservative political divide).
I fear this will get worse over time as the worst human instincts come out in response to the conflicts between portions of these civilizations. It isn’t helping that some racists are finding ways to package their ideas in slightly more palatable forms.