Wednesday, October 18, 2006
In his monthly press conference today in front of 10 Downing Street, the departing British Prime Minister reaffirmed, in no uncertain terms, that it is unacceptable for Great Britain's increasingly bold Muslim population to continue to isolate itself from the larger British community. Says the West Australian:
Blair is being decried as a racist and bigot by the usual suspects, but he is only expressing what used to be a common-sense proposition: namely, that integration was a key feature of any successful Western society. Of course, I think what we all need to remember is that the vast majority of the global Muslim community has no interest integration.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has signalled a shift from multiculturalism to integration, saying yesterday that Muslim women wearing full face veils in public was a “mark of separation” in society that made other people feel uncomfortable.
Mr Blair backed a West Yorkshire education authority which suspended Muslim teaching assistant Aishah Azmi for refusing to remove her veil during lessons.
His comments came as a British Airways employee who was stood down for refusing to cover a small Christian cross necklace appealed to a jobs tribunal.
The case has fuelled a national debate on religious expression and seen politicians attack BA.
Asked at a press conference if a woman who wore a veil could make a full contribution to society, Mr Blair made it clear it was an issue that should be debated.
“It is a mark of separation and that is why it makes other people from outside the community uncomfortable,” he said.
“No one wants to say that people don’t have the right to do it. That is to take it too far. But I think we need to confront this issue about how we integrate people properly into our society” while allowing them to develop their “distinctive identities”.
In a related story, France has surrendered, again - this time, to its own Islamist high tide. (I wonder if Pipe Bomb Making will be a three-credit or four-credit course?)
Have we learned anything in the last five years? The time is rapidly approaching when we will have to remove our own veils.