On Burka Street

Aug 17, 2018 by

by Jane Kelly, The Conservative Woman:

Whatever his motives, Boris Johnson’s remarks about Islamic dress have drawn attention to an area of extreme tension: the Muslim practice of sexual apartheid. While the Left in the UK, and bizarrely Mrs May’s government, are trying to abolish binary gender recognition in favour of saying there are several valid sexes, the Muslim community recognises only one gender as the norm: the male. The female is just an adjunct. Women who are demanding punishment for Boris claim that they are free as men to choose what they wear. That may be, but they are a small percentage of this country’s 2.8million Muslims, and less than one hundredth of the world’s 1.6billion. In the UK they have the freedom to choose to disappear from view and walk around with their heads in bags if they wish, but when they say they do it ‘to be closer to God,’ they are being as disingenuous as any politician. Boris may be ready to sacrifice his political party to get into power, but they are willing to ignore the plight of millions of women who have no voice and no choice.

Until three years ago I lived in Acton Vale, or Acton Veil as some called it, in West London. Over fifteen years it changed from a white working-class area into part of the Islamic strip stretching from Shepherd’s Bush to Southall. Living there I didn’t see many women wearing the niqab or burka because I didn’t see many Muslim women at all. A great many Somalis arrived and were put into a housing development. The young men of that community began getting into gangs. I met them close up when I began teaching in nearby Wormwood Scrubs prison; very sweet they were to me in my role as prison teacher, but out on the streets I rarely saw their mothers or sisters. I once did see a very young Somali woman sitting on a bench in the middle of the estate where I cut through to get to leafy Chiswick. She looked distraught. I went back to see if I could talk to her but she’d gone.

All our food outlets quickly became Halal. I stopped using them but still went to the grocer’s. I rarely saw a Muslim woman in there, except occasionally in groups, usually on a Friday evening, after prayers. I found myself in an area of migrant men and my sense of living in a community melted away. The shops were run by young Muslim men who manned the tills whilst talking loudly into their mobiles. They would not look at me, or spend even a moment to chat. It seemed that the gulf between us could never be crossed by normal conversation.

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