For nogle dage siden vakte den forhenværende engelske udenrigsminster Jack Straws udtalelser om at muslimske kvinder bør tage sløret af opsigt. Reaktionerne er da heller ikke udeblevet:
In Straw’s home constituency of Blackburn, protesters charged that he had betrayed them. Ibrahim Master, a Muslim and a Labour Party leader who worked on Straw’s last reelection campaign, said that Straw’s statements were “like a family member going against us….The Muslim community feels angry and let down.” Muslim protestors declared that they would continue protests until Straw apologized. Yaasmin Mubarak, one of the organizers of the protest, said she wanted Straw’s resignation: “Jack Straw is really in trouble here. We want him to apologise and will keep on protesting until he does. I feel outraged and want him out of his job. The majority of Muslim women want him out.”
But Haleema Hussein of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee of the U.K. unwittingly enunciated just how far apart Britain’s Muslim leadership and the British government are when she declared on BBC television that Straw “shouldn’t be allowed to comment on these kind of issues, this is a Muslim issue” (emphasis added). Freedom of speech simply wasn’t part of her calculus.
Calls for Straw to resign for his relatively mild remarks, especially given his long history of solicitude for Britain’s Muslims, made Madeleine Bunting’s scolding of Straw in The Guardian particularly ironic. “So forget comfort,” she said, “and accept the starting point for any kind of tolerance: that it’s not easy, that it requires imagination, that it makes demands of us. Learn new forms of communication and your world expands.” But apparently the obligation of tolerance was entirely Straw’s responsibility, not that of the Muslim community.
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