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Battling with the Burka

I could almost hear the anti-UKIP media cheering wildly as I watched our leader announce the policy of banning the burka. They had been struggling to know where to hit us and then suddenly, boom, here was our opening salvo providing them with the very tagline that had eluded them. Now, while other parties would be reported talking about wages, the NHS, education and matters that really worry the electorate, UKIP could be portrayed in disparaging terms as the ‘anti-burka party’.

That’s not to say that the subject isn’t one that gets many people very heated up, but let’s face it, it’s not going to be the major topic that decides which box most people will put their ‘X’ in on June 8th.

Worse, at hustings events and radio interviews up and down the country, our brave Parliamentary Candidates are not going to be necessarily quizzed on the National Debt, Foreign Aid or even Brexit. Nope, you can bet that top of the agenda for the grilling will inevitably be the burka debate.

You can understand why. At first glance, it does seem to be a strange policy for a basically libertarian party to be pushing. After all, shouldn’t a person be allowed to wear what they choose? Isn’t it just an anti-Muslim attack and therefore racist? You don’t need to be a genius to see that it is a dangerous subject that could so easily throw any unprepared Ukipper towards their own Diane Abbot moment.

Now that this topic has gone mainstream, it is vital that our officers and troops can debate UKIP’s position properly, yet my concern over years and many debates on this subject is that the anti-burka position is so often poorly handled. Although ‘security issues’ is a decent defence, it always fails to hold up when asked why a burka clad woman shouldn’t be able to enjoy a simple stroll through the local park.

Nobody wants to be standing on the doorsteps or under the studio spotlight to find themselves suddenly being burka’d to death. So it’s important to be able to get people to understand that having a problem with people wearing the burka in public is neither anti-libertarian nor racist.

It’s useful to observe that, in point of fact, we already have laws that can be used to prevent people going out in public unsuitably attired. If I decided to take a stroll down to Tesco’s wearing my birthday suit, I bet I wouldn’t get too far before I found myself in the back of a police car and getting a lecture on ‘outraging public decency’. It’s not that the naked human body is wrong in any way, it’s just that in most cultures around the world, appearing nude in public is considered offensive because of the sexual undertones.

Libertarian we may be as a party, and many of us might not care one way or the other, but allowing people complete freedom amounts to anarchy. It is important that there are respected rules to take account of cultural sensitivities and accordingly, individual countries will pass laws to uphold them. Fortunately in Britain, common sense prevails and people so inclined to removing their clothes generally do so with sensitivity to others feelings. Similarly, we take note of naturists’ wishes and provide them with reserved areas that they can enjoy their freedom suitably segregated from the general public.

Now it seems to me that the burka debate is no different in principle to nudism.

There is nothing wrong with the burka as an item of clothing, but many find it offensive because it covers the face, thus preventing both recognition and communicative expressions from being seen and judged.

In many cultures, wearing any sort of mask is considered very rude as it instinctively makes other people feel nervous. The human face is the most important aspect of deciding the mood and threat level of another human being, particularly a stranger. Everyone will have had that disturbing feeling of passing someone in a dark-visored motorcycle helmet. The discomfort is instinctive. You do not know who’s under there, you can’t tell if they are staring at you or what they’re thinking and more importantly, you have no idea whether the person inside is happily relaxed or in a rage and ready to do you harm. Burka wearers may be harmless, but regardless, in many it generates the instinctive unease that hidden faces create.

So the simplest argument against the burka is that it is actually very bad manners to go out in public with your face obscured without a very good reason. In terms of upsetting people it is little different to going out naked in public. Both will offend a significant number of people, so out of good manners and sensitivity to others, nobody should go out either naked or clad in a burka – or even a Darth Vader costume for that matter.

In summary, for cultural reasons, deeply based on human instincts, both nudism and the burka in public are offensive to many. The question is why should one get you stopped by the police whilst the other is tolerated?

I honestly wish that UKIP had not put this policy on the table. Personally, I don’t care whether people want to go around naked or burka clad. But having put the policy up to be shot at, we had better all know how to defend the position because it is going to crop up. A lot.

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About David Penn (7 Articles)
David lives in Watford and is married with two grown up children and runs a small IT company. He is a Committee Member of the UKIP Watford Branch and stood in the County Council elections in May 2012 and 2013.

34 Comments on Battling with the Burka

  1. I am offended that anyone in this country should wear a burqua. When in Rome ……. etc. if these people want to live as they do back in their homelands then the simple solution is for them to move over there!

  2. The burka is just a symptom of what out country is now afflicted with. It is no use treating a single symptom; the infestation needs to be dealt with by enforcing our own law and values. If the invader continues to break our laws and disrespect our values than he must be forced to either leave or face a long jail term.

  3. Also worth noting, Austria has just banned the Burka.

  4. Useful information for UKIP candidates – Male suicide Bomber dressed in Burka kills 15 people in Chad – Huffpo

  5. I appreciate all the comments.

    I wrote the article because of my concern that unless we can make a clear argument for banning the burka, we will lose the battle in the media. UKIP has done well in the past by being able to clearly show that ideas labelled as wrong by the establishment, such as controlled immigration, were provably justifiable. In short, we can’t just claim our position is right, we must prove it through rational debate.

    I’ve already stated that while on a personal level the burka does not bother me, that does not mean that I cannot see the argument for banning it. In Britain we are tolerant but we have cultural boundaries like every other nation and are entitled to expect those boundaries to be adhered to by all who live in Britain. We are a libertarian party but we are entitled to set our own cultural limits.

    Nobody should dress in a way that offends many people, and yet those who wear the burka in Britain certainly do that. I would not go and live with a people of different culture and then dress in a way I knew would annoy or upset significant numbers of the locals. It would be rude and thoughtless. So it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask those women who wear the burka to desist when in public in Britain.

    The problem we face in this country is that a good number of wet liberals and the media bend over backwards to not offend anyone from a non-British culture but hypocritically, don’t give a damn if anyone offends the British people or its culture.

    Nevertheless, to win hearts and minds over, we have to be very clear in the way we tackle the argument because if we cannot win a debate using sound principles, UKIP will face a credibility gap with significant numbers of the electorate. So having put the policy up, all our front line people had better know how to win the burka argument or see our party undermined. That would detrimentally affecting our influence across the board.

    • That’s fine, David, but we have to tell the truth, and not obfuscate. I don’t believe that ‘offending people’ while the Burka does undoubtedly do that, stands up as an argument. It really isn’t hard to learn a few sentences about the actual reason for banning the Burka. Security is the other reason which stands up.

  6. “an anti-muslim attack and therefore racist” (Para 4) Sigh…

    As I sometimes get tired of pointing out, islam isn’t a race, muslims aren’t a race, therefore it is not possible to be racist toward them, any more that it is possible to be racist toward Christianity or Christians. Besides, as the most racist religion in existence toward Jews and white British (especially white girls), islamics have no business trying to accuse anyone else of racism, and should be laughed at if they try.

    Apart from that, David, I agree with your point about being prepared to argue the case if the meeja try to burkha a Ukipper in public.
    First, as the majority of the real British public can’t stand the sight of those ridiculous black shrouds for all the reasons you stated and more, UKIP should welcome being referred to as ‘the anti-burkha party’: it shows we are in tune with and more representative of the people’s views than the PC panderers of the other parties. Second, it should be made clear that not only the sexist burkha, but also the immorality of sharia law, halal killing, and FGM offend the sensitivities of all right-thinking British people in this country, therefore these practices should no longer be tolerated in our one and only homeland. They are an affront to our law-abiding values of democracy, equality, and humanity.

    Nakedness being regarded as obscenity is an interesting point. Personally, I would not like to see naked people walking about – the human body needs clothes in the way that other mammals need all-over fur and hair. But seeing a woman walking around blacked out from head to foot is truly obscene, far more obscene than unconventional nudity. Being swathed in black cloth absorbs heat and cuts off the fresh air and sunshine that all humans need for health; it proclaims that her body incites lustful thoughts in men and that is her fault, so she must negate herself, make herself into a non-person in order to avoid being regarded as a whore trying to seduce men who look upon her; it indicates that she has been made so ashamed of her own body by the religion she was unfortunate enough to be born into, that she accepts the inculcated shame and cannot appear in public without making herself into a sinister black mummy achieving the reverse of what was intended (‘don’t look at me’) by attracting looks of pity or scorn from passers-by. That is the real obscenity – that a woman’s body should be made an object of prurient sexual shame and degradation instead of being just the skin and body that she was born with, like every other organism on earth, and is entitled to feel as free in as any man.
    Of course, there are some muslim women who choose to wear the whole rig in order to stick two fingers up at the British public: they, most of all, deserve to have their sartorial weapon of choice ripped away from them.

  7. Strange then that some Muslim countries have banned the burka without problem. Perhaps we all need to wear balaklavas inrecognition of not wanting to be recognised.
    The judge in the case against the three women terrorist suspects actually asked one of them “Would you please remove your veil so that I may see your eyes?” Unbelieveable but only too recognisable in present day PC UK.

  8. David, I agree that the Integration Policy, which is what it was, not a stand alone Burka ban, was incredibly ineptly put out there, we have come to expect nothing less from our great Leaders. However, the speeches were done with courage by Margot, David and Peter, and we shouldn’t forget that. It was just a pity TPTB hadn’t sought advice from Anne Marie on what to say, but we expect no less than for any expert member to be sidelined and eventually silenced in UKIP these days.

    It is vital, as you say, to debate the Integration Policy properly. It belongs among our raft of 5 year plan policies and Brexit should have been our stand-out headline. As TPTB chose otherwise, it was lunacy to exclude Anne Marie.

    Where I part company with you is your assertion “there is nothing wrong with the Burka it is an item of clothing”. Oh really! It isn’t simply an item of clothing, it is a symbol that the wearers have either chosen or been forced to embrace a Political system of Governance apparently passed down from Allah to his prophet which is called the Sharia. I would hope that if you acquaint yourself with it, as any sort of libertarian it would make your hair stand on end.

    From then on, your article seems to be suggesting that we avoid the awkward reality of the fact that the Burka is actually an outwards statement of the Sharia, in favour of saying it is “bad manners” – it is nothing to do with manners and everything to do with the allowed use of an alternative system of Law which is completely contrary to British values and the rights of women.

    You say “you don’t care” if people go around clad in Burkas. I respectfully suggest that if you have daughter and granddaughters you should care very much. If they chose to go naked, however, you can be assured that they are not making any statement other than the right to chose how they act. There is no right to chose how you act under Sharia.

    • There is and will be no integration. It’s a politician’s fig leaf like the last one – enrichment by diversity. Why wouid people who are gaining enormous power by being separate wish to integrate? Banning veils is not going to integrate anyone. Its purpose is to halt a display of power which intimidates others and assists the march to power.

      • Mike, I don’t think we should care if they ‘wish’ to integrate or not. They chose to come here and it’s a question of making them obey OUR laws in every particular as we should have done from the very beginning, the penalties for disobeying them to be harsh, including deportation and repatriation.
        I agree with your last sentence; the burkha is one item on a whole spectrum of behaviours that need to be confronted by a hostile environment and overcome. Up till now the PTB have not only tolerated the intolerable, but encouraged it; it’s time they heard our anger about this, as they heard it about the EU dictatorship.

      • Mike, I think the point about it being an ‘Integration’ policy is that you integrate, i.e. Live under British Law and British values, and only those, If you refuse, or don’t wish to integrate, then either you leave, or you face the force of our Law. It’s an excellent summary of the whole, imo.

  9. Time to draw a veil over this issue!

  10. Amazing isn’t it how gradually we become conditioned to accept this outrage in our midst? Security is one thing – but what about the culture? The burkha is out of place in Britain and that should have been the main reason given in the policy announcement.
    We should have also announced a complete ban on all ritual slaughter, no matter what Stuart Agnew and other accommodators think.
    These things should not be allowed to become our headline policies, no matter what the press want, since they are not great election winners. But they are matters of high principle, and we should be brave enough to say them.

    • Q, yet again, Bravo!

    • @ Q
      I’ve never become conditioned to seeing the burkha: it shocks and angers me every time I see one, especially when some black-clad woman, hobbled by her shroud, has to watch her lightly-dressed-for-summer husband run about with the kids in a park or similar place. I look at the little girls and see what is in store for them too in a country that should simply not allow it.

      Years ago, I decided that I would never visit a muslim country where I would see women covered in veils and black cloth on the orders of sexist pig men. But I’m forced to see them in my own beloved homeland where women struggled for centuries to be regarded by law as equal human beings. Not conditioned and never will be!

      • Panmelia,

        Could not agree more, good job you do not live in London.

        • DD, I deliberately choose not to live in London and most points south of my northern fastness, otherwise I’d have to spend my life lying down in a dark room with a wet cloth on my forehead.

          But I do go to our nearest big town sometimes and encounter the culture shock that no one should have to endure involuntarily in their own land.

          • Panmelia,

            I love living in London it suits mine and my husband’s needs, but I have to agree with you. It is a trial every time I go outside, we are surrounded by strange looking strangers.

      • Panmelia we love you.
        Perhaps I was thinking of David’s position on this – and our more easy-going countrymen who opt for the quiet life whilst giving away our country.

  11. Where is Suzanne Evans? Where is the UKIP 2017 manifesto? Who has had an input into it? What are our MEPs doing? Today Nigel Farage and perhaps a couple of others will be in Strasbourg but what about the rest of them!
    Three weeks to a GE and the 200+ candidates for UKIP are left to their fates.
    In North Staffordshire no candidate in Staffordshire Moorlands, Stoke North, Stoke South, and Newcastle under Lyme. So broken is the local party due to the byelection fiasco and all the above are eminently winnable and three of them have no opposition to Remainiac labour MPs. Only in Stoke Central is Mick Harold standing cleaning up the mess left by Nuttall’s vanity project.
    I guess we are all inside or outside the UKIP party facing a long haul fight of at minimum 10 years to a) destroy labour b) humiliate and crush the LibDems c) replace the red tories. and d) actually leave the EU as no agreement will ever come about worth having. This is the titanic struggle.
    Strangely enough Banning the burqa is part and parcel of all this for the simple reason is that there can be no compromise with the RoP. If Sweden falls in say 10years time there will be open slave markets where young girls will be on sale – this is the staggering level of evil that the global elites / marxists/ and hidden powers are wreaking on we white Europeans.
    In this struggle for our right to love liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Under The Bill of Rights 1689 there is no room for cosy middle of the road compromises, no room for metropolitan dinner parties where over cocktails differences are ignored and we all occupy the ( poisoned centre ground of politics along with liblabconsnppcgreen nutters.The clock is ticking.

    • We could be destroying Labour right now if we showed some intgelligence.

    • Wonderful, truly wonderful speech today in Brussels by Nigel, CK, It’s on Robin Hood UKIP. Followed by an extremely good speech by Steven Woolfe.

      • Both excellent. I’ll never tire of listening to Nigel’s attacks on Junkhead. Woolfe likes reading out poems, but at least this was a Kipling and not one of his own!

    • CK, Yes, the clock is ticking and progress is non-existent or so slow as to be imperceivable. Remember the warships in Ben Hur with the galley slaves rowing to a slow drumbeat? When the enemy was sighted, the drumbeat quickened to a war-footing crescendo. We’ll have to keep drumming harder and harder and sounding the alarums on every platform we can.
      Anne Marie is the Commander of this ship, Paul Nuttall is the ship’s boy.

  12. Let’s just all relax in the interests of ‘tolerance’ until every woman has to wear a mask eh.

  13. This video ought to be watched before any debate on the burqa:

    • Indeed, Viv, why is it so hard to understand the symbolism of the burka and hijab?

    • Phil O'Sophical // May 17, 2017 at 12:27 pm // Reply

      And this ought to be watched before any debate on, well, on anything to do with our and Europe’s future. Terrifying in its quiet revelations.

    • I felt sick watching those excerpts of the rap crap about the veil being ‘liberating’. I felt sicker looking at American mothers producing hijabbed Barbie dolls.
      Our 1984 in 2017: Lies are the Truth, Subjugation is Liberation, It’s Cool to be a Fool.
      Shouldn’t it be a crime to depict the hijab in the design of the American flag? If it isn’t, please make it one, President Trump.

      I love Paul Watson.

  14. Gary. I agree entirely, as I stated in my article ‘The Way forward for UKIP’ we must stay controversial to attract massive media coverage and possibly outrage.
    The media then obviously creates the situation where we defend ourselves and get the message out there.

  15. My default position on this, as with most things, is that governments should not be in the business of telling individuals what they can and can’t wear.

    However, the burka is a special case. It is a political weapon.

    The comparison with nudity in public is interesting. As the article says, different cultures draw the line on what is considered obscene in public. In the UK we draw the line at going out naked, at which point the state will step in. In some Islamic countries, and increasingly in Islamic “communities” in the UK, they draw the line at a woman being seen without their head covered. This they consider to be obscene and unnecessarily sexually provocative. That is clearly insane, and is not a practice we should tolerate in the UK.

    My preferred solution would be to allow criticism and mockery of the patently absurd Burka until it becomes as culturally unacceptable as a combover. However because we are in a ridiculous environment of so-called hate crimes, because you will never get a TV or radio comedy poking fun at the burka, the only practical solution is to ban the stupid thing outright.

    The burka is a symbol of blatant misogyny, it treats women as the property of men, who don’t want others to look with lust upon that property. That some women claim to wear it out of choice is merely an indication of how intimidated and brainwashed they are by their men and their so-called religion.

    Worth also noting that the liberal pin-up girl, Frau Merkel, supports banning the burka. As has the socialist paradise France. So even when adopting policies supported by liberal French and Germans, UKIP get castigated by the media.

    The media will attack UKIP whatever policies we announce. We could announce a cure for cancer and the mainstream media will find some way to label it racist. They are all, with the single exception of the Express, either overtly pro-Labour, pro-Tory or generally pro the “liberal”, globalist consensus. In other words, vehemently anti-UKIP.

    Given that we can’t win them over, it makes sense to propose policies that will wind them up, as at least that way we have a chance of cutting through to our target audience. If we propose politically correct policies, or indeed just competent policies on the NHS, deficits etc then we just won’t get covered at all. See the 2015 GE manifesto – best manifesto by far, zero media coverage.

    • Bernard from Bucks. // May 17, 2017 at 9:59 am // Reply

      “My preferred solution would be to allow criticism and mockery of the patently absurd Burka until it becomes as culturally unacceptable as a combover.”
      I would like to see it acceptable for shops, offices – in fact – any property owner being allowed to refuse admission to anyone with their face covered. If this was allowed it would soon become very unpopular for them to carry on wearing this ridiculous item. Banks do it for cycle helmets and shopping malls seem to do it for ‘hoodies’, large rimmed hats and even dark sunglasses. Bring it on.

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