For years Muslims living as minorities in the West have been on the defensive. As politicians and journalists take advantage of the popular outrage against the tragic actions of extremists, innocent Muslim families are the ones taking the brunt of the blame. It is the responsibility of people in political office to be at least somewhat educated about the things they talk about and attempt to legislate. Jack Straw's famous veil controversy sparked a debate which, at the cost of inconveniencing innocent Muslim women, has served only to bring more attention to this man.
The opposition of many Muslim women against his comments about hijab are not only rooted in Islamic belief but at the fact that he has created a situation in which women who choose to wear the veil cannot feel safe. He was fed the bigots and the racists only for his own selfish political gain. His actions have demeaned the meaning of wearing of the hijab, removing from it the profound religious meaning that it has to the women that wear it.
The real evil of the comment of Jack Straw is that they have found their home in the mouths of the ignorant and the misinformed. They paint the hijab as something that is imposed on Muslim women living in Britain by evil and barbarous fathers and brothers. They demean the very women that wear it by stepping in to provide “protection” that they clearly do not want and never asked for.
These kinds of statements are rubbish. While in some remote parts of the third world women are forced to wear the veil because of barbarous traditions that have nothing to do with Islam, almost all of the Muslim women in Britain that wear the hijab were born and raised in that very country. They tend to come from families in which often the mother does not wear the hijab, and they have adopted it from a personal reason related to their understanding of God. The hijab is not some attempt to rebel against Western society, and even if it were the right to religious freedom and freedom of expression should guarantee the rights of these women to do what they want if the rights of a third party are not being infringed upon.
If one wants to find the true causes of Jack Straw's comments about the hijab, one need look no further than the problems affecting his constituency at the time of his comments. Severe problems with housing, employment and education, all of which can be traced to Jack Straw's dismal policies. With the huge amounts of community tension caused by this kind of situation, it is quite ridiculous to put the blame on the very small percentage of women that wear the hijab in the United Kingdom for the inept policies of Jack Straw. Let us forget about his comments and see them for what they are, misdirection to draw attention away from his awful job as a politician.
-- Al Arabiya Digital