“On his return from Washington, Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a speech to a selected audience at his Downing Street residence. The subject of his remarks was not the criticisms made by the Iraq Study Group of US – and by implication British – foreign policy failures in Iraq. Instead he sought to deflect any examination of his criminal war policy by launching yet another provocative attack on Muslims….
“In a blatant infringement of religious and cultural liberties, Blair made clear his support for restrictions on the Muslim veil and implied his backing for the sacking of Aishah Azmi, a Muslim teaching assistant, for refusing to remove her veil in the classroom. ‘It really is a matter of plain common sense that when it is an essential part of someone’s work to communicate directly with people, being able to see their face is important’, he said.
“As to ‘equality’ for all citizens, this was further belied by Blair’s announcement that the Equal Opportunities Commission is to look at restrictions on women in place in some mosques. But he made no suggestion that some Anglican and Evangelical churches be subject to similar inquiries for their opposition to the ordination of women priests and their campaign against homosexual rights legislation, let alone the Catholic Church.”