‘End the silence over Islam’

“Am I alone in my disquiet about our government’s courtship of the Scottish Islamic Foundation? In the 1970s, young women like me embraced multiculturalism; we were engaging with our oppressed sisters everywhere around the world. Or so it seemed at the time. Where are we now? And why are we so effectively silenced?

“Why do we have nothing to say about a sharia credit card? Have we really forgotten what sharia law means for women? While English clerics debate the pros and cons of introducing an element of sharia law into their legal system, where are our voices in this debate? Do we seriously think it won’t happen in Scotland? Look at their website. It’s happening already.

“What do we think about the headline ‘Muslim sprinter wins Olympic sprint dressed head to toe in hijab’ (from the Scottish Islamic Foundation website)? Or of Al Jazeera talking to Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy first minister, about a ‘Scottish division’ of their TV station. Why on earth would they want a Scottish division? I need to know.

“I am not opposed, in principle, to any of these, but I am opposed to the suffocating, politically correct silence that now surrounds any criticism of organisations such as the Scottish Islamic Foundation. We need to bring this debate into the open. I don’t fear the debate; I fear the silence.”

Letter in the Scotsman, 29 August 2008