Guardian blogger revolted by veil

“Jack Straw says that he is made to ‘feel uncomfortable’ by women wearing a full veil. I feel uncomfortable too and have been wondering about the nature of that discomfort and what I should do about it. When I walk down the street in London, or in Bristol where I live, and see a woman covered head to toe, I not only feel uncomfortable; I feel a physical sense of revulsion.”

Sue Blackmore at the Guardian’s Comment is Free, 6 October 2006

Mike Marqusee takes a different line:

“Like Jack Straw, I find it awkward to talk with women who veil their faces. Unlike Jack Straw, I don’t assume that the onus is on them to relieve me of my discomfort, or that this discomfort is inevitable and entrenched, or that it betokens an unbridgeable cultural gap or irreconcilable social difference…. Speaking personally, the people I feel most uncomfortable talking with are perma-tanned politicians in expensive, perfectly pressed suits with a record of shameless mendacity. Jack Straw’s complicity in the lies that led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq makes him responsible for divisions both domestic and foreign of far greater consequence, far greater menace to us all, than any woman walking the streets of Blackburn with her face veiled.”

Comment is Free, 6 October 2006