The Australian offers its contribution to the veil “debate”:
“Religious beliefs are by definition sacred, and as much as possible they should be a private matter. But when an individual or a community feels that their personal practices should trump widely held values while also setting themselves apart, the question arises as to whether those people would not be more comfortable in a place where such behaviour is the norm.
“At its heart is the question of where tolerance should end and the old adage, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans’, should kick in. While tolerance is certainly a positive virtue that should be strived for, it cannot be a cultural suicide pact…. Disappointingly, those who have traditionally been a positive force for the liberation of women against oppression in other spheres have here largely been silent on the question of Islam’s beliefs concerning half of humanity.
“… what confronts the West today is not so much a clash of civilisations as a clash of centuries. The jumbo jets that have enabled the mass immigration from Muslim countries to the West are, in effect, time machines that have brought millions of people from a pre-Enlightenment world – where men are the unquestioned bosses, stoning and forced amputation are punishments rather than crimes, and sectarian differences are worth dying over – to secular, liberal and postmodern democracies such as ours.”
Editorial in The Australian, 24 October 2006