Saturday, October 14, 2006


Had a chat with the driver while waiting for the bus to go out, both of us were appalled at the litter, smoking, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour that the buses, for reasons neither of us could fathom, seem to attract. The big difference between us - he's Pakistani by birth and (otherwise) loves Britain. Why is there such a bad attitude problem with so many Brits? He reckoned it was a law and order problem, yet we outstrip other European countries in both this area and with our humungous prison population.
Just a few minutes later, I read in the paper that a recent poll found 57% of Brits want Muslims to make more effort to integrate. Perhaps they need to drop a few sweet wrappers, smash up the odd bus shelter or inflict violence on random passers-by?

The great veil debate has forced me into an uncomfortable position: for once I found myself having to agree with Jack Straw, whom I regard as one of the most odious ministers of the whole lot who served under Blair. I find veils creepy. Moreover, there seem to be more in Britain than I can ever remember seeing in most Muslim countries I've been to. When I lived in Krabi, reckoned to have something like a 70% Muslim population, I don't think I ever saw one. In fact hardly any women there went around wearing the headscarf. It's wrong to ban them like in France, but I think any woman who takes up the veil must realise it will isolate her from a hell of a lot of people and will (as in the case of an American woman who was refused a driving licence with a veiled photo and more recently, a British teacher suspended as her veil impeded communication with her pupils) reduce her rights. But no British Muslim woman will ever have her rights reduced to those of women in the more extreme Islamic states from where this fashion was imported.


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