Paul Nuttall’s pledge to ban the burqa shows he has no understanding of Muslim women living in the UK

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Sunday 23 April 2017 19:45
Paul Nuttall pledged to ban the burqa on the Andrew Marr Show
Paul Nuttall pledged to ban the burqa on the Andrew Marr Show

Paul Nuttall’s recent denunciation of Muslim women on The Andrew Marr Show was very low, indeed. Firstly, the report Nuttall attempts to intellectually quote from, the Casey Review, actually refers to Pakistani and Bengali women, not Muslim women. Muslim women choose whether they wish to work or not. They are not forced and are not burdened with the responsibility of being the breadwinners. Mothers being economically inactive is hardly a detriment to the advancement of a nation. They are the safeguards of a nation’s future.

However, Islamic history dictates that when Muslim women are called to serve their nation, they passionately come running and outperform men. So fear not, we will always be ready to serve our nation, without any discrimination – I say that as a serving Muslim doctor in the NHS.

I do not practise the full-face veil, but I feel so strongly about attempts to outlaw it. Every individual is entitled to dress as they wish. Some choose to wear minimal clothes and others more. The UK has a much stronger and prouder history of protecting basic human rights and freedoms than the number of CCTV cameras it has. Yes, where there is a real security need in airports and courtrooms, of course adjustments are to be made and as a Muslim woman I would be the first to support such measures. Blanket discriminatory laws have no place in the wonderful, prosperous, integrated Britain that I call “home”.

Maleeha Mansur
London, SW20

Tackling extremism is a priority and must be at the forefront, however, a shocking sense of disbelief occurs at Ukip leader Paul Nuttall’s proposal to launch an “integration agenda” specifically aimed at Muslim women.

Muslim women living in the UK for centuries and have never posed a threat to the values of free speech, liberty or human rights. We are instructed by our spiritual worldwide leader, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, to obey the law of the land where we stay as an obligation.

British Ahmadi Muslim women uphold remaining loyal to our nation and we are at the forefront, united against extremism.

Nuttall’s concern for security is valid, but targeting the dress code of Muslim women is not the solution. Working with Muslim community groups is the best way forward, as they are in the best position to educate their women on issues about veiling and security.

To impose Nuttall’s integration program would be a gross error resulting in distorting ideas and perception only for political gain. Putting Muslim women at the forefront of a political agenda is not the way to eradicate terrorism but will cause divisions; to combat extremism Britain must remain united.

Navida Sayed

I was really disappointed to see Paul Nuttall, the Ukip leader, announce that banning the burqa would be in the Ukip manifesto. This current era has been described as the most difficult political time in British history since the Second World War and yet banning an item of clothing somehow takes centre stage in a manifesto.

I do not wear a full-face veil but I wear a hijab. Modest clothing and body covering is not a political statement for me nor does it stop me from integrating. This is part of my faith, and just like the other covenants of my faith, such as praying, being truthful, charity and loyalty to my country, this is also what makes me a Muslim.

I am someone that Ukip despise. I am an immigrant, a Muslim woman and wear a hijab. According to them I am not integrated. Yet I have been working in the NHS as a doctor for nearly 15 years, am a fully integrated member of the society, love Britain and feel British. As an Ahmadi Muslim mother I teach my children the core Islamic values of compassion, mercy, loyalty to the country and one day hope that they will be working towards the betterment of their country.

I think it’s time for politicians to grow up and take the real problems our country is facing seriously instead of focussing on an issue that affects a very small number of people but tends to divide the wider society, causing anxiety among many more.

Fariha Khan

We need immigration control

I have no problem with short term immigration. We quite clearly do have skills shortages in some industries, and there are not enough locals who are able to provide those skills.That we are in that position is scandalous – a lack of training of local people in the past, and a lack of vision.

But, it does not always need to be like that.

Train local people with the skills that are lacking, and fill the gap in the short term, with immigrants.

But give the immigrants visas with an end date. A date when they accept that they and their families will have to leave the UK. That is not unreasonable. It is always possible to extend that leave date in the future, but that should be the choice of the UK Government (and ideally the British people) based on the needs of the country. The British people voted to take back control.

Philip Pound

Key questions need to be asked during this general election

Am I missing something? We have a general election. An opportunity to change the disastrous direction that this government has chosen over the past 10 months. Labour has declared that the election is about inequality, poverty, insecurity, misery and fear. This may all be true, but these are quite abstract terms that the majority of the electorate will have difficulty associating with.

Ask the average working man or woman whether they feel unequal.

Ask them whether they feel poverty stricken.

Ask them whether they feel insecure or miserable or fearful.

Some, a minority, will answer yes to some of these questions, but I am sure that in most cases the answer would be no or maybe. Most or many will find it difficult to associate with any of these “conditions”, and almost certainly not to all of them.

There are, however, a number of questions that the opposition to this government should be asking.

Do you want the NHS to continue in a downward spiral ending in private medical care?

Do you want thousands of jobs to disappear as manufacturing and banking companies relocate to the EU?

Do you want the United Kingdom to stay united?

Do you want your cars, your wine, your food, your clothes to increase in price by 10 per cent or more?

Do you want your pensions to decrease in value?

Do you want your children’s experiences to be impoverished because their travel and work opportunities are to be seriously reduced?

I don’t care who asks these questions but they need to be asked.

Antony Robson

A cost-effective second referendum vote could be possible

Why not combine voting on both major issues on the 8 June: parliamentary election and a rerun of the Brexit referendum?

Minimal extra cost and a splendid affirmation of the electorate’s wish to leave the EU.

I bet she wouldn’t dare.

Tom Syson

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