storm in a hijab

in this blog’s great tadition of presenting the many thousand-year-old story as breaking news, (sadly we were rumbled by Aradhana) i return to the issue of the veiled muslim woman. if you thought i had exhausted the world’s supply of wisdom on this one, you were sadly mistaken…

let me paraphrase very roughly: a muslim classroom assistant was sacked for refusing to remove her hijab in class on the grounds that the children would not be able to understand what she was saying. i won’t allow our train of thought to deviate even slightly down the branch line that goes to ‘if we start sacking teachers when the kids don’t understand them, we will have some very empty schools’; i will however offer the wisdom of my vast experience, as a non-muslim non-woman, on the matter. well, every other member of that minority interest group has spoken out for truth and freedom, so why not me?

i was driving along the other day and even though i am a careful and respectful user of the road, i aroused the ire of a muslim woman driver in hijab (probably nearly crashed into her or some other such trifle – very excitable these people). i found it very easy despite best efforts of hijab, distance and my own rather murky windscreen to understand precisely what she thought of me, my driving and the whole subclass of people who potter around as if they owned the road. and not only could i not read her lips or expression, i couldn’t even hear what she was saying – and if the children in school couldn’t grasp that one it’s probably because they were too dim to find the bloody place.

by my empirical test, i therefore opine that a bit of hanky in front of her mouth would not in fact render a veiled woman magically incomprehensible and it’s even possible there might have been some other agenda going on. i am officially shocked!


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