Tag Archives: niqab

Opinion: Face-veils – What would John Stuart Mill say?

John Stuart MillA court case and a Birmingham school have thrown the dilemma of clothing choices versus personal interaction requirements into the limelight again. It seems to me that the liberal response to this is fairly clear and quite easy to calculate.

Let’s start with some basic facts:

1. Facial expression is a vital part of communication. Some research puts over 50% of human communication as carried in facial expression.

2. Facial identification is the primary – and in most cases only – form of human identification.

Liberals believe in freedom of expression and religion. But that freedom has limits where it impinges on the ability of others to go about their life (“Your freedom ends where my freedom begins” – sometimes attributed to John Stuart Mill, or Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes). Therefore liberals can construct two positions from the basic facts:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 32 Comments

Jeremy Browne: Need for national debate on banning the veil

Jeremy Browne - Some rights reserved by Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeJeremy Browne, the Liberal Democrat Home Office minister, told The Telegraph that there is a need for a national debate on whether Muslim women should be banned from wearing the veil in public places. He said:

I am instinctively uneasy about restricting the freedom of individuals to observe the religion of their choice. That would apply to Christian minorities in the Middle East just as much as religious minorities here in Britain.

But there is genuine debate about whether girls should feel a compulsion to wear a veil when society deems children to be unable to express personal choices about other areas like buying alcohol, smoking or getting married.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 79 Comments
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