It is an extreme practice. It is never right for a woman to hide behind a veil and shut herself off from people in the community. But it is particularly wrong in Britain, where it alien to the mainstream culture for someone to walk around wearing a mask. The veil restricts women, it stops them achieving their full potential in all areas of their life and it stops them communicating. It sends out a clear message: "I do not want to be part of your society."This claim that women veiling themselves is a separatist/exclusionary act is certainly not disproved by some recent letters to newspapers from Muslims speaking out in favour of women wearing veils, which often speak contemptuously of non-Islamic British society as being comprised primarily of violent, drunken, sex-crazed undesirables whom one would naturally want to avoid.
Saira goes on:
Some Muslim women say that it is their choice to wear it; I don't agree. Why would any woman living in a tolerant country freely choose to wear such a restrictive garment? What these women are really saying is that they adopt the veil because they believe that they should have less freedom than men, and that if they did not wear the veil men would not be accountable for their uncontrollable urges -- so women must cover-up so as not to tempt men. What kind of a message does that send to women?
Many moderate Muslim women in Britain will welcome Mr Straw's comments. This is an opportunity for them to say: "I don't wear the veil but I am a Muslim." If I had been forced to wear a veil I would certainly not be writing this article -- I would not have the friends I have, I would not have been able to run a marathon or become an aerobics teacher or set up a business.