Dickinson murder and other stuff in the news

Much column inches were taken up today by the verdict on Francisco Arce Montes, concerning the dreadful murder of Caroline Dickinson, a 13-year-old schoolgirl who was on a school trip to Brittany. It turns out that the man responsible was a serial predator who had convictions for rape and other sexual abuse across Europe. On Jon Gaunt’s show this morning, the discussion turned to the matter of school trips, and whether it is still safe to allow children away on such trips. I don’t see why people should think it’s not safe, since of the thousands of children who went away on school trips in the late 1990s, how many did not come back alive? A small handful, I should think, mostly due to accidents. The fact is that sexual murders are nothing new but are quite rare, and are just as likely to happen at home as on a trip away. Travelling is much safer now than it was in centuries past, when it meant weeks in a horse-drawn cart or on the back of a camel, and the danger of highway robbers.

Also discussed on today’s show was the issue of the 15-year-old girl refused the right to wear her jilbab to school in Luton in southern England. You can see a picture of her on the page; for those who can’t, she is wearing a purple scarf and a dark-coloured long gown, and no face cover. Apparently the school’s dress code for Muslim pupils is a shalwar-kameez with a headscarf; the jilbab is supposedly a health and safety risk (she could trip!). In fact, the fraudulent health and safety concerns have been debunked - they were raised about headscarves, which could catch fire if they get into a bunsen burner flame, and the solution is to tuck them in or pin them to the girl’s clothes. A sensible point was made that while the dress for south Asian women is a trouser suit, the dress in other areas is a long dress (eg. Africa). This girl is Bengali, and many women in Bangladesh (including Muslim women) wear saris, not the shalwar-kameez which is mostly a north-west Indian phenomenon.

Another point was made that no girl aged 15, who is “just discovering herself”, would choose voluntarily to wear all black. (I think the person who said this was the same person who said that the jilbab was physically ugly.) But someone else (a non-Muslim woman) countered that when she was 15, if she was able to wear such concealing clothing, she would have done! But what we heard time and time again was accusations of Muslims trying to impose their culture on everyone else, which is just plain nonsense. We just want our girls to be able to wear our clothes in schools we pay for. No more or less than that. In fact, western customs have in large part been imposed on many Muslim countries - go to Egypt, and you will see lots of men in turbans or with beards - but they’re all Gulf Arab tourists! Egyptian men can’t wear traditional dress (or couldn’t, when I was there in 1999) because they fear police harrassment. In Tunisia, women who wear hijab cannot get an education or even some hospitals won’t let them in. Ataturk (la’natullah ‘alaihi) even forced men to wear top hats (impossible to pray in), demanded that the adhan be called in Turkish, and those who cling to his wretched legacy oppose any let-up in the restrictions on religious Muslims.

On top of this, what is the point of school uniforms anyway? They are a pointless expense, in many cases requiring parents to buy expensive supplies from shops with a monopoly on the products concerned. They are often hot and uncomfortable, particularly the constricting top-button and tie. They look stupid, and identifying children from one school to children at other schools makes for fights in some areas. They are also a trapping of the odious English public-school system (“public schools” are in fact expensive élite private schools). While I have personally seen girls who look nicer in their school uniform than in their regular clothes, some female school uniforms include highly-inappropriate short skirts. Why do people tolerate this, but won’t tolerate concealing clothes? Many schools have dress codes instead, requiring pupils to wear certain colours and prohibiting “fashion” clothes, trainers and the like, which seems a better idea than forcing people to buy a uniform. I always hated uniform and have worn a tie on probably less than ten occasions since leaving school.

(On an aside note, if this sister has been out of school for two years, one imagines that she is being home-schooled - which, as I’ve said before, is how Muslims should be educated if there is no Muslim school available.)

Possibly Related Posts:


You may also like...