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June 23, 2007



I don't really buy this argument: The 7/7 bombers weren't wearing loose-fitting robes, after all - if I recall correctly they carried their bombs in rucksacks. It's not as though we're about to start banning people from carring rucksacks on the tube...


Just because loose-fitting robes weren't required to carry out one set of attacks doesn't mean that they're somehow an acceptable hazard - just look at Israel's experience with bombers dressed in such a manner, or the recent successful flight from Britain of a male terrorist suspect dressed in a niqab to hide his face.

The question isn't whether prohibiting niqabs in crowded public spaces will prevent *all* suicide terrorism - nothing will - but whether the rewards of doing so outweigh the negatives, and for me the answer is simple: I would never accept that men could go about on the streets with balaclavas on, so I certainly wouldn't even worse from practitioners of a religion so conducive to terrorism. If they just want to dress like that at home, in the suburbs or while driving about, that's not my problem (as long as they're willing to reveal their faces when stopped by traffic police).

The matter is really simple, as far as I see it: decent people who have nothing to hide have no problems showing their faces, and when one allows individuals to go about in public with their faces fully covered, the end result is an even worse form of the mischief spurred online by the feeling of anonymity: balaclavas, klan hoods and niqabs have no place in most of the public sphere.


Oh, and by the way, if you think the analogy between the balaclava and niqab a poor one, you might want to read the following story:

["Two robbers stole traditional Muslim women’s clothing that covered their faces from a Mosque and then used the disguise to steal from a bank.

The men, Anthony Roberts, 22, and Nicholas Bidar, 19, waited in a NatWest bank in West London for guards to deliver some money and used the element of surprise to grab the cash bags and run.

They were dressed in a long black cloak and a Niqab, a full face veil, during the audacious raid in June last year."]

Criminals clearly recognize something many well-meaning liberal folk refuse to: you cannot have one law for the ski-mask and klan hood wearers, and yet another for those wishing to wear the even more concealing Niqab for "religious" reasons.


If banks and such like weren't shackled by anti-discrimination laws, then perhaps they would take the sensible precaution of simply banning those unwilling to clearly show their face.

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