Saturday, January 20, 2007

Niqabs in schools

Mr Iain Dale has an interesting exclusive today concerning a Muslim girl asserting her right to wear a niqab at school. The head teacher of Wycombe High School, Jane Wainwright, has threatened the child with exclusion if she insists on wearing her niqab, which is deemed inconsistent with school uniform policy. The school permits the hijab, and is not therefore discriminating against Islam, or being what some may term ‘racist’.

For some reason, Buckinghamshire County Council is not supporting the head teacher in her actions.

Cranmer is unsure how this differs from a previous case which went to litigation. In the case of Begum v Head Teacher and Governors of Denbigh High School, Begum lost in the House of Lords. Muslim students may wear a hijab, but a school is within its rights to prohibit the niqab.

But Cranmer would like to know, with the present threats to national security, if it is in any way sensible to have masked and unidentifiable people walking around a school. There could be anything from a bomb to a paedophile lurking beneath a thick black sheet…

And how does a teacher actually know that they are in fact teaching the student they think they are?

How is a teacher meant to ‘read’ the facial expressions of students which communicate so much to a teacher of a child’s comprehension (or lack of it).

And during exams, how do staff know that it is indeed the student sitting the papers?

Is all this common sense beyond the wit of Buckinghamshire County Council?


Anonymous tony blair said...

There could be anything from a bomb to a paedophile lurking beneath a thick black sheet…

there could also be a bomb lurking under a hijab, and it would be easier to conceal under a hijab in comparison to a niqab... don't you think?

20 January 2007 at 18:01  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

I thought that wearing a mask was considered to be "going disguised", and was illegal.

Can I go about my daily business wearing an IRA-style balaclava? How long did it take that man in Ipswich a few weeks ago, to get arrested for exactly that? Something like 90 Minutes?

20 January 2007 at 20:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the problem is that this type of dress is directly associated with a political statement offensive to the culture in which it is placed. Clearly there is line to be drawn.We would not expect a Jewish school to accept the wearing of a swastika on the basis it was ,itself , not harming anyone .

It has a meaning which we either tolerate or not on those grounds . I agree that , especially now, it is beyond what would be tolerated in reverse. A tee shirt say with the words "Isamic Fascists must be stamped out"..would , I am sure , be thought offensive and an incitement to something or other. It is entirely hypocritical to be blind to the semiotics of this adornment whenthe Liberal establishment are so sensitively attuned to other inflammatory images.
I am only suprised that the Union Jack has not been prescribed because of its adoption by the BNP.

20 January 2007 at 22:45  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...


Good comment. Exactly: it is a political statement for a politics we find offensive. Just as my wearing an IRA-style balaclava would be.

Imagine the reverse: a woman walking around Riyadh in mini-skirt, boob-tube and high heels ... would it be tolerated (entirely rhetorical - having spent time in Riyadh I know exactly what would happen to her, and it would be decidedly unpleasant if not fatal)?

20 January 2007 at 23:38  
Anonymous Colin said...

Political statement or not. The consequences appear to be silly as His Grace has pointed out. I am wondering why the British authorities are unable to prevent this silliness in the same way as the French did.

20 January 2007 at 23:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the answer Colin is they lack confidence in their own culture.

Labour Socialists have long sought to destory britishness, reduce history teaching and many other things. Peter Hitchens wrote and excellent book on this a few years ago.

Now that they have suceeded in 'undermining' the estabishmnet; they are the establishment.

So they are left in a moral vacuum, unable to decide what to do becuase of their lack of self-assurance, their is no cultural basis for them, as they rejected it. They have no past as a guide to the future.

They cannot act in decisively in a co-ordinated manner. If they ever do act decisively it is often as an ill-thought out reaction to events. We can all think of many cases I am sure.

Until these people are driven from power along with their 'ideology of nothing' (to paraphrase the great Jerry Seinfled), we will constantly be faced by issues which seemingly have simple answers and yet which the government is unable to act upon.

21 January 2007 at 12:20  
Anonymous Tejus said...

Political Madness..

21 January 2007 at 13:11  
Anonymous Colin said...


"they lack confidence in their own culture". That's an excellent explanation!

We can simply check if you are right by looking for nations ruled by elites without any lack of confidence in their own culture and how they deal with the problem. Probably, the Western nation with the strongest confidence in their culture is France. How did they deal with the problem? They simply made a law to stop that nonsense. Hence, your explanation appears to be correct. Congratulations for your outstanding insight!

This leads us to the next question: Who destroyed the confidence of the British elites in their own culture and why did it not also happen in France? Any explanation to offer?

Since it is often easier to see the problems more objectively from the outsite, I am wondering if a foreigner well educated in British culture such as Tejus is able to offer a good explanation?

21 January 2007 at 16:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

Once again, my only response is: -

I despair.

21 January 2007 at 18:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colin - read Peter Hitchen's book the Abolition of Britain. Flawed in parts, it nonetheless answers your question.

I agree in general with its thesis, socialists and socialist liberals undermined our societal bonds and failed to replace them.

Overall, how odd, we won the war and the French were beaten and had a terrible time. Yet whose culture has survived the best?

22 January 2007 at 11:24  
Anonymous Colin said...

More silliness: Muslim Pc refused to shake hands. lol


Thanks for reminding me to read Peter Hitchen's book which I haven't done, yet.

However, haven't the French had an equal or even larger number of fervent socialists than the UK? It seems to me that there must be another factor at work. Is it possible that the French elites enjoy a different education than the British elites? To my knowledge, most members of the French ruling elite are educated at the École Nationale d'Administration. I doubt that the British elites have all been educated at Eton. Does anybody have data on the education of the majority of British politicians? In Germany, most of them are lawyers, bureaucrats and members of unions. And it shows, i.e. the intellectual level of the parliament in Germany appears to be considerably lower than in France or Britain which can be seen by simply watching parliamentary debates on TV in these countries.

22 January 2007 at 17:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think in our own country the worked in a different way. Up unitl recently Labour was rarely in power. The rule was to have a right-wing government, Instead the intelligentsia of the left took roles in media, arts and other teaching. They bred their own ideology into new generations. I have seen this referred to as cultural marxism. I think there is something here.
To be of the left in the UK was often portrayed as unpatriotic. Another example of the effect this can be seen to have had is the hating of the Union Jack (and cross of St George) by the left and its defmanent as a part of right wing extremism.

This did not happen in France, since the revolution, France has had a large amount of socialist input into its government. The left is france can portray itself as pro-France and pro its culture.

Thisis very different to New Labour who decry our history and culture and wish it replaced with their own version.

Much to my dismay they have been largely successful. Re our elected reprsentatives I think Croydonian did this research sometime agao. There are too many laywers IMO.

22 January 2007 at 21:53  
Anonymous Colin said...


Thanks again for another enlightening comment. Your explanation makes a lot of sense. I think you are right that "The left in france can portray itself as pro-France and pro its culture."

23 January 2007 at 20:11  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I should like to know who on the Legal Services Commission granted legal aid, and why ?

I am surprised no men wear the niqab. Both men and women wear the crucifix or cross but I have never seen a Muslim male wear a niqab. I wonder why.

Does any other religion or politico-religious creed specify exactly how a woman must dress ? Islam itself does not. No doubt the girl herself is Bangladeshi or Mirpuri and being groomed for her arranged-marriage to her first cousin now she is ripe and mature at 12 years of age.......remaining say 4 years in Pakistan until she can return to England with her beared husband and happy brood.

24 January 2007 at 18:09  
Anonymous Concerned Bucks Resident said...

I beg Your Grace's forgiveness for not reading Your Grace's blog with the diligence and frequency that it deserves.

I have just read this section. As a Bucks resident I am disgusted. My daughters attended another school in the county, of which Jane Wainwright was Head at the time. She is an excellent head teacher, worthy of full and unstinting support.

But I think I can tell Your Grace why she didn't get that support. On browsing around the Bucks CC web site,, I note that the Lead Spokesperson in Cabinet for Secondary Schools (in the Children and Young People's Services portfolio) is one Councillor Zahir Mohammed. His details are to be found at:

I might be cruel in thinking that he is putting his own re-election chances (election in Bucks CC due May this year!) ahead of his civic duty, but it will take a lot to make me think otherwise. I expect that he is heavily dependent on the votes of those who pray to Mecca.

I will refrain from further comment about the religion of perpetual victimhood (and the inability of its adherents to turn their back on the violence mandated by its Founder) unless your Grace specifically invites me to.

28 January 2007 at 13:46  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr/Mrs Concerned Bucks Resident,

You are welcome to His Grace's blog of intelligence and erudition. This matter has been taken up in his latest posting above, and His Grace notes the contribution of Mr OIznop to the response of the Bucks press.

You are welcome to speculate all you wish about the motives of Cllr Zahir Mohammed. This blog permits one to voice all of those religio-political concerns which the MSM ignores.

28 January 2007 at 15:20  

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