Dismay at Sarkozy Burqa comments

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MCB fury at “patronising” comments

THE Muslim Council of Britain has reacted with fury over comments made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy over his desire to ban the Burqa in France.

In his speech, Sarkozy attempted to defend the French republican principle of secularism but succeeded more in attacking the Islamic veil.

“The problem of the burqa is not a religious problem, it’s a problem of liberty and women’s dignity,” President Sarkozy said.

“It’s not a religious symbol, but a sign of subservience and debasement. I want to say solemnly, the burqa is not welcome in France. In our country, we can’t accept women prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity. That’s not our idea of freedom.”

Not surprisingly the comments were met with a wave of criticism.

The Muslim Council of Britain called on the French President to “desist from engaging in and promoting divisive politics towards its Muslim inhabitants”, adding he should learn from American counterpart President Barack Obama who urged caution over Western countries “impeding Muslim citizens from practising religion as they see fit.”

Dr. Reefat Drabu, Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, said: “It is patronising and offensive to suggest that those Muslim women who wear the burqa do so because of pressure or oppression by their male partners or guardians”.

She added: “Such suggestions can legitimately be perceived as antagonistic towards Islam. Instead of taking a lead in promoting harmony and social cohesion amongst its people, the French President appears to be initiating a policy which is set to create fear and misunderstanding and may lead to Islamophobic reaction not just in France but in the rest of Europe too”.

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