The Veil Debate

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Moderator: Louis P. Burns aka Lugh

Should all religious education be banned in schools?

Yes
4
44%
No
1
11%
Yes and my reasons for coming to this conclusion are posted on this thread.
1
11%
No and my reasons for coming to this conclusion are posted on this thread.
3
33%
 
Total votes: 9

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Louis P. Burns aka Lugh
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The Veil Debate

Postby Louis P. Burns aka Lugh » Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:08 pm

Is classroom worker Aishah Azmi entitled to wear her veil in the workplace?

Image

Does it create a block between her and the rest of the community?

Should any religion have this level of control over its pratitioners or their work environments?

Does wearing a veil have a negative effect of the whole process of teaching, which in her case is English?

If you're a parent, would you have problems with a veil wearing teacher or class assistant teaching your children?

Do you think it promotes any notions she's a terrorist or terrorist sympathiser?

Does this form of extremely orthodox religious expression alarm you?

What are your opinions on this?

I have edited this thread to correct mispelling of 'religious' and tighten up grammar in all of my posts.

Image hyperlink;
BBC
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/4 ... ess203.jpg
Last edited by Louis P. Burns aka Lugh on Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:44 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Louis P. Burns aka Lugh
Administrator, editor & owner of the Sensitize © online community of forums and domain for artists, e-poets, filmmakers, media/music producers and writers working through here. To buy the Kindle book of Illustrated Poetry, Sensitize © - Volume One / Poems that could be Films if they were Funded by myself with illustrations by Welsh filmmaker and graphic artist; Norris Nuvo click here for N. Ireland and UK sales. If purchasing in the U.S.A. or internationally then please click here.

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Catherine Edmunds
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Postby Catherine Edmunds » Fri Oct 20, 2006 6:46 pm

There is nothing in the Koran that says women should cover up to this extent. The prophet never advocated this. Dress with modesty, yes, but not the full veil. This is simply the choice of a small number of religious extremists.

Now, you must be careful not to distort the facts. As far as I am aware, this lady has said she is happy to remove the veil when she is teaching the children, so long as there are no men present. That is an important point. Let's not demonise this poor woman and say that she refuses to teach without the veil; because that is simply not true. She has very strong feelings about modesty, and feels that it is immodest to be seen by men unveiled.

I wonder happens if she is teaching her class, and some are hard of hearing and really have to see her lips move, but perhaps there is an OFSTED inspection going on and there is a male inspector in her class.

Before I go off at a complete tangent, I'll address Lugh's points.

Is she entitled to wear the veil in the workplace? Yes. There's no law saying she can't.

Does it create a block between her and the rest of the community? Yes. Undoubtedly. But not as big a block as the tabloids would lead us to believe. After a while, you stop seeing veils, just as after a while, you stop seeing colour, or age, or any other defining feature that actually has little to do with the 'real' person. We are all the same, under the veil, under the wig, under the saffron robes, or whatever.

Should any religion have this level of control? It's not her religion doing this. Islam doesn't demand it. Only one small sect. And anyway, it's her own choice. The veil tends to be worn by working class women; the middle classes, with greater education and freedom, tend to reject it. Teaching is, in many societies, a traditionally working class career. Also, first generation immigrant Muslim women are far more likely to wear it than their daughters.

Does wearing the veil have a negative effect on the whole process of teaching? Yes, it would if she wore it to teach, but as I understand, she doesn't unless a male is present.

As a parent, would I have problems with a veil wearing teacher? No. It's completely irrelevent for my own kids, as they don't have hearing problems. Perhaps, as they wouldn't be able to see facial expressions, they'd actually learn to listen more closely to what the teacher was saying. If she's a good teacher, it's not an issue, as far as I'm concerned.

Does it promote any notions that she's a terrorist? Only in the minds of Sun readers etc. It's an absolutely absurd idea.

Does this form of extremely orthodox religious expression alarm you? Yes. All religion alarms me. All religions with dress codes alarm me, and that goes across the board. Orthodox Jewish women, who won't leave the house without wearing a wig because no man other than their husband is allowed to see their hair. Plymouth Brethren women who are not allowed to wear trousers because it's unfeminine/immodest. Nuns and monks. Extreme religious expression suggests intolerance of those who do not have the same beliefs. It suggests that there is only one acceptable way to dress, and those that do not dress in this way are savages, barbarians, the unclean, the unchosen ones, beneath contempt.

What are my opinions on this? Err... just gave them. :D

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Louis P. Burns aka Lugh
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Postby Louis P. Burns aka Lugh » Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:20 pm

Nice one Delph. All points addressed :) ...

For me, religion is a complete waste of time. The assumption used to be that it gave people a firm grounding in morality but this has, in my opinion, eroded over the years and ugly fanaticism has surfaced. I see religion as an expression of intolerance geared to creating divides among humanity and serving a select few leaders at any one time only.

The woman at the centre of this debate, Aishah Azmi is holding onto a faith that is dogmatic in the eyes of the vast majority of people who reside in the country she chooses to live in. There are unwritten laws governing how she interacts with society and in particular with men.

I believe it is ridiculous to think anyone will learn anything from practitioners of such a blind faith. Education is all about accommodating the growth of intellect, not stunting it with fear of gods or punishments. The faith that this woman follows would openly stone her to death / persecute her for interacting with anyone on friendly terms should that person be male...

Another thing that springs to mind is that her class may be made up of young males. What lessons are they learning here? Children are inquisitive by nature. They would ask questions about why their teacher / class assistant has her face covered. The only explanation anyone could offer them, would be a continuation of the lies that are at the core of all religion...

I hate to keep referring back to Ireland, but think about it this way:- When the Catholic church maintained its firm control over people it was because they had got at them, when they were young. They intimidated young people with notions of a punishing god who damned anyone who defied them to an eternity in hell... Absolute bullshit and possibly used as a device to carry out other forms of abuse...

I reckon I'm lucky. I come from a mixed parentage background and was schooled for the most part in experimental, state run / mixed religion schools. By the time I got to secondary school I had enough wit to realise religion was the practice of fools and that it offered nothing but a lifetime in confusion.

The Catholic priests in Derry boycotted the school I went to and when others were getting religious education, I was bunged into the library with a few Baptists, Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists. I ignored them all and read books. Books and the written word remain one of the only things I still keep faith in... Through education and the encouragement to learn, young people will advance.

Religion should be banned in schools if not society as a whole and pratitioners of a faith should do so only in the privacy of their own homes if at all. It is the root of all sectarian thinking... I believe the woman; Aishah Azmi, at the centre of this current debate should wise up and get with the programme or be fired. If this were a school in an Islamic country, would Christianity* be acknowledged or encouraged?

*Another pointless notion based on the life and travels of a Hebrew anarchist opposed to the then 'powers that be' - the Romans...

I have edited this thread to correct mispelling of 'religious' and tighten up grammar in all of my posts.
Last edited by Louis P. Burns aka Lugh on Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Louis P. Burns aka Lugh
Administrator, editor & owner of the Sensitize © online community of forums and domain for artists, e-poets, filmmakers, media/music producers and writers working through here. To buy the Kindle book of Illustrated Poetry, Sensitize © - Volume One / Poems that could be Films if they were Funded by myself with illustrations by Welsh filmmaker and graphic artist; Norris Nuvo click here for N. Ireland and UK sales. If purchasing in the U.S.A. or internationally then please click here.

ASIN B00L1RS0UI

My writing is not covered by Creative Commons policy and may not be republished without permission. All rights reserved. All Sensitize © Arts sponsorship donations and postal inquiries to:

Louis P. Burns
42 Farland Way
DERRY
N. Ireland.
BT48 0RS
Telephone (UK): 028 71219225


Click here to Join Sensitize © Arts via Facebook or to contact the site owner: Louis P. Burns aka Lugh with any forum hosting or site related inquiries.

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Catherine Edmunds
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Postby Catherine Edmunds » Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:49 pm

I've just voted in the poll, saying that I think there should be religious education. Here are my reasons.

I don't think religious education should be banned in schools. Far from it. The history of civilisation is to a large extent the history of religions. A huge proportion of wars have been, and are being fought because of religion. It is essential, in my view, that children have some understanding of religion in order for them to understand why these wars happen. If they are never taught about religion, they will never see the traps. Forewarned is forearmed.

Also, there is culture. The best in western music, and western art, for many centuries was sponsored by the church. Young people need to know how and why these great pieces of art came into being, and what the beliefs were behind them. If you don't teach religion, you are effectively censoring that knowledge. That is wrong.

What should not be taught, is that any one religion is the only true religion. That means there should not, in my opinion, be any faith schools at all. That is horrendously divisive, and causes the worst sort of brain washing in impressionable youngsters.

I remember when I was picking a secondary school for one of my daughters, we visited the local Catholic school, which was in effect the local grammar school, with a very good reputation for a high academic standards. I asked the RE teacher about what was taught, and he went to great lengths to explain that all religions were taught, and there was no necessity to go to mass every day. However, each classroom had a crucifix in it. The crucifix was used historically as a means to torture and kill prisoners. I didn't want my daughter being taught every day in a classroom that used such a symbol as a matter of course; where they would be told that actually this was a symbol of resurrection and everlasting life. You see one thing, but you're told it's something completely different... that seems to me to be at the heart of many faiths, a mass of contradictions where your head tells you one thing but your faith insists on telling you the opposite. Too many young people are pressurised in faith schools to let their faith override their intellect, and that is why education in these faiths, in a non-biased way, is so important, so that young people can understand why and how these symbols are used. They should not be allowed to remain in ignorance.

Needless to say, my daughter didn't go to that school. She went to the local comp instead and got the best results in her year, going on to get a first in her degree, so the lack of 'firm moral guidance' didn't do her any harm.

However, despite being non-Christian, I encouraged my children to go to Sunday school, because it was the only way they were going to learn Bible stories, which are such an important aspect of our culture, whether you take them as truth of fables.

So yes, you need religious education. It should never be banned. Religion has created our culture. You can't pretend it doesn't exist, so you need to learn about how it came into being, what function it has in society, why people believe what they do, and so on. That way, so long as the subject is taught in an open and honest way, youngsters will grow up with greater understanding and respect for others, and are less likely to follow the blind example of those who swear black is white; who swear an instrument of torture is actually a means of salvation.

The main problem is with received religions, ie those that are purported to be the word of God, but are written down by man. Their beliefs have gone through the filter of the prejudices of their times. A few universal truths manage to seep through, but also a load of stuff that seems frankly silly. All those laws about what you can and cannot eat. They are historical, they are not sacred. Pork used to go off quickly, so it was advisable not to eat it. Sensible enough. But not God's word; not in my opinion. On the other hand, 'Love one another' is a principle that would do us all a world of good.

You need education; you need to be able to sift through holy writings and see where the message is good, and where it's garbled or quite simply wrong. You need education to understand that the Romans did a hefty censorship job on the Bible. You need education to understand that the Da Vinci code is an amiable load of old tosh. If you have no learning, if you've never been taught, how on earth are you to know?

spacecadet
visitor

Postby spacecadet » Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:28 pm

This recent debate has been quite educational for me. Up until recently I thought Muslim women wore veils because they were bloody ugly, very hairy, or bloody ugly and very hairy. Now I find out it's a religious thing. Maybe if I hadn't gone to a Christian/Jewish school I would have known this.

As for religious education in schools, I'm all for it. My religious education classes (or "Divinity" as it was called) were given by the school Chaplain, who used to tell us great stories of jungle warfare, and how he lost a lung building the Bridge over the river Kwai. They were the best lessons of all.


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