She’s come tearing through her daughter’s new school, threatening lawsuits because the school won’t let her run free and fully veiled on its property. (Background here.)

It’s been a pleasure for UD to watch how attitudes toward the burqa/niqab have changed all over Europe. The Guardian, a left-leaning paper, publishes two letters in response to the lawsuit threat, neither the slightest bit sympathetic:

As a Muslim woman, the case of Rachida Serroukh (Mother sues daughter’s school over face veil ban, 21 July) fills me with dismay. It has been widely documented that there is no religious obligation, in the Qur’an, for a woman to wear a face veil, burqa or niqab, but simply to dress modestly.

I wonder if she thought the staff at the school (or the children) would look at her suggestively. I very much doubt they would. The face veil can be intimidating and frightening for children. Ironically, the countries that encourage women to wear a burqa or niqab are those where women’s education is thought to be unnecessary and dangerous.

We all need to respect the culture in which we live; although Rachida Serroukh wants her children to have a good education in a top school in Holland Park, she seems to neither like nor respect the culture in which she lives…


The school should not have to deal with this issue – this is a provocative action and the local authority should be supporting the school. Rachida Serroukh is importing a 12th-century custom which discriminates against women into 21st-century Britain. This country has to adhere to its commitment of equality, as France does, and the law should not be used to undermine our way of life.


The face veil can be intimidating and frightening for children.

Hadn’t thought of that. It’s a simple and persuasive point: An adult entirely covered in black (this includes, for most wearers, not just the face, but, for instance, the fingers), speaking through black mesh, would be for most children pretty grotesque. Traditional nuns might have been somewhat scary, but at least they let you see their face.

Many of us find something deeply unsettling in the self-annihilation of the burqa, and the fact that it is fully and exclusively associated with women tells us all we need to know. It’s even ickier to contemplate the messages little children (especially girls) get, seeing women done up like that.

Trackback URL for this post:

Comment on this Entry

Latest UD posts at IHE