“Many British Pakistanis have established highly successful businesses and belong to middle class lifestyles. However, British Pakistanis also have the second highest overall relative poverty rate in Britain, after British Bangladeshis. A large number of British Pakistanis are self-employed, with a significant number working in the transport industry or in family-run businesses in the retail sector.The demographics of British Pakistanis have changed considerably since they first arrived in the UK. The population has grown from about 10,000 in 1951 to roughly 1.2 million today” text by wikipedia
Posted by Anne Marie Posted: Mon, 06 Aug 2012 10:55 BLOG By Anne Marie Waters
The number of women wearing the burka and niqab has exploded in Britain in recent decades.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has described this as follows: “It started 20 years ago with the hijab, donned then as a defiant symbol of identity, now a conscript’s uniform. Then came the jilbab, the cloak, fought over in courts when schoolgirls were manipulated into claiming it as an essential Islamic garment.”
We must consider therefore what the future will bring. It could be argued that banning this garment will reduce the numbers wearing it – both now and the future – and that is a result I would welcome. If we cannot ban the burka for the women who desperately want to rid themselves of it, or in solidarity with women the world over who risk their lives to fight against this sartorial prison, perhaps then we can do it for their daughters?
In her wonderful book ‘My Forbidden Face’, Latifa – a young Afghan girl -wrote:
“In order to look behind me, I have to turn around completely. I can feel the rustle of my own breath inside the garment. I’m hot. My feet get tangled up in the material. I’ll never be able to wear this. I now understand the stiff robot-like walk of the ‘bottle women’, their unflinching look directly in front of them or fixed rigidly on any unsuspected obstacle. I now know why they hesitate for so long before crossing the street, why it takes them an eternity to walk upstairs. These phantoms that now roam the streets of Kabul have a terrible time avoiding bicycles, buses and carts. It’s even worse trying to run away from the Taliban. This is not a garment. It is a mobile prison.”
Do we stand with Latifa and oppose the burka? That is the real choice that we all need to make.