Wrong to see Muslim women who cover hair or body as a threat, says Cherie Blair

Friday, November 5, 2010

LONDON - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, has backed Muslim women who wear ‘burqas’, saying that it was wrong to see those who cover their hair or their body as a threat.

Speaking just two weeks after her sister Lauren Booth converted to Islam, she stressed that it was essential to respect people’s right to dress how they choose.

“We use the appearance of women as a metaphor of our fear of a supposed Islamic threat. There are thousands of Muslims in Europe who participate in our way of life and intend continuing to do so and if they want to dress in a certain way because of their beliefs, we shouldn’t feel threatened,” the Daily Mail quoted Cherie Blair, as saying.

She stressed that it was important to fight against stereotypes that ‘above all affect Muslim women,’ and added: “We tend to believe they’re oppressed, insecure and incapable of thinking for themselves and that is not true.”

She had attacked full-face veils for women three years back, saying that it violates ‘the woman’s right to be a person’.

“Women covering their heads, women dressing modestly, I have no problem with at all. I think, however, that if you get to a stage where a woman is not able to express her personality because you can’t see her face, then you do have to ask whether this is something that is actually acknowledging the woman’s right to be a person in her own right,” she had said then.

Earlier this year, British right-wing political party UKIP had urged the government to ban the wearing of the burqa and the niqab, after claiming the clothing is an affront to British values.

However, the demand was later turned down by the government, saying that such a move would be “rather un-British” and run contrary to the conventions of a “tolerant and mutually respectful society”. (ANI)

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