Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2490

I was denied an education because I wear the niqab

I can’t help but vent about how I’m so fed up of Muslim and Islam bashing and the “debates” about the niqab.

I feel so frustrated when I think about the struggles that we who wear the niqab face for dressing the way we choose to dress.

There are so many common stereotypes and slanderous comments made about us.

The resentment I have over the issue is deep rooted for a number of reasons.

Too often we hear that the niqab is an obstruction to further education or careers. But as niqabi women we’re often denied the right to education itself.

Back in 2006 I was granted admission to colleges in Manchester based on my GCSE results. But the moment the colleges saw me in a veil I was refused an admission.

At one point I was specifically told that my niqab was problematic. I couldn’t study what I wanted to because of this.

So don’t tell me Muslims are intolerant people and that women in niqab don’t integrate.

Actually we aren’t even granted the opportunity to do so in the first place!

I wear the veil. I wanted an education but I was forcefully put into the situation by our education system to either study without the veil, or not study at all.

How is this any better than the people who stop girls from having an education? I’m reminded of Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel peace prize winner, who was shot for going to school in Pakistan.

I’m also reminded of the good work building schools for girls by former Guantanamo Bay detainees Shaker Aamer and Moazzam Begg in Afghanistan.

The price they had to pay for that also comes to mind.

Don’t tell me I’m oppressed because I wear a veil. I was oppressed when I was denied a right to education IN my veil.

It’s intolerance that prevented a Muslim woman in a veil from the opportunity to integrate in society the way she wanted to.

Zulaikha Farooqi, Manchester

Leicester street busts racist migrant myths

Negative stories about refugees, migrants and new communities seem to be in the news every day.

Not so often do you see the real picture of cities such as Leicester.

Despite fierce cuts, poverty and unemployment Leicester has a success story. One that would make David Cameron choke on his champagne.

According to an LSE report Narborough Road in Leicester is officially the “most diverse street in Britain”.

And it is thriving. This street has people of more than 22 different nationalities who the report found to be helping each other and trading their skills. The report says, “We should not ignore the role migrants play in places like this, they don’t just live here they invest and make them work.”

Cath Lewis, Leicester

Love metal, hate racism

As a nearly lifelong fan of metal music I was hurt and disappointed by the actions of former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo.

At the end of a festival last month Anselmo gave Nazi salutes and shouted, “White Power”.

What was more troubling was the initial reaction from many metal fans who made excuses for him.

There were many statements about the “PC police” and free speech.

Anselmo is a talented musician. But that does not mean we should ignore his racism.

Metal is a kind of music that had a rebellious spirit and should be something that the left can embrace and celebrate.

Those of us who are fans of metal must challenge racism in metal.

Geoff Breeze, Southampton

Solidarity with Syriza

Dave Sewell is wrong to criticise the record of Syriza in Greece (Socialist Worker, 6 February).

Greece had to sign a hard deal with its lenders to survive as a country. But Syriza is looking after the poorest and those in need in many ways.

High profile people pay their fines for tax evasion, lists of account holders in Swiss banks are scoured.

A write-off of the largest part of the national debt is a constant priority for Syriza and actively pursued.

You forgot to mention that despite huge economic issues, Greece is helping and saving hundreds of thousands of refugees.

With regards to Israel, Greece has common interests in the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the east Mediterranean.

For a country in need of economic resources this is a huge interest, and could not be ignored.

With regards to Palestine Syriza is promoting a peaceful solution to the conflict as practically there’s not much else that it can do.

So Syriza has remained true to its values and keeps on fighting under extreme conditions.

Since you are criticising Syriza, can you please let us know of any achievements of Socialist Worker in Britain?

As far as I know you still have the Tories in power. You have not achieved anything at all for workers.

We will win in the end and better days will come to Greece. But we need support and not sneers.

Where has your solidarity gone?

Alex Galanos, On Facebook

Labour right are no threat

Momentum founder Jon Lansman is wrong to think Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will face a leadership challenge in May (Socialist Worker, 6 February).

The Labour right are a tiny minority at large and such a move would unleash a mega storm of protest.

Terry Crow, Hampshire

How do we fight fascism?

I read your report from the protest against the National Front in Dover last week (Socialist Worker, 6 February).

But Hitler came to power by democratic means—the same as Cameron, elected with less than a quarter of the elctoral vote.

Derrick Gaskin, Chelmsford

Hitler never had a majority vote. He was elected, but he only got power because a divided left allowed his stormtroopers to take over the streets.

That’s why we have to turn out and stop the Nazis today.

Julia Richardson, Swansea

Why must Rhodes fall?

I disagree that the Cecil Rhodes statue at Oriel College in Oxford should be taken down.

Why not erect a large sign explaining who he was and what he did?

Tear it down and he’ll be forgotten.

Mark Adams, On Facebook

Rhodes’ statue and Rhodes are part of our cultural heritage. And it is pretty important to know it and discuss it critically. Airbrushing figures out of history rarely ends well.

Andy Towle, On Facebook

Exposing the barbarism of Britain’s imperialist history is the opposite of airbrushing. No definition of culture includes celebrating that.

This is a monument to imperialism.

Do you think Zimbabweans fighting for independence allowed statues of Rhodes to stand? I’m with them.

Austin Challen, On Facebook


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 9 Feb 2016, 16:51 GMT
Issue No. 2490
Share this article

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.