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The response to Spielman’s comments that she would like to inquire into the rapid expansion of the hijab for small girls was a spasm of venomous hate mail, including a “we-know-where-you live” and “can-get-you-any-time” threats mainly, she says, from “Islamic extremists and the hard Left”.

Worse was dished out to Neena Lall, the head teacher of St Stephen’s primary school in East London, when she dared to ban the hijab for 4-7-year-olds — again, out of concern for the welfare of the children under her care. The youngest girls tended to fiddle with their hijabs which affected their concentration in class. Lall was also concerned their scarves were working loose and might get caught around their necks while using playground equipment. She also worried about the impact on the children of fasting during Ramadan. Up to 19 hours without food had left some feeling faint and unable to concentrate. So parents were asked to feed their children before sending them to school.

Here’s a flavour of the response to Lall’s decision: “Having been exposed as an Islamophobe culturally ignorant, prejuidiced [sic] against Muslims, can you please confirm when you will resign from your post.”

Here’s another: “You are disgusting Islamophobic Nazi-like thinker (though a slave to racism doesn’t think) . . . the demand is simple, REMOVE THE BAN FROM THE GIRLS YOU PAEDOPHILLIAC PERSON . . . may you never be happy . . . how many shoes did you lick to be where you are today?”

And this: “Have you got as problem with Muslims? I think you are in the wrong job you coward. Stupid cow!”. This email was headlined “You Horrible VILE rat.”
British Muslims have now had almost a generation of being told by a myriad of activist organisations claiming to represent them that almost any restriction or even implied criticism of Islam is motivated by an irrational fear and even hatred of Islam, otherwise known as Islamophobia.

Hatred of Islam is indeed irrational, but apprehension about the long-term impact of a large and expanding politicised faith that seems intent on integrating on its own terms seems entirely logical. A culture war is far more dangerous to the cohesive health of this country than occasional attempts at mass murder, although not of course for those killed or injured. And the problem is that it is becoming almost impossible to reconcile our differences in civilised public debate.
Typical of the reaction to those like me who have scrutinised the more regressive versions of Islam since 9/11 is to play the man and not the ball. The latest bout (“rabid Islamophobe”, “piece of Islamophobic shit”, “sinister”, “white supremacist”, “racist”, “witchfinder general”, etc) followed my recent investigation for Channel 4 into the organisation claiming much of the credit for leading the campaigns against Neena Lall and Amanda Spielman.

That organisation is called Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development), which claims to be Britain’s most active and successful grassroots Muslim organisation.
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amcdonald
May 17th, 2018
7:05 PM
Iftikhar Ahmad`s comment is a perfect example of unreasoning.

Anon
May 13th, 2018
7:05 PM
Why does the government not support the more liberal British Muslims in this noble cause?

Iftikhar Ahmad
May 5th, 2018
7:05 PM
Hijab Why is it that we always have these conversations about girls? I never read articles about what boys should or should not wear. I have never read articles about what boys should be allowed to do, only girls. Maybe that is more the issue. Why? It would only be a good idea if you planned to make the families feel so unwelcome that they end up removing their children to be educated at home. But don't then be surprised at the number of home educated Muslim children rising. Maybe that's the overall agenda to make Muslims as outcasts? Muslim girls who wear the hijab to primary school will be asked why they wear it by inspectors. The reasons given will then be recorded in school reports, amid concerns girls are being forced to wear the headscarf by their parents. Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, announced the move on Sunday. This is none of Ofsted's business. In fact it is discrimination. Ofsted should be instructed to back off. Can you please focus on the primary children/girls who are dressed like grown women with short skirts and such which would be deemed as sexualisation of girls. And is this about sexualisition Ms Spielamn or Fundamentalism? I think your a little confused and need to make up your mind because I would say its about Islamophobia. Imagine being questioned about why you dress the way your parents tell you at 8 years of age!? What do you say? “Sorry, I’ll tell them they are wrong”? Looks like Ofsted are now so busy with combating Islam that they will have no time to deal with education? The problem is, before they start the quizzing, they're making public exactly what the girls should get prepared to reply (by their family) to be allowed to keep the hijab. With all the time to rehearse. Any child asked by an inspector why she’s covering her hair should reply.. 'its a free country I can wear what I effing want''!! We do not need inspectors chasing Muslims just because we hate them. Looks like Ofsted are now so busy with combating Islam that they will have no time to deal with education? What is the role of the Government can any of the hijab haters answer This? Or do we need another PREVENT policy to target certain group of people? I bet all the readers who have kids have forced their kids to go to sleep, brush their teeth, wake them out of bed, eat dinner etc, wear a helmet whilst riding bike and so on...So what is wrong with telling your kid to cover the head to if one wants to. There is nothing wrong with this as long as its achieved peacefully and through education. Of course they are forced or at least required to wear hijabs by parents because it is the parents who bring up children according to their tradition, religion or both. Freedom of religion is imperial . One can choose what to believe in an practise it , it' not the government' job to dictate what you should eat, how you should dress ,when you should pray ..it only has the power to coerce it' civilians but it should just focusing on providing services and infrastructure and education and so on. So they need to send inspectors instead of assuming that it's the parents brainwashing the kids. Interesting. Maybe they expect to find some 7 years old girls who will give them a detailed report of all the faiths they thoroughly researched before choosing Islam because it's the one they believe provides the answers to all their existential and philosophical questions. Parents are free to teach their children what they want as long as it' not harming them physically or mentally. Its called education not force. I guess every parent has the right to educate their child into doing something which they believe is good (as long as its not a crime etc). It's the parents that they should be questioning, not the children. No good asking the girls. If they are made to wear it, they will be made to say they aren’t, since that’s what the Inspectors want to hear. Everybody knows who the Inspectors spoke to. How nice of them. Huge swathes of children in Birmingham leave school without 5 GCSE but that doesn't seem to concern Ofsted too much. In fact they label schools Outstanding when they cannot even get half their pupils to this benchmark! We, as parents want to raise our girls. It is our responsibility, no one else's , even Ofsted. Ofsted should be looking at the reasons why children &young people are suffering an epidemic of mental illness, clue: it’s not because they lack resilience. Instead they are joining in with the rights obsession over what women and girl wear and bashing Muslims

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