There's another fake tabloid outrage brewing about the niqab. I missed the build up to the last one, but we can have a bit of a look at how these things develop from their beginnings with this one.

The Mail doesn't have much to say on the subject this time - and nothing that's any different from the standard tabloid line. They're too busy being racist about Polish people right now (more about that in the next post, you lucky people). Plus, I think even Mail readers had had enough after their false accusations of terrorist connections last time. The Sun is following it more closely, so I'll have a look at the Sun coverage since it kind of illustrates what I was banging on about.

Incidentally, there's more about that blatant propaganda piece in yesterday's 'The Sun Says' column over at Obsolete with 'Scum watch: Stay scared', which is worth a read. (I have to say, if I remembered some people actually read this and might want to link here, I'd think of cleverer headlines than yesterday's, but there you go).

The Sun has two stories so far, one from yesterday, and one from today. The most obvious thing about the first, 'Trial halted over lawyer's veil', is how the Sun uses pictures to tell the readers what to think. It's almost as annoying as the 'posh' Wayne Rooney picture yesterday. The photo is of someone in a veil, but just look at how it's lit from the bottom so it casts massive shadows behind and above like a horror film monster. Scary. Remember this is from the same day that the paper tells us to stay on guard against a Muslim threat and has a headline about a Muslim terrorist.

The picture ensures that we already know what to think before we read any of the article, but story helpfully elaborates on the scary Muslim line. The headline itself does a good job of this - see how it makes the whole thing the lawyer's fault. It could just as easily said 'Trial halted over judge's intolerance' but it doesn't. It's the lawyer's fault when she says no to the judge's repeated requests to remove her veil, not the judge's for demanding it in the first place. Let's remember that it's the judge who has the power here, not Ms Mughal, and it's the judge who exercised his power to take the case further.

There's a big difference between this and Jack Straw's comments that started the anti-veil ball rolling. Jack Straw, numpty though he might be, said he only requested that women remove the veil, not that he demanded it, and that he carried on if they refused. This guy halted a court hearing because of it. Is this the inevitable consequence of Straw's comments?

An important thing here is being missed - probably deliberately - both in this version of the story and the other tabloids'. The judge requested that Ms Mughal remove her veil, she refused, and he adjourned until the afternoon. When the judge reconvened, he already knew that Ms Mughal would not remove her veil. He'd already asked her. The important thing being left out is what was said before the adjournement. We do know that Ms Mughal later said, "Sir, we have been through this issue," which implies a far more involved discussion than a request and a refusal.

And it might be just me, but when I read that the judge asked her to repeat herself when she spelled her name I can't help thinking of the Fat Fighters sketches in Little Britain, where Marjorie Dawes constantly pretends not to understand an Indian woman's accent. Does it sound likely that she was difficult to hear, given that we have some quite clear quotations of what she said dotted around this article?

There's probably quite a lot more left out here in this exchange. The article makes it look as though it went:

Kindly, reasonable judge: 'Could you kindly remove your veil please?'
Scary Muslim: 'No'
Adjourned until afternoon
Kindly, reasonable judge: 'Go on, pretty please. I can't understand you.'
Scary Muslim: 'No. I'm off.'

Does that sound likely to you? Plus, the judge's further comments are nothing more than passive-aggressive bullying. He says, "If you remove your veil, which happens in other cases, we can proceed, otherwise I am going to have consultations with the President of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. Will you remove it?" That sentence could just as easily been, "If I stop demanding that you remove your veil, we can proceed . . ." It's worth repeating - it's the judge who has the power here.

He knows she won't remove the veil. He's asked her at least twice, so he makes a threat to take things further. If there was really no way the tribunal could have gone ahead, the judge wouldn't have just adjourned until the afternoon after he asked the first time. He could have made it clear he wouldn't proceed then - and Ms Mughal might have been able to make alternative arrangements for her client. Instead, he waits until after the recess, when making alternative arrangements is impossible. And what 'other cases' do veils routinely get removed in? Ones in different courts with different rules on dress codes?

The second article, 'Heading off to the Old Veily' is more worrying. The main picture accompanying it and the headline are examples of the 'let's all have a laugh together' technique I talked about yesterday. The picture is of Mughal with her veil covering her eyes (ha ha, does the silly girl not realise she can't see?) and the headline is a dodgy pun.

There are two reasons this article exists. To bully Ms Mughal, and to make sure the paper's readers don't forget the story. It even helpfully includes a picture of yesterday's article to make sure its readers remember, because it clearly thinks they're too stupid to without it.

I'm suspicious about the paper's claim that she covered her eyes and wonder whether the photo's just been photoshopped - but I could well be wrong. I wouldn't blame her, anyway.

The bullying is done in a couple of ways. Childish mickey taking, with the headline and the 'she even pulled the veil over her eyes' comments, which remind me of singing 'Hey Fatty Boom Boom' at school around fat kids (to my shame) and catcalls about them trying to disguise their size.

The other way is the very idea of ambushing her on the way to work. The article says she:
repeatedly refused to explain why she had forced Monday’s hearing to be adjourned
Which further compounds the bullying. She didn't force the case to be adjourned. The judge did. And the paper already knows why she refused to remove her veil. Not only is it blindingly fucking obvious, but the article even quotes her own words from the day before:
You are clearly aware of my position on the grounds of my religious beliefs. I won’t.
Why do you need to harrass someone in the street to answer a question you already know the answer to? So you can frame it as a loaded question so that if she answers, she's admitting to forcing the case to be adjourned. Which she didn't. The loaded question is a bullying tactic in itself. 'Oy, fatty, have you stopped eating cream cakes out of your mums knickers so you can stop being so fat?' That kind of thing.

And what's the betting that this is an out of context quote:
Javid Hussain, practice manager at the Coventry Law Partnership where she has worked for four years, said: “This was an unfortunate and unprecedented incident.

“She will continue to dress as she always has done.”
See, this gives the impression that the 'unfortunate and unprecedented incident' is Ms Mughal refusing to take off her veil.

But look! The Telegraph covers this in the article, 'Lawyer refuses to take off veil', and says:
Javid Hussain, practice manager at the Law Partnership in Coventry, where Miss Mughal works, said she had worn her veil while appearing before tribunals in different parts of the country for at least the past two years.
This whole story is about a woman who normally wears a veil in her work, and it hasn't been an issue until this one judge has made it an issue.

This story looks more and more like an intolerant judge trying to bully a woman who wants to wear a veil and has never had a problem with doing so in the past. He's now being helped by the tabloids, which is great.

There is one final way this article is bullying. With its:
'DO you know Shabnam Mughal? Call us on . . .'
Yeah, call us and share the gossip on this weirdo.

The Express frames this with the triumphant headline, 'The veil banned by judge'. Which you'd think was a step in the right direction, until you remember their numerous front page calls to ban the veil. They think they've won. And if this woman is forced to remove her veil, they have. In a way, this article is even less subtle than the Sun's, since it explicitly states:
Last night, after the case was halted because of her defiance [...]
We know from John Reid's spineless capitulating over Eastern European immigration that the tabloids can influence major decisions. We can see from these articles that they do it by shady misrepresentations and blatant bullying. It's got to be why they're attacking Aisha Azmi even after she lost her tribunal - they know they have less influence over European courts.

How long before she's accused of having terrorist connections?

*UPDATE* Read the comments about the story at the Sun. If you want to feel sick.

Some nice, totally non-racist quotes:

From 'Bryan':
Because of our enforced PC society we cannot actually say what we mean.Let us be honest, it is not the Mormons, or the seventh day adventists, or the Quakers, or the Hindus,or the Sikhs or the etc etc who are disrupting our society with their demands IT IS THE MUSLIMS.let me repeat that--IT IS THE MUSLIMS. [...]
No Bryan, of course they haven't. Sikhs have never asked to wear religious clothing. Or Christians.
This is not a question of racism, it is a question of reality and facing up to the truth.Of course 99.99999% of these Muslims are innocent of any terrorist related crime, but equally so are 100% of British whites.
If it's not a question of racism, why do you talk about Muslims and whites, and not Muslims and non-Muslims. You realise that some Muslims are white people, right? You realise that the Northern Ireland terrorists on both sides were white British people? Twat.

From 'mumof3':
What's the betting that in her own country (that which her 'religion' comes from), she wouldn't even be allowed to become a lawyer, based on her sex?
Is that a cross round your neck in that picture? Does that mean I can tell you to get back to your own country and you'll go to Nazareth? Or do you think 'Church of England' means Jesus was English? (Thanks to Jeremy Hardy for that last gag, which I mercilessly stole).

From 'HIBYE':
why do they wanna live in a country believe in freedom of showing the face … equiality between man and woman ... why don't they stay in their country if they don't like that
It looks like Ms Mughal is from Bradford. Why doesn't she go back to whatever backward country Bradford is in?

From 'diamond-simon':

From 'nedjac':
No one is forced to wear something that they have been ordered to by force or intimidation.If the Muslims involved insist that this is to be their dress code then I suggest they return to wherever their dress code is acceptable.
Jesus, these 'fuck off back to where they wear these things' are so common that if I quoted them all I might as well cut and paste the whole comments section. And yes, they are forced to wear something that they have been ordered to. Clothes that don't include a veil. You prat.

From 'Th0masjw':
I also heard that they wear them so no other male can look upon their beauty after they are married, or something like that! Ha thats a joke! When was the last time you saw a good looking muslim? Show me a good looking muslim man or woman, and ill show you my backside in trafalgar square on christmas day!
Racist cunt.

Looks like the Sun is right about where it places the intelligence level of its readers.


septicisle said...

I get the feeling that the Sun's decision to make comments such as those so prominent on their site is going to lead to some ructions when they're forced to remove the racist opinions of their own readers, influenced by the newspaper's consistent Muslim bashing.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

I wonder if the paper would be forced to remove the comments. They've carried on getting worse since I posted anyway.