Brit Leader Bytes Back

Wellie, well, well, as the screw turns. Things in Jolly Olde England are not as they seemed even just a few weeks ago. Former Dhimmi Tony Blair finally speaks out in real terms about real issues without stooping to all that "religion of peace" (ROP) sugarcoating. As reported by Islam News in Cairo:

Great Britain

Great Britain

CAIRO — In an unprecedented strongly-worded language, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called on immigrants to accept British values or "stay away", and re-advocated a face-veil ban in public places, reported The Independent on Saturday, December 9. "Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain Britain. So conform to it; or don't come here," Blair told an audience grouping academics, students and Muslim leaders, adding, "We don't want the hate-mongers, whatever their race, religion or creed." Blair defined British values as "belief in democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, equal treatment for all, respect for this country and its shared heritage".

The British premier said his government will take a series of measures to encourage immigrants and ethnic minorities to integrate into society, according to Reuters. Immigrants seeking a settlement in Britain will have to pass an English test, Blair said. Ethnic and religious groups in Britain will also be required to show they promote integration for getting government grants, he added.

"In the future, we will assess bids from groups of any ethnicity or any religious denomination, also against a test, where appropriate, of promoting community cohesion and integration," Blair said.

Integrating immigrants has become a burning issue in Europe with right-wing and conservative governments vowing to expel the un-adaptive or deny access to foreigners failing culture tests. In the Netherlands, would-be immigrants have to watch a film featuring a topless woman and gay men kissing to test their readiness to learn Dutch values and liberate in the country's liberal society. A number of German states are further considering a lengthy cultural quiz that immigrants have to answer to get citizenship. Blair also favored a ban of face-veil (niqab) in public places. He said that it was common sense that "when it is an essential part of someone's work to communicate directly with people, being able to see their face is important".

Blair, who earlier described the veil as a "mark of separation", was reportedly mulling a face-veil ban in public institutions, including schools. Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday, December 9, opposed a ban of religious symbols in public places.

"Hostility to all forms of recognition of the political and cultural importance of religion and in particular the presence of any religious symbols in public institutions—is not a sign of healthy secularism, but the degeneration of secularism," he said. A BBC survey on November 29 showed that the majority of Britons were against a blanket ban on the veil. The issue of face-veil was recently thrust into the spotlight after former foreign secretary and incumbent leader of the House of Common Jack Straw revealed asking Muslim women visiting his constituency office to show their faces. Aishah Azmi, a 24-year-old Muslim teacher, was recently sacked over her veil. The young woman had expressed willingness to remove her veil in front of children—but not when male colleagues were present.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations. As for the face veil, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that a woman is not obliged to cover her face or hands.

Blair singled out "new and virulent form of ideology associated with a minority of our Muslim community" for threatening Britain's racial harmony. "Most Muslims are proud to be British and Muslim and are thoroughly decent, law-abiding citizens. But it is a problem with a minority of that community, particularly originating from certain countries," he added, drawing a parallel between white supporters of right-wing British National Party and Muslims who shun integration. Blair also spoke of what he said frustration of some Muslim women at being barred from certain mosques, saying, "Those that exclude the voice of women need to look again at their practices," he added. The British Prime Minister also dismissed suggestions for applying Sharia law in Britain.

The Muslim minority, nearly 1.8 million the majority of whom are of Asian origins, has been in the eye of the storm since the 7/7 terrorist attacks by four British Muslim bombers.

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