IN the sunshine in Barnes Park, three women in burkas. My friend flashes them a smile.
They stare back. Then the young son of one of them pushes my pal’s four-year-old daughter down the slide. They all laugh and jabber in their own tongue as she tells her daughter: “If he does that again I will push him down the slide head first.”
More than their burkas, she was offended by their attitude. Of course this could have happened in the play park with mothers from anywhere in our city who don’t chastise their children.
The Muslim boy then pushed another little boy. His father stood seething, but said not a word. Doubtless, like my friend he knew the race card would be pulled if he said anything.
And so “the child from hell” as she called him, went unchecked.
But that happens time and again with Wearsiders. And similarly, if you say anything you can expect a tongue-lashing.
What that incident in the park showed was that there are Muslims here who do not want to integrate with us.
Perhaps that’s why 88 per cent of Echo readers voted to ban the burka. I’m not surprised they want us to follow France’s lead. But I can’t see it happening here.
Appeasement of the minority is what renders our rulers incapable of standing up for the majority. This land is locked in a politically-correct stranglehold, every bit as sinister as the burka.
There is widespread support to outlaw the burka. Tory MP Philip Hollobone has tabled a private member’s bill to ban veils in public.
Burkas are a political statement of extremist Islam which is totally incompatible in our society.
That’s a view shared by many Muslims, like those in Oxford who this week burned the burka as a mark of their disgust and disdain.
I applaud Dr TAJ Hargey, imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation saying: “Integrated British Muslims will salute France purging this hideous tribalism, which is a complete perversion of pristine Islam. “It is right to prohibit the burka as the Koran stipulates only that both genders dress modestly in public. Educated Muslims also reject it as a security risk and because it disempowers women by making them invisible.”
That’s precisely how my colleague Jessica Forster felt when she wore a burka one day.
She felt like a non-person, shunned, viewed with suspicion by people intimidated. Not surprisingly, because you don’t know what’s behind it. I find it offensive and it should be outlawed in this country.
I can well see why the French have, given forty two per cent see Islam as a threat to national identity.
In typical style they have taken to the streets for wine and pork parties, patriotic demos in a backlash against Islam.
In Paris they are fed-up of Muslims en-masse taking over neighbourhoods to pray on the pavement for two hours every Friday afternoon, stopping residents from getting in or out of their homes. The Muslims say their mosque isn’t big enough. More than two thirds of French and German people now consider the integration of Muslims into their societies a failure, pollster IFOP said this year.
While many Muslims are happy to integrate here, are good neighbours and friends, there are others who have no intention of doing so.
And many of the womenfolk are prevented by their men, kept like prisoners, ignorant of our language, controlled by fear.
Jean-Francois Cope, French government minister has warned that the banning of the burka was one not just for France, with: “We cannot accept the development of such a practice because it is not compatible with life in modern society. This question is not only a French question, but you will all have to face this challenge.”
If only our gutless government was up for this challenge – one which needs to be tackled sooner rather than later.