Another characteristically stupid and provocative headline from the Sunday Express. The accompanying article asserts that “an unholy alliance of Muslims and far-Right extremists was last night threatening Jack Straw’s future as an MP”. Needless to say, no such alliance exists and the Express offers no evidence that it does.
The Blackburn Muslims interviewed are divided over expressing regret at Straw’s comments, asking for a discussion with him, calling for an apology and demanding his resignation. Only two of those interviewed adopt the latter position.
As for the BNP, it aims to take advantage of the anti-Muslim sentiments provoked by Straw’s comments by standing against him in the next general election. The fascists’ spokesman Phil Edwards is quoted as saying that Straw has played a “subtle” version of the race card in order to boost his standing with white voters. (The BNP, of course, will do the same thing but dispense with the subtlety.) Edwards adds: “We have been saying this about Muslim dress for some time. It’s all part of the problems of a multi-cultural Britain that he and the Labour Party helped to create.”
The article also quotes Tory defence minister Gerald Howarth as saying that parliament may be forced to change the law to ban the veil. “I don’t think we need to legislate today but the time may come – if this fashion grows – where we need to. It’s time we stood up for our Christian heritage.”