“It’s open season on Islam – Muslims are the new Jews…. Especially since July 7, it has become acceptable to say the most ignorant, degrading things about Islam…. I am particularly irked by ancient old ‘feminists’ wheeling out themselves and their 30-years-out-of-date opinions to reiterate the old chestnut that Islam, by its nature, oppresses women (unlike the Bible, eh,?) and that the veil compounds the blanket oppression….
“Oppressed women are everywhere: there’s probably one living in your street. She may be a Muslim wearing a veil, or a white woman whose husband beats her. She may be covered from head to toe, dressed like a librarian, or fond of micro-skirts. She may be your mother or your sister. She may be you – regardless of how you dress, what you believe or where you come from. And that is the point. Unhappy, abused people come in all colours, shapes and sizes. It is absurd to suddenly appoint ourselves moral arbiters, and decree, very loudly, that a piece of fabric is an indicator of an unhappy, down-trodden life….
“I am particularly offended by Straw’s comments because the women Straw described are by and large first-generation immigrants – ie, poor working-class women trying to get on with their lives…. Straw and his acolytes – the self-appointed sisterhood among them – are picking on the women who are most voiceless and least able to defend themselves. They should be ashamed.”
India Knight in the Sunday Times, 15 October 2006