Timothy Garton Ash tells Islamophobes to stop whingeing

“The most tiresome argument in this whole debate is that the niqab makes white, middle-class English people feel ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘threatened’. Well, I want to say, what a load of whingeing wusses. Threatened by drunken football hooligans or muggers – that I can understand. But threatened by a woman quietly going about her business in a veil? As for uncomfortable: myself, I feel uncomfortable with a certain kind of pink-faced Englishman wearing crimson braces, a white-cuffed pinstriped shirt and a bow tie. Their clothing is a fair predictor of the views that will come out of their mouths. But I don’t ask them to take off their braces.”

Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian, 12 October 2006