Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tribunal rules on Aisha Azmi

An industrial tribunal has ruled that Aisha Azmi was not the victim of religious discrimination, but was nevertheless victimized. (BBC) Turns out she has been suspended since February last year! Obviously the whole affair was only spotlighted as a convenient way for the press to keep the Jack Straw debate going.

Let's not forget that Tony himself waded in on this one.

Me, I'm more convinced than ever that it's untenable to have teachers wearing face veils. I am moved by Azmi's words when she asks us to remember that Muslim women who wear the veil are "not aliens", and am sympathetic to the fact she clearly feels put upon, and who blames her? She's absolutely right when she says that politicians should watch what they say as the impact on individuals can be profound and damaging.

However, she is wrong to labour the point that she can teach 'perfectly' while veiled and to make, again, the spurious comparison to teaching blind children. (Couldn't find a web link but she was interviewed on the Radio 4 news.) That's a stupid comparison. If her child went to school and needed extra support with listening skills, and that support was given by someone who could not speak, instead communicating only through sign language, would she be happy with this? Would the comment that 'hearing impaired children learn brilliantly so why are you so prejudiced?' be acceptable to her? I think we are all capable of recognising the excellence of teachers (and students) with various learning differences, without resorting to specious comparisons and idiotic logic.

Sorry, a bit angry there.

1 comment:

Peter said...

What really annoys me on this one is the hypocrisy of the fact she didn't wear the veil to interview.
If the veil is so important that she will wear it in front of children, why not in front of an interview panel? (which included at least one man). It couldn't be that she realised it might hamper her chances of getting a job (and months of paid time at home, and compensation, and publicity and...), could it?