Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Begum loses; BBC still wrong

Sanity and reason, it seems, does still exist here in Britain.

A school which was told it unlawfully excluded a Muslim pupil for wearing a traditional gown has won its appeal at the House of Lords.

The Court of Appeal had said Denbigh High School had denied Shabina Begum the right to manifest her religion in refusing to allow her to wear a jilbab.

But in a unanimous ruling, judges at the House of Lords overturned that.

Unfortunately, given the degree to which Britain has already relinquished its sovereignty, the last word has not necessarily been heard.
[Miss Begum] would consult her lawyers about a potential appeal to the European courts, she said.
There is little reason to hope that such sanity and reason continues to survive in the halls of Brussels.

On another note regarding this story, it is clear that fidelity to language continues to be a problem for the BBC. Despite it’s portrayal to the contrary, Miss Begum was not excluded “for wearing a traditional jilbab”. She was, in fact, excluded for not wearing an approved school uniform…a uniform which in fact did include concessions to Muslim sensitivities.

Virtually every story on the BBC about this affair has portrayed it as an issue in which a school “refused to allow” the jilbab rather than, as was the case, an issue in which a student refused to wear the approved school uniform. In other words, the BBC characterizes the conflict as arising from the actions of the school, rather than from the actions of the girl, a characterization which is belied by the facts of the case. To be fair, the BBC has supplied the details of the case, thus allowing more attentive readers to ultimately draw the correct conlcusions. But still, it's introduction of the issue inevitably seems to place Begum in the role of victim, when in fact reality is quite the opposite.

4 Comments:

Blogger JohnM said...

I think the BBC "fact piece" is inadequate.

1. The school is 79% Muslim and its dress code was agreed with Muslim parents/governors. Thus this is not an Islam vs secular Britain issue but a extremist vs moderate Islam issue.

Indeed, Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, the leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, said of the original verdict: "This may be a victory for human rights but it is also a victory for fundamentalism."

2. I'm pretty sure the headmistress is Mulsim too, but I can't locate a link.

3. The schoolgirl was advised by Hizb ut-Tahrir, the extremist organisation that is banned in many countries of the world. [The Guardian reporter who reported this story, Dilpazier Aslam, was a member of this organisation but he was only sacked after the Sassy story. See also Harrys Place, which is down so I can't provide link.]

$. The girl's lawyers included Cherrie Booth (aka Mrs Tony Blair). Whilst one shouldn't in general assume that a lawyer taking on a client infers that they support their cause, I am concerned that this case may be the exception.

3:11 PM  
Blogger JohnM said...

As I thought, the headmistress was Muslim too

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The BBC seldom if ever mentions the clear Hizb link.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Serf said...

The poor girl is a pawn in a game played by the extremists Hizb ut-Tahrir and is completely controlled by her elder brother.

7:44 AM  

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