Richard Dawkins, the outspoken atheist, has courted fresh controversy by likening the burka to a bin liner.
Telegraph UK (H/T Mullah)
The 69-year-old author and Oxford academic said he is filled with “visceral revulsion” when he sees women wearing the traditional Islamic covering. Â But he held back from advocating a ban on the all-enveloping cloak, insisting that such legislation would fly in the face of Britain’s liberal tradition.
Professor Dawkins referred to the burka as a “full bin-liner thing” in an interview with the Radio Times in which he discussed his forthcoming documentary on the dangers of faith schools.
He has sparked fury among Muslim groups, who have accused him of being “ignorant” and “Islamophobic”.
But he stood by his remarks last night, telling the Daily Mail: “I do feel visceral revulsion at the burka because for me it is a symbol of the oppression of women.” Â But he added: “As a liberal I would hesitate to propose a blanket ban on any style of dress because of the implications for individual liberty and freedom of choice.”
Last month the French government voted to ban the burka from public places. It also banned the niqab â€“ a piece of cloth covering the face. Â Â Seyyed Ferjani, of the Muslim Association of Britain, accused Professor Dawkins of “Islamophobia”.
She said: “This kind of thing has been on the rise for some time. Britain is a diverse and free society. Â Â Britain still is, to a degree. But no Islamic Â country is diverse or free…
“It is a woman’s choice if she wishes to wear a burka, a niqab or not. Why does it matter to this man what a woman is wearing?” That, in essence, is the biggest lie. The Koranimals whack their women into the burqa and there is no way out of it…..
In Faith Schools Menace? on More4 next week, the Oxford University evolutionary biologist argues that religious schools are encouraging social segregation.