Monsters and Critics reports:
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has said that he personally would like Muslim women to stop wearing veils, but insists that any such moves will only ever originate from within the Muslim community itself. Mr Livingstone told the Today programme that efforts by non-Muslim politicians to change the way in which Muslims dressed would not have the desired effect.
Ken's comments are some of the most sensible so far from a non-Muslim politician on this subject. His non-threatening stance, emphasising change from inside the Muslim community, is most welcome....
And the London major today said 'change from within the Muslim community' was necessary if women were to ever remove their veils.
'I guarantee now getting Muslim women to give up the veil, which I suspect is something most people would like to see in the long-term, including myself, is not going to be done by old white male politicians telling them to do it,' he said.
'And that is why it's important we should engage with the progressive elements and leaders in the Muslim community, rather than what the US has been doing over the last 30 years, which is alliances with say the Saudi [Arabian] royal family and the most backward and reactionary elements,' Mr Livingstone added.
I thoroughly agree with Ken's approach. As I have said all along, Governments should not dictate dress codes. But I have been very concerned about the pressure being put on Muslims recently. I am glad that Ken is able to express a preference for no veils, while doing so in a conciliatory and peacable way.