Lisa Duffy, The United Kingdom Independent Party Leadership candidate, recently called for a ban on the veil in public. She stated:
“The veil speaks only to culture and oppression, not Islam, and there’s no reason why we should allow it to be worn anywhere and everywhere.”
Arguing that her proposals are in fact reasonable, Duffy attempted to justify this by saying, “Muslims who were born in this country are as British as I am and I simply want them to feel as British as I do.”
This idea that my veiled Muslim sisters are any less British than the average woman is offensive, yet coming from a UKIP candidate sadly unsurprising. UKIP has never been “a party that caters to the interests of Muslims,” in fact quite the opposite.
Let’s not forget that the campaign to leave the European Union was fueled with hate that came directly from Nigel Farage who made anti-Islamic rhetoric a big part of his campaign.
Duffy did not stop there, however. She also said she would demand the closure of Islamic faith schools until the issue of Islamic terrorism is dealt with. This seems to link Islam directly to terrorism when we know that Muslims condemn terrorism just as every non-Muslim does. We also know that it’s the media who seems to use the word terrorism solely for stories involving Muslims.
The statement that closing faith schools will help with the issue of terrorism is false and only serves to further isolate the Muslim youth.
When you make us feel like we don’t deserve safe places where we can discover more about our religion and build friendships with those from our community, you make the mistake of increasing the feeling of isolation that we already feel from being Muslim in the Western World.
Duffy also seems to have the irritating trait that is savior complex; the idea that she can save Muslim women with her politics. She said she hopes to create a “path of opportunity” for Muslim women who are told by men what to wear, do, and marry. We can carve our own paths and create our own opportunities, if you want to help us great; but don’t think we need saving.
This rhetoric that we are restricted by men is false and laughable — if there’s anything restricts us, it’s people like Duffy herself. It’s people who use us as tools to further their political agendas, but do so in a way that puts them in the role of savior and us as that of the meek, silent woman.
We are not meek and silent. It’s you who is silent when we are in fact oppressed and deal with prejudice, yet vocal when our struggles can get you some votes in some ways.
Lisa Duffy, however, has used savior complex alongside anti-Islamic rhetoric, which is an odd mix. She has told us she wants to help us gain more opportunities, but in the same breath she has also told us she wants us to no longer have our Islamic schools and wants women who wear the veil to stop doing so.
Duffy will allegedly argue that the hijab is a “symbol of aggressive separatism that can only foster extremism” and more often than not “forced on women by men who view them as property.”
This unveils Duffy’s lack of knowledge on Islam more than anything else.
If the uneducated few read the Quran and came to our communities to see for themselves that we are just like them, they wouldn’t hold these tainted views. People like Duffy who see the hijab as a symbol of separatism rather than a symbol of faith and modesty have ingrained in themselves a deeply rooted ignorance which will unfortunately appeal to members of the public who give in to campaigns backed by fear.
The UKIP has a history of fear mongering, and the recent Brexit vote shows that as we live in scary and uncertain times. People vote with fear rather than genuine faith in policies. And despite the fact that Duffy doesn’t seem to understand Islam, she sure has made it a big part of her campaign.
Her misinformation, however, will not lessen the popularity of a rapidly growing party, once again showing how a manipulation of the fearful times we live in can in fact lead to success.
The results of this campaign will be announced on Sept. 15, 2016. As a young Muslim living in the U.K., I can only wish that the candidate who hates me the least wins, as the possibility of finding one that loves me and accepts my religion seems bleak.
Written by Iqra Mehdi