Islam is being scrutinised like never before, and with good reason. Recent terrorist atrocities have been linked to the extremist elements of the religion, and those who had never heard of Islam or the word "Muslim" before 9/11 are wanting to know what this religion is all about and why it has such extremists claiming to act on behalf of its religion.
The fact is that the burka is a visually shocking throwback that reaffirms suspicions that Islam as an extreme religion and one that is ill-suited to the western world. It dehumanises, shocks and possess genuine security problems. Moreover, it allows a special treatment to those who wear it. I've long given up counting the number of times I've been told to take my hood down in city centres when out with friends. That's fair enough: the face must be seen for security and social reasons. We live in a liberal nation where human interaction relies on the face not being covered.
Banning the burka from public places is common sense. What's more, I am encouraged to hear so many British Muslims, some my friends, some in politics and the media, arguing the case for the burka to be consigned to the dustbin of history, at least for Muslims living in Britain. It is time for Muslim women, who already enjoy rights in this country that they would never possess in the Middle East, to be liberated. Argue all you want, but a Muslim woman in a burka will never be able to progress as an independent person in the UK, with a career and income of her own. Who wants a teacher or nurse they can't see? It is alien to our culture. It is also far from a natural part of the Islamic religion, and is certainly not a requirement that is necessary for a Muslim to practise their faith properly
The truth is that for Britain to be united, the burka must be outlawed in public places. This is an issue about equality, modernisation and reaffirming Britain as a tolerant nation, but a nation that has its own values that must be respected as well.