When did you last see this headline…?
"Remove your helmet or I won't serve you," biker is told.
That's right. You never have seen it, yet it happens every day. Even, or maybe especially, at petrol stations. And nobody thinks it discriminatory or unnecessary—not even bikers, though we may grumble under our breath in winter, as we carefully reassemble several layers of cold-weather protection.
Now imagine this headline:
"Remove your burka or I won't serve you," Muslim woman is told.
All of a sudden a shopkeeper's quite understandable security concerns would be labelled Islamophobic and/or racist.
I'm not arguing—and I never will—that burkas should be blanket-banned in public places.† I'm also not arguing that I should expect to walk into a place where lots of money and easily-stolen goods are handled, whilst wearing a garment which hides my face as well as, or better than, any bank-robber's nylon stocking. I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy of considering it perfectly reasonable to expect me to take off such a garment which I am required by law to wear, yet at the same time claiming that it would be racism to expect the same of others, for the exact same reason, merely because they claim that a god requires them to wear it.
Now take a look at this little snippet of UK law, regarding the riding of motorcycles:
On all journeys, the rider and pillion passenger on a motorcycle, scooter or moped MUST wear a protective helmet. This does not apply to a follower of the Sikh religion while wearing a turban. Helmets MUST comply with the Regulations and they MUST be fastened securely.
So is a length of cloth wrapped around a person's head considered adequately safe for use as a safety-helmet, or not? If it is, then why can't I wear one? If it isn't, then why aren't Sikhs given the same choice that the rest of us are given? Either wear an adequate safety-helmet, or don't make the choice to ride a motorbike?
Silly question. Because, yeah, you guessed it… the word God excuses all manner of—ahem— sin.
†Nor am I arguing—because I'm neither blind nor stupid—that Islamophobia isn't a real thing, or that many attacks, both rhetorical and physical, on Islam and Muslims aren't xenophobic or racist in origin and/or effect.
You may use these HTML tags in comments
<a href="" title=""></a> <abbr title=""></abbr>
<acronym title=""></acronym> <blockquote></blockquote> <del></del>* <strike></strike>† <em></em>* <i></i>† <strong></strong>* <b></b>†
* is generally preferred over †