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Law to ban segregated weddings proposed by Fitzpatrick: Respect asks – What Next?

September 3, 2009

“This is the most disgusting pandering to Islamophobia. Fitzpatrick should resign or Brown must sack him.” That was George Galloway’s reaction to the insulting attack Fitzpatrick made on a wedding ceremony to which he had been invited at the London Muslim Centre.

“There is no question that this will play into the hands of the British National Party,” said Tower Hamlets Respect council leader Abjol Miah. “This is a calculated attack on the tradition of providing separate seating arrangements for men and women at weddings. Amazingly Fitzpatrick has followed up his gross insult to the bride and groom and their families at the wedding he ‘walked out’ of with the claim he is going to campaign for the Labour government to adopt legislation to outlaw separate seating arrangements for men and women at weddings.

“This is an appalling attack on the right of bride and groom to determine the kind of wedding ceremony they wish to hold. What right does the government have to interfere in such matters? None at all.

“The fact is that many women will not come to wedding ceremonies which are forcibly mixed and where women’s right to gather separately is not respected,” continued Councillor Miah. “But whatever your views on the desirability of separate facilities, this should be a matter for personal decision, not government interference.

“Unfortunately, Fitzpatrick’s disgraceful behaviour and comments are part of a pattern. There was Jack Straw’s attack on the right of Muslim women to wear the niqab and Hazel Blears demand that Dr Daud Abdullah resign as Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain because he supports the Palestinian resistance.

“We also have a right to know where the Labour candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, stands on this issue. Her silence so far has been absolutely deafening!

“These people would not dream of making similar attacks on other minority communities, but it seems Muslims are fair game for this rising Islamophobia. No wonder the BNP have launched a series of attacks and provocations on the Muslim community. Well, we are not going to take it. It is vital that Muslim leaders speak out against these attacks and we join to campaign together to defend our basic civil and human rights.”

Cllr Abjol Miah
Respect Prospective Candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow

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