ASIAN NEWS ARTICLE- MP declares Muslim segregated weddings as signs of ‘Intolerance’

Asian News Rochdale Published on the Asian News Website

By Majed Iqbal- A government minister last week joined the list of Politicians in raising, once again, allegations that Muslims lead ‘segregated’ lives.

Fitzpatrick- Confused on what it means to build a cohesive society

Following a similar line of discussion to his colleague, Jack Straw who raised similar comments on women in Blackburn attending his surgery with Niqaabs and dubbed it as a sign of segregation, Jim Fitzpatrick, the minister for food, farming and environment, stormed out of a constituent’s wedding at the London Muslim Centre after being told that male and female guests were to be segregated and that he could not sit with his wife.

Fitzpatrick said it was “strange” he could not sit with his GP wife Sheila at the ceremony on Sunday. “We’ve been attending [Muslim] weddings together for years but only recently has this strict line been taken. We left so as not to cause offence,” he said.

But the newly weds at the wedding ceremony did take offence after the minister contacted his local newspaper straight after the walkout to tell them he was “disappointed” by what had happened. “We are trying to build social cohesion in a community but this is not the way forward,” he said.

This all happened despite concentrated efforts by the family to accommodate the MP by ringing him up and inviting him to come back after he had walked out, saying there was a table where non-Muslims of different sexes could sit together.

The bridegroom accused Jim Fitzpatrick of “politically hijacking” his wedding by publicly criticising the traditional Muslim segregation of men and women at the ceremony

Bodrul Islam, the groom, said he was “amazed and shocked” that Mr Fitzpatrick had used his wedding to make a political point about radicalisation and social integration.

The 28-year-old said it would have been “common courtesy” for his local MP, who left the ceremony after being told he could not sit with his wife, to respect his religion’s customs.

“What surprised me was that if you have got a personal invite to a wedding then you respect that religious and cultural event. It is common courtesy.”

Mr. Fitzpatrick said “My beef is not with the family, they are entitled to have a segregated wedding if they want to. My beef is with the IFE and the undue influence they have over the social, cultural and political aspects of the mosque. They are the militants of the 21st century, they are religious zealots with their interpretation of the Koran and I think this has now been exposed.”

He told the BBC’s Today: “This is a very exceptional occasion, it’s a new occurrence. “It perhaps demonstrates that there is a degree of intolerance – certainly exclusion rather than inclusion, which we are trying to build in the East End.

Government ministers in the last years have been renowned for using a microscope to highlight ‘issues of concern’ in the Muslim community and become ‘self declared experts’ on what Shariah and Islam is all about.

David Cameron talked about the ghettoisation of Muslim communities, Peter Hain talked about Muslims accepting the political culture in Britain, Jack Straw labeled the Niqaab as a sign of segregation, MEP Chris Davies lectured that no where in the Quran is there any mention of the Niqaab, Tony Blair declared that certain aspects of Islam are part of an ‘Evil Ideology’ and Education Minister Edd Balls described Muslims voicing dissent on international issues as radicalisation in his ‘extremism’ tool-kit to be rolled out in schools and colleges this year.

Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, the Women’s Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain commented “He accuses the Islamic rule of separating men and women at social events as a symbol of extremism and cause of community division. Does he then also believe that those who organise bachelor and bachelorette parties, those who establish Gentlemen’s clubs, those who attend single-sex schools, or those of the orthodox Jewish faith who also separate men and women at weddings are reflective of the increasing radicalisation of British society and damaging to social cohesion?”

“The evidence of this being a cheap populist move is the hypocrisy of his position with regards to gender segregation. He has singled out Muslim practice for condemnation, yet his own government’s policy is to aim for complete gender segregation in hospital wards!”

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