Hopkins sinks to a new low
Categories: Latest News
Thursday September 14 2017
“Rent-a-gob” Katie Hopkins has once again made the news for sharing Islamophobic remarks on her Twitter account.
As reported by the Daily Star, the 42-year-old has attracted harsh criticism after posting a photo of six Muslim women wearing the niqab, with the caption: “Hey, beautiful ladies. What do you think of #iPhoneX #FaceID?”
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) September 12, 2017
Although this vile attempt to mock Islam was strongly criticised by many in the Twitter community, it also discloses an important truth about the way some people in Britain (and abroad) view the Islamic veil.
Laila Alawa, CEO and founder of the American-based global media company The Tempest, said that there are widespread and common misconceptions about the veil, such as for instance that those who wear it are oppressed, fanatic, or that it is a man’s decision imposed on the woman. In its 2017 Muslim Manifesto, MEND pointed out that the belief that women in the UK are coerced into wearing the burqa or niqab is also widespread, further stressing that these garments are presented as obstacles to integration and as a proxy measure to assess how far Muslims share British social mores.
It is because of such misconceptions that, according to a 2017 poll, 50% of the British population would support a law to ban the wearing of the burqa, adjudging, rather nonchalantly, that it would liberate Muslim women from oppression and make our streets safer. It is ironic that, given that freedom of religious expression is a fundamental human right, the only oppression Muslim women are subject to is not that of their garments but that of the people who want to change what they wear.
Over the past few years, political and media debate has agitated in favour of policies to restrict the wearing of face veils. The consequent debate has, according to research, contributed to a climate in which Muslim women are more vulnerable to hate crime, abuse, and mockery, like that perpetuated by Ms Hopkins.
In this regard, it is useful to point out that Hopkins is currently under police investigation for her remarks, earlier this year, calling for a “final solution” after the Manchester bombings, for which she was fired as a radio presenter.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Theresa May said that “what a woman wears is a woman’s choice”, and opposed the ban of the Islamic veil in the country. While being an important step towards tolerance and pluralism, a change of rhetoric from both media outlets and politicians, and stronger controls over what is posted online, would further contribute to prevent Muslim women from being abused for what they wear.
In this context, the news that online abuse will be treated as seriously as abuse committed face-to-face should, in fact, give us hope.