Spain moves towards Burqa controls
I think George Tunnell in his letter of Friday morning - Daily Bulletin 18th June - rather misses the point on the above issue. The issue is not about religious dress per se, it is about showing one's identity which manifests itself in one's face. A Nun's habit clearly conceals her modesty and chastity in much the same way as Muslim women's dress codes, but it does not hide her identity. That is the key point that George seems to ignore.
It is a spurious argument to describe how women in Algeria dressed as European girls are molested and leered at, these controls are only aimed at Spain not Algeria. If Algerian men wish to lead women around on dog leads with women's consent of course then that's their business and we should leave them to it.
I might not agree with such misogyny or indeed like it - but if that is their custom and they wish to preserve it, then so be it. We are not discussing what is acceptable in Algeria, but more importantly what is acceptable in Spain. It is a sad reflection on Algerian society that subjugates women in the manner in which George describes in his letter, but there are many things which western culture finds difficult to accept around the world.
How people dress in different countries according to their customs and their social codes should be respected. Unmarried couples for example displaying affection or intimacy in public are not accepted nor tolerated in some Arab countries and that's fine if they are happy to live what I and others might consider to be repressed lives. But who are we to say what they should or should not accept in their country. Being easily identifiable in public here in Western Europe and on other continents is a custom and a tradition that equally should be respected by visitors and immigrants alike.
Mutual respect is a good starting point to engender tolerance - but it should always be a two way street. So I believe we should protect our customs and our traditions with equal measure and fortitude as well as the blindingly obvious security issues the burqa and niquab dress presents in the 21st century.
Andy Pratt, Palma