For immediate release
20th November 2001
IHRC is deeply concerned that the statements of Cherie Booth (and Laura Bush in the USA), have contributed to the culture of demonisation and hatred that Muslims currently face both nationally and internationally.
Cherie Booth’s press conference yesterday at which she was pictured spoofing women who wear the burqa is a sad indictment of the descent of human rights talk to the level of propaganda and prejudiced ridicule.
The repression of women under the Taleban regime has been wrongly used to demonise Islam and Muslims. For Cherie Booth to ridicule the whole Islamic culture and denigrate all Islamic dress is as repellent and oppressive as the Taleban forcing women to wear burqa. Islam’s holistic approach to gender issues and equality cannot be faulted, particularly with regard to a woman’s right to identity and merit on her own accord. A spokesperson for IHRC said today:
“It is bizarre that we see Cherie Booth talking about rights for women, when the only reason she has been chosen to head this press conference is by virtue of her husband’s position and not her own worth. Ms. Booth’s claim to care for human rights would be more credible if she herself did not see fit to prosecute poll tax defaulters.”
This concern for Muslim women’s rights rings hollow to most adherents of thefaith who recall something in the region of 80,000 Muslim women being violated in Serbian rape camps during the Bosnian war.
Further hypocrisy is highlighted by the fact that currently there are an estimated 100,000 sex slaves in the UK. Regarding this abysmal statistic, the spokesperson continued:
“A concerted effort such as that displayed by the PM’s wife on behalf of the government with regards to the abuse of women in the UK would be welcomed. It is only when these types of issues are discussed and resolved through the prism of basic rights and bias and prejudice can the problems women face globally begin to be addressed. Until then, these efforts will result in nothing more than the recreation of women abroad not in the mould of liberated women, but oppressed women in a Western mould.”
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