Was it bad taste for a Channel 4 reporter to wear a hijab while covering the Nice atrocity?

Kelvin MacKenzie, stoking up a controversy [Image: Paul Hackett/Reuters].

Kelvin MacKenzie, stoking up a controversy [Image: Paul Hackett/Reuters].

Clearly Kelvin MacKenzie’s Sun column on this subject was at the very least misguided, and at worst intended to stir up Islamophobia.

People are perfectly entitled to wear whatever they like, within the generally-accepted bounds of decency – and as hijab isn’t generally considered indecent.

But in the circumstances… what do you think?

Kelvin MacKenzie’s controversial column in the Sun about Fatima Manji wearing a hijab while presenting Channel 4 News has, unsurprisingly, come in for criticism.Her colleagues and bosses were less than impressed with the attack and, at the time of writing, are preparing to issue a statement to that effect.

Although the Sun deleted a tweet that promoted the column it did so on the grounds that it failed to make it clear that it was MacKenzie’s viewpoint and not that of the newspaper.

But I very much doubt that MacKenzie was alone in his views. A woman friend (Irish, lapsed Catholic, now atheist) told me yesterday she strongly objected to Manji wearing the hijab on the grounds that she was representing the subjugation of women.

The only possible reason for a woman to cover her hair, she argued, was to conform to a male interpretation of Islam, a dress code without a specific basis in the Qur’an.

I protested that she had a right to wear what she liked. Among several, and possibly overlapping reasons, she might have done so out of dedication to her faith, or as a political statement, or even to express feminist empowerment (yes, see Nadiya Takolia’s argument). It might simply be a favoured fashion accessory.

Whatever the reason for her mode of dress, it is intolerant to demand that she dress as others would wish. That said, I know Muslim women are far from united on the virtues of the wearing of the hijab, as Yasmin Alibhai- Brown explored in an excellent piece last year.

Source: Kelvin MacKenzie was wrong to attack a hijab-wearing news presenter | Media | The Guardian


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8 thoughts on “Was it bad taste for a Channel 4 reporter to wear a hijab while covering the Nice atrocity?

  1. Neilth

    Non story. It’s not up to anyone to tell somebody else what they should or shouldn’t wear unless it is deliberately designed to be provocative eg nazi uniform or insignia, ku klux klan sheets etc. A hijab, while predominantly worn by Moslem women, is not wholly tied to one faith nor is it worn by all Moslem women. It should be entirely the wearers choice and not that of society or spouse.

  2. Mrs Grimble

    I presume there’s never been a protest from anybody when a white reporter covers the stoy of a black person being shot by a white police officer, or when a male reporter covers the story of a woman being murdered by a man. So why the objection now?

  3. Christine Cullen

    Much ado about nothing. Kelvin Mackenzie will say anything to get attention (Liverpool?) and religious bigots (I can say that because I’m a committed christian) or unthinking sheeple often have something daft to say about muslim dress. I assume Kelvin always wears that self satisfied grin on his face as a sign of his self idolatry religion.
    Tiresome people!

  4. Nick

    the hijab is normally worn by many women who were born in middle east / Asian/ and African counties and is seen as a sign of modesty, and a symbol of religious faith only.

    my wife for example who is from Africa (Eritrea) only wears one when traveling abroad to country where this is a custom

    Clearly Kelvin MacKenzie’s Sun columnist along with Katie Hopkins have never ever visited such countries and will have to remain ignorant for the rest of there lives talking nonsense

  5. Pat Mcqeenie

    This Ignorant self centred moron really is the original Richard Head a total Bell End

  6. mohandeer

    If a woman wants to cover her face leaving only slits for eyes, it is akin to wearing a ski mask or crash helmet. If she wants to parade through the streets and does not object to being taken down by police in case she has a weapon hidden under a burka – that is surely her choice. I wouldn’t talk to someone wearing a crash helmet or a ski mask or someone who chose to cover their face with cloth because of some strange aberration of religion. As long as I can see their lips moving and can judge what they are saying when I cannot determine easily the words they speak I really don’t see the problem, so I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Ever heard of switching channels?

Comments are closed.