Jill is up in arms regarding Aisha Azmi, the Muslim teacher’s assistant in Britain in danger of being let go because she refuses to teach without a headscarf if there could be men around.
Ordinarily I would side with Ms. Azmi. Although I hold no brief for Islam, and my response to the idea that we need religious diversity is “why?”, she’s a citizen (I assume) and so has the same right to religious expression as any other Briton. (Unfortunately, that quanta of rights is apparently diddly-squat if you want to wear a cross. But there OUGHT to be such a right.)
However, Ms. Azmi teaches English to immigrant children. Anybody who has ever learned a foreign language can tell you that being able to see the mouth of the person teaching you is critical to the process. Language acquisition is partially visual. Being able to see the face of your teacher is a bona fide occupational requirement for teaching English.
Jill either doesn’t know this (which, given that her source for the story is another feminist blog which reports Azmi’s assertion that no student has complained but leaves out the statements by the school that students have complained, is not impossible) or she doesn’t care because “evil Western civ oppresses defenseless Muslims” is already congruent to her views. (Or, although I’m reluctant to think it, Jill participates in the surreptitious liberal racism of lower expectations for Others.) Either way, bad show.
(Updated: removed an unfairly generalized “standard” prefix for liberal racism and replaced it with “surreptitious”.)