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Symbolism of hijab has altered

Islam, like Christianity, is a cultural practice.

The wearing of the hijab is a cultural practice that developed in the Middle East as protection from windblown sand.

The blend of religion and culture of Islam and the Middle East allows honour killings (Iraq), it allows criminal punishment through amputation of limbs (Saudi Arabia), it allows people to believe that if they fight for their god they are justified in beheading journalists and captured soldiers (Iraq, Afghanistan).

We have just seen eight people killed in a suicide bomb attack on the Danish embassy in Pakistan.

Cultures have not been equal through time.

Human sacrifice, slavery and Prima Nocta are cultural relics we now reject.

Like it or not, the hijab is a symbol of a culture that promotes the murder of innocents and mutilation (in a direct manner that cannot be compared to the accidental killings of warfare). The culture of the hijab is against the liberal principles of Western culture.

Islam has no equivalent of "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's".

Any theocratic culture, including radical Islam, with Sharia law as its aim, is inferior to democratic culture.

Ireland has an opportunity to take an early stand against a culture that threatens the West with violence and aggression.

Fergal Leonard
New York

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