Episode 5 The Big Questions

Episode 5

Moral, ethical and religious debates considering: Is it Britain's duty to give refuge to Syrian Christians?; Should some life sentences be for life?; Should women dress modestly?

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Today on the Big Question, Syrian Christian, life imprisonment. Will


and modesty. APPLAUSE


Good morning. I am Nicky Campbell, welcome to The Big Questions. Today


we are live from the Bishop's Stortford High School in


Hertfordshire. Welcome everybody, to The Big Questions this morning.


Thank you very much for coming. Now, this week, the Home Secretary


announced Britain would provide refuge for round 5 hundred of the


most vulnerable strings of the war in Syria. Germany has pledged to


take 11,000 refugees under the UNHCR scheme. So far 2.5 million people


have taken refuge in camps in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.


Some politician, like Nigel Farage of UKIP, and Sir Gerald Howarth of


the Conservatives, have called for Britain to do more, especially for


our "Fellow Christians." It is Britain's duty to give refuge to


Syrian Christians. Alison Ruoff, why do you think Christians should be


prioritised? Because there is nowhere else for them to go, in the


Middle East. It is very difficult. Many have gone to different


countries closer to Syria, but there is still persecution, so I believe


we are still a Christian country, the majority of people, still a


majority say we are a Christian country in Great Britain, and


therefore I think we have a duty to take some of these Syrians, and I


would say, let us prioritise Christians, because they are having


such a really hard time in terms of purse kuetion. But everyone is


having a hard time Of course they are but Christians are in the middle


of it. Even is. Well... Prioritising Christian, is that a Christian thing


to do? It is in this situation. APPLAUSE


Because they are so persecuted throughout the Middle East, and


where you have had dictators in the various countries, Iraq, Egypt, and


so on, Tunisia, and where they have fallen, and been goesed, therefore


the Christians are then attacked big time. Where the dictators have been


in power, providing the drisians have kept their heads down, they


have been safe. You have had many Christians go from Iraq to Syria for


example, and now, the rise in persecution in Iraq is higher and


Christianity has been slowly wiped ou. Well quite fast now in the


Middle East. That is the birthplace of Jesus, you think what is going on


there, it is so sad for Christians to have this awful battle of being


between Shias and Sunni Muslims so the Christians are getting the worst


of it. A measure of agreement there. , Reverend Nadim Nassar why not? I


am from Syria, I afree the Syrians are having a terrible time. For the


first time for centuries we are being killed because we are


Christians. It is appalling, there is torture. Beheading with swords in


the 21st century. If we ask Jesus here, would you like your people for


prioritised and being out of the trouble he would say no. Because the


suffering, the suffering... APPLAUSE


Although I height light because I am a priest I highlight the Christian,


but the suffering of the Christians is not in any way more or, more


important than the suffering of any Syrian, every Syrian is suffer,


Christians should not be prioritises or deplaced from their home. You


said, lady, Alison. Alison, that Christians are leaving the Middle


East. So we need to support Christian, to stay in the Middle


East. That is right. That is what, suddenly, this country remembers


that the country is a Christian country, I am sorry, this country is


not a Christian country, it is a secular country with some people,


when they are desperate for an answer, they say, I am an Anglican.


It eis equal to nothing. I lived here for 16 years and I know, we


need to support the Christians, to be there. Alison Ruoff we talk of


course, about Syria, orthodox, but you still maintain they should have


priority. We are talking about 500. That is tiny, it is a drop in the


ocean. Of course everybody is suffering in Syria, it is a


nightmare. As the Christians are being so targeted, if we are going


to have any, they can at least feel safe in this country. Can I stop


you, we have a technical problem, but we are carrying on with sounds


but it sounds great on the radio. Sorry Alison, carry on. I forgot


what I was saying. That is called the age! No, so I do think, as it is


such a small number we can prioritise, we are only talking


about women and children in particular, who have had such a bad


time, so... So women and children who are not Christian, Sunni Muslims


or Shia Muslims but women and children should have priority. 500,


what difference does it make to millions of people? David. I work


for a charity called Refugee Action, we spent 30 years vetling refugee,


we did it with Kosovans, Bosnians and we Vettel about 500 people a


year from round the world. -- resettle.


Lisa Pearce you have seen what is happening, you are seeing what is


happening to Christians, across the Middle East. Give us an idea: So


right across the Middle East, I mean, it is certainly true they are


under enormous pressure, the Syrian minority is the second largest


Christian minor any the Middle East after the minority in Egypt, we have


seen on the news what has been happening to particularly, the


Egyptian Coptic church in Iran, in Iraq, these are the lands in which


the Bible was set. Iran and Iraq most of the Old Testament. The road


to Damascus. Where Paul became a Christian is in Syria, these are the


home lands of Christianity, this is not a western religion, here is not


the heartland of Christianity, it is in those nations where they are


being pushed out, in Iraq for example in the '90s there were 1.5


million Christian, through persecution, they are now down to


about 330,000. I spoke to an Iraqi church leader a couple of weeks ago,


he the up side the Government has increased the number of Soames to


put outside our church to ensure we are not attacked while we worship.


That is the up side of Christianity in the Middle East. There is


something wrong. I agree with Reverend Nadim Nassar as Christians


our two key mannedments are to love God with our heart, mind and


strength, and to love our neighbour, and Jesus made it clear our


neighbour is anyone in need. On top of that I would say we, in Syria in


particular, we need to be careful, to make sure that Christians get the


same level of support we want want everyone else to have. You don't


find the Christians in the refugee camps because they would rather live


in a broken down building or in a shed that go to a camp. Secondly,


they feel fear, and there is a lot of evidence, and a lot of anecdotele


evidence and a number of people I have met as refugees and spoke to in


Lebanon were saying they didn't want to register as refugees because they


have fear of reprisal from Assad should he retain power. So we need


to be intentional in seeking them out. Absolutely right. Culturally


speaking and from the religious background, we do not in Syria or in


the Middle East, we do not like to be in a refugee status, or go to


camps, and live in tents, what we do, is we absorb that, into our


families, churches, monastery, convents, and because of that, I


urge everybody to help us, I am the director of the awareness found day,


we have projects to help Christians in the Middle East, to stay in the


Middle East and play their role. Absolutely. Tim Aker, we know what


your leader Nigel Farage has said about this, and I mentioned Sir


Gerald Howarth from the Conservatives as well. Make the


case, if you would, because I know it is what you believe prioritising


Christians. This is still a Christian country, if asked with


what faith people identify with, it is Christianity. It has been the


British thick to do to offer safe haven. We wouldn't have this if we


controlled our borders, but we say that we should offer, it is a crisis


what is going on there, that would be made worst if Cameron had his way


and started bombing Syria, UKIP was the first party to say... That is a


debate we will have before and will have again, why prioritise a


particular religious group? There is persecution going on, we are the


first ones to say we should be a safe haven for the most persecuted.


Sunni Muslim, Shia? There are other states out from they, the Muslims


can integrate into better. Jordan, Turkey and so on, we are saying is


as a Christian country they can be better... You can't say a Muslim


couldn't imintegrate into our country. It is not to discriminate


in the UK, you don't solve it in one country by discriminating in another


country. We are talking about 500 people. Yes, the lady there, I saw


you had your hand up earlier on. Perhaps when we lost picture, but


now is your chance. I am an employment lawyer, and I work every


day on looking at issues of discrimination in the workplace, and


I have to say I am alarmed that anyone can hold a view like this,


particularly people that are magistrate, that are leaders. Former


magistrate. So, it is fundamentally unethical to differentiate on the


grounds of religion, if I were to put it to you, that we are only for


example going to take black people from a certain country or take


people of a particular sex, how would you foil about that? Because


it is -- feel about that, because it is no different these are personal


traits that relate to people, like sex, race, colour, their religious


belief should not be differentiated. Alison, I want to explore with


you... If those people you mentioned, black people, different


race, whatever, were the most targeteded in that place, then I


would take them. And it doesn't matter, we have to look after the


most % Kouted. It it is a small chance, a small opportunity do what


is is really light, and to care for Christian people. Because nobody


else will. There is a family, to give you an example it is not just


about the beliefs it is the danger they are in. It is the danger they


are in. If you read to the aid to church website. Disproportionate. A


Syrian family moved to ordand during Easter time, they had death threats


saying, you move away or we will kill you like your Christ was


killed. That is danger. That is right.


Vicky Beeching. I think it makes me uncomfortable to here Alison basing


this on the Christian faith as a Christian as well, I would say the


gospel I read is all about welcoming the unexpected person, the outsider,


that God says, the least expected poem are welcome, so for us to start


picking and choosing we want people like us, makes me unsettled on the


base of the faith. I don't think this is a Christian country any


more, row, if you look at YouGov polls it is a mixed country and I


don't think we have the right as Christians to claim it as a


Christian nation. Sorry, I have a figure here, I thought somebody


might say that so I wrote it down. A poll, 56% of people believed this is


a Christian country. I would go by church attendance. People practising


the faith. I think we have to trust the experts on the ground, in Syria,


500 people is a drop in the ocean, it is a very important drop in the


ocean, because it is such a small amount it needs to be got right. If


you faubg to the scheme, they will say how do you choose, they would


say if you target a programme like this you put more Christians at


risk, they will be worried about doing a thing because it raises the


profeel of the group in the area. So the experts would say this is the


wrong thing to do. They are not prioritising Christians, if you have


bishops from Syria, they would say do not prioritise Christians because


that would even put us in greater danger, because we are e labelled


any way agents of the west. So we are, we don't want the west to care


for us, in this way, we want the west to care for us, by supporting


us where we are, not to take us away from where we are. An interesting


concept. I want to speak to you, Tim, in a second. The concept is


almost a reflection of the Muslim idea of a Christian brotherhood, the


Christian community across the nation. People within that should


have special care. That seems to be what you were saying. Not really.


There comes a point when Christians go on turning the other cheek, time


after time, and I think there comes a point where we actually say,


enough is enough. 500 is just so tiny. If we are going to have people


who have been so badly treated and so hurt and damaged, let's look


after these people for once. We never look after them normally. The


lady at the back. You have the microphone. Good morning. I actually


think we should be pretty ashamed of ourselves for only taking 500.


Germany are taking 11,000. Your leader, Tim, has spoken about the


social impact. Do you think the social impact, it would be easier to


integrate Christians? Alison is nodding in agreement. We have a


problem in this country... We're talking about Armenian Orthodox,


Syrian Orthodox, they are not going to be joining Alison on the sin


order of the Church of England. They might. Why should they? Why don't we


respect their identity as Christians? Why should I ask an


orthodox to become Anglican in order to be a proper Christian humour I am


not asking them to become Anglican. But do not want to join this an odd.


These numbers are on a tiny scale. If we're talking about helping the


church in Syria, we need to be concerned about the fact that Geneva


is happening at the moment. It is looking at the future of Syria. The


Christian population is 10%. There is no Christian representation at


Geneva. We took a petition of 300,000 concerned people to the UN


and met with all five of the permanent missions before Christmas.


All of them acknowledge that the church is not there and they were


not represented. They said they do not know what to do about it. That


is not good enough. The UK plays a key role in the Security Council and


we should be putting more energy into making sure that there are


Christian voices at the table. Not disproportionate representation,


their representation. Secondly, our aid is to strip you to... There is a


political point. -- our aid is distributed. We're talking about


persecution in danger. Who paraded that? The West aided Al-Qaeda to be


in Syria. The double standards of the West. On one hand, Al-Qaeda is a


terrorist organisation and on the other hand, Al-Qaeda is OK in Syria


because Al-Qaeda is fighting Assad. I want to ask one more question of


Alison. I would like to make this the last point. Bishop Nad-e-Ali and


George Keely and others, we have heard this line of thought that


distance in this country are persecuted. Marginalised. Do you


condemn those words? No. When you look at Syria, do you not think it


cheapens the term? Do not think that Christians are being persecuted in


this country but it is marginalisation and it is becoming


more and more. Ultimately, that will lead to prosecution if it is allowed


to continue. What will happen? We will become anything but a Christian


country. That is not persecution. It is a case of you being able to say


anything about Christians, mocking God as much as you like in this


country. Say something about all our, Islam, and you have the biggest


row possible. -- Allah. There's been a kerfuffle this week about


something that happened on the programme a of weeks ago. We are


doing religion and God next week. I will have to comeback! It is never


too soon. Thank you all very much indeed. We have to leave it there.


If you have something to say about that debate, logon to


bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions, and follow the link to where you can


join in the discussion online. Or contribute on Twitter. We're also


debating live this morning from Bishop's Stortford. Should some life


sentences be for life? And, "Should women dress modestly?" So get


tweeting or emailing on those topics now or send us any other ideas or


thoughts you may have about the show.


Last summer the European Court of Human Rights ruled that British


Justice Secretaries could no longer issue or uphold "whole life orders"


to some convicted murderers. They said such sentences were inhuman and


degrading unless there is the possibility of an earlier review or


release. The case upheld an appeal brought by whole-life prisoners


Jeremy Bamber, Douglas Vinter, and Peter Moore. Between them, these


three men were convicted for 11 murders. Currently 50 prisoners are


serving whole life tariffs in England and Wales, including Ian


Brady, Dennis Nilsen and Robert Black. Should some life sentences be


for life? Rupert Myers, let me remind you what the European Court


said. If you take away any chance of sentence review release, whatever


your crime, it is inhumane and degrading. Yes. And that was under


Article three of the European Convention which was originally


designed to deal with cases of torture and very severe


incarceration. It has been broadened in this judgement, I think, to


include those 50 or so people locked up out of a prison publishing of


85,000 in the UK. It is important to remember that for almost every


prisoner, they will be released and rehabilitated. The European Court


said they should be given hope. They all have that hope as has been


argued at the moment. Because they can all appeal to the Secretary of


State on grounds of compassionate release. We're not talking about 50


murderers because people who just commit murder, and I'm sorry to say


that but we are talking about a very inclusive section of the prison


publishing, they are released on licence. These 50 are mostly people


who have gone on to commit further at Russia's acts on licence,


including murder and child abuse. We're talking about people who have


already had that possibility of redemption and rehabilitation and


they have abused that privilege and gone back into incarceration. And


they can still appeal for compassionate release. People like


Robert Black, saying he should be given hope and the possibility of


review and release. You think, why should a man who kidnapped little


girls and dumped their bodies by the motorway, why should he be given


hope? From a Christian perspective? I dealt with a life sentence in my


church. And I've visited the person more than once. The family really


suffered, really really suffered, to get the message to the court and the


system that this person might need a hospital rather than a prison. And


after a fight, for years and years, from the worst prison, they move


this person to a hospital and in the hospital, his situation changed


dramatically. I've visited him and they know him personally. -- I know


him. God works through us with redemption. Why should Robert Black


be given hope? All human beings are entitled to hope. John, Penny, your


daughter was 26, the mother of imaging, who was eight months old.


Murdered by her partner. -- Imogen. He was already on bail for assault


and rape. Does he deserve hope? Absolutely not. He has been jailed


for life but it is no life. It is part of his life. My daughter lost


her life and he did not respect human rights, her right for basic


survival. He did not respect his daughter's right to have a mother to


bring her up. And yet here he is with hope that in 27 years time, he


could get out of prison. He was jailed for life but life does not


mean life. And this is where a lot of victims that I'm representing


today are saying that life should mean life. Do not call it a life


sentence in court if it does not mean life. More people should be on


the whole life tariff or they should instigate, David Cameron had this


idea of sentencing people for 100 years without review until 80 years


into the sentence. They should come out of prison in a wooden box. There


has to be a deterrent factor in the sentencing system. Because capital


punishment is not on the agenda, whole life tariffs are the next


thing that will prevent people from thinking about committing


atrocities. Deterrent is about changing. There is actually no hope


for change. For a start, it is a punishment system, not... But if the


punishment is they are... What Penny said, the only way they should come


out of prison is to use her words, in a box. As a Christian, how do you


respond to that? I am in Christian. My heart is broken for the situation


that occurs, but everyone of us as to identify with our own following


this, and I'd have to look at the people who commit these crimes and


think, that could be me -- fallenness. In the Christian


tradition, it is repentance, making a turnaround. These offenders have


already shown that they are willing to take a human life. But the result


was hope for change. I'm sorry. These people have already taken a


human life and the thought of the offenders that have killed our


daughter and other people's loved ones, the thought of them getting


out, our fear is that they will reoffender, that he will be freed to


be a perpetrator again, a predator again, because he will, we have no


doubt about it, latch onto the next woman he finds and that lady will


find herself in the same position. Lynne and Mick, your son was


murdered in 2002. The people who murdered him have not shown any room


or s am I think I'm right in saying that. One of them was released and


went straight back in, and yet you believe that there should be the


possibility of review and release for these murderers. I've changed my


mind, really. I would said the exact same thing as John and Penny but you


can only go by your own experience and for us, for years after Paul was


killed, were asked to go into prison and share our story with the men


there. And they were all from the life unit. It was like meeting the


people who had killed our son. But they were not what we were expecting


and we were not what they were expecting. It was a powerful meeting


of victims and offenders. And between us, I think we help each


other. We come from a positive position, and we have received


comfort. We have had hundreds of letters of the change that has taken


place in the lives. We believe in restorative justice and redemption.


The possibility for all murderers? It has to include everyone. Although


the possibility is there, the parole board and the review board is there


to safeguard against extreme violence and extreme cases. For us,


we do not go that far. You can only do what you do and we see a lot of


hope in the prisoners. We have spoken to thousands of prisoners and


many of them are very positive because they have never had the


realisation of what their crime was about. A lot of them, in a moment,


if they had the moment again would never commit the crime. In the


instance of a premeditated murder where it is calculate it and


cold-blooded, it seems inherently wrong that somebody who was prepared


to take someone's human rights to life can then rely on human rights


legislation to protect them and give them hope in their life that they


may be released. As victims, we are living that life sentence. On the


outside. It affects us everyday, the pain and suffering that we go


through constantly, knowing what happened to our loved ones. We need


to know that the people who carried out these atrocious crimes are


getting punished and are being dealt with and that we will be protected


by his incarceration or whoever it is, that the public are protected in


the future. Let us go to the audience. Gentleman


there at the back. I think the language of life sentences is


unfortunate. The punishment for theft is not theft, and the


punishment for rape is not rape, but if we take someone's life but do we


as a society have the right to take that person's life? I don't think we


can say... That is not what we are discussing. I don't think we can say


capital punishment is off the table and yet someone should leave prison


in a box. There should be a deterrent. It was a similar point to


that. I want to... Tim Aker. A system of law where the, they see


somebody who has committed a terrible crime and they are given a


sentence, but they don't serve that sentence. Can't people change? If it


is a life sentence it should mean life. The sentence should mean what


it says, if you are given eight years you serve eight years. You


don't understand the point. We are not talking about people who have


committed criminal offence and been sentenced to life. We are talking


about a small number of prisoners who are given release and on


license, commit further offence, so it isn't a case of deterrence, these


people who have been in jail. Know what it is like and commit murder


again. I think it is really, I think in


such a serious era, I think one of the main things that is jumping out


to me is this idea when people go to jail, and they are incarcerated. I


think there is something seriously wrong in the terms of the


rehabilitation process, regardless of how long that person is in jail,


and regardless of what the crime is s because from what I have studied,


there are many poem who go into jail, they commit a crime. They come


out. They get stuck in a cycle and they commit the same act again,


whether that is theft... Someone who might be able to address that is


Richard. You were in for murder, it was a robbery, what would the effect


be if hope was taken away for more prisoners than at the moment, in the


criminal justice system? If it was taken away? It would... For me, How


do you mean, a mess? It would create a blood bath. If you take hope away


from prisonerings and just say that is it, that is your lot, life means


life, you are never getting out, do what you like, they will. They will


do exactly what they like, they have nothing do but keep them in jail. So


that light... That light at the end of the tunnel keeps order, are you


saying that? Yes No. He has been in prison. What is the value of life


when you have no hope? You can kill, you can kill yourself, you can kill


other, you can do everything. Do whatever you like. Can you do better


than jail? Alison Ruoff. I think, I have visited many prisons over the


time I was a magistrate, and admittedly I couldn't send anyone to


prison for life, but at the same time, I actually feel having visited


these people, they are doing all sorts of amazing things in prison,


lifer, they are doing degrees and further degrees, and... What, go on.


They are getting so much support, they don't have to worry, I agree, I


would also impose life meaning life on people who shoot police officers


doing their job. It should mean life. As a committed Christian, if


somebody were to find Jesus and totally transform their life, would


would you not welcome their position in the community so they can spread


the world. Of course. That would involve... Jesus, you know, he God


appeared to him and he was used to further the church. He wrote half of


the New Testament. Is that is not a redemption story and a story God can


turn the life of anybody round, I don't know what is. People have a


choice on how they behave. If they are willing do that may must take


the consequence, and if they are jailed for life they should be


jailed for life. Sorry, Penny might be was trying to come in earlier. .


I saw you agreeing with Richard's point if hope was taken away. There


would be chaos, what I wanted to say was victims now do have an


opportunity to have a restorative justice meeting with the victim, and


all I can say is that has been a person who has taken that place,


with many prisoners, there is an atmosphere and electricity when an


offender and a victim come together, and the results from it are


absolutely wonderful. Penny, what do you think? I agree that restorative


justice has a place within the justice system. It is not for


everyone. It is not for everyone. How do we decide which prisoner


could be released or not? If there is no rehabilitation, plus


punishment, what you are talking about out of hurt, we understand and


appreciate, but with the punishment system, there should be


rehabilitation, and hope system. So Dennis Nilsen he must have hope?


Everybody must have hope. I have seen the cooking pots in the museum,


where Dennis Nilsen actually cut up his victims, and had them on the


cooker, I have seen the cooker, the whole lot. Would you let that man


out? Of course not. Why not? Wait, Vicky Beeching you say why not? I


think again on a Christian foundation, the gospel is based on


transformation. Why is anybody beyond the help of God? What you are


saying is here God is not powerful enough to change that person's life.


Father, people may have dremion in the afterlife and you may believe


that, but rates of reSid vism among these people suggest that in real


life there are people with serious social logical and psychological


conditions who are best for our protection in a hospital, not


necessarily a prison but are kept there for the rest of their lives


for the public safety. APPLAUSE.


Think we are confusing two issue, we are confusing the issue of hope with


the eschew of taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of the


public, I think in terms of hope, if we don't want anyone to deny us hope


we can't deny hope to other people. I think we cannot make a decision...


Would it be good to deny hope to Dennis Nilsen? We can't make a


decision to deny hope, because otherwise we might be on the


receiving end, on the other hand, if people, if people are in the process


of possibly being let out of prison, it is our duty and the Prison


Service's Dowty to make sure those people are not in endangering the


public, clearly we have to do so. Speaking as a prison chaplain. I was


agreeing and saying it is something that has to be reviewed. Nobody


should be let out of prison if there is the experts believe there is any


significant chance of them reoffending. That hoz to be


different from saying I am punishing you buzz of my grief. There are


murderers who were escaping, the police immediately put out warnings


not to approach these people. What were they doing in an open prison?


Let us ask the audience. Why not use hope as a method of control. So give


Dennis Nilsen hope but only as lip service keep him controlled in


prison. Yes, with the glasses. Morning. Morning, it sound like as


we have heard from Richard, that if we deny people hope, what we are


doing is imposing a kind of capital punishment.


Is that, is that, Richard says it is a life sentence. Tim Aker, what do


you think about that point? If you commit the worse crimes you should


be in there for life. Think of the victim, think of the public safety,


those should be the two chief considerations.


When it comes to sentencing. What about, what about... Sorry John. Why


are people more concerned with the hope of people who commit these


crimes, then for the victims life, they have taken, they have no longer


got the hope of living out their loved, living with their loved one,


the victim, their family, their friends, their colleagues, they are


condemned to look back at what happened. What about Imogen, as a


final thought? She was eight months old. Is she four or five now? Hang


on, I am talking about the little girl. Absolutely. He came to kill


that baby the day after he murdered our daughter. His car was full of


petrol, and he had lighters and matches and he wasn't a smokerings


he had no means of removing that baby safely in that car. To us, it


is the worry that this man may get out in the future -- smoker. And the


danger that he will put other people, like our daughter in,


because he cannot possibly be rehabilitated. He is a predator. You


know, we have to be seen as a country, if we have got a credible


justice system we have to make sure that the sentences given are life


sentence, must mean life it is a joke. That people are murdering and


getting out. Thank you all very much indeed.


APPLAUSE Thank you.


You can join in all the debates by logging on to the website. Follow


the link to the online discussion, you can tweet using the hashtag.


Tell us what you any about our last Big Question as well. Scores have,


the question is should women dress modestly, if you would like to be in


the audience as a future show you can e-mail the address below.


This is why we are discussing it, should women dress modestly.


Yesterday was World Hijab Day. So should women follow that example,


and dress modestly, Sarah, you have some concernsn't, don't you, you are


not, it is always down to perpetrator of a crime, it is not a


question of don't be raped, it is a question of don't rape. You make


that very clear, are you concerned about the way some women dress? What


I would say is when we are talking about modesty, it is a bigger


question, because it is about what is a human being? A human being is a


mystery, a combination of matter and spirit, and something mysterious and


wonderful and beautiful, so if we are asking how in of any of us


dress, we have to say what does it say about who I am, what I am trying


to be. Modesty is about how I look at other people, so it is in any


eyes and yours looking at me, whatever we are wearing, so my


concern would be more with the commercialisation of the appearance


of women to make them lock like objects, so what they are trained to


wear, what children think it's a good idea to wear, is making them


lock a little bit more like objects we should lock at differently. Isn't


this in danger of edging towards the view of the sqrelz, the temptress,


you think it is opposite of that? I think it is. It is saying we are


responsible for how we choose to appear the other, and no-one is


imposing how anyone else should dress, I welcome World Hijab Day,


because it gives people the chance to say we choose to express our


femininity in in way and it is something interior, but not saying


that anybody should be imposing what you wear, I am saying be aware of


how it expressing your interior life, your interior life is


important, we are in a world that is obsessed with exterior appearances.


Is modesty empowerment? . It is an empowerment. It is a fruit of the


Holy Spirit. In the Catholic sense, it is how you become who you are, it


is a grace. It's a grace that expressing how do I become even more


this mysterious thing that is spirit, that is sexual, this is


matter, and it is an open conversation about how I look at you


and how you look at me and what we become.


One second please. I know lots of people are dying to


come in. I want to speak to Tommo. You are the editor? I am the editor


in chief of an online magazine called Hot Hot. We tell people what


trend are going on and work as a photographer for loads of fashion


brands round the world, and I guess I am in charge of creating an image


at the end of the day. But, you know, if the question should women


dress more modest? I mean, no, I mean people should dress the way


they want. As you said, you know, it is, it is, you know you are putting


for Bard your personality, when you wake up and go and do whatever you


are doing, you put on whatever you think, whatever you are comfortable


in. That is what fashion is about. The culture you are creating with


your magazine, I am not saying we shouldn't have it, but we have to be


aware the effect it has, all of us are desperate to be liked and


approved of so some extent. Modesty is a statement of how much can I be


detached from how I ought to dress? The kind of shift that is taking


place because of the accept built of your kind of magazine means young


girls who put YouTube clips out saying am I hot or not? Children are


obsessed with their sexuality. I didn't think of it when I was 16,


they are obsessed to that. You have added to that. Think I think you


were thinking of that when you were 16. I thought about my A-level


results, I thought about having having fun, singing, playing the


magistrate. Alison, you were a magistrate, if somebody came in and


had been, assaulted or whatever, and would you make a judgment based on


the way they had been dressed? If they were standing before me, the


victim? You probably would not see the victim necessarily. You cannot


absolutely say that but... The defence mentioned it. Is that a


factor? It might be? How. Absolutely not. S blame. If I was sitting on


the tube and icy people with black tights and leggings and a skirt...


-- absolutely not. I feel that we have to be careful. If the top is up


to here and the people sitting opposite see the black tights but


there is a gap, that is not helping any man sitting opposite. Thank


heavens you have retired as a magistrate! That is outrageous.


Women must think of how they are looking. Let her finish. Women must


consider these things. You say it is not fair on men? Are men are


uncontrollable animals? Are we being sexist? Say what you like but men


are completely different... I can't, believe you me! Men are completely


different from women. Men are switched on like that. Wait, wait


stomach men and women are fundamentally different in that way?


Men can be switched on and women cannot? It puts the onus on the


women, which throughout history has happened, especially in the


tradition of Christianity. If you look at and indeed, Eve was called a


temptress. Women have been given the responsibility to make things OK for


men and many to have the responsibility. We need to address


how we choose. Let's go to something more modern. Modesty is described


for women, defined by society, by men. This is the scrum and nation


against women. Do not think we should allow that. I think there


should be certain mores. If I go into the synagogue, I would expect


men and women to dress respectably of the place they are in. But to


make women responsible for the urges of men is a bad state. I am not


making men responsible for my urges. If I have bad urges, I will educate


myself. If men have urges to rape women, I think they should be


educated rather than making women responsible. Let me make this point.


Vicky Beeching, 93% of the signals that we give out an nonverbal


signals. We are animals, we are part of the animal kingdom. Is it not


appropriate, the signals that you give out, from the way you dress? It


is about being free to be yourself and not living in response to


another person. Throughout history, women have been measured against


men. It is about us taking responsibility in the context of how


a man responds. We all need to respect each other. This is a very


equal society and we need to move away from the kind of things that


Alison is saying and thinking that men are animals that can only


respond in a certain way. We need to give them respect as free choice


makers. But we must be wise. We are wise but that is the scrum and a


tree. If a woman is wearing a short skirt and a small top, men will look


but what if she is wearing a fabulous dress and she looks


amazing, men will give the same attention. Of course but it is not


so obvious. What about men? If the guy has a rippling, much like


myself, a rippling six-pack? Ask somebody else! Would you be tempted?


Let me go to Younis. I need to escape from that question. You are


Muslim but also in model. Some would say you are maybe caught between two


worlds. I am also a presenter. Are you caught between two worlds? The


question we are discussing is should women be more modest and I think


there are a couple of things to say. I 100% believe in free will because


of what I believe on. Do not believe that it is my place to judge anybody


based on how they present themselves. I think that is


important. I do not think... For most of my life I've believed that


people do not judge you based on how you dressed. I was a tomboy when I


was growing up. But I have learned as I have got older that that is not


actually the case. The fact of the matter is there is a big difference


in terms of how someone will treat me about what then the street


wearing a beanie and less attractive clothing, as opposed to if Wear


something that is a little bit more attractive. And I do think that


sometimes people can be naive to that. But I do not, for example, if


I chose to buy a Lamborghini or something different, people are


going to look. I think it is important that everybody understands


that how you choose to project yourself can attract more attention


to you. But do not believe that that gives anybody the right to infringe


your personal space. And also, I would like to say that with the way


that women choose to dress, one thing that is quite interesting


about what everybody said is that we tend to focus on the effects of how


you dress on men as if men are going to maybe attack you. It also affects


how you dress on other women. I have actually found, as a consequence of


being raised Christian and practising Islam, that actually


people do not seem to recognise that the way that you dress as a woman,


if you are white consultations and very attractive, which is not your


fault, it can cause issues between you and other women. -- quite


ostentatious. And you wore a jab yesterday, Vicky? What was your


experience like? -- hijab. I was aware that was going into it in a


feminist setting. Eye when their not to document my own experience but to


watch and learn and build relationships with Muslim friends.


The main thing I've heard from them, and it is their story want to tell,


was that many of them choose to wear the veil as a in a statement. And


they get abused because people judge them and think that they are


oppressed and suppressed. For them, that is what being a woman looks


like all stop they want to say, this is my radical statement and modesty


looks like this. I feel beautiful and if you like I am honouring God.


That is their right and that is their feminism. I would say that


absolutely that is their right. Is that the same for the Burka? It


depends on personal choice. We have done that debate many times. I bet


we will do it again. Vicky, it is fascinating that you found it


something that was empowering. For them. I think it is reverse


persecution. Many of us would put our perceptions onto people and


think that that is, if a woman is closed that she needs to be rescued


and brought into the modern era, but many Muslim women feel more


liberated by having the freedom to wear it. Many of them told me that


the husbands do not want them to wear it because they feel it


reflects badly. Have you ever seen the way that somebody is dressed and


thought, you should not be dressed like that? I try not to. Have you


ever felt like that? I haven't. I think people should make their own


expression separate from the response it will get. Isn't that


part of what being British is all about? Surely our British culture is


based on doing the right thing, by which mean refugees regardless of


what they believe in, but also doing the right thing if you address


appallingly. It is a fundamental British rights to do so. -- doing


the right thing whilst dressed appallingly. My feeling is that as


human beings we instantly look at somebody with our eyes and form an


opinion. Whether we want to form that opinion or not, it is an


unconscious or pinion. The first seconds, we have formed an opinion.


-- unconscious opinion. It does not matter what they are wearing, it is


human nature. We need to take a step back and get to know the person, if


you have the time, to be able to form a proper opinion. I think that


clothes and fashion, judgement is there all the time. The gentleman


over there. Me? The apostle Paul said that all things are permissible


but not all things are helpful. Adding we have talked about having


our own individual freedom but also recognising the responsibility that


we have to each other. Yes, when we put on certain clothes it will give


out certain messages and some people will look at those things and they


will not look at them as modest. They will think, habit of all right.


It gives out those messages. Can I express on behalf of the men in the


audience who are in Paris by this, why are we having a debate friend


about women's modesty? Because yesterday was World Hijab Day. Isn't


it terrible that clothing is only ever politicised when it relates to


women or other clothing. I worry that I've should do more buttons up


on my shirt in case I'd get assaulted. It might inflame your


passion! We have rights to be immodest as well as modest. You


should not what then the street wearing an offensive T-shirt or


totally naked and scare people, but outside of those boundaries, why are


we even worrying in the 21st century about how people choose to dress, as


long as it is their choice? I lived in a Muslim country for most of my


life. The jab is not always a sign of modesty. -- hijab. Sometimes it


is a statement against the West, Western values and Western culture.


Sometimes it is a political statement. Sometimes it is a


feminist statement. Let's not put the hijab as if it is the sign of


modesty. It is like the Burka or this, it is a statement. When I'm


dress modestly, with or without the hijab it has nothing to do with this


label, these cliches. The hijab is not necessarily because women want


to be modest. They want to say something and we need to understand.


Especially men. Modesty is an attitude. It is an attitude rather


than how I'd dress or do not dress. Let me finish with Tom. Do you have


interesting articles as well in the magazine? I am there as an editor to


give people information. Is there a lot of flesh? Sometimes. But we're


there to give information whether you want to take that information or


not... It is not porn. It is a fashion magazine. It is about hot


trends and gossip and celebrity features. We just give information


about what is currently happening in those trends or with the liberty


culture, and whether people choose to take that trend and where it is


up to them. Final comment from anyone? I want to finish with a


quick point, there is too much focus on men. I think women, sometimes the


way that we dress means that we cannot connect properly with each


other because we are so focused on one another... We have to leave it


there. That was a hot debate. As always, the debates will continue


online and on Twitter. Next week we're in Leicester, so join us then.


But for now it's goodbye and have a great Sunday.


Nicky Campbell presents live moral, ethical and religious debates from The Bishop's Stortford High School in Hertfordshire. The questions debated are:

Is it Britain's duty to give refuge to Syrian Christians?

Should some life sentences be for life?

Should women dress modestly?

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