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Fitzpatrick: I am flabbergasted

PUBLISHED: 01:36 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 05 October 2010

Dear Ed, TO SAY I am flabbergasted at MP Jim Fitzpatrick’s onslaught on segregated Muslim weddings

would be an understatement

Dear Ed,

TO SAY I am flabbergasted at MP Jim Fitzpatrick's onslaught on segregated Muslim weddings would be an understatement (East London Advertiser and website, August 13).

The local Labour ship is sinking and it is sinking fast.

'Captain' Fitzpatrick, in a desperate attempt to retain his Poplar Parliamentary seat, seems to be pleading with Right-leaning voters to jump on board and bail him out. I'm sure he will be reminded that 35 per cent of the population in Tower Hamlets is Bangladeshi-Muslim the next time he goes out canvassing at a packed mosque.

Jim is a man whom I greatly admired for many years. But his negative comments on the traditional Muslim wedding ceremony have caused me anguish, not because I am a pious Muslim who loves segregated weddings (I find them boring as a young chap), but rather at him resorting to such tactics to win White confused-class votes.

What is more absurd is that he chose to justify his anger by targeting an Islamic group that mainly focuses on missionary work, which most Muslims in the East End have never heard of! Fitzpatrick's comments do nothing but add fuel to the Islamophobic fire that is raging in Tower Hamlets and elsewhere.

He may well have attended a few Muslim weddings that weren't segregated. But the majority do maintain some level of segregation. How strict you are with segregation is a personal choice and isn't dependent on diffidently accepting the policy of a 'fundamentalist Islamist' group.

After all, we are living in a democratic state that to a degree protects one's freedom of choice.

The practice of segregating sexes at events doesn't harm social cohesion. Perhaps for his next political tantrum, Fitzpatrick might want to rage against Catholics' refusal to ordain women priests.

Abul Hussain

Stepney Green

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