"This is completely unacceptable in modern Britain. If schools do not actively promote the principle of respect for other people they are breaching the independent school standards. Where we are made aware of such breaches we will investigate and take any necessary action to address the situation."
British Government Lashes Out At Hasidic Sect’s Ban On Women Driving, Could Defund Sect Schools
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Britain’s Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, lashed out the ban on women driving automobiles issued by the Belz hasidic sect earlier this month, the BBC reported today.
The ban was first reported on the Hebrew language haredi news website Behadrei Haredim and then in English by FailedMessiah.com.
The London Jewish Chronicle, now known as The JC, ran a story on the ban exactly a week later, but failed to credit either Behadrei Haredim or FailedMessiah.com, and instead deceptively made it appear as if The JC developed the story on its own. That deception caused the BBC and several other British news sources to credit The JC for reporting that it essentially stole from others.
The Belz ban, issued for “modesty” reasons, warned parents that if any mother’s of children in Belz schools continued to drive, their children will be expelled from Belz schools – schools that receive public funding.
The British government’s Home Office, which is responsible for immigration, security and policing, issued a response to the ban today, saying it was "developing a strategy to tackle extremism in all its forms,” the BBC reported.
British Home Secretary, Theresa May, who heads the Home Office, reportedly defines extremism as "the vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”
A spokesperson for the Home Office told the BBC that the Home Secretary had previously "made clear that she is not prepared to write off any British citizen as if they deserve fewer rights than the rest of us just because of where they're born, who their parents are or what religion they happen to have and neither should anyone else.”
But May also reportedly said last fall that freedoms enjoyed by religious people in the United Kingdom must be balanced by respect for others, and used discrimination against women as an example of unacceptable behavior that should not be protected by society.
“[I]f others described a woman's intellect as deficient, denounced people on the basis of their religious beliefs, or rejected the democratic process, we would quite rightly condemn their bigotry,” May said then.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, who is also Britain’s Minister for Women and Equalities, said the Belz ban was “completely unacceptable.”
"This is completely unacceptable in modern Britain. If schools do not actively promote the principle of respect for other people they are breaching the independent school standards. Where we are made aware of such breaches we will investigate and take any necessary action to address the situation,” Morgan reportedly said.
Meanwhile, the Office of England’s Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, issued a short – and somewhat deceptive – statement about the Belz ban.
"The Belz Chasidic dynasty has contributed significantly to the rich tapestry of our tradition but this particular view is entirely removed from mainstream Jewish practice,” the chief rabbi’s office said, failing to note that most hasidic groups have similar bans on women driving in place, and that all hasidic groups (perhaps excluding Chabad) also closely regulate everything from the color of clothing a women wears to the thickness of her stockings, and ban women from all sorts of things that halakha (Orthodox Jewish law) does not require to be banned.
The Belz driving ban. Please click to enlarge: