Here is my reply to M&S’s executive officer after sending me a dud reply (but the reply to me was better than the standard off the shelf one that the MSM got):
18 October 2018
Dear Mr Norman
I recently sent you a letter in which I voiced my objections to M&S selling hijab’s for young girls. In response, your executive team pointed out that “a number of schools requested the option of a hijab”, and that M&S consequently “responded to this demand”.
Based on the answer I received I have to conclude that M&S does not quite appreciate what is at stake. Since M&S is not operating in the vacuum of the market, the ‘demand principle’ alone can never justify selling hijabs for children.
Your company’s policies and the products it sells have an impact that goes beyond the mere transaction between you and your customers. Your policies and products have a societal impact as well, and M&S has a responsibility here.
Applying the logic used by your colleague to a similar case, would it really be sensible for M&S to start selling sexy underwear for children if there would be a demand for this?
Or, to use another extreme example, would M&S consider selling clothes carrying Nazi-style insignia? Now you may reply that there is no such demand and thus you don’t sell any of the above.
Nevertheless, even in case there would be such demand, I doubt M&S would make these types of products available to its customers. And for good reason.
Indeed, running a company like M&S means you have a corporate responsibility.
The impact of your decision to sell hijab products for young girls has effects that go way beyond responding to a certain demand. Providing certain garments may be lucrative for M&S in the short run, but this does not absolve M&S from following ethical standards.
Surely, you have enough empathy to appreciate the potential adverse effects it may have on the development of small girls when they are dressed up in M&S hijabs?
To be clear, the use of hijabs by women is not a religious requirement. In fact, there is no Koranic requirement at all for women to wear a hijab, and certainly not for young Muslim girls.
By selling hijabs to children, M&S effectively facilitates the spread of an extreme version of Islam. This issue has a human rights dimension to it, and involves the rights of children in particular.
Are you aware that recently when some primary schools removed the need for hijabs there was a backlash from the hardline men from the mosques and the male parent/teacher governors to have them reimposed?
Do you know that there are many brave women around the world living in oppressive Islamic regimes who are trying to rid themselves of this misogynistic garment and are being jailed or worse, stoned to death for their stance against radicalism?
Moreover, by selling these products now, you do not merely serve customers today, but will likely fuel further demand which will lead Britain into an apartheid of those who do not wear hijabs, to the poor little girls who are made to wear them.
I am sure M&S operates according to the various equality acts that are in place.
Can you honestly say that you approve of segregating little girls, hiding their hair which, in all probability, will lead to them being forced to wearing the burqa.
Please take a look around some of our cities – Tower Hamlets is a short distance from M&S HQ – I would be happy to accompany you, to see what is taking place in the UK.
M&S cannot continue to ignore the wider societal consequences of its company policies. Therefore, in the interests of the wellbeing of the children involved, British society, as well as your company, I urge M&S to reconsider its decision to sell hijabs to young girls as indeed John Lewis did.
I look forward to your reply.
Janice Atkinson MEP
Europe of Nations and Freedom Group
M&S’s reply to my original letter:
Dear Ms Atkinson,
Thank you for the letter to our Chairman Archie Norman. I have been asked to respond.
At M&S, we offer a wide range of school uniform products and work with 250 schools as their specialist uniform provider. As part of this bespoke service, schools inform us of the clothing items they would like us to offer which we then make available for sale.
This year, a number of schools requested the option of a hijab product for parents to purchase and we have responded to this demand by stocking the item on the M&S website.
We recognise that this garment provokes strong reactions from different customers, but it is not for M&S to have a view on what people should or shouldn’t wear as this is a personal decision for individuals and parents.
As with all clothing items sold as part of our school uniform range, we will keep the product under review.
Your M&S Customer Service
(Articles reflect the views of the author, and not necessarily those of Luke Nash-Jones, The Red Pill Factory, or Make Britain Great Again.)