Now, there is a branch of that bakery in Blackburn. In fact their ventilation shaft empties into the air just outside court room number one in Blackburn County Court and it is nigh impossible to conduct a case there in the morning without having an overwhelming urge to purchase a pasty at lunchtime. But I particularly like queuing in this branch because Blackburn is a town with a significant Muslim population and it is possible to stand there, debating whether to choose potato and meat or cheese and onion and to be joined by ladies in all types of Islamic dress including those wearing the full face veil. (Although this may cease soon as there is much debate on line as to whether Greggs vegetarian food is in fact haram).
Personally I find this fascinating. I rejoice in the combination of the great difference in our dress and the shared heritage of going to Greggs. Others in my country however find it harder to see below the black fabric to find the humanity underneath. Difference for them relates to fear and overt religious practice is confused with terrorism. People ask, "why can't they be like us', the words, 'them' and 'us' speaking ( in my personal opinion) to a division based on ignorance and intolerance rather than an acceptance based on commonality and curiosity about diversity.
Many complaints about the wearing of the veil focus on the 'hiding' of the face. The underlying assumption is that there is a lack of openness, a deception which is seen as incompatible with our (for which read White -Christian- British) culture. ( In fact it is more about modesty.) Ironically there is an old English Proverb The eyes are the window to the soul which is not dissimilar to the Biblical phrase The eyes are the light of the body is the eye. Is it not possible that by stripping away the (often incorrect) assumptions we make and the prejudices activated on seeing clothing choices, jewellery styles, body shape or art, and focusing on the eyes only, we come to the truest way of assessing personality?