Burkhas: the new teen accessory?

1st October 2004 at 01:00
Celibacy, they tell us, is the new sex. Many readers will be familiar with The Silver Ring Thing, the US Christian movement that attempts to persuade teenagers to forgo the bonking in return for a little silver ring attesting to their virtue, and some rather trendy T-shirts. Amid much hype, the movement arrived on these shores this summer and already claims more than 500 ring-bearers in the UK.

Pah, says Iftikhar Ahmad, of the London School of Islamics, is that all you've got? Mr Ahmad, an enthusiastic campaigner for state-funded Muslim schools, believes the Silver Ring people have seriously underestimated the challenge posed by Britain's youth.

He is suggesting his own alternative: the "Afghan Burkha Thing". "If the teenaged girls start wearing burkhas, I am sure that they are not going to lose their virginity before marriage. The success of the chastity crusade will depend on the number of teenagers leaving homes for schools with Jilbab or Afghan Burkhas."

Mr Ahmad, who believes the Afghan Burkha Thing need not be limited to Muslim youngsters, says the icon of his new movement would be competitively priced, compared to the pound;10 charged for the silver rings by the Christians.

He says: "I am a teacher, not a shopkeeper, but I think if they go to any outfitter who sells this kind of thing they can pick something up for about pound;10. It's good value."

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