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Controversial calls to ban "offensive" full-face veils in all schools

By The Citizen  |  Posted: September 16, 2013

Comments (35)

A tory MP has caused Twitter storm after calling for "offensive" full-face veils to be banned in all schools and colleges.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes, Devon, said some women found the niqab ‘deeply offensive’ and should not be accused of being bigoted for criticising them.

She made the comments on Twitter following a

college’s U-turn last week on banning students wearing veils and before a judge is due to decide today on whether a Muslim woman can stand trial while wearing one.

Dr Wollaston, said: "The niqab should be banned within schools and colleges; how on earth do they promote equality when they collude with making women invisible?"

She also wrote: "A general ban on the niqab simply won’t happen in the UK but that doesn’t mean that it should be endorsed by schools or courts."

The MP said her view was "not bigotry" and that this accusation was "the cudgel used to repress debate."

She added: "Feminists should be allowed to say that they find the niqab deeply offensive without being accused of being bigoted or Islamaphobic."

What do you think? Should full-face veils be banned in our schools and colleges?

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  • Vesuvio  |  September 17 2013, 9:49AM

    Far from being a religious requirement, wearing the niqab seems more like a reactionary act, a response to a perception of Islam under attack by the West. It's sad that some Muslim women feel compelled to collaborate in their own marginalisation.

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  • Mimmm  |  September 17 2013, 8:55AM

    In this country we are not allowed to wear a helmet into a petrol station or post office. So why should these people be able to cover their faces? I'm afraid that it comes down to that old saying! When in Rome, do as the Romans do!!!

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  • CaptCX  |  September 17 2013, 7:53AM

    .........to look at this from another angle, if a member of the Ku Klux Klan turned up to a court case and insisted that it was his right to wear his full white regalia, including his face covering pointy white hat, I don't think that anyone would have a problem with the judge forbidding him doing so. Somehow I cannot imagine Shami Chakrabarti rushing to speak out on that case!

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  • diogenesglos  |  September 16 2013, 11:02PM

    @CaptCX That's a fair point. I am actually an atheist so I don't really care......, but that said I would argue the covering of the face during the court process shouldn't make much difference....but clearly the judge thought differently. Its a tiny tiny tiny percentage of women that wear the niqab, so I'm not going to loose any sleep on the issue. The jury is suppose to be paying more attention to the evidence then the defendants face, but still....

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  • whatagreatday  |  September 16 2013, 10:56PM

    Timnash1010 - I believe this woman IS British but converted to Islam less than 6 months ago. I wonder if she was as shy to show her face in public for the previous 22 years she has been alive?

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  • timnash1010  |  September 16 2013, 10:40PM

    how long is it going to be before we se a Crime Watch programme showing C.C.T.V. footage of people dressed in this type of clothing, but are they Muslim or perhaps Brits jumping on the band waggon....................................???????????????????????

    |   4
  • timnash1010  |  September 16 2013, 10:32PM

    at this time we still live in Great Britain , but for how long, at present our country is being dictated to by Brussels and their followers ,"our government". Make these people accept our ways or get out of our country, Let them know that they will not take over the world, we are BRITISH and proud of it, lets stand up and defend our country, to hell with Brussels, and if necessary to our government ,I am British and proud to be so, Are You?????

    |   3
  • whatagreatday  |  September 16 2013, 9:34PM

    The Quran does not specifically mention the burqa or tell women to wear such extremely confining clothes. Instead, it instructs men and women to dress and behave modestly in society (24:31), which the Ulama or "Scholars" do agree upon. Is this woman telling the courts she is unable to dress and behave modestly in society without a veil of any kind? Sounds like a pretty poor excuse. How do women in other countries deal with the banning of wearing the burqa, naqib and hijab? They comply with the law of the land. Perhaps this would be a good reason to go towards the banning of this type of clothing in a public place in this country for such an intolerant religion?

    |   9
  • Justica  |  September 16 2013, 8:35PM

    This says it all - in SYRIA (at present) the face veil is banned in all universities. No doubt this will change when 'the rebels' alias muslim extremists take over from Assad and the country will go the same way as the other fanatical countries.

    |   5
  • CaptCX  |  September 16 2013, 8:11PM

    diogenesglos: I'm not saying that people are found guilty or not guilty due to facial expressions - however, a huge amount of communication is non-verbal and a lot of what people think is given away by the face. It just doesn't seem very sensible to me that someone giving evidence should be able to hide their face from a jury or magistrates. If the option to cover ones face isn't open to everyone (and in my opinion, it shouldn't be), then nobody should be able to claim it as a right just for them on the grounds of religion.

    |   6