UK Bishop Weighs in on Veil Debate

A Church of England bishop said in comments published Sunday that officials should have the power to ban veils that cover the face in public, continuing the divisive debate in Britain over the traditional garment for Muslim women. The Pakistani-born bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, urged Muslims not to wear the veil under some circumstances. “It is fine if they want to wear the veil in private,” he was quoted as saying by the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. “But there are occasions in public life when it is inappropriate for them to wear it.” Nazir-Ali said authorities should have the power to ban the veil in some situations. “I can see nothing in Islam that prescribes the wearing of a full-face veil,” he said. “In the supermarket, those at the cash tills need to be recognized. Teaching is another context in which society requires recognition and identification.”