9 December 2102
Renowned British lawmaker George Galloway has attacked new restrictions imposed on the wearing of the Muslim face-veil (Niqab) at the meeting place of the two houses of parliament, describing the move as an infringement on Muslim rights:
“Everyone understands the need to have proper security, but these rules seem a little heavy handed and confusing to me.”
British authorities have imposed new restrictions on the wearing of the Muslim veil at the Palace of Westminster. Under the new rules, niqab-wearing Muslims will be required to remove their face-veil.
There is amounting pressure from the public to outlaw the veil in public spaces. In September 2010, the Burnley College in Lancashire banned the Muslim face-veil on campus. A recent YouGov survey found that some 67 percent of Britons favor face-veils to be made illegal.
Firther, lawmaker Philip Hollobone has already tabled a bill in the parliament calling for Britain to follow France and outlaw the wearing of the face-veil in public.
Banning the wearing of the Islamic full veil in public would be “un-British”, the immigration minister has said. Damian Green told the Sunday Telegraph trying to pass such a law would be at odds with the UK’s “tolerant and mutually respectful society”. It comes after Tory MP Philip Hollobone introduced a private members’ bill which would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public and after French MPs voted to ban the wearing of full face veils in public last week.
The Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, agreed saying: “I take a strong view on this, actually, that I don’t, living in this country, as a woman, want to be told what I can and can’t wear.” Spelman also stirred some controversy by saying that women were “empowered” by the freedom to wear the face cover.
A Conservative MP says he will refuse to hold meetings with Muslim women wearing full Islamic dress at his constituency surgery unless they lift their face veil. Last night Muslim groups condemned Philip Hollobone and accused him of failing in his duty as an MP.
In an interview with The Independent, the Kettering MP said: “I would ask her to remove her veil. If she said: ‘No’, I would take the view that she could see my face, I could not see hers, I am not able to satisfy myself she is who she says she is. I would invite her to communicate with me in a different way, probably in the form of a letter.”
A Conservative MP is attempting to pass a law which would ban people from wearing burkas and balaclavas. Philip Hollobone has put forward parliamentary legislation to regulate the use of “certain facial coverings” in public. Hollobone said this “would obviously have a big impact for those who wear full-face Islamic veils”. He has previously described the burka as “against the British way of life”.
The proposal has stirred much criticism, although it also received some support. A burqa-ban would be un-British, commentators have said.
French Prime Minister François Fillon has asked the top court to help the government draft a law banning the face-veil after a parliamentary panel recommended a partial ban on the wear in hospitals, schools, public transport and government offices.
The anti-burqa camp is gaining grounds in Britain, with calls for a ban. For instance, Philip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, told the Daily Telegraph, “In my view, and the view of my constituents, wearing the burqa is not an acceptable form of dress and the banning of it should be seriously considered.” Hollobone said the face-veil “goes against the British way of life.” The far-right British National Party has also called for banning it in schools.