Debate over full face veil

The veil has hit the headlines
The veil has hit the headlines

The full face veil has hit the headlines this week - with one minister calling for a national debate on whether young girls should be banned from wearing it.

It follows a number of stories across the country which threw the issue into the spotlight once again.

A college in Birmingham last week reversed a decision to ban the face veil – or niqab – on its campus.

And this week a judge ruled that a Muslim woman had to remove her veil when giving evidence in court.

Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Jeremy Browne called for a “national debate” on young girls being made to wear the veil.

He said the government should consider banning girls from wearing veils in some public places, such as schools.

Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell said common sense should prevail. He said: “Where adults are concerned I don’t think it’s for the government to decide what people can or can’t wear.

“There are times when it is perfectly sensible to ask to remove the veil, such as going through security at airports or in a jeweller’s store.”

Mr Reevell added that schools were free to set their own dress codes and would support a school if it decided the veil was not appropriate in the classroom.

Andrea Machell, vice principal for curriculum at Kirklees College, said students were free to wear veils at the campuses, except when safety was an issue or identification was necessary in an exam.

She added: “We do recommend that students remove their veils in a secure classroom or learning environment to improve communication with the teacher and other students, but would not force any students to remove them.”

The issue provoked discussion on the Reporter’s Facebook page.

Asif Farooqui said: “Don’t see the problem if they have to remove the veil when giving evidence in court. My late father was a GP and he refused discuss their issues when coming to the surgery or prescribing any medication. He always told them to remove their veil.

“Islam is fluid in that certain situation allow one to relax the rules, but some take it to the extreme and give us all a bad name and that’s the crux of the situation.”

Aisha Umm Farah said: “I’m not a niqab wearer but have many friends that do, they do no harm and for ID purposes it can be lifted to see the face.”

Rebecca Chadwick said: “Niqab is fine out of the courtroom or when identification needs to be checked, if the lady was wearing a hoody or a balaclava she wouldn’t be allowed to because those items of clothing do not allow for identification, it’s not a religious issue it’s an issue of common sense.”