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Daily Mail: Tory MP launches first legal bid to ban burka in Britain

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By Kristy Walker

A Tory MP has launched a legal bid to ban Muslim women from wearing burkas in public places.

Philip Hollobone has tabled a private members’ bill which would make it illegal for anyone to cover their face in public. Mr Hollobone has previously likened full face veils to ‘going round with a paper bag over your head’. His Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill is the first of its kind in Britain, and is one of only 20 private members’ bills drawn in a ballot for the chance to make it into the statute books.

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The bill, which had its first reading yesterday, stands little chance of becoming law due to limited Parliamentary time and a lack of support from the main political parties. But it is set to reignite the fierce debate about the banning of the Islamic garments at a time when a number of European countries are trying to outlaw them.

Mr Hollobone said it was ‘not the British way’ for Muslim women to cover their faces in public. Insisting that his bill has widespread public support, the Kettering MP added: ‘People feel that something should be done about burkas, but so many are afraid to speak out for fear of being labelled a racist.

‘Part of the British way of life is walking down the street, smiling at people and saying hello, whether you know them or not. You cannot have this everyday human interaction if you cover your face. ‘These people are saying that they don’t want to be part of our way of society.’

But Shaista Gohir, of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, said: ‘I agree that wearing a face veil has a negative affect on community cohesion and the majority of Muslims do not believe it is a religious obligation.
‘But a ban would be a completely disproportionate response. There are a million Muslim women in the UK and only a few thousand are estimated to wear a veil.
‘Banning the veil will not help those few women to integrate. But it will play into the hands of extremist parties.’
Heather Harvey, Amnesty International UK Stop Violence Against Women campaign manager, said: ‘For those women who are being coerced into wearing full face veils, a ban would only make matters worse. Either they’re criminalised if they go out in public or, more likely, they are confined to their homes.’
Source: Daily Mail

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Ameera is a final-year medical student and blogger based in Karachi, Pakistan. Having been born and raised in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, her approach towards her Deen has always been rooted in a basic understanding from authentic sources, which was further polished during a three-year weekend course at Al Huda Institute. Her interests, though, seem to know no bounds and range from a passion for the culinary arts and travelling, as well as following current affairs and global happenings. She feels being able to be part of MuslimMatters is one of the major blessings of Allah(swt) upon her, for it has given her a chance to learn and grow. She also maintains her personal blog at http://duskanddawn.wordpress.com.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. elham

    July 2, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    ’These people are saying that they don’t want to be part of our way of society.’

    Sheesh,I didn’t know Mr Hollobone was so distressed at the idea of not receiving a ‘hello’ from a veiled sister on the street.Since he has never met one in the first place,its still a horrible thought. Pass the fish n’ chips please.

  2. Sarah

    July 5, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    SubhanAllah, it just never ends…

  3. Scott

    July 18, 2010 at 4:13 AM

    The Muslim Canadian Congress calls for a ban on the burka and the niqab, arguing that they have “no basis in Islam”.

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/10/08/canada-muslim-burka-niqb-ban-government.html

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