Calls to ban full-face veils have been slammed in Gloucester
CALLS to ban 'offensive' full- face veils have been criticised in Gloucester.
Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes in Devon, said some women found the veil, also known as a niqab, "deeply offensive" and should not be accused of being bigoted for criticising them.
She made the comments on Twitter following a Birmingham college's U-turn last week on banning students wearing veils.
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?"
Traditional Shave, Facial Treatment, Whisky and a Shoe Shine -...View details
Gents, enjoy a traditional shave, facial treatment, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £31
Terms: Early and later appointments available upon request.
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
She also wrote: "Feminists should be allowed to say that they find the niqab deeply offensive without being accused of being bigoted or Islamophobic."
This comes after a 22-year-old from West London, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was told yesterday that she could stand trial in her full-face veil but she must remove it to give evidence.
Meanwhile, here in Gloucester it seems there is a more relaxed view towards the niqab.
Philip Rush, headteacher at St Peter's Roman Catholic High School, in Stroud Road, said: "Currently at St Peter's there are staff in the site team who choose to wear veils. We allow religious head-dresses in the sixth form.
"As a religious school, we are always, perhaps, a little concerned when the secular world suggests that outward signs of religious commitment are threatening.
"There is a long history in the Roman Catholic church of nuns wearing habits.
"Some of these have traditionally included head- dresses.
"When I arrived this summer at Santiago cathedral in Spain, I was greeted by a nun, smartly dressed in her habit, and that greeting felt appropriate and welcoming."
Salma Piperdy, formerly of the group Gloucester Women's Muslim Voice, said: "I see both sides of the argument to be honest with you.
"I know that currently in some Gloucester schools pupils will wear their veil to school and then when they are in lessons they will take them off.
"To a certain extent it is up to the individual on what decision they make, but then the other side is during lessons facial expressions are important so perhaps it is better if they do not wear the veil. I can see both sides."
Gloucester city councillor Said Hansdot (L, Barton and Tredworth) was appointed as the city's first Muslim sheriff earlier this year.
He said: "People are jumping on the bandwagon, it's just Islamophobia.
" It should be up to the individual whether or not they want to wear a full-face veil.
"If a headteacher or a teacher asks to see the person's face then they should show it, like we do in the airport, but otherwise I think it should be left to the individual."
Meanwhile, readers of our website gloucestercitizen.co. uk have also had their say on the controversial issue.
One visitor, Diogenesglos, said: "In the UK, a woman can walk around in a bikini or a burka/niqab, which I think is great."