x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Minister rejects British burqa ban proposal

Britain should not ban wearing full-length veils in public as France has done, the immigration minister Damian Green has said.

LONDON // Britain's parliament should not try to ban wearing full-length veils in public after France's lower house passed a bill which could see Muslim women fined for wearing the burqa, the immigration minister Damian Green has said. "It's very unlikely and it would be undesirable for the British Parliament to try and pass a law dictating what people wore," Mr Green said in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"I stand personally on the feeling that telling people what they can and can't wear, if they're just walking down the street, is a rather un-British thing to do," he added. "We're a tolerant and mutually respectful society." His comments came as one of his fellow Conservative members of parliament, Philip Hollobone, who has put forward a bill which would restrict people from covering their face in public, said he would refuse to hold meetings with Muslim women unless they removed their face veil as he could not engage with them.

Mr Green said that as France was a more aggressively secular state the move had been more politically acceptable there. A ban on wearing the burqa in France, home to western Europe's largest Muslim minority, would not be likely to have an impact on immigration in Britain, Mr Green said. Of France's five million Muslims, it is thought only about 2,000 women wear the full-length veil. * Reuters