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Sun 17 Jan 2010 10:17 AM

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UK political party calls for burqa ban

Right-wing UK Independence Party says burqa is an affront to British values - report.

UK political party calls for burqa ban

British right-wing political party UKIP is reportedly mulling a call to ban the wearing of the burqa and the niqab, after claiming the clothing is an affront to British values.

It would be the first national party to call for a total ban on burqas, although the far-right British National Party believes they should be banned from schools.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the leader of UKIP, told The Times: “We are taking expert advice on how we could do it. It makes sense to ban the burka — or anything which conceals a woman’s face — in public buildings. But we want to make it possible to ban them in private buildings. It isn’t right that you can’t see someone’s face in an airport.”

The party is also keen to address the influence of Sharia law in Britain, he told the newspaper.

“We are not Muslim bashing, but this is incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy.”

UKIP is to make an announcement on Sunday denouncing the burqa as a threat to gender equality and a danger to public safety, as terrorists could use them to conceal their identity, the newspaper said.

In the European elections last June, UKIP secured the second largest share of the vote, more than 16 percent. The party is keen to win its first Westminster seats in the UK’s general election later this year.

It is the latest in a string of political moves across Europe to restrict the wearing of the burqa.

In France, President Sarkozy is backing a ban on the wearing of full veils on state premises, including hospitals and universities. A law was passed in 2004 banning headscarves in schools.

In Denmark, conservatives have demanded a ban on the burqa and niqab in public places. Further afield, the Muslim Canadian Congress in October called for full veils to be outlawed, arguing they have “no basis in Islam”.

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KM 10 years ago

Just as nudity is banned in any public place, the burqa which conceals the face and identity of a person should also be banned. In todays world human being has become more mobile and independent but at the same time more dependent and interactive than before. People need to interact with a lot more strangers these days whether it is in the airports/hospitals/schools/streets/Malls wherever you name it. In such situations if people are allowed to hide their identity, a lot of innocent people can be harmed/exploited/duped. Religion and culture should be for the benefit of mankind and not vice versa. The argument that men will stare/gape at women has lost its credibility simply because there are lots of women on the streets if someone wants to really admire beauty. For that matter women with burqa sometimes attract more attention than others!!!

Bluebai 10 years ago

As a British expat living in the middle east for a long time, I think there is plenty wrong (and plenty right) with the Muslim world - and the UK. However, the UKIP are talking nonsense....for a change. If a govt telling people what they can and can't wear because they don't like their religion is not an afront to British values then I would really like to know what is......

MM 10 years ago

And they said, the West expresses freedom. These are more scary things as it sounds more like the signs in Hadiths and Quran about the end of times.

Amira Smith 10 years ago

Just to put this in context, you have to remove bike helmets - which cover the face - and hoods in buildings such as banks in the UK. By default then, it is discriminatory to enforce that and not enforce a ban on full-face veils in certain, security conscious environments. However, I truly believe that this is nothing to do with security and everything to do with the creeping fear of Islam we're seeing build across Europe (take the recent Swiss ban on Minarets?). I think it is a blend of fear among certain European groups that moves to include parts of Sharia etc are compromising certain states' secularist positions; and also just a spin-off of terrorist events that have - unfairly- tainted Europe's Muslim community. Rightly or wrongly, this is something Europe's Muslim community is going to have to deal with - because moves to ban traditional clothing, the building of mosques etc increasing seem to be supported by the public majority. Worrying.

Sq8 10 years ago

I wish every expat living in Saudi had the same freedom! When in Saudi, all expat women whether Muslim or not are required to cover themselves up (often against their wish), citing tradition of the country. I've never heard anyone complain about this tradition. So why is this big outcry simply because the Brits are asking the expats in their country to follow their traditions? When in Rome live like the Romans!

Amira Smith 10 years ago

AJ, I take your point that there is a security issue here - but what I am saying is that there has undeniably been an increase in suggested laws - or actual legislation - targeting Muslims in Europe. This might be justified, and a necessary step to preserve the secularism of certain countries - but we are undeniably coming to a point where either Muslims will feel alienated and unfairly targeted, or certain groups of Europeans - who do live in non-Islamic countries- feel Muslim groups have an undue amount of influence. Take the partial recognition of Sharia law in the UK - that has worried a lot of people. And parties like UKIP and the BNP prey on that panic. They are getting more and more votes, while increasing numbers of Muslim kids feel alientated - and then potentially are easy fodder for extremist groups. In short - sorry this is so long - this potential ban is, to me, indicative of a really worrying trend, and it's going to have to be addressed at some point.

Mohammad Osman 10 years ago

Banning Burqa and Niqab in Europe and specially countries like the United Kingdom which is considered as home of freedom of speech does not serve their interest. Burqa and Niqab are religious dress and traditional as well, even though, the majority of the muslims do not use it. If the concept is a security purpose, then, there are many ways you can identify the person's identity similar to what is happening in Muslim Countries airports. I personally, believe that many Europeans have in their minds anti-islamic beliefs. But, let me tell you something, regardless of the small terrorist muslim groups, the majority of Muslims are peace loving people who wish to live in peace with their fellow humans. Segregating the european nationals into sectors in terms of their beliefs does not make any sense to the Europe countries who gained a world-wide recognition because of their basic rules of preserving the human dignity and beliefs. In doing these acts, I think Europe will go back to its old bleak history, sothat, Muslims should see somewhere else to live in or come back to their come countries.

Mohammed Rizwan 10 years ago

There are many ways to resolve security issues. Is wearing burqa's/being in hijaab only point for security concerns? I feel like public is very habituated to see one other in odd dressings, exposing themselfs in public areas with all non-sense acts and seeing Muslims in burqa is a point of irritation to such political insanes. Was it not mentioned in holy books to cover yourself/from exposing urself to other, be in hijaab for Women? The main reason of rapes/wrong doings are high only when Women have exposed their body more than they should have been. If this is a matter of your democracy, then all Middle East countries should ban on people coming out WITHOUT burqa's, shouldn't that be added as a part of their democracy when UK can give this silly reason? Have we ever thought of why the whole world is going through Swine flu? Isn't another curse from God onto us for denying the truth that we should were hijab from holy books and now you can see most of them covering their faces with masks, let that be for any reason, but finally we are forced to cover our faces with one or the other reason. Have we ever thought of this before rather applying our brains going againts Gods command? Should Muslims accept the words of political fools or a word from God who says to be in hijaab for Womens? Who should be superior is the question? Has it not mentioned in all holy books not to expose yourself [womens] than you should be, unless they are changed year after year to make those books in our comfort level how we are living our lives? Is it not you are going something against what we are said to do by God? Are we not inviting another curse on to us which we have heard from generations after generation who faced it when they went against Gods word? It a shameful act by UK after French President!! Dont talk about the democracy when you cant hold giving the rights to people to follow their religion standards. If this ban goes successful then I would strongly recommend all Muslim countries to make burqa compulsary irrespective of what ones religion in these countries. And I/Muslims cant live in the country who go beyond a word of God/Prophets and act foolishly inviting God's curse nor we suggest to have any trade with such countries. Have you not seen what has happened with Denmark who are still struggling to get their economy level stabalize? May God show us a right path! Mohammed Rizwan

Brian 10 years ago

Whilst we live in an age where extremists will hide behind the Burqa and that security is of major concern to us all, to claim that being allowed to where your national dress or worship your chosen religion is "incompatible with Britain’s values of freedom and democracy.”is a complete mockery of the very values which the UKIP claim to be protecting. UKIP are hiding behind an easy target. Perhaps a public acceptance by Muslim countries that non believers should be allowed to wear their normal dress in public would help defeat the extremists in France, the UK and else where. Repecting other peoples values is a corner stone of freedom and fighting for the right to do so is another. The UKIP are a menacing shadow of times gone by.

AM 10 years ago

With respectful regard to the comments of Mohammed and others, do you not feel that you are being over zealous in your comments and seem to be over stating your feelings of the wearing of Burquas and Niqab in the UK. What they have in the UK is a right to debate and state their feelings openly. This is what the UKIP is doing. They currently have such a small party representation that this will more than likely come to nothing. What they are doing however is using their right to freedom of speech, which incidently is something which some countries involved here do not have. To be allowed to reside in the UK, as with any other nation, is a privelage, not a right, therefore you should follow the laws of that country, and the laws are made by the people for the people. If this is what the majority want then that is how it is. Unfortunately a thing called political correctness has sneaked across to Europe from the USA over the years and has ruined many of the UK's values and customs. This is merely a token stance by the UKIP to say that they want their say on a subject close to their hearts. They are not hiding behind religion, nor aggression and are doing their duty to announce their feelings, poilicies or right to speak freely and you should merely see it at that and no more. However if the people of the UK, Australia, Denmark or wherever feel that it is time to review their policies you and I must accept this and follow the laws implemented, without hiding behind any religious, political or other hidden agenda. Personally I like to travel and see other customs, traditions, and religious differences, it is what makes us as a world. Meeting people of different faiths and nationalities is a fantastic experience and should be embraced, but when someone tries to change the customs of a country that is not even theirs then that is not right. As the Australians corectly stated a few years ago, "this is our country and if you don't like our rules, there are plenty other countries to go to". I reside in the UAE, have visited all of the neighbouring countries and much of Asia. There are many different beliefs, customs, traditions, and ways to dress, and I/we always fit in with these happily and expect others to do the same in our country but why do certain peole take exception to doing this? My advice is to enjoy living your life in your surroundings, but to respect others right to open speech and debate, customs and if neccesary future laws. The UK belongs to the British people not you. Let them make their laws as you make yours, and without the protection of others faith. You fit in with them, not the other way around. If you don't like it then simply don't go there!