A British Muslim woman was asked to leave a school’s parents’ night in Manchester for wearing the veil. The college cited “safety” and “security” reasons.
Maroon Rafique was stopped from entering Manchester College by security staff, who told her that for the security of teachers and pupils, there was a ban on any kind of face covering.
Although she offered to sit anywhere in the room where as few people as possible would see her, she was not allowed onto the campus.
“I’m born in this country and British. Why should what I wear offend anyone?” she told the British newspaper the Daily Mail. “I didn’t want to make any fuss. All I wanted was to find out the information to help my son go to university.”
The 40 year-old has worn the face veil, or niqab, for the last seven years.
Rafique eventually had to phone her husband to take her place.
A college spokesman defended the policy. “At all times we need to be able to identify all individuals easily in order to maintain safety and security and therefore we ask that faces are clearly visible while indoors. Our dress code is reviewed through our quality improvement group and we will take this situation into account at the next review.” He added that the school took Rafique’s concerns “very seriously.”
A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain told RT that it considers the decision to be authoritarian.
“Wearing the face veil is not obligatory, and is a freedom of choice issue. We understand if teachers are forbidden from wearing it as it can sometimes interfere with communication during the lesson. Children may also have to follow a particular dress code, but for a parent to be stopped doesn’t make sense.”
In March of this year, a Muslim woman was stopped from sitting on a UK jury in a murder trial because the judge ruled her facial expressions could not be seen.
Britain, unlike France, has not yet introduced a nationwide ban on face veils.