Guardian: A college has abandoned its ban on Muslim face veils after a storm of local protest, a planned demonstration and the involvement of the prime minister.
Birmingham Metropolitan College climbed down late on Thursday despiteDavid Cameron and the Department for Education endorsing its right to have such a policy. Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, had said he was “uneasy” about the move.
A Muslim women’s group called the original ban “disproportionate” and challenged the college to justify why it had considered it.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the college said it would “modify our policies to allow individuals to wear specific items of personal clothing to reflect their cultural values”.
The college had originally said students must remove all hoodies, hats, caps and veils to ensure individuals were “easily identifiable” as part of keeping a “safe and welcoming learning environment”.
The multi-campus college, which teaches more than 9,000 16- to 19-year-olds as well as thousands of adult learners, said media attention caused by the protests might detract “from our core mission of providing high quality education”. A petition against the policy had gathered 8,000 signatures and hundreds of students had planned to demonstrate against the policy on Friday. City councillors and MPs had also protested.