Birmingham college reverses decision to ban Muslim face veils after protests

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.

Categories: Europe, UK

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1 reply

  1. Banning clothes for whatever reason is just pathetic reactionary and totalitarian and I don’t care what pompous justifications you can come up for doing it, its still fundamentally wrong. The UK is already a bit of a weird “do as I say” state, stop supporting this sort of rubbish and making it worse. There goes freedom of speech to wear what you want. We are told it is a democracy yeah right. There are girls who probably go to this college half naked but they are allowed and those who cover are not allowed. A person can come half naked with a skirt but not with a veil. I can understand it making other students feel safer but only if there has been a history of attacks carried out by Muslim girls wearing niqab. Security reason? What complete nonce ! When has the niqab caused any security threats ? Never! If it’s illegal to wear “face coverings” in public then Halloween is doomed. Face covering? Would that extend to my precious Ray Bans? Why not… apparently face-recognition cameras don’t work when confronted by the simple sun glasses. And what about bushy beards and moustaches? And what next… hoods, floppy wide-brimmed hats, anti-pollution masks, scarves? Where does this silliness end?

    So gun crime, gang crime, alcohol related crime, drugs related crimes are all not issues – what is an issue is women wearing a face veil – and the number of reported crimes by such women are??? Anti-social behavior is not about how you dress – its about how you behave. If these women were anti-social – they wouldn’t be in a college seeking an education! If one has the freedom to remove clothing then they must respect another’s freedom in not removing their clothing. The simple solution to this whole issue would have been hiring a female security officer. But no!

    I love how non-Muslims are on DM teaching me my own religion. Please actually research before making bold statements like “Niqaab is not a religious requirement.” What a pathetic ban, security for who exactly? Just causing trouble really, other universities are open to the Niqaab and we interact with both staff and students just fine, we also worry about our safety and security and are more than happy to lift it up at airports and banks etc. You don’t know the women behind the veil nor have you ever spoken to one, so don’t be so quick to judge the book by its cover.

    As a Muslim, I agree with the university. However, guess what the reaction will be… Hundreds of Muslim students will cover up ‘as an act of support’, there will be demonstrations and finally the university will be forced to change their policy… A recent revert to Islam chooses to wear niqab. She does not have a husband and none is forcing her to wear the niqab. She chooses to wear my beautiful niqab to preserve her modesty. Just for peoples information when security’s a concern the women can remove the veil and the few I’ve spoken to do.. On the grand scale of things how much of an issue is this really? Don’t be distracted. Around 0.1% of the UK’s Muslim population were a veil.

    As a Muslim woman who wears a veil. She has found the comments to be quite discriminating. If a woman is acceptable when wearing a little amount of clothes, then why should a woman not be left alone when she herself chooses to be fully covered. Where is freedom of act gone?

    Security reasons are just a cover for racism and discrimination. If you cant see he face, you’ve never seen he before, how would you know it is she? Do you usually ask for a passport when speaking to someone? And how many women in niqab have you heard of in the last thirty years who have been involved in crime compared to those that don’t wear the niqab?

    I hope you all consider how this would affect us.If it is my belief that I am to wear it, why shouldn’t I be allowed, I don’t stop others from what they do, I don’t interfere or involve myself in the affairs of others. So is ‘i cant see who im talking to’ really a reason enough to ban hijab?

    This is the UK, not Saudi Arabia! Muslim women who wear the niqab here do so because they choose to. So it’s ok for women to parade around half naked in the streets, but the minute she wants to cover up it’s a crime?
    London School of Islamics Trust

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