A British lawmaker is refusing to meet female Muslim constituents who wear face-covering veils and has proposed a law banning the practice altogether, he said on Saturday.
Philip Hollobone, a member of parliament (MP) from Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party, wants to see a French-style ban on women covering their faces in public, although his bill stands little chance of becoming law.
However, in his own constituency of Kettering in central England, he is demanding that women who wear veils and want to meet with him at his constituency surgeries remove them.
“If she said: ‘No’, I would take the view that she could see my face, I could not see hers, I am not able to satisfy myself she is who she says she is,” he told the Independent newspaper.
“I would invite her to communicate with me in a different way, probably in the form of a letter.”
He added: “God gave us faces to be expressive. It is not just the words we utter but whether we are smiling, sad, angry or frustrated. You don’t get any of that if your face is covered.”
Yesterday AFP also reported:
Two thirds of British people would support a ban on Muslim women wearing face-covering veils in public similar to the one approved by French lawmakers this week, a poll found Friday.
The YouGov poll was carried out between Wednesday and Friday, after France’s lower house of parliament voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to ban full Islamic veils in public spaces.
A Harris poll for the Financial Times in March revealed Britons were among the most tolerant in Europe towards the Islamic veil, with just 57 percent backing a ban, compared to 70 percent in France and 65 percent in Spain.
According to the Muslim Council of Britain, about 2.5 million Muslims live in this country, and less than one percent wear a face veil.