A Muslim-owned jewellery shop has decided to ban customers wearing veils after being targeted by robbers disguised as Islamic women.
Everyone entering ATAA Jewellers in Glasgow must reveal their faces under planned new rules to protect staff from further attacks.
The store owners decided to act after two Asian men wearing traditional Muslim women’s clothes — including niqab veils — made away with thousands of pounds worth of jewellery earlier this month.
Now the Sadiq family who run the shop are planning to put up a sign informing customers that they cannot wear any headgear that covers the face.
Any Muslim women who are more comfortable in a niqab will be encouraged to telephone in advance to ensure that a female member of staff is present during their visit, to confirm their identities.
The family said they accepted the policy may offend some Muslims, but expect other businesses to take a similar approach.
Criminals wearing Islamic veils have carried out at least one other robbery in the city.
Local councillor Hanzala Malik backed the plan. “I know in Scotland that banks will not allow their customers coming in with motorbike helmets, I don’t see why it should be different for people wearing the Niqab. It is an issue about identifying people,” he said.
Shop raid prompts Muslim veil ban
Rukhsana Sadiq was in the shop when it was robbed. She spent hours showing what she thought were the two women gold, but she never saw their faces.
“We didn’t realise how tall they were until we got attacked and the pepper sprays came out,” she said.
Rukhsana said the incident has left her terrified, and suspicious of everyone she sees.
She added: “They know us by face, but we don’t know who they are. I mean they can even walk by the shop, we don’t even know it’s them and it’s really, really frightening.
Rukhsana’s brother Mohammed Amin Sadiq said it was not the first time that a veil’s been used as a disguise in the area.
“There’s been an incident in another Asian shop,” he said. “Two females came in, or males. They picked up a bag of money, but the shop owner took note and they ran out.”
But Madihah Ansari, a 19-year-old student in Glasgow, said a sign banning the veil was not the solution.
Madihah wears a Burkha and always has her head and body covered. Sometimes she chooses to wear a Niqab as well, meaning her face is covered.
She said: “I just really don’t like that idea. It is like prejudice about one type of person.
“Just because two guys did a crime and they were dressed up in that kind of outfit you can’t prejudice everyone else.