British minister triggers debate over veils
- British MP, Jack Straw wrote a newspaper article seeking face-covering burqas to be prohibited from being worn in public interactions.
- PM Tony Blair and Gordon Brown came out in support of Straw's views, holding that burqas were a 'mark of separation'.
- The debate escalated when Aishah Azmi, a teacher at Church of England school was sacked for wearing a burqa in the classroom.
Interesting poll finding
According to an October 2006 poll, 61% of the British public agreed that burqas were responsible for segregating Muslim women but 77% said women reserved the right to wear them.
France bans face-covering burqa
- The French parliament passed a law, prohibiting all face-covering clothing including the burqa, from being worn in public places impacting about 2,000 French Muslim women.
- The law was passed after Sarkozy and other politicians raised concerns that face-coverings prevented proper identification of a person.
- The law aimed to address both the security risks and social hindrances that wearing of face-covering veils caused.
Schools, court cases spark further debate over burqas
- Birmingham Metropolitan University banned the burqa citing security concerns, in a move that received PM Cameron's support.
- The university had to retract the ban following student protests.
- A London judge ordered a woman to remove her burqa in the courtroom, in order to be identified.
- He, too, had to compromise and allow her to wear the burqa at all times, except while testifying.
Growing alienation of British Muslims driving their radicalization
- Politicians including PM Cameron and former Foreign Minister Kim Howells have attributed the radicalization of British Muslims to the lack of multiculturism in UK.
- Muslims born in the UK continue to face discrimination and socio-economic barriers as revealed in a 2006 Pew Survey.
- According to the survey, British Muslims are more alienated than the Muslims in any other country.
Rising number of Britons joining ISIS
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond disclosed that ~800 Britons had joined the ISIL while ~600 had been caught making attempts since 2012. ~25 girls had emigrated to Syria as jihadi brides.
Measures to tackle Muslim community segregation
- Cameron announced a £20m plan to teach English to Muslim women, in a move that aims to achieve social integration of immigrants, especially Muslim women, and prevent their radicalization.
- He announced a plan to test the English language skills of migrants holding spousal visas, 2.5 years after their arrival in the country.
- Spouses would be deported if their English skills were found unsatisfactory.
Education Ministry steps in to control radicalization
- Part of its campaign against the corrupt influence of extremist propaganda over youth, Britain's Education Ministry launched an anti-radicalization website called 'Educate against hate'.
- The website gives practical advice and information to teachers and parents for protecting children from extremism.
- The Department of Education has also launched a crackdown on illegal and unregistered schools, working as breeding grounds for extremism.
PM Cameron supports burqa ban in schools, courts, borders
- Britain's PM David Cameron voiced his support for barring face-covering veils like the burqa from being worn in schools, courts and border checkpoints.
- He said that institutions like courts and border checkpoints were correct in demanding that people keep their faces visible.
- He also said that face-covering burqas were against school uniform policies.
- Cameron, however, rejected blanket-banning the burqa, as done in France.