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Many Islamic schools in Britain insist their pupils wear burkas or veilsCovering up is the the ‘desired dress code of a Muslim female’, they sayTheresa May says all women should be able to ‘make a choice’ about dress
Muslim schools all over Britain are forcing female pupils as young as 11 to wear burkas, it emerged today.
Institutions say that they are ‘strict’ on uniforms for their children because full-face veils are the ‘desired dress code of a Muslim female’.
But campaigners believe it is ‘wrong’ for any child to cover their face and the Home Secretary Theresa May says that all women should be able to ‘make a choice’ about what they wear.
It came as a judge ruled this week that a Muslim will be allowed to stand trial with her face covered as long as it is removed while giving evidence.
The case has prompted some MPs to call for full-face veils to be banned but many Islamic schools, which have control over uniform policy, insist their pupils wear burkas.
The Madani Girls School in Tower Hamlets, East London, requires all its pupils wear a black burka and a long black coat outside.
On its website, its describes its uniform policy as ‘strict’ and as supporting the ‘desired dress code of a Muslim female’.
It continues: ‘The present uniform conforms to the Islamic Code of dressing and must be adhered to at all times both within the school and dismissal at the end of the day.’
The school does not allow any of its 300 pupils to wear any form of makeup or jewellery.
The Ayesha Siddiqa Girls School in Southall, West London, also insists pupils wear a navy blue burka or a jilbab, which does not cover the face.
On its website, the school says its is ‘not willing to compromise on any issues regarding uniform’.
Many other Muslim schools – including around a dozen state-funded schools – require female pupils to cover their hair.
It comes after Judge Peter Murphy, sitting at London’s Blackfriars Crown Court, ruled it was ‘crucial’ for jurors to be able to see a defendant’s face when giving evidence.
The 22-year-old in question, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said it is against her religious beliefs to show her face in public.
Referred to in court as ‘D’, she entered a not guilty plea to a charge of intimidation last week while wearing a niqab after the judge backed down from a previous decision that she would have to show her face to be properly identified.
Meanwhile the topic of wearing veils in school has dominated headlines in recent weeks after Birmingham Metropolitan College was made to retract a policy which forced pupils to remove veils while on the premises so they can be identified.
Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne has called for a national debate on whether the state should step in to prevent young women having the veil imposed upon them.
But Home Secretary Theresa May has said it is for women to ‘make a choice’ about what clothes they wear, including veils, although there will be some circumstances when it will be necessary to ask for them to be removed.
‘I start from the position that I don’t think Government should tell people, I don’t think the Government should tell women, what they should be wearing,’ Mrs May said.
‘I think it’s for women to make a choice about what clothes they wish to wear, if they wish to wear a veil that is for a woman to make a choice.
‘There will be some circumstances in which it’s right for public bodies, for example at the border, at airport security, to say there is a practical necessity for asking somebody to remove a veil.
‘I think it’s for public bodies like the Border Force officials, it’s for schools and colleges, and others like the judiciary, as we’ve recently seen, to make a judgment in relation to those cases as to whether it’s necessary to ask somebody to remove the veil’.
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