UK minister rejects veil ban calls

Immigration chief says copying French ban on face coverings would be "un-British".

    Less than one per cent of British Muslims wear the face veil, according to some estimates [Gallo/Getty]

    Green's comments came after Philip Hollobone, another conservative MP, put forward a private member's bill that would restrict people from covering their faces in public.

    In addition to proposing the bill, Hollobone said he would refuse to hold meetings with veiled Muslim woman.

    Constituents who wear the face veil should either take it off or communicate with him in a "different way" such as mailing a letter, Hollobone said.

    Support for ban

    A poll released earlier in the week showed that 67 per cent of Britons support a ban on the face veil.

    in depth

      The debate for and against the face veil
      Readers react to French veil report
      The multiple shades of the hijab
      France: Violating religious rights?
      Uproar in Canada over face veil
      France recommends ban on veil


    Egypt court upholds exam veil ban

    YouGov, an internet-based market research firm, carried out the online survey of 2,205 adults for Five News television.  

    The Muslim Council of Britain says about 2.5 million Muslims live in the UK and less than one per cent wear a face weil.

    The issue of face-covering veils has been debated across Europe.

    In France, a ban on the face veil in public passed in the lower house last week and is expected to become law in September.

    The bill makes it illegal to cover the face anywhere in public and those caught wearing a full veil would face fines of $190 or be ordered to enrol in a "citizenship course".

    France also plans to issue prison sentences and fines to men who force women to wear the face veil.

    Critics have said that the ban stigmatises the nation's estimated five million Muslims - the largest Muslim population in western Europe.

    They also say it is a political ploy because only an estimated 1,900 women wear the full veil.

    Spain and Belgium have similar plans to ban the face veil in public.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.