Salman Rushdie has enraged fellow Muslims by saying veils "suck" and condemning them as a means of subjugating women.
The author backed Jack Straw, the Commons Leader, who described veils as a "visible statement of separation" that impeded community relations and disclosed that he asks constitiuents to take them off in meetings.
Mr Rushdie said: "He was expressing an important opinion, which is that veils suck - which they do. Speaking as somebody with three sisters and a very largely female Muslim family, there is not a single woman I know in my family, or in their friends, who would have accepted the wearing of a veil."
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The battle against the veil has been a long and continuing battle against the limitation of women so, in that sense, I am completely on [Mr Straw's] side." Sir Iqbal Sacranie, former chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the author had "no credibility" among Muslims. "You can only have a debate with open minds, not closed minds," he said. "Islamophobes are currently doing all they can to attack Islam and it doesn't surprise me if he is now jumping on the bandwagon."