Theresa May backs Muslim women's right to wear a hijab

David Cameron previously backed institutions that wanted women to remove their veils

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Theresa May has backed the right of Muslim women to wear a headscarf or hijab “without fear”.

The Prime Minister said she believed that “what a woman wears is a woman’s choice”.

A number of countries have imposed bans on parts of Muslim religious dress. France bans the Hijab in public buildings such as schools and universities as part of a prohibition on “religious symbols”.

Others, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and parts of Switzerland have passed bans of varying severity on wearing face veils such as the burqa or niquab. 

In Britain, Ukip leader Paul Nuttal has called for the Muslim face veil to be banned.

SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh asked Ms May about the subject during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

“Today is world hijab day and I wondered if the Prime Minister would join me in recognising the right of Muslim women to wear hijab if they wish without fear – indeed the right of all women everywhere to wear what they want when they want,” she said.

The Prime Minister replied that she agreed with Ms Ahmed-Sheikh on the issue.

“On the issue that she raises about the wearing of the hijab, I’m absolutely in line with her: I believe that what a woman wears is a woman’s choice,” she told the House of Commons.”

In 2013 David Cameron said he would “back up” schools and courts which asked women to remove veils.