Muslim veils should be illegal in public, says bishop

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The Independent Online

Muslim women should be banned from wearing the veil in public, the Church of England's only Asian bishop said last night.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, called on the Government to introduce new laws obliging Muslim women to remove the veil while travelling or at work. "Given that we are facing an unprecedented security situation, legislation needs to be introduced that allows officials to remove the veil," he said.

The law should cover airports, ports, Tube and train stations, and employers should have the right to demand that the veil is not worn in the workplace, the Bishop said. The comments came days after it emerged that a man wanted in connection with the murder of WPC Sharon Beshenivsky may have fled Britain disguised as a Muslim woman. Mustaf Jama is believed to have escaped detection by wearing a niqab, which covers the face except the eyes.

Bishop Nazir-Ali, whose father converted from Islam to Catholicism, also said that the Muslim community needed to make greater efforts to integrate.