David Cameron backs college's decision to ban Muslim veils

Educational institutions should 'set and enforce' their own uniform policies, says PM

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The Independent Online

David Cameron has supported a college's decision to ban students from wearing facial coverings.

Birmingham Metropolitan College told Muslim students that religious veils must be removed on the premises for security reasons, in a move that has been met with outrage.

Hoodies, hats and caps are also banned, in order to safeguard students and ensure that all individuals are ‘easily identifiable’.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister has told how Cameron believes that educational institutions should be able ‘to set and enforce their own school uniform policies’.

Despite understanding the need for veils to removed at airport security checks, Nick Clegg has voiced concern over the controversial move.

Speaking on his LBC 97.3 phone-in show, the Deputy Prime Minister said: “I'm really quite uneasy about anyone being told what they have to wear and I certainly would need to understand why. One of the things that is great about our country is that we are diverse, we are tolerant”

"People do dress differently, people do have different faiths, people do have different convictions and that is reflected in what they wear, in how they present themselves," he added.

The college has stated the priority of safeguarding students as its reason for the ban. “All prospective students, as well as staff, have been advised of the policy, which will mean that everyone allowed on the premises can understand and know each other,” principal and chief-executive Dame Christine Braddock told the Birmingham Mail.

The news has sent shockwaves around the Muslim community, with one 17-year-old girl calling the decision ‘discriminatory’ and ‘disgusting’.

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, has expressed her shock at the policy. She commented: “I would like to know how many students are affected with a full explanation as to why the compromise suggested by students at the college - that the veil is removed for security staff to check and verify identity before being put back on - was not accepted."