Britain is "very unlikely" to prohibit wearing the full Islamic veil, Immigration Minister Damian Green said this week, saying a ban would be "un-British". Moves to ban the veil in France and Belgium have sparked widespread debate.
AFP - Britain was "very unlikely" to introduce a ban on Muslim women wearing face-covering veils despite widespread public support for such a move, Immigration Minister Damian Green said.
He told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that a ban similar to that approved in France, and which a poll on Friday showed was backed by 67 percent of Britons, was a "rather un-British thing to do".
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A fellow Conservative lawmaker had earlier said he refused to meet female constituents who wore the face veil and had proposed a law to ban the practice.
However, Green said: "Telling people what they can and can't wear, if they're just walking down the street, is a rather un-British thing to do. We're a tolerant and mutually respectful society."
The immigration minister acknowledged there were occasions when it was important to be able to see someone's face.
"But I think it's very unlikely and it would be undesirable for the British parliament to try and pass a law dictating what people wore," he said.
Green added that unlike France, Britain was not "aggressively secular".
This week French lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to ban face-covering veils in public, in a bill which will go to the Senate for approval.
A guide to the four main types of Muslim veil
"If she said: 'No', I would take the view that she could see my face, I could not see hers, I am not able to satisfy myself she is who she says she is," he told the Independent newspaper.
"I would invite her to communicate with me in a different way, probably in the form of a letter."
Hollobone has also tabled a bill in parliament to regulate certain face coverings, although it will not be debated until December and is highly unlikely to become law due to a lack of government support.
About 400 Muslims live in Kettering, Hollobone's constituency, according to the local Muslim association, out of a total of 50,000 people in the town.
Date created : 2010-07-18