19 January 2016

'The numbers are small': Muslim groups play down issue of veils in schools

The renewed debate over the wearing of full-face veils in schools, either by pupils or teachers, has been greeted with scepticism by some in the Muslim community who say it is a small issue affecting tiny numbers.

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council for Britain, could not disguise his frustration. “These issues come up every couple of years,” he said. “Every couple of years there’s a big debate, ‘should we ban it, what should we do?’”

In fact, he said, it was an issue that affected a tiny number. “I’m not aware of any children wearing it. I think the concern they are raising is about teachers wearing it, but the numbers are very, very small.

“The number of women wearing the full-face veil in general is very small. The number of teachers wearing the face veil is even tinier.”

The debate surfaced again this week against a backdrop of David Cameron’s drive to get more Muslim women speaking English and the launch of the government’s Educate Against Hate website. [The Guardian] Read more