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Burka ban could fan the flames of hate

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:31 05 October 2010

A BAN on women wearing the niqab or burka could fan the flames of hate, members of the Respect Party in the East End have warned. Muslim women face a ban on full veils on French transport and in other public services by the end of this year under proposal

A BAN on women wearing the niqab or burka could fan the flames of hate, members of the Respect Party in the East End have warned.

Muslim women face a ban on full veils on French transport and in other public services by the end of this year under proposals to the French Government from a cross-party Parliamentary Commission.

The sentiment has been echoed on this side of the English Channel by members of the UK Independence Party and the party's leader Nigel Farage said the face covering "increasingly divided Britain" and "oppressed women" and also cited security reasons for wanting it banned.

But Tower Hamlets council's Respect group leader Cllr Abjol Miah has warned that any legislation in the UK would only divide communities and fan the flames of Islamophobia.

The prospective Parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow said: "President Sarkozy says the burka is oppressive and incompatible with the French way of life and is a visible symbol that citizens no longer feel they have anything in common.

"Denouncing the burka as oppressive suggests Muslim women are incapable of making up their own mind. It is a bit rich to have a non-Muslim man lecture Muslim women on their rights, while riding roughshod over their right to choose to wear the burka if they wish.

"The argument that it is a symbol of division in society is the most revealing and the UK Independence Party's call for a ban has nothing to do with security fears or fake concern for Muslim women's rights.

"It has everything to do with attempting to hijack the debate on race and win backing from Islamophobic voters who will be considering a vote for the fascist BNP come the elections in May.


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