CAIRO - Renowned British lawmaker George Galloway has attacked new restrictions imposed on the wearing of the Muslim face-veil (Niqab) at the meeting place of the two houses of parliament, describing the move as an infringement of Muslim rights.
Everyone understands the need to have proper security, Galloway, Respect MP for Bradford West, told The Daily Mail on Sunday, December 9.But these rules seem a little heavy handed and confusing to me.
George Galloway Denies Islam Conversion
Hijab: What's It All About?
British authorities have imposed new restrictions on the wearing of the Muslim veil at the Palace of Westminster, the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Under the new rules, niqab-wearing Muslims will be required to remove their face-veil.
The new rules were supported by one MP, whose identity was not clarified by the British daily.
It will be much more welcoming for them if they are greeted by someone whose face they can see clearly, the anonymous MP said.
British Muslims are estimated at nearly 2.5 million.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
As for the face veil, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that a woman is not obliged to cover her face or hands.
Scholars, however, believe that it is up to women to decide whether to take on the face veil.
Galloway, a firebrand British MP, is a main organizer for aid convoys to Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege since Hamas seized power in 2006.
He is also one of the world's most prominent and outspoken activists, seeking to bring public attention to the other side of British and American foreign policy.
Galloway rejected the government justifications for the move, saying the restrictions could discriminate against Muslim women.
We live in a multi-faith society and need to be sensitive about that, he said.
The face-veil has become the center of a heated debate across Europe in recent years.
France and Belgium have voted to ban face-veils in public. A number of European countries are mulling similar bans.
Calls have also been growing in Britain for enforcing a ban on the wearing of the face-veil in public places.
In September 2010, the Burnley College in Lancashire banned the Muslim face-veil on campus.
A recent YouGov survey found that some 67 percent of Britons favor face-veils to be made illegal.
Lawmaker Philip Hollobone has already tabled a bill in the parliament calling for Britain to follow France and outlaw the wearing of the face-veil in public.The right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) has also supported calls for a veil ban after France's vote.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net