Muslim students and visitors have been banned from wearing veils in a controversial new crackdown on security at a leading sixth-form college, London’s Metro reports.
College staff posted a notice in the reception area advising anyone coming on site to ‘remove items of clothing which cover their face’.
The move has angered Muslim groups who say people should be allowed to wear what they like.
The ban is ‘an essential element for a safe environment’ said Burnley College in Lancashire. However, the University of Central Lancashire, which operates out of the same campus, permits veils.
‘There are human rights issues at stake here. People have the right and freedom to wear what they want,’ said Abdul Hamid Qureshi, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques.
‘It seems Burnley College has one policy on veils and the university has another and I just think to ban veils altogether is excessive.
‘If security is an issue the person coming in a burka should show their face to the security guard at the college,’ he added.
Labour councillor Wajid Khan said: ‘People should be able to wear what they want – this is the beautiful thing about our society, to be able to wear what you want.
‘This choice and diversity is why our country is so great. We have this equality of opportunity and we have this real tolerance,’ added Mr Khan, a course leader at the University of Central Lancashire.
In 2009, the same college sparked a row when Shawana Bilqes, 18, was banned from wearing a burka, a move she claimed forced her to abandon a HE Diploma course.
‘It is not possible to maintain essential full communication if the face of any student is not fully visible,’ said the then principal John Smith. Source Metro.co.uk
Whilst the college is catering for home based students, the ban could have a knock on effect on the many thousands of overseas students from Muslim countries who come to the UK each year to pursue their studies at Universities and private colleges.
Overseas students are worth £8.3 billion to the UK economy according to Home Office figures.
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