July 3, 2009
College tells Muslim students to remove veil
by Benjamin Graham
Two female Muslim students and their teacher were asked to remove their facial veils during an open day at a Catholic college.
St Mary’s College in Blackburn, Lancashire, asked the visitor to remove their head coverings before they looked round the premises.
“There is a long-standing policy that people entering the site do not have their faces covered,” said college principal Kevin McMahon.
“At the start of one of our ‘taster days’ for prospective students last week, some visitors did arrive wearing the veil.
“When the policy was explained to them, all except one were willing to remove it.”
The students removed their veils, but their accompanying teacher refused and decided to leave the college rather than stay for the taster day.
Muslim youth organisation the Ramadhan Foundation critised the college’s policy as “an example of people jumping on the bandwagon against the veil.”
“These women have taken a decision to wear that particular dress and as a society we should recognise that,” said Mohammed Shafiq, Ramadhan Foundation spokesperson.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), however, played down the incident as a “trivial issue”.
“Not everybody will have the same uniform policy,” the MCB said.
According to Ofsted reports, St Mary’s College has made an “outstanding contribution” to the promotion of equality and diversity.
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