||BBC News reports that a man from Birmingham has pleaded guilty to charges of racially aggravated assault after he pulled a niqab off a Muslim woman’s face in a West Midlands shopping centre in March.
From BBC News:
“A 26-year-old man has admitted pulling a niqab veil off a Muslim woman at a shopping centre in the West Midlands.
“Ian Brazier, of Shirley, Birmingham, admitted racially aggravated assault after he tugged at Farhana Chughtai's hair in Touchwood, Solihull, in March.
“Brazier had been smoking cannabis and was "upset" at not being able to watch two films at a nearby cinema complex.
“Prosecutor John McCann, said 26-year-old Ms Chughtai, who does not know Brazier, had been with her family in the shopping centre at the time of the incident.
“Mr McCann said that she had felt a tug at her hair and her niqab [a veil that covers the face] fell on to the floor, leaving her feeling "humiliated and very upset".
“Ms Chughtai turned around and saw Mr Brazier running off.
“Habib Ahmed, for the defendant, told the court that after after [sic] his arrest and not commenting in a police interview, Brazier had later walked into a police station to admit what he had done as he "couldn't live with himself".
“Mr Ahmed said that Brazier had smoked "two cannabis spliffs" for the first time and had not appreciated the effect they would have.
“He has been released on bail to be sentenced on 4 July at the same court.”
Last year a man was given a 135 day prison sentence for a similar attack on a veiled Muslim woman in a shopping centre in Glenrothes, Scotland. The culprit pulled a burqa from the woman’s face and head whilst she was shopping.
Last month, researchers at Queen Mary University and the University of Sussex published a paper looking at the ‘Anti-burqa movement in western Europe’. The authors argued that face veiling has increasingly become symbolic of an ‘unwelcome racial or cultural presence’ and is seen as something which “penalises and subordinates women”, and that bans on the face veil have been “detrimental to women’s equality and autonomy”. This negative impact on Muslim women is supported by research carried out at the University of Leicester, where a study found that the banning of the niqab in France has increased hostility towards veiled Muslim women in the UK.