| ||Philip Hollobone (pictured), Conservative MP for Kettering, who has previously compared niqab and burqa wearers to 'the religious equivalent of going around with a paper bag over your head' is to reportedly ask parliament to restrict the use of burqa in the UK. |
Northamptonshire Evening Standard reports that Hollobone will present a Private Members Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill in the House of Commons. The move comes on the back of a decision arrived at by MPs from 47 European countries who voted against a general prohibition on the wearing of the burqa, niqab or other religious symbols since it would deny women who genuinely and freely desire to cover their face.
Hollobone 'said: "The ruling clearly demonstrates that members of the council of the EU are out of touch with popular opinion.
'"What they said does leave open the possibility of restrictions on the wearing of burkas for security and other reasons – it doesn't forbid any measure.
'"If motorcyclists have to take their helmet off when they go into shops and banks the same rules should apply to people wearing the burka."
'A private member's bill is a proposed law introduced by a backbench MP for the House of Commons to debate but does not automatically become law if MPs vote in its favour.
'Inam Khan, chairman of the Kettering Muslim Association, said: "This has never been an issue in Kettering. There are only two females in the entire population of 35,000 here who wear the hijab [niqab]. I don't understand why it has become an issue, especially when there are such serious other issues affecting the country.
'"You will never, ever speak to anybody who works in a bank or a shop or a newsagent in Kettering who has had an issue with this."'
Hollobone is no stranger to amplifying the views of an extreme minority who oppose the wearing of the burqa and niqab in public places. His latest attempt to deny service and access into public places will no doubt infringe upon the rights of Muslim women and their ability to contribute to public life. Borne out of arrogance that is presumptuous of Muslim womens’ intentions for choosing to wear the veil and disregard for the freedom of expression as exercised by women who choose to cover their face, Hollobone's Private Members Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill will only serve to foment anti-Muslim prejudice.
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