Mother in veil barred from entering UK college

Last Updated: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 15:35

London: A Muslim mother was turned away from a parents` evening at a British college as she refused to remove her full-face veil, an incident that left her feeling humiliated.

Maroon Rafique, 40, was told that for the security and safety of children and teachers at the college, there was a ban on any type of face coverings.

She was warned that unless she removed her full-face covering, known as the niqab, she would not be allowed into the college to attend the talks important for her son`s education, the Daily Mail reported.

In the end, a stunned Rafique was forced to call her husband, who took her place and went with their son Awais, 18.

Rafique, who is married to double-glazing firm boss Abdul, 40, and has a younger son, Ibrahim, 12, said she felt humiliated.

"I`m born in this country and British. Why should what I wear offend anyone? I didn`t want to make any fuss. All I wanted was to find out the information to help my son go to university," Rafique, who has worn the niqab for seven years, said.

"I offered to sit at the back or at the front, anywhere where I wouldn`t be seen, if they thought I was going to offend anyone. I was really upset because whenever I`ve visited the college before there`s never been a problem, in fact the tutors have been welcoming and friendly," she said.

Rafique, of Whalley Range, Manchester, had been invited to attend the parents` evening and talk about her son`s education at The Manchester College.

But when the mother of two arrived she was apprehended by security staff who did not allow her to attend the talk.

"I do get abuse every now and again in the street, which I just have to deal with. However, I was very surprised when I was treated this way by the college," she added.

A spokesman for The Manchester College said Rafique`s concerns were being taken "very seriously".

"The Manchester College provides a safe and inclusive environment that fosters development and achievement. We apply a single dress code to all college users, including learners and visitors," the spokesman said.

In March, a Muslim woman was barred from serving on a jury in the UK because she refused to remove her niqab.

PTI



First Published: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 15:35

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