London: Wearing a burka does not prevent
Muslim women from engaging in everyday life in Britain,
Pakistani-origin Conservative Party chairman Sayeeda Warsi has
Defending the right of Muslim women to choose to
wear the burka, Sayeeda Warsi said many women wore the veil
of their own free will.
Warsi, the first Muslim women to serve in British
Cabinet, said: "Just because a woman wears the burka, it
doesn't mean she can't engage in everyday life. Why should we
tell women what to wear? What it boils down to is choice. If
women don't have a choice over what to wear then they are
"But if a woman has a choice, and she chooses to wear
whatever she chooses to wear then she's not oppressed is she?
She's choosing what she wants."
Critics, including some in Warsi's party, claim
that the burka alienates Muslim women from the rest of
Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, who is piloting a
Bill in the House of Commons to ban the burka in public, has
likened the full-face veil to 'wearing a paper bag over your
Launching the Bill, Hollobone said: "Part of the
British way of life is walking down the street, smiling at
people and saying hello, whether you know them or not. You
cannot have this everyday human interaction if you cover your
face. These people are saying that they don't want to be
part of our way of society."
First Published: Tuesday, August 03, 2010, 17:35