UK college bans the veil `for security reasons`

The ban covers anything concealing faces, including crash helmets.

Updated: Sep 25, 2010, 00:29 AM IST

London: A college in Britain has banned veils, drawing criticism from Muslim community leaders, a media report said.

Burnley College, Lancashire, said that for security reasons, all students, staff and visitors must remove any "items of clothing which cover their face". The ban covers anything concealing faces, including crash helmets, The Sun reported on Friday.

Community leaders were outraged by the college decision.

"There are human rights issues at stake. People have the right to wear what they want," Abdul Hamid Qureshi, former head of Lancashire Council of Mosques, was quoted as saying.

"I just think to ban veils altogether is excessive. There should be a compromise," he added.

Councillor Wajid Khan said: "People should be able to wear articles of faith."

The college caters to 7,500 sixth-form pupils and other scholars.

The students had varied opinion regarding the ban.

"They might as well put up a sign saying anyone wearing a headscarf is a terrorist," said 18-year-old Sarah Sharples.

However, another student, Rob Littlebank said: "I`d rather the college be over-cautious."

A college spokeswoman said: "The decision was taken solely on increasing safety of staff, students and visitors."