Bolton MP defends rights of Muslim woman
7:00am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
A LEADING Bolton politician has spoken out about the rights of Muslim women in the town who choose to wear traditional veils.
It follows a ruling by a judge that a woman must show her face while giving evidence in a criminal trial.
The ruling could set a precedent for how criminal courts deal with defendants who wear a veil, known as a niqab.
Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi, who is a Muslim, said that while she agreed with the ruling, the perception is still persists that women who wear the veil were being made to do something against their will.
Ms Qureshi said: "The British way of doing things is to allow people to live their own lives unless they are out to do harm to others or are breaking the law.
"I think the judge is perfectly correct and I don't have any problems in people being asked to show their faces in colleges if it's for security reasons, but there does seem an element who believe that women are being forced to wear these veils against their will and it's untrue.
"I realise a lot of this is born out of ignorance, and it is true that in Muslim households in Bolton there are some people who believe that their women should wear something on their head and there is a tiny minority which believes that they should also wear a veil.
"However, in my experience it is often entirely up to the women. In a household there might be one woman who decides to wear the veil while the other females who choose not to wear it and this is freedom of choice. Nothing to do with anybody else."
She added: "What people in Bolton should remember is that the veil is a lifestyle choice that these women have made in which they dress modestly and live a life which rejects the luxuries, and it should be respected. "