The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said:
“Britain today faces a concerted campaign by sections of the media and some politicians, fanned by fascist grouplets, aimed at sowing hatred against Muslims. This has now culminated in physical attacks, firebombings, and assaults on women. This constitutes an attack on civil and religious liberties including an attempt to suppress the right of persons of all faiths to dress in accordance with their religious convictions.
“Whatever a person’s view on the most suitable forms of dress they have no right to impose this on others – it is a fundamental human right that every person should be allowed to dress in accordance with their religious views, as dictated only by their individual conscience. This right had to be defended in the past for Sikhs and other communities and it must be today for Muslims or indeed any other community that faces such a challenge. It applies equally therefore to those who wish to wear crucifixes.
“The prosperity and cohesion of London as one of the most diverse city’s in the world is inextricably linked to respect for these basic principles of freedom of individual choice.”