“When I was the Chief Officer of an organisation (a Council for Racial Equality in Yorkshire as it happens) I would not have tolerated any member of my staff wearing a niqab, or any other kind of non-medical mask over their face. Had I ever been approached by a woman wearing a niqab (though I never was) I would have done exactly as Jack Straw claims he would do, and politely asked her to remove it.
“I do not know Ms Azmi or her personal circumstances but I do have some familiarity with the various communities in Kirklees. I was a founder member and the first Secretary of the Kirklees Community Law Centre but I resigned from the Management Committee over a decade ago because the other members were not willing to stand up to the unreasonable demands of the leaders of the local Pakistani Community Association.
“These so-called community leaders were so used to being indulged and deferred to in all matters relating to ‘their’ communities that their response to any opposition was to bully and bluster. I suspect that some of these same people will be bending the ears of the local authority at this very moment, demanding all sorts of concessions and assurances about future practices in schools and other areas of the public sector.”
Steve Radford on the National Secular Society website.
The worrying thing is that someone like this was ever responsible for racial equality in the first place.