PM backs veil-teacher suspension

Tony Blair has backed the local education authority which suspended a Muslim classroom assistant for refusing to remove her full face veil at school. He said he “fully supported” the way the authority dealt with Aishah Azmi at Headfield Church of England Junior School, in Dewsbury.

Mr Blair told reporters at his first news conference since MPs returned from their long summer break that a debate was needed on how the Muslim community integrates with British society. “Difficult though these issues are, I think they have to be raised and confronted and dealt with,” he said. “And then, there’s a second issue, which is about Islam itself and how Islam comes to terms with – and is comfortable with – the modern world.”

BBC News, 17 October 2006