Students’ anger over ‘veil ban’

Muslims are urging Imperial College to reconsider a dress code which prevents them wearing a full religious veil.
The college has banned students, staff and visitors from wearing clothing which obscures the face, such as veils, “hoodies” or motorcycle helmets. The measures where introduced last year in an attempt to tighten security.

Imperial College says the dress code has been agreed by the Student Union, but the Federation of Student Islamic Societies says it is “unacceptable”. The federation (Fosis) said the veil, or niqab, was “central to the religious beliefs of those who wear it” and, by banning it, Imperial College was “forcing students to choose between their religion and education”.

Fosis president Wakkas Khan, said: “The decision taken by Imperial College to maintain the ban on the veil has shocked Muslim students across the country. The majority of universities have responded excellently to accommodate the needs of Muslim students, but regrettably, and rather disappointingly, it would seem that Imperial College is not amongst these institutions.”

The college said its new college dress code followed the “security concerns raised by the terrorist incidents which had occurred over the summer”.

BBC News, 17 January 2006

See also “FOSIS astonished by Imperial College policy”, FOSIS press release, 16 January 2006