Veil is ‘a symbol of subservience’

“I object strongly to teachers wearing the veil. It is more than a choice of dress. It is a symbol of subservience, everything our parents, grandparents, the suffragettes fought against and we have still not won complete equality and freedom for women.

“The veil is a disguise with no place in school. It may hide a highly educated professional woman, a wealthy woman wearing the latest fashions and marvellous jewellery, a poor woman subjected to clitorectomy, a woman beaten and bruised, a child married against her will, or a woman about to be murdered by her family for loving the wrong man. It could also hide a loving mother and a truly religious woman.

“Seeing a pair of dark eyes, you may be looking at a terrorist in disguise, a murderer who believes in jihad and fatwa. Which of the women behind the veil genuinely represents Islam? How do we know?

“It is anathema to free, Western thinking for children to be taught that it is wrong for a man to see a woman’s face.”

Rose Hacker in the Camden New Journal, 23 November 2006