Muslim women who cover their faces with veils can be “frightening and intimidating”, says Britain’s Race Minister Phil Woolas. Mr Woolas has raised the stakes with a warning that Muslim veils could increase racial tensions in Britain.
The minister, who has a large Muslim population in his Oldham constituency, backs Mr Straw for starting a national debate. But he warns Muslims must do more to avoid alienating people of other races and faiths.
Writing in the Sunday Mirror today, he says: “Muslim women have every right to wear a veil covering their face. But they must realise that other people who don’t understand their culture can find it frightening and intimidating.”
See also BBC News, 7 October 2006