Britain’s first Muslim Cabinet minister has said she hopes women will stop wearing the Islamic face veil in the UK within 20 years.
Baroness Sayeed Warsi, who served as Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under David Cameron’s leadership, said she did not want the veil banned, but instead insisted Muslims to lead “lead the charge” against the niqab.
“I just don’t know what its purpose is in terms of British Islam,” she said at the Hay literary festival.
“In Britain, and as I am a huge civil libertarian, we don’t ban things. We actually allow communities to say this is not a good thing for us and the argument I’m making is I want British Muslims to lead that charge, to say this is not the best manifestation of British Islam and, therefore, is this a garment which in 10 or 20 years time is going to be part of the landscape?
Debate around Islamic dress reignited in Britain when Ukip proposed a ban on the burqa and niqab in its manifesto. Among the reasons given by the party was that a burqa “prevents intake of essential vitamin D from sunlight”.