Muslim students have been banned from wearing religious veils into a college because of fears regarding security.
Teenagers at Birmingham Metropolitan College have been told to remove any items of clothing covering their faces so they are 'easily identifiable at all times'. But while some students welcomed the move, arguing it keeps them safer, others called it 'disgusting'. The ban of the niqab has caused some female students enroll at different college. News of the policy, which also requires students to remove hats and hoodies, was broken to those who were starting at the college last week.
Student Imaani Ali, 17, said her 'freedom had been breached' by the rule. 'Me and another friend who wears the veil were only told we wouldn’t be allowed inside the college after we had enrolled,' she said.
'They haven’t provided us with another alternative. We said we would happily show the men at security our faces so they could check them against our IDs, but they won’t let us. 't’s a breach of my freedom and I feel discriminated against. This is my religion, it is what I believe in. I don’t really want to go to a place that doesn’t accept me but I have no choice now.'
Another 17-year-old girl, who did not want to be named, was so upset at the policy that has she decided to look for another college place in the city.
She said: 'It’s disgusting. It is a personal choice and I find it absolutely shocking that this has been brought in at a college in Birmingham city centre when the city is so multicultural and so many of the students are Muslim.
'It upsets me that we are being discriminated against. I don’t think my niqab prevents me from studying or communicating with anyone. I’ve never had any problems in the city before.'
Suleman Hussain, 17, is taking A-level science at the college and strongly disagreed with the guidelines. He said: 'They’re not going to bring a bomb to college. They have come here to learn.'
The strict policy was announced days after the issue of wearing religious dress was brought up in parliament.
Kettering MP Philip Hollobone, who refuses to see constituents who will not lift their veils, raised the issue in a Private Member’s Bill, saying it 'goes against the basic part of the British way of life'.