Lord Ahmed calls for Debate on Niqab

In comments likely to rekindle debate on the controversial issue, Lord Nazir has expressed his views on the Niqab. Ahmed told the Yorkshire Post regional newspaper: "The veil is now a mark of separation, segregation, and defiance against mainstream British culture."

"But there is nothing in the Koran to say that the wearing of a niqab is desirable, let alone compulsory. It is purely cultural. It is an identity thing which has been misinterpreted."

"They were supposed to be worn so that women would not be harassed. But my argument is that women, and communities as a whole, are now being harassed because they are wearing them."

Ahmed was born in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir but brought up in Rotherham, northern England.

He became the first Muslim member of the House of Lords in 1998 and took his oath on the Koran.

Ahmed recently spoke in a debate in the Qatari capital, Doha, supporting a motion that the niqab was a "barrier to integration in the West," the newspaper reported. The Yorkshire Post covers areas with strong Muslim communities.

Ahmed said he did not want the niqab banned, but that a "sensible and sensitive" debate was needed about whether they were required in UK society.

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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