UK school bars mom entry over niqab

Jun 25, 2012, 07:57 IST | Agencies

A mother was turned away from her teenage son's parents evening � because she refused to take off her veil.

Maroon Rafique (40), was barred when she refused to take off her niqab, which she has worn for the past seven years.

Turned away: Maroon Rafique was asked by the school’s receptionist to remove her veil, which she declined to do. Representation Pic

Reception staff told the mum-of-two that all visitors to the campus had to keep their faces visible for safety reasons. Rafique was then forced to telephone husband Abdul and ask him to come to Manchester College and speak with tutors about the progress of her son Awais.

Rafique said, “My son has been at the college for the past two years and I have been in there twice wearing the veil without any problems. This time though one of the women at the reception saw me and said ‘I’m sorry but you have to remove your veil to go to this meeting because it’s college policy’.”

The hurt mother added, “I offered to sit at the back or at the front, anywhere where I wouldn’t be seen, if they thought I was going to offend anyone. I’m born in this country and British. Why should what I wear offend anyone?”

Son Awais, who has a 12-year-old brother called Ibrahim, added, “It was really embarrassing when they told her she couldn’t come in. We’ve never, ever been told about any rule about what parents can wear.”

A Manchester College spokeswoman said an investigation into the April 19 incident had been launched and said Rafique’s concerns were being taken “very seriously”. She added: “At all times we need to be able to identify all individuals easily in order to maintain safety and therefore we ask that faces are clearly visible whilst outdoors.”

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