World Bulletin / News Desk
The British environment minister, who is one of the most senior female minister in the cabinet, said that burqa confered dignity for Muslim women and it was their choices after the debates on full-face veil ban, sparking doubts on freedom of immigrants.
Wearing a burqa can be empowering and dignified for Muslim women, Caroline Spelman, British newspapers reported.
Her comments came after immigration minister Damian Green said “It's very unlikely and it would be undesirable for the British Parliament to try and pass a law dictating what people wore."
Spelman suggested in Sky News Sunday Live that wearing the burqa could be seen as a feminist statement.
She said that a visit to Afghanistan had persuaded her that “the burqa confers dignity”.
The UK environment secretary added that a ban on the burqa was not "what this country's all about."
“For them, the burqa confers dignity, it’s their choice, they choose to go out dressed in a burqa. I understand that it is a different culture from mine but the fact is in this country women want to be free to choose … whether or not to go out in the morning wearing a burqa.”
Conservative members of parliament, Philip Hollobone, has put forward a bill which would restrict people from covering their face in public. He also said he would refuse to hold meetings with Muslim women unless they removed their face veil as he could not engage with them.
"I don't, living in this country as a woman, want to be told what I can and can't wear," Daily telegraph quoted Spelman as saying.
"One of the things we pride ourselves on in this country is being free, and being free to choose what you wear is a part of that.”
"So actually banning the burqa is absolutely contrary, I think, to what this country's all about."
She said that women were "empowered" by the freedom to wear the face coverings.
A ban on wearing the burqa in France, home to Western Europe's largest Muslim minority, would not be likely to have an impact on immigration in Britain, immigrant minister Green said.
Of France's 5 million Muslims, it is thought only about 2,000 women wear the full-length veil.
European Muslims make up slightly more than two per cent of the world’s Muslim population.