‘It is not the religious right of anyone to cover their faces’, says Imam

‘It is not the religious right of anyone to cover their faces’, says Imam

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Dr. Taj Hargey, an Imam at the Oxford Islamic congregation has said that “it is not the religious right of anyone to cover their faces”.

Dr Hargey, who is also a teacher at the Muslim Education Centre, told talkRADIO’s Eamonn Holmes: “The ruling talks about the religious rights of women but it is not the religious right of anyone, including Muslim women, to cover their faces.

“There is nothing in the Quran that says they need to have a face mask on them.

“The idea of face-masking is a pre-Islamic idea that originated about 1500 years before Islam.”


'Confining them to their homes' 

This comes as the United Nations Human Rights Committee said that France’s niqab ban violated the human rights of Muslim women.

It added that the ban risked “confining them to their homes”.

The committee said that two women fined for wearing the full-face veils should be compensated and it called on France to review the 2010 law.

In a statement, they said: "The French law disproportionately harmed the petitioners' right to manifest their religious beliefs.”

It added: "The Committee was not persuaded by France's claim that a ban on face covering was necessary and proportionate from a security standpoint or for attaining the goal of 'living together' in society.

Women in France can be fined up to 150 euros for wearing the niqab and the French government estimated that when it was introduced only 2,000 women out of a Muslim population of 3.5 million wore the niqab.

Denmark and the Netherlands have passed similar bans on face-covering clothing.


'Intensifying a lack of understanding'


Latifa Akay, a Muslim woman from the organisation Maslaha was also on the show. 

Ms Akay told Eamonn: “I would very much be in the same position as the UN. I think that in this case, it is important to consider the implications when there is such a legal ban in place what that means in terms of intensifying a lack of understanding of an already very marginalised group.

“We are talking about a minority within a minority and some of the committee’s comments were that they were concerned that this would further marginalise and isolate women.

“I must say that I would be in very much the same position.”

She added: “If anyone is genuinely concerned about women who may be coerced to wear the burqa or the niqab - isolating them in their homes and cutting off their access to social services and their social mobility is nothing short of the complete opposite of what would be helpful.

“I would be very much in agreement with the committee’s views and this is a welcomed development in terms of the conversation in France.”