Oct 24 2009
MUSLIM student banned from enrolling at a UK college because she refuses to remove her burka.
Shawana Bilqes, 18, wanted to wear the garment – which covers her body and face, leaving only her eyes visible – during lessons. But staff at Burnley College refused to enrol her, claiming the burkha was a barrier to ‘safety and communication’.
In a strongly worded statement, the college said ‘unimpeded’ face to face contact between teachers and students was vital.
Miss Bilqes, who wanted to study an access course for a diploma, has now been forced to abandon her plans and is looking elsewhere to complete her studies. Yesterday she said: ‘It is my choice to wear the veil. (Then go to school in Egypt. Oh wait, colleges in Egypt have banned the burka too)
‘I live around the corner from the college in an area where there are so many practising Muslims. (Who cares?) ‘I tried to compromise but they wouldn’t. The college sent me a letter to say I could continue with my course if I stopped wearing the veil.
‘We are in the 21st century and we get people from all walks of life. (Then dress like you’re in the 21st Century, not the 7th Century)
John Smith, principal of the college, in Burnley, defended the actions of his staff. He said that a student’s face must be fully visible to maintain high standards of teaching between staff and pupils, adding that it was crucial to wear photo ID around the campus for security reasons. ‘We do require all students of Burnley College to have their faces visible when at the college,’ he said. ‘It is not possible to maintain this essential full communication if the face of any student is not fully visible.
‘We are also determined to provide a safe environment for all our students. Central to this is that all members of the college community should be identifiable at all times.
Earlier this year French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke out, claiming the burkha reduced women to servitude and undermined their dignity. ‘It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic,’ he said. Islamic headscarves have been banned in French state schools since 2004. UK DAILY MAIL
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