Tuesday, 10 September 2013
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) has expressed its deep concern at the decision of Birmingham Metropolitan College to ban the niqab or face veil.
FOSIS President, Omar Ali said, “This senseless decision is massively divisive and will only lead to an environment in which the rights of many will be disproportionately suppressed. The fundamental rights to freedom of religious expression are at stake here and this sets out an extremely dangerous precedent not only for the Muslim community but for members of all faith backgrounds.”
FOSIS Vice President of Student Affairs, Ibrahim Ali added, “Without prior consultation of female Muslim students or of key stakeholders, we are extremely concerned that this will act as yet another barrier to accessing further education. We believe that no student should have to choose between their faith and education. Education is a right which, in all free and fair societies, everyone should have access to.”
FOSIS President concluded by saying, “The responsibility for a college to provide security for students and staff is of paramount importance, however the banning of niqab for this reason is nothing short of a red herring. There is no doubt that in this multicultural hub, the college has acted in a way in which equality and inclusivity have been jeopardised and there is now a need for an immediate reversal of this discriminatory policy. The outrage expressed by students and members of the local community is telling of exactly what impact this will have, especially in light of the alarming private members bill proposed by a conservative MP that would see the niqab banned in public places.”
1. FOSIS (est. 1963) is the umbrella organisation of student groups in colleges and universities throughout the UK and Ireland, representing the interests of over 100,000 Muslim students.