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Jack Straw, leader of the British House of Commons, calls on Muslim women to lift their veils

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Jack Straw, the leader of the House of Commons, has called on Muslim women to lift their veils as a way of breaking down barriers between communities.

In a disclosure that risks upsetting Muslims, he says he now asks women to remove their veils when they attend weekly surgeries in his Blackburn constituency.

Mr Straw, a former Foreign Secretary, says that the veil can be regarded as a visible statement of “separation and difference”. Some Muslim scholars do not believe it is obligatory.

In his weekly coumn in the The Lancashire Telegraph he has expressed concern that “wearing the full veil was bound to make better, positive relations between the two communities more difficult”.


“The value of a meeting, as opposed to a letter or phone call, is so that you can, almost literally, see what the other person means, and not just hear what they say,” said Mr Straw.

“So many of the judgments we all make about other people come from seeing their faces”.

Mr Straw said that he will ensure that a female member of staff is present before he would ask a woman to lift her veil. So far, he cannot recall a single occasion when the request has been refused.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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