Britain became the latest European country to join the furore over burka after a college banned a Muslim student from entering the class over the wearing.
“We do require all students of Burnley College to have their faces visible when at the college,” principal John Smith told media on Saturday, October 24. “We are determined to maintain the highest standards of teaching and learning in Burnley College. It is not possible to maintain this essential full communication of the face of any student is not fully visible,” he said.
Shawana Bilqes was barred by the college from enrolling for the Access course for an HE Diploma. The 18-year-old Muslim student was sent a letter by the college rejecting her enrolment.
“I tried to compromise but they wouldn't,” Bilqes said. “The college sent me a letter to say I could continue with my course if I stopped wearing the veil.” The college defended its decision to ban the Muslim girl.
“Where individuals are able to comply with these reasonable requirements, which apply to all students equally, we would be very pleased to admit them to Burnley College,” Smith said.
“Where individuals decline to comply, then I am afraid that we cannot accommodate them.” The Muslim student defended her right to wear burka on campus. “It is my choice to wear the veil,” Bilqes said.
“I live around the corner from the college in an area where there are so many practicing Muslims.”