PRESS RELEASE: Rights group demands UK government act against ‘veil ban’ in France

Islamic Human Rights Commission

17 December 2003

PRESS RELEASE: Rights group demands UK government act against ‘veil ban’ in France
IHRC calls on Foreign Office to fight for Muslim women’s rights

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is today reiterating their call on the British government to take the French government to task over its proposed ban on the Islamic ‘veil’ or headscarf in schools.

The Chairman of IHRC, Massoud Shadjareh wrote last week to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to highlight the organisation’s deep concerns regarding a potential ban that would violate various international human rights covenants, including the European Convention on Human Rights.

Whilst skull caps and large crosses may also be banned, IHRC notes that political rhetoric has focussed almost exclusively on Muslim women’s dress.

In a follow-up communication with the FCO, IHRC will be pointing out the increasing number of cases it receives from non-French and in particular British nationals living in France whose daughters will now be affected.

In this letter, Massoud Shadjareh says:

“…Whilst we hope that the British government will advocate on behalf of all people affected by this ban whatever their confessional or national background, we hope that they will fully and effectively support those British citizens who will find their rights to freedom of religion, education and potentially work, violated by the secular inquisition currently underway in France.”

For further information, please call the press office on (+44) 208 902 0888 or (+44) 7958 522 196.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8902 0888
Fax (+44) 20 8902 0889