BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 13:51 GMT
Veiled woman to give C4's speech
The full veil, or niqab
The wearing of the niqab has been hotly debated
A veiled Muslim woman will deliver this year's alternative Christmas speech on Channel 4, the broadcaster has said.

Khadija, a Zimbabwean-born British citizen who has been wearing the full veil - or niqab - for 10 years, has been given the slot.

The message will reflect a year in which the wearing of religious clothing and symbols have "dominated the news agenda", said a Channel 4 spokesman.

A counterpoint to the Queen's Christmas speech first appeared on C4 in 1993.

The spokesman added that the specific contents of the message would be released closer to Christmas Day.

Covering up

Previous presenters have included Sharon Osbourne, Ali G, The Simpsons, the Rev Jesse Jackson and the late Quentin Crisp.

Khadija is a freelance lecturer in Islamic studies and the Koran.

The right to wear the niqab made the headlines earlier this year when the Leader of the House of Commons, Jack Straw, said that it hindered communication.

The niqab - Arabic for "full veil" - means covering up completely, including gloves and a face covering which leaves just a slit for the eyes.

Channel 4's spokesman also said that the controversy has "generated a debate about multiculturalism, secularism and integration - a debate in which British Muslims have played a key role and one that will shape the future of British society".

Why Muslim women wear the veil
05 Oct 06 |  Middle East
Talking face to face
23 Oct 06 |  Magazine
Osbourne goes up against Queen
23 Dec 02 |  TV and Radio

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific