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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Straw poll: views on the veil row
Commons leader Jack Straw has prompted a vigorous debate by saying he would prefer it if Muslim women did not wear veils which cover the face because they make communication difficult.

He generated a varied response amongst a small sample of people questioned in west London.

LOUISE EDGINGTON, 41

Louise Edgington

"I suppose it's their religion and that's what they feel they have to wear.

So for that reason it's a little bit strong to say they should take it off.

Everyone should be allowed to follow their own religion."

RICHARD ALBERT, 38

Richard Albert

"I did read the article this morning, and I can understand what he is saying - to read people's faces you need to see facial expressions.

The religion has been going on for so long, it's hard to tell them to remove the veil, but he does have a point.

I don't think what he's saying is actually bad because the religion is mainly about covering the head, and he wasn't saying that."

SAMANTHA HARRIS, 31

"He's asking them if they don't mind, rather than telling them. When you talk it's polite to look at someone's eyes and their mouth as well.

If they don't want to, then fine - but he's not forcing them to.

"He may be powerful, but if he asked me to do something, and I didn't want to, I wouldn't do it. He's only a human being, just like anyone else."

ZHANYBEK SOLPUEV, 26

Zhanybek Solpuev

"I think that he doesn't have anything to say about this because really it's up to the Muslim women, and I respect that.

"They are human beings following their religion. They are respecting God and that is why they are doing that. He (Jack Straw) is just a man, like all of us, so I don't think he can argue with that."

ISMAHAN MOHAMAD, 35

Ismahan Mohamad

"He's wrong. Because the lady who is covering is doing so for a reason and it's not for him to say not to wear it.

It's not a big deal - if she's covering you can still talk face to face. I don't feel that is a problem."

HELENA DONOR

"I think this is their own personal culture and if it's not interfering with the public it should be left alone.

It's been happening for generations and handed down. So just because someone moves to a country overseas, it shouldn't be a reason to change that culture.

JASBIR BAJAJ, 24

Jasbir Bajaj

"I think no-one has got a right over anyone else, but people can express a view and he (Mr Straw) can say that.

"The woman should take the veil off, if they want, as it would make it easier to understand when talking.

"Anyone can say what they want, and he can say it is easier for this to happen, but no-one has got rights over you."

UBAX ISSE, 30

I think he's wrong, because a woman wearing a niqab is not allowed to show her face to anyone but her husband, maybe her uncle, and just her children.

Not even all other family members can see her face. Not many woman do wear this. I wear a hijab, my face is open so it's not a problem for me.

"But it's not a problem for communication - he needs to stop and listen as this is the main thing."




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