Page last updated at 23:32 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 00:32 UK

Shop raid prompts Muslim veil ban

By Catrin Nye
BBC Asian Network

Rukhsana and Amin Sadiq
The Sadiq family say safety at their store is their main priority

The owners of an Asian jewellery shop which was recently robbed have decided to turn away people wearing the traditional veil worn by Muslim women.

ATAA Jewellers in the west end of Glasgow was raided by two Asian men entirely covered apart from their eyes.

The pair wore full Muslim female dress, including the Niqab headwear, and were carrying handbags.

The two girls working at the time were left so shaken there are plans for a sign banning anything covers the face.

The store's owners said they think it is an idea that will be taken up by other businesses.

They acknowledged that such a move may offend some people, but they said safety was their priority.

It will just help if the community gets together and does something solid
Rukhsana Sadiq
ATAA Jewellers

Rukhsana Sadiq was in the shop when it was robbed. She spent hours showing what she thought were the two women gold, but she never saw their faces.

"We didn't realise how tall they were until we got attacked and the pepper sprays came out," she said.

Rukhsana said the incident has left her terrified, and suspicious of everyone she sees.

She added: "They know us by face, but we don't know who they are. I mean they can even walk by the shop, we don't even know it's them and it's really, really frightening.

"It will just help if the community gets together and does something solid, for these women to know. It is our safety that matters as well at the end of the day.

"God forbid anything like this happening to anyone else."

Madihah Ansari
Student Madihah Ansari does not like the idea of a shop banning the veil

Rukhsana's brother Mohammed Amin Sadiq said it was not the first time that a veil's been used as a disguise in the area.

"There's been an incident in another Asian shop," he said. "Two females came in, or males. They picked up a bag of money, but the shop owner took note and they ran out."

For the Sadiq family protecting business is the most important thing and they want clear boundaries for anyone who shops there.

They told the BBC Asian Network that when they get a sign there will be ways around the rule, like ringing up in advance to make sure there is a female member of staff present to identify a shopper wearing the Niqab.

But Madihah Ansari, a 19-year-old student in Glasgow, said a sign banning the veil was not the solution.

Madihah wears a Burkha and always has her head and body covered. Sometimes she chooses to wear a Niqab as well, meaning her face is covered.

She said: "I just really don't like that idea. It is like prejudice about one type of person.

Business people have to make a decision; do they want their customers in or not with that type of dress?
Cllr Hanzala Malik

"Just because two guys did a crime and they were dressed up in that kind of outfit you can't prejudice everyone else.

"There'll be loads of people who just want to go in and buy gold and come out. To prevent them kind of reminds me of when they had signs saying 'no blacks'."

Glasgow councillor Hanzala Malik has backed the shops decision to turn people away who cover their faces.

However, he agreed that a sign may cause offence.

He said: "Business people have to make a decision; do they want their customers in or not with that type of dress?

"I know in Scotland that banks will not allow their customers coming in with motorbike helmets, I don't see why it should be different for people wearing the Niqab. It is an issue about identifying people."

You can hear a full report on this on the BBC Asian Network at 1230 and 1800 BST on Tuesday.



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