A MUSLIM centre has launched a national campaign to ban the burka in Britain.
The Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford want to prohibit Muslim women from covering their face in public.
The campaign is being led by centre founder and director Dr Taj Hargey, who believes the Islamic faith is being misinterpreted.
He said wearing the garment was a tradition which has arrived from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan and is not a religious requirement.
Dr Hargey, 55, said: “There is no theological basis for face masking in Islam. It’s not in the Quran.”
The burka is a one-piece veil covering the face and body, often with mesh screen to look through.
A change.org petition launched by the London Road centre on Sunday has gained support from more than 300 people.
Dr Hargey hoped at least 100,000 people would sign the centre’s e-petition to get the issue debated in Parliament.
He said: “The burka is a Trojan horse and we should not be polishing the Trojan horse, we should be getting rid of it.”
Mother-of-two Nasreen Al-Hamdani, from Marston, wears a hijab (a veil that covers the head and chest), but has worn a burka when abroad.
But she said: “I don’t think that anyone has the right to create a ban on the burka.
“If someone wants to increase their relationship with God through the burka it does not harm anyone. That’s their own human right just like you don’t have the right to ban tattoos and piercings.”
The director of Cowley Road’s Oxford Islamic Information Centre, Dr Hojjat Ramzy, said: “I’m absolutely against it. This campaign is not Islamic and it’s forced. We do not want to force the ladies who want to wear this to take it off, because they may feel uncomfortable. Women are free to wear what they like. It’s totally unnecessary.”
A series of lectures and workshops will take place from September to raise awareness of the campaign.
For more information visit meco.org.uk or epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/67853
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