The former Archbishop of Canterbury’s suggestion that primary school teachers should be able to wear full-face veils is a completely misplaced attempt at political correctness, and he should be the one hiding his face, says UKIP’s Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall.
In an interview with the religious think-tank Theos published earlier this week, Dr Rowan Williams said primary school teachers should be allowed to wear full-face veils when teaching young children.
Lord Williams said anxieties about primary school teachers wearing the full-face veil in class were "largely misplaced" and claimed there were other ways to "read" what people are saying.
But only yesterday, one of Britain’s leading Islamic scholars condemned Williams’ view and countered that he does not want teachers to wear veils.
Dr Sheikh Hojjat Ramzy, the educationalist and former Chair of the Muslim Council of Britain’s Education Committee said: "The education of the students is paramount, and children at a primary school age need to see the teachers’ facial expressions in the learning process.
"As a picture paints a thousand words, facial expressions convey meanings that cannot otherwise be expressed in speech.
"I have spoken to many teachers in Islamic schools who wear the niqab outside of school but remove it in the classroom to enable ease of communication with the children, and I have met none who object to doing this."
Mr Nuttall, who is UKIP’s Education Spokesman, said: “How can young children in their vital first years of school get as much from a teacher whose face they can’t see as one that they can? It just isn’t going to happen.
As so often happens, it is a white middle-class trying to be politically correct and getting it completely wrong.
“It’s the ‘I know best’ attitude of the PC brigade yet again, and he clearly hasn’t actually asked the muslim community what they think, since it has been shown they are against the idea.
“The former Archbishop is trying to show he is being inclusive, but when you actually ask the Muslim community, they are taking the sensible approach and showing that the education of their children takes priority on this matter, it’s a pity the same can’t be said for Lord Williams.”