Muslim women should be allowed to wear burqa: Tory chairperson

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 03, 2010 06:40 hrs

Muslim women should have the right to choose to wear the burqa, Conservative Party chairperson Sayeeda Warsi has said. 'Just because a woman wears the burqa, it doesn't mean she can't engage in everyday life,' she says.

Warsi, the first Muslim woman to serve in the cabinet, defended the burqa Monday.

'Just because a woman wears the burka, it doesn't mean she can't engage in everyday life. Why should we tell women what to wear? What it boils down to is choice. If women don't have a choice over what to wear then they are oppressed.

'But if a woman has a choice, and she chooses to wear whatever she chooses to wear, then she's not oppressed, is she? She's choosing what she wants,' Daily Mail Tuesday quoted her as saying.

She added: 'There are women who wear the burqa who run extremely successful businesses - internet businesses, which don't actually require you to be there face to face.'

Backbench Tory MPs have started a bid to ban the wearing of the burqa in public.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman last month suggested that the burqa 'confers dignity' on women and can even be 'empowering'.