A Muslim student says she is "emotionally traumatised" after her
local college prevented her from enrolling because she wore a veil.
Shawana Bilqes, 18, claims the decision by Burnley College
has left her humiliated and has disrupted her studies.
Shawana told Sky News: "I was willing to take it off as a compromise
for identification checks, security or whatever. But they said I
couldn't wear it anywhere on the premises."
In a statement, college Principal John Smith insisted that unimpeded
communication with students was impossible if the face was not fully
"All members of the college community should be identifiable at all times when in the college," he said.
Shawana insists it is her own choice and
right to wear the veil. She has been training as a cadet with
Lancashire Police and says it has never been a problem to remove the
veil in the classroom but wear it outside as long as it is practical.
Her 21-year-old sister Nadia, who also wears the veil and studies at
the University of Central Lancashire in Preston told Sky News: "It's
totally absurd to think it is glued to our face, the college can't hide
behind the security excuse."
"We are law abiding British citizens. If someone asks us to remove it for identification purposes we will."
"Those politicians like Jack Straw
who've discussed the veil have gone about it the wrong way - it's given
everyone leeway to discriminate but that means it's seen as OK to
attack anyone who wears the veil, which is a totally unacceptable
Shawana is now trying to pursue her education elsewhere and hopes
the setback will not prevent her from embarking on a medical career.