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Torygraph discovers three – yes, three – schools in which pupils wear the niqab

Critics warned that the spectacle of burka-clad pupils entering and leaving the schools could damage relations between Muslim and non-Muslim communities Photo: GETTY

“Hundreds of girls are bring forced by British schools to wear the Islamic veil in a move which has been heavily criticised by mainstream Muslims”, the Sunday Telegraph reports.

And who are these “mainstream Muslims”? Yes, as you might expect, the two men asked for their opinions on the subject are Ed Husain and Taj Hargey.

Husain is quoted as saying: “It is absurd that schools are enforcing this outdated ritual – one that which sends out a damaging message that Muslims do not want to fully partake in British society. Although it is not the government’s job to dictate how its citizens dress, it should nonetheless ensure that such schools are not bankrolled or subsidised by the British taxpayer.”

Hargey says: “This is very disturbing and sets a dangerous precedent. It means that Muslim children are being brainwashed into thinking they must segregate and separate themselves from mainstream society. The use of taxpayers’ money for such institutions should be absolutely opposed.”

But the three schools the Telegraph identifies are all fee-paying private schools, none of which receives state funding. The accusation about the use of taxpayers’ money hinges exclusively on Tower Hamlets council having sold one of the named schools its premises in 2008 at below the property’s then market value. As the Telegraph admits, this was because the price had been agreed in 2004 when the market value was lower.

As for causing divisions between non-Muslims and Muslims, scaremongering articles like this – and irresponsible comments by malicious and unrepresentative attention-seekers like Ed Husain and Taj Hargey – have a far more damaging impact than the sight of veil-wearing pupils entering the gates of a few socially and religiously conservative Muslim schools.

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