Petition Against Ban on the Niqab and Loss of Prayer Facilities at Imperial College sign now

We, the undersigned, would like to express our opposition to the recent dress code policy introduced by the Management Board at Imperial College London on 21st October 2005.

The dress code states that employees and students should refrain from wearing clothing which obscures the face such as a full or half veil. Muslim women, who observe the niqab, believe it to be a significant element of their religious identity, and do so as they believe it to be their religious obligation. By banning the niqab, this dress code policy is a direct infringement on freedom of religion afforded under British and European law.

Furthermore, since the beginning of this term, Muslim student and staff have had previous provisions for Friday congregational prayers taken away, without alternative permanent provisions being provided. This is unacceptable. We will not stand by and allow for basic rights to be denied to Muslim students.

With the dress code policy coming so soon after the loss of prayer facilities, it undoubtedly appears to be the case that an atmosphere of concern and uncertainty about the future has been created for Muslim students and staff at Imperial College. If Imperial College does not clarify its position this will undoubtedly act as a deterrent for potential students and can only be of detriment to the image of Imperial College.

We call on Imperial College to retract this dress code policy and allow female Muslim students their full religious rights. Furthermore, we call on Imperial College to provide permanent prayer facilities for Friday congregational prayers for Muslims at the College.

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Wilda MckenzieBy:
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Imperial College, London

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