Theresa May ‘absolutely in line’ with women wearing hijab

Theresa May agreed that 'what a woman wears is a woman's choice'. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Theresa May agreed that 'what a woman wears is a woman's choice'. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Theresa May has said women should be free to wear the hijab if they want to amid a crackdown on Muslim female dress across Europe.

The Prime Minister said “what a woman wears is a woman’s choice” and that this should not be interfered with.

Her comments came when she was asked in PMQs - held on world hijab day - if she recognises the right of women to wear the veil, traditionally worn by Muslim women.

SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (Ochil and South Perthshire) said: “Today is world hijab day and I wondered if the Prime Minister will join with me in recognising the right of Muslim women to wear a hijab if they wish, without fear.

“And indeed the right of all women everywhere to wear what they want, when they want.

“And would the Prime Minister also commit to standing up for the right to refuge for men, women and children wherever they may be, regardless of their religion.”

Mrs May replied: “It is absolutely the case that this country welcomes refugees to the United Kingdom, and we do so regardless of their religion. There is no question of discriminating on the religion.

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“On the issue you raise about the wearing of the hijab, I am absolutely in line with you.

“I believe that what a woman wears is a woman’s choice.”

Donald Trump’s controversial ban on refugees and citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries entering the US has sparked anger worldwide.

Mrs May has described the ban as “divisive” and stressed that Britain would never introduce one, but she faced criticism for not condemning the policy quickly and strongly enough.

Meanwhile, leaders across Europe have threatened to crack down on the wearing of veils.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the wearing of full-faced veils should be prohibited “wherever possible”, while France has banned the wearing of the full-face veil in public places and of the full-body swimsuits known as burkinis.

The burkini ban was later lifted after a French court overruled it.