Muslim Women to Be Exempt from Revealing Face on National ID

April 25, 2004

Source: The Observer,6903,1202742,00.html

On April 25, 2004 The Observer reported, "Thousands of Muslim women will be exempted from having to show their faces on identity cards as the Government moves to allay fears among British Muslims that the new cards will be used to target them in the 'war on terror'. As David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, faced attack for not allowing enough debate over the introduction of the first ID cards in Britain since the Second World War, officials made it clear that if Muslim women do not want to reveal their faces in public, that would be respected. Instead of a photograph, there would be an exemption for certain people, who would only have to give fingerprint and iris-recognition data. Although the exact type of information held on the card has still to be finalised in negotiation with other industrialised nations, Home Office sources made it clear that they backed the idea. 'We have had constructive discussions with the Muslim community and want to assure them we are sensitive to their points of view,' said a source close to Blunkett. The Home Secretary moved after representations from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Officials on the council told The Observer that although they support the idea of identity cards they are concerned that they could be used to persecute ethnic minorities."