Religious Tolerance Facing Test in Britain

August 10, 2007

Author: Mandy Clark

Source: VOA

It is an issue shrouded in controversy. The niqab, Islam's full-face veil, is surging in popularity among British Muslims. Many non-Muslims see it as a rejection of Western culture, others as a form of radicalism.

Christopher Doyle, from the Council of British-Arab Understanding, says it is neither. “Increasingly in communities, not just in Britain -- in Europe, in the Middle East and elsewhere -- they feel that Islam is under threat and being demeaned particularly in the West. They wear it actually to say, 'I'm proud of being a Muslim.’ “

Britain's Office of National Statistics says there are about two million Muslims living in Britain, making Islam the country's second-most popular faith.

The Muslim Council of Britain says the community has come under growing scrutiny since the 2005 London terrorist bombings and attempted terror attacks this summer in Glasgow and London.