UK

Newspaper review: Judge's niqab ruling sparks debate

  • 17 September 2013
  • From the section UK
Papers

A judge's ruling that a Muslim woman could not give evidence at her trial wearing a full face veil has sparked much debate in Tuesday's newspapers.

Under the headline "You must take off your veil", the Daily Mail says the case made legal history.

The Daily Telegraph believes the starting point for any wider debate should be the view that "people should, in principle, have the right to wear what they want, and to express their religious beliefs".

Yet, it says, when the wearing of the veil seriously impinges on the functioning of justice, or education, it cannot be right that individual devotion should take priority.

The Sun agrees and goes on to set out a number of exceptions.

It argues that veils that cover the face have no place in hospitals or schools and the paper would also impose bans at airports and banks, where covered faces can pose a threat to security.

However, as the Independent reports, some Muslims believe that Britain's "long-standing tradition of religious tolerance" is being undermined.

The Guardian, meanwhile, has been canvassing the views of some Muslim women, one of whom asks, "is this the biggest issue we face in the UK right now?"

'Bloodbath'

A host of pictures capture the terror that gripped Washington as a gunman began killing people on an ordinary day at a naval base.

In an image in the Daily Telegraph, office workers hold up their hands as they leave buildings that were supposed to be secure.

A picture in the Independent shows passers-by going to help someone lying on a pavement outside a chemists.

The Guardian and Daily Express both talk of a "massacre" while the Daily Mirror sums it up as a "bloodbath".

Events surrounding Syria remain in the headlines with the Guardian reporting that there were few surprises in the UN inspectors report on the use of chemical weapons.

The Daily Telegraph hopes it will lend "a sense of urgency" to efforts to bring Syria's arsenal of nerve gas under international control - and also to efforts to end the "brutal civil war".

Anthony Loyd of the Times fears that the diplomatic response will not affect the threat posed by "the greatest conglomeration of radical militants since Afghanistan in the Taliban era".

Nor, he writes, "is it likely to affect the fate of Syria's population, who will go on facing death from conventional weapons such as rockets, missiles and bullets".

'Ultimate adventure'

Pictures of a smiling Billy Connolly accompany reports that the comedian is being treated for prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease.

The Daily Express describes him as a legend and says "brave Billy" is determined not to let his health get in the way of his work.

The Times says his friends were shocked to learn of his illness.

In the Daily Mirror, Bob Geldof declares that the comedian is a great man and as strong as an ox.

The paper recalls Connolly's incredible journey, from "the unforgiving shipyards of Glasgow" to fame and riches as an entertainer who has cheered up millions of people.

Finally, people wishing to cheer themselves up could head for the banks of the River Thames.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the 29-mile long Thames Path between Kingston and Greenwich has been named the second best urban walk in the world in a new guidebook listing 1,000 "ultimate adventures".

The paper accepts that it "may feel a little short on jungles, ice sheets and sand dunes".

On the other hand, says the Times, it does take in "the industrial estates of Staines and the bland back alleys of Rotherhithe".

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