A candidate to be the next UKIP leader has been described as “totally ignorant” after calling for the veil to be banned from public places.
Lisa Duffy, a district and town councillor in Ramsey who has shot to prominence in the past few weeks, said she wanted to deal with people’s fears about Islam by creating a “well-rounded community” with “one rule for all” by banning the veil in public buildings, shopping centres and on buses and trains.
However, Abdul Choudhuri, chairman of the Faizan e Madinah mosque in Gladstone Street, criticised Ms Duffy, saying: “She is totally ignorant about the whole issue. She’s speaking just for the publicity.
“She does not know what she’s talking about and it’s totally unacceptable. Muslim women have a choice whether they want to wear a veil or not. Nobody is forcing them to.
“If her identity needs to be checked then there should be no objection for her to remove the veil, but I’ve not come across anyone who has objected.
“She talks about freedom of choice but she is denying that choice to other people.”
Ms Duffy, who is chief of staff to UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn, whose office is in Peterborough, also called for the closure of Islamic faith schools until the problem of Islamist terrorism is dealt with, as well as a “complete and comprehensive ban” on Sharia courts in the UK.
Ms Duffy claimed a ban on veils would work similarly to asking teenagers to remove hoods or motorcyclists to take off their helmets when in certain public places.
She added: “Most Muslims are good individuals, they work hard, they have great families and they contribute to our communities.
“This is about us working together to make sure there is an equality within faith groups and that they have the same freedoms that you and I both share.”