Et britisk parlamentsmedlem ble politianmeldt av en menneskerettighetsorganisasjon og etterforsket for å ha uttalt at «burka er den religiøse ekvivalenten til å ha en papirpose over hodet». Den offentlige anklageren fant imidlertid at det ikke var noe grunnlag for påtale.
Uttalelsen falt i en parlamentarisk debatt, hvor den konservative Philip Hollobone oppfordret Underhuset til å seriøst vurdere et forbud mot de religiøse plaggene burka og niqab (som begge dekker hele ansiktet).
Now it has emerged police received a complaint about the Kettering MP a few days after his comments from the Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council (NREC).
Officers rang Mr Hollobone to say a complaint had been made but the Crown Prosecution dropped the case a few days later as there were no grounds for prosecution.
Debates in Westminster are protected by parliamentary privilege but Mr Hollobone said the complaint could have related to comments made inside or outside the Commons.
He blasted the ‘hypocritical and ‘patronising’ NREC today for championing freedom of speech while attempting to have him prosecuted.
Last month the organisation sent the outspoken MP a letter criticising his stance on Muslim women who chose to wear the burkha in public.
Mr Hollobone said: ‘It’s complete hypocrisy. They talk on one hand about freedom of speech and expression and then without even making contact try to get me prosecuted.
‘In this country you should be able to have a debate about controversial subjects without the threat of police action. That’s how democracy works.
‘I am not going to be silenced by the threat of prosecution when all I am doing is speaking out about the concerns of my constituents.
‘If this had gone to court I would have defended myself.
‘I don’t blame the police at all, they are obliged to investigate reports of crime. That’s their job. But I am disgusted that the NREC should seek an MP’s prosecution.
‘I have been in correspondence with them and offered to meet representatives of local Muslim groups but that invitation is still outstanding.
‘The issue here is the covering of ones face in public. the nihab and the burkha are not legal requirements.
‘There are large numbers if immigrant women who will not be able to integrate into the British way of life if they cover themselves up.’
On March 11 Mr Hollobone used another Commons’ debate to mark International Women’s Day to reiterate his views on the burkha.
He said: ‘This is Britain. We are not a Muslim country. Covering your face in public is strange and to many people both intimidating and offensive.’
Det er anslått at rundt 100.000 kvinner blant Storbritannias 2,4 millioner muslimer bærer burka eller niqab.