[Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg posing with pupils from Al-Noor Primary School at Eid reception]
Ahmed J Versi
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, disagreed with the comments Minister Without Portfolio, Kenneth Clarke, made that Muslim woman in a veil was like someone is “in a kind of bag”. “I don’t agree at all with the description of the veil in those terms,” Clegg told The Muslim News. However, he refused to condemn Clarke’s remarks.
DPM added that it is not the “language I would use. I’m an old fashioned liberal. I believe people should be able to wear whatever they like to express their identity, their faith, their community, their personality. But in terms of what people do to decide for themselves in what way they dress, that is not really the business of politicians, that is entirely the decision of individuals in different communities up and down the country.”
Earlier, speaking at the belated Eid Al Adha reception on November 6 at his offices in Admiralty House, Clegg praised the Muslim community’s commitment to the “fabric of our nation, a commitment to the values that we share, the values we share, mutual respect and tolerance and respect for peaceful conduct and basic rights for every single citizen in our country.”
He also acknowledged contributions in various walks of life, “whether it is politics, medicine, armed services, to science, academia, public growth, we see over and over again how the leaders of the Muslim communities play such an instrumental role in forging the kind of societies we all believe in.
The Leader of the Liberal Democrats described how he is moved “every time I read or hear about people who have experienced religious pilgrimages; there’s a very beautiful emphasis as people shed their wealthy belongings and congregating dressed in the same white clothing, that at the at the end of the day everyone is of course equal. Strip it all away and there’s something that unites us all. And that is something that I think is a very beautiful thing and very precious thought and one that should be always celebrated and kept in mind particularly in times of division.”