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Beyond Belief with Ernie Rea - with Fatima Barkatulla and other guests.

In the first of a new series on BBC Radio 4, Ernie Rea and his three guests discuss Islam & the Veil.

"France, Belgium & Italy have already banned the full face veil. Other countries are considering it. In Britain a Private Member's Bill on the subject was thrown out 18 months ago. But the subject prompts fierce debate amongst Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In a country like the UK, which prizes individual freedom, is it a basic human right? Or is it essentially divisive in promoting community cohesion? The Qur'an contains very few relevant verses and the word "hijab" literally means "curtain" but many new converts to Islam believe that the full veil is a religious obligation, but is it? Ernie and his guests get to the heart of what the Qur'an actually says and, more, importantly, how that has been interpreted.

Joining Ernie for a lively debate on Islam & the Veil are Fatima Barkatullah, writer and lecturer for the Islamic Education & Research Academy, Dr Shuruq Naguib, Lecturer in Islam at Lancaster University and Khola Hasan, Lecturer on Women's Rights under Islamic law & member of the Islamic Sharia Council."

Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 2 January 2012

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