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Monday, 9 October 2006
Suspect in terror hunt used veil to evade arrest


A MALE suspect in a major anti-terrorist investigation in Britain escaped capture by allegedly disguising himself as a Muslim woman dressed in a burka, The Times can reveal.

The man, who was wanted in connection with serious terrorist offences, evaded arrest for several days as police searched for him across the country.



The fact that a fugitive remained at large after disguising himself in an Islamic dress which covered his face will further fuel the debate sparked by Jack Straw, Leader of the House of Commons, about the wearing of the veil.

Details of the man’s true identity were circulated to ports and airports to try to prevent him leaving the country.

He was eventually caught and is now one of more than 90 suspects in British prisons awaiting trial on terror charges.

It is the first time that a male suspect has allegedly disguised himself as a Muslim woman in Britain. However, the tactic has been used frequently by Islamist fighters — including suicide bombers — in Iraq and Afghanistan. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, often dressed in a burka to evade American forces hunting him.

Counter-terrorist agencies in Britain and Europe have long been concerned about the readiness of male Islamist terrorists to wear female clothing.

The issue of people hiding their faces under the burka, which covers the whole face, or behind the niqab, which exposes only the eyes, has also posed difficulties for banks, immigration authorities and benefit offices. But questions of security have tended to be overruled by the need to maintain good community relations.

Shahid Malik, Labour MP for Dewsbury, expressed concern that the issue could create unnecessary tension. “If this is true, then it is the first case of its kind in Britain and an isolated incident. (I'm not so sure about that - although there is the little question of body language, men move differently)  We must not get hysterical about it. There have been many hundreds of cases where robberies have been committed by men wearing women’s stockings on their heads — but no one is talking about banning stockings. . . (Yes but it is stockings worn over the faces of men, rather than on the legs of women that tend to cause a bit of an alert in the cashpoint queue)

However, Mr Straw was backed by Phil Woolas, the minister responsible for community cohesion, race and faith, whose Oldham constituency contains a large Muslim population. Writing in the Sunday Mirror, he said: “Most British-born Muslims who wear it do so as an assertion of their identity and religion. This can create fear and resentment among non-Muslims . . .

Also from the Sunday Mirror – I COVERED MY FACE & BECAME A PARIAH.

STUDENT Mina Bavary started wearing the Niqab last November but after four months of feeling like a "second-class citizen" gave it up. . . It was as if there was an invisible barrier.

No dear, a physical barrier called The Veil.  Apparently old ladies were nasty to her and glared and shop assistants ignored her.  I thought that was the idea, to be modest and invisible, secluded. Anyway now because of our ignorance (knowledge actually) she wears “trendy, but modest western clothes”

Oh dear. How sad. 

Posted on 10/09/2006 2:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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