Muslims and anti-war campaigners have gathered to condemn what they see as a rising tide of Islamophobia in Britain and the rest of Europe. Supporters including Kenza Drider, who has deliberately defied the niqab ban in her native France, came to London Muslim Centre in east London for the event. Speaking through an interpreter, she said she wanted to "denounce the rise of Islamophobia in France". Ms Drider continued: "By putting this ban into place the government has encouraged racist people to physically threaten woman who wear the niqab." She says has been threatened with a knife for wearing garment, which covers a woman's face apart from her eyes. Chris Nineham, spokesman for event organisers the Enough Coalition Against Islamophobia, said a group of women campaigners from the UK plan to visit Paris in the next few months wearing the niqab as a gesture of solidarity.
The conference was attended by representatives from the Stop the War coalition, veteran left-wing politician Tony Benn and British campaigner Aisha Alvi. She was suspended from school for wearing a headscarf in 1989. Mr Nineham said: "This event is to discuss the seriously worrying developments in Europe and Britain whereby Muslim communities are being scapegoated and demonised. In France, Belgium and Switzerland laws are being passed to systematically discriminate against Muslims." He called for an overhaul of the British legal system, including anti-terror laws, as well as the way housing is allocated, to combat such discrimination in the UK.