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Salman Rushdie says veils for Muslim women "take away power"

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday October 10, 2006

London- British author Salman Rushdie Tuesday joined the delicate debate about face veils for Muslim women saying they "suck" and weakened a woman's position. The writer, who was the subject of a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeni of Iran in the late 1980s over his novel, The Satanic Verses, said he regarded the veil as a way of taking power away from women.

Speaking in a BBC interview, Rushdie supported the position of Jack Straw, the former British Foreign Secreatry, who last week sparked controversy with his comment that the veil was a "visible statement of difference and separation."

"He (Straw) was expressing an important opinion which is that veils suck - which they do," the Indian-born author said.

"Speaking as somebody with three sisters and a very largely female Muslim family, there is not a single woman I know in my family or in their friends who would have accepted the wearing of a veil," Rushdie said.

"The battle against the veil has been a long and continuing battle against the limitation of women so, in that sense, I am completely on his side. I think the veil is a way of taking power away from women," said Rushdie.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency