Niqabs or Burqas Banned at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Tarek Mehanna, 27, was arrested on Oct. 21, 2009, in Sudbury, Massachusetts and charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. He allegedly planned to launch terrorist attacks both inside and outside the United States, specifically planning to attack a shopping mall with automatic weapons. Mehanna was a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), where his father Ahmed teaches chemistry.

Today, the dean of students at MCPHS issued a directive to students that “any head covering that obscures a student’s face may not be worn, either on campus or at clinical sites, except when required for medical reasons.” (The full memorandum follows below.)

Comment: Banning niqabs and burqas is an excellent security measure and one that all educational and other institutions should follow. Indeed, every “head covering that obscures” every face should be banned in every public space. For dozens of reasons why, see my weblog entry, “Niqabs and Burqas as Security Threats.” (December 8, 2009)

From: Jean M. Joyce-Brady
Date: Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 3:23 PM
Subject: Revised MCPHS Identification Policy – Beginning January 1, 2010
To: All Students
Cc: All Faculty, All Staff

Dear MCPHS Students,

As of January 1, 2010, the MCPHS Identification Policy will be revised as stated below. Language in blue font indicates changes in the policy. Human Resources (HR) will be communicating with faculty and staff shortly regarding a similar change to the HR employee identification policy. Thank you for your attention to this policy change.

Sincerely,

Dean Joyce-Brady

IDENTIFICATION POLICY

For reasons of safety and security, all students must be readily identifiable while they are on campus and/or engaged in required off-campus activities, including internships and clinical rotations. Therefore, any head covering that obscures a student’s face may not be worn, either on campus or at clinical sites, except when required for medical reasons. In addition, all students are required to wear their College-issued ID at all times when on campus and/or engaged in required off-campus activities, and to show such upon request of a properly identified official or member of the MCPHS staff. Loss of an ID Card should be reported immediately to the MCPHS Department of Public Safety. The fee to replace an I.D. card-for any reason- is $10; application and payment for replacement is made at the Office of the Registrar. The I.D. card also serves as the College library card.

Jean M. Joyce-Brady, Ph.D.
Dean of Students
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Daniel Pipes

By

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and the author of several books, including Militant Islam Reaches America and In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (Transaction Publishers), from which this column derives.

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