Hijab worn for first time at Commons despatch box

By politics.co.uk staff

A student from Wokingham has spoken about how it felt to become the first person to wear a hijab at the Commons despatch box.

Sumaiya Karim, 16, wore the Muslim headcovering during a youth parliament debate lin the Commons chamber.

"This was one of the best things I've ever done – something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life," she told her local newspaper.

"I was feeling a bit nervous, but I've been told that didn’t come across."

Speaking about the head covering, she said: "It was a decision I arrived at myself. I did a lot of reading when I was growing up and decided it was time to start wearing the headscarf.

"It’s such an honour [to be the first to speak in parliament wearing a hijab] and I've been humbled by the response from everyone. I’ve been getting loads of emails and phone calls.

"Parliament should be representative of the population and there are so many Muslim women in the UK. I want to show we are into politics and are part of the future of the UK."

The controversial headscarf is sometimes worn by women in the Muslim community, generally after puberty.

In France, it has been banned in public buildings to correspond with the country's secular ideals.

John Bercow brought youth debating to the Commons on Friday when he became Speaker.