Straw doesn't regret remarks on women's veils

Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Thursday that he had no regrets about the article he wrote on Muslim women's veils that triggered an emotionally charged debate around Britain and as far away as the Middle East. Straw wrote in a newspaper column last month that he asks women who visit his district office wearing veils that cover almost their entire face to remove the garment when they meet with him. That set off a furious national debate on British multiculturalism and the identity and integration of minority groups, particularly Muslims. Prime Minister Tony Blair eventually jumped in, saying the full-face veil known as the niqab is "a mark of separation." "I would write the same column again," Straw, who now serves as leader of the House of Commons, said at an interfaith forum in London.