CAIRO - The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams believes that hijab is a personal choice for Muslim women that can help them assert themselves in communities with different cultures, The Week reported."She told me how she would wear her veil and yet take part, too, in some of the school's Christian lessons.," Williams said at the Sunday Times Literary Festival in Oxford at the weekend, recalling a recent encounter with a teenage Muslim pupil at a Church of Wales school.
It gave her an understanding of Christianity and yet wearing her veil was also very important for her to assert herself and her religion, the archbishop, who will step down at the end of this year, added.
Speaking at the event, the prominent archbishop questioned the view that women hide behind their veils and warned against "what we sometimes think of wrongly as stereotypes".
His opinions echoed a view expressed by Conservative party chairman Baroness Warsi in an opinion piece in 2010, in which she said that the full-face veil does not prevent Muslim women "engaging in everyday life".
This is not the first time the Archbishop has supported the right of Muslim women to wear hijab.In 2006, Archbishop Williams warned that a British ban of the face-veil (niqab) and other religious insignia would be "politically dangerous".
In 2008, he called for adopting aspects of Islamic Shari`ah law in Britain to improve community relations, saying the United Kingdom had to "face up to the fact" that some citizens do not relate to the British legal system.
Britain is home to nearly 2.5 million Muslims.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
As for the face veil, the majority of Muslim scholars believe that a woman is not obliged to cover her face or hands.
Scholars, however, believe that it is up to women to decide whether to take on the veil.