The Archbishop of York, second in the Church of England only to the Archbishop of Canterbury, has questioned whether Muslim women in Britain should wear the veil.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Dr John Sentamu said he did not think the veil conformed to "norms of decency".
"Muslim scholars would say three things. First, does it conform to norms of decency? Secondly, does it render you more secure? And thirdly, what kind of Islam are you projecting by wearing it?
"I think in the British context it renders you less secure because you stick out and it brings unwelcome attention.
"On the first question (of whether the veil conforms to norms of decency) I don't think it does conform."
Dr Sentamu also said that he never wore a cross during visits to synagogues or mosques and made an effort to cover his head in temples, "Because I am going into someone else's home. And I can't simply say: 'Take me as I am, whether you like it or not.'
"I think the thing is in British society you can wear what you want, but you can't expect British society to be reconfigured around you. No minority can expect to impose this on the public or civic life."
In the interview, Dr Sentamu shared his views on a number of different issues, including the family.
The Archbishop urged Britain to return to family values and warned that materialism was destroying family life in Britain. Parents needed to spend more time with their children, he said, instead of eating in front of a "blaring television", reports The Guardian.
Dr Sentamu also defended the monarchy, saying: "The Church of England reminds the nation that in this country the Queen is the defender of the faith, the head of the Commonwealth and the head of the state."
Archbishop of York Questions Muslim Veil
One of the most senior members in the Church of England has questioned the need for Muslim women in Britain to wear the veil.
Published 13 November 2006