The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey has voiced opposition to Muslim women, particularly teachers, wearing the veil in the workplace.
Lord Carey, who now lives in Llanrhidian, Gower, in Wales, made the comments ahead of a lecture he will give at Swansea University next week.
"The face is an important medium of communication," he said. "We all need to see a full face, to see the smile and hear the voice clearly.
"Obviously, wearing of the veil is not central to Islam otherwise every Muslim woman would be compelled to adopt that kind of dress.
"What people do in their private lives is their affair. I personally do not like to see fully veiled women, but then again I don't like to see middle aged British men with ugly beer guts in shorts and no tops!"
The Archbishop of Canterbury entered the veil row last month when he warned politicians not to interfere with the right to wear visible symbols of religion.
He defended the right of Muslim women to wear veils and Christians to wear the cross, saying, "The ideal of a society where no visible public signs of religion would be seen - no crosses round necks, no sidelocks, turbans or veils - is a politically dangerous one."
The Archbishop of York also commented on the Muslim veil in public saying he did not think it conformed to "norms of decency" within British society.
Lord Carey's comments come as British Airways worker Nadia Eweida, 55, of Twickenham, lost her appeal against her suspension after refusing to hide her cross necklace under her scarf.
Leaders from across the faiths protested BA's decision to suspend Ms Eweida, who said she should be entitled to openly proclaim her Christian faith.
Lord Carey against Veil in Workplace
The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey has stepped into the veil debate, saying he does not think Muslim women should wear the veil in the workplace.
Published 21 November 2006 | Maria Mackay