A college in Massachusetts has banned certain head coverings after an alumnus was arrested on charges of plotting terrorist attacks. The ban includes anything that covers the face, such as face veils or burkas.
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services in Boston put the ban into effect on Friday, the Associated Press reports. But school spokesman Michael Ratty says the new policy has nothing to do with the arrest in October of Tarek Mehanna, a 2008 graduate and the son of a professor at the college.
It is not directed to any group or individual. It applies to all students and faculty, Ratty tells the AP.
The policy change was proposed in the fall, Ratty says, during the school's annual review of rules and procedures. The goal is to make everyone on campus identifiable; Ratty says the school's Muslim students understand the need for the policy.
Still, one expert tells the AP that there is no other policy similar to one at the College of Pharmacy and Health Services anywhere in the United States. And Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations tells the AP that he has asked the school to consider a religious exemption for Islamic students.
"If you can get on an airplane wearing a face veil, you can go to class at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy wearing a face veil, Hooper tells the AP.