Nearly ten years ago MP Jack Straw pointed out the growing number of women wearing the veils in his constituency of Blackburn.

A year after the 7/7 attacks on British soils the British media were quick to latch upon the issue and for months afterwards the veil, the burka, the niqab were terms used over and over again in countless reports.

Mr Straw stood by his comments despite local politicians in his own community being a little apprehensive about the argument.

It was all well for Mr Straw to say something about community cohesion but how dare he say something against the female head garment.

At the time he was vilified in some quarters of the Muslim community whilst at the same time large parts of the mainstream media were quick to commend him for raising the issue.

He had pointed out that the veil was hindering integration as it was a visible sign of segregation. He also admitted he asked women to remove the veil when he had an MP’s surgery.

At the time the comments were part of a barrage of opinions many mixed into anti-Muslim sentiments.

Ten years later the dress of Muslim women remains a contentious issue for some non-Muslims. Whilst most would agree that the ban on the Burkini was nothing short of ridiculous you will have less agreement amongst the wider population when it comes to the veil.

People would not call for a ban on the dress but there are concerns that the number of women wearing the veil is increasing.

In Lancashire ten years on there has clearly been an increase in the number of women wearing the veil. You only has to walk through the town centre and other parts of the town to see that more and more women are covering their face.

For some Muslims this is indeed something to celebrate but others sense that maybe Jack Straw had a point after all. The problem was we just didn’t want to admit it at the time because he was a British politician.

A British politician who had also led us in the illegal Iraq war. A British politician who was deflecting the attention away from the real issues facing Muslims and pandering to the right-wing press.

But let us face the facts of the argument here. Those who wear the veil are not a threat in any way to the British way of life. They are not extremists and in no way are leading to segregation.

They are not forced to wear the veil and most will do it of their own accord. One should also not fall into the trap of suggesting that Muslim men are forcing women to dress in a particular way.

Wearing the veil does not make one more religious nor should one think it does.

Quite clearly we have all met veiled women who do not act in the very way we feel they should act just because they are covering their faces.

And veil wearers are not these strange people who have a weird sense of judgement – most are highly educated and intelligent women.

On the same premise let us also realise that some women are being schooled to adopt the veil from a young age by female alimas. And there has been a growth in the number of girls wearing the veil too.

Should one be a little concerned when one sees young school girls wearing the full veil?

Let us also admit that those who might find the veil a little disconcerting are not racist.

A major issue within the Muslim community is how we are not able to challenge particular traits and developments because one senses that by doing so you are becoming ‘less of a Muslim.’ You shouldn’t criticise your own community particularly when it comes to issues like this as it may mean you are judged to be some sort of heretic. Quietly, carry on and turn a blind eye to developments.

A common theme has been that one should not discuss Islamic theology when one is not educated enough. It seems futile for some to even raise arguments.

Here, lies the problem. In ten more years more women will be wearing the veil in Lancashire and beyond. More young women will be educated at institutions which indirectly encourage them to wear the veil.

Particular Islamic schools of thought will encourage women to wear the veil as it is seen as obligatory.

Now, the aim here is not alarm anyone. On the whole you will find us almost oblivious to the fact that this is taking place within the community.

Is it a problem or something we should celebrate wholeheartedly because to not do so makes us a lesser part of the ummah?

Are we able to state that there are issues that need to be discussed more openly? When we close in on ourselves then we simply encourage more distrust in the wider community.

Ten years ago Jack Straw may well have been pointing out his opinion on the veil and at the time he was told in no uncertain terms to never raise the issue the again.

He set forth a barrage of resentment from sections of the population.

A decade on, nothing has changed in the way people wish to judge women who wear the veil.

In fact, the situation has exacerbated.

But should you be criticised for pointing out this out?