Britain is 'losing the battle against Islamic extremism' by failing to outlaw burqas, the architect of the French ban said today.
Jacques Myard, a senior member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party, said relaxed UK policies had ‘opened the door to terrorism’.
He added: ‘Allowing women to exclude themselves from society by wearing the full Islamic veil makes radicals extremely comfortable, and Britain should realise this.’
Mr Myard made his outspoken comments to British journalists in Qatar, where he was defending his country’s recent banning of the veil at the prestigious Qatar Foundation Doha Debates, which will be broadcast by the BBC this weekend.
His comments will inflame tensions between London and Paris five years after the 7/7 London bombings, which the French have regularly blamed on lax policing.
Referring to the 2005 atrocity, which left 52 dead and hundreds injured, Mr Myard added: ‘Britain has suffered a number of high-profile failures in its fight against extremism in recent years.
‘These could have been prevented if all signs of extremism were curbed, as they are in France.’
Asked if Britain should introduce its own burqa ban, Mr Myard replied: ‘Of course - it is fundamental to ensuring that extremism is kept in check.
'There’s a good reason why London was nicknamed Londonistan - it was full of Islamic extremists. People should be learning from these mistakes.’
As chairman of the cross-party commission which spent two years investigating burqas and niqabs in France, Mr Myard’s recommendations led to a full ban being passed by Parliament earlier this month.
It has already led to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda issuing threats against France, but the country has largely escaped the kind of atrocities which have blighted countries including Britain and the U.S. over the past decade.
In a more light-hearted snipe at his neighbours across the Channel, Mr Myard said: ‘The French have been standing up for gender equality since Joan Of Arc fought the English barbarians six hundred years ago.
‘Women should not have to wear the burqa, which by its very nature excludes them from France’s secular Republic.’
Despite his strong defence of the burqa ban in Qatar, Mr Myard lost the Doha Debate entitled ‘This House believes France is right to ban the face veil’.
He was defeated by a team of London journalists, made up of Mehdi Hassan and Nabila Ramdani, as 78 per cent of voters rejected the motion.
Some 350million people across 200 countries are expected to watch the debate when it is broadcast by channels including BBC World on Saturday and Sunday.