Michael O'Leary has called for the burka to be banned in Britain, warning that the country is "leaning over far too much" for minority religions like Islam.

The controversial Ryanair boss's remarks came it emerged that police had lost track of terror suspect Mohammed Ahemd Mohamed after he left a mosque wearing a burka, a garment worn by some Muslim women that covers the entire body, face and eyes.

Speaking to the Times, he said: "I think we should ban burkas here in the UK. If you go to Saudi Arabia and they say the ladies have to veil up, you respect the local culture. Over here we are leaning over far too much for some of these minority religions.

"If you want to come and live in Western society, I don’t think you should be allowed to walk around with some inalienable right to cover yourself up with only your eyes looking out.”

O'Leary's comments come as Ryanair has sought to open itself up in a media "charm offensive', which has seen the airline chief take to Twitter for question and answer sessions and ask passengers for suggestions on how to improve customer service.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Ryanair cutbacks

    Michael O'Leary of Ryanair at a press conference in a Dublin hotel, where he announced that the airline is to cutback on flights from Dublin this winter.

  • Ryanair results

    Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary speaks at a press conference in Central London after the low cost airline announces half year results.

  • Ryanair results

    Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary speaks at a press conference in Central London after the low cost airline announces half year results.

  • Ryanair hotel website launch

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary at a photocall at the Reubens Hotel, in central London, to launch the ryanairhotels.com website.

  • RyanairHotels.com launch

    Ryanair's Michael O'Leary attends photcall to launch RyanairHotels.com that will cater to every budget, ranging from small independent hotels to luxury five star hotels. held at the Rebus hotel in London

  • RyanairHotels.com launch

    Ryanair's Michael O'Leary attends photcall to launch RyanairHotels.com that will cater to every budget, ranging from small independent hotels to luxury five star hotels. held at the Rebus hotel in London

  • Horse Racing - 2011 Christmas Festival - Lexus Chase Day - Leopardstown Racecourse

    Last Installments jockey Brian O'Connell and owner Michael O'Leary celebrate victory in The Topaz Fort Leney Novice Steeplechase during the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin, Ireland.

  • Ryanair announcement

    Ryanair Chief Executive and Manchester City fan Michael O'Leary poses for a photograph in his football shirt outside Terminal 2 arrivals at Manchester Airport.

  • Ryanair announcement

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary poses for a photograph outside Terminal 2 arrivals at Manchester Airport.

  • Horse Racing - Easter Festival - Day Two - Fairyhouse Racecourse

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary in the winners enclosure during the Easter Festival at Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath.

  • Horse Racing - 2012 Cheltenham Festival - Day Three - Cheltenham Racecourse

    Jockey Davy Russell and owner Michael O'Leary (right) celebrate victory with Sir Des Champs in the Jewson Novices' Chase, on St Patrick's Thursday, during Cheltenham Festival.

  • New 8 million maintenance hangar opens - Glasgow airport

    First Minister Alex Salmond (left) and Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary during the official opening of the new 8 million maintenance hangar at Glasgow Prestwick airport in Scotland.

  • BAA airport sale order

    Ryan Air Boss Michael O'Leary pictured outside the High Court in London today after the court of appeal ruled that the BAA monopoly can now be broken up. The decision to dismiss the BAA monopoly's appeal against the Competition Commission's decision means that the sale of Glasgow and Stansted airports can now proceed, which will promote competition and a better deal for airport users and passengers.

  • BAA airport sale order

    Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary outside the High Court in London following a decision that could force airport operator BAA to comply with an order to sell three of its airports.

  • Ryanair press conference

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary speaks during a press conference in the Alexander Hotel in Dublin.

  • Ryanair press conference

    Michael O'Leary of Ryanair holds a press conference in the Merrion Hotel Dublin, to present the airline's rescue plan for Irish Tourism to the Government appointed Tourism Renewal Group.

  • Ryanair goes mobile

    Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary launches the company mobile phone service in Dublin.

  • Ryanair press conference

    Michael O'Leary of Ryanair pictured with Jim O'Callaghan (centre) and Stephen McNamara holds a press conference in the Merrion Hotel Dublin, to present the airline's rescue plan for Irish Tourism to the Government appointed Tourism Renewal Group.

  • Ryanair boss recession warning

    Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary speaks at a press conference at the City of London Club in London.

  • Ryanair boss delivers buoyant economic forecast

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary at a press conference at the London Chamber of Commerce.

  • Ryanair boss delivers buoyant economic forecast

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary with a model at a press conference at the London Chamber of Commerce.

  • Ryanair news conference

    Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary (left) during a news conference in the Alexandra hotel, Dublin.

  • Ryanair news conference

    Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary (left) during a news conference in the Alexandra hotel, Dublin.

  • Ryanair press conference

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary holds up a 5 note during a press conference on Ryanair plans for the UK market and reducing costs to consumers, at the London Chamber of Commerce in London.

  • Ryanair announces cutbacks

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary speaks to the media during a press conference at the London Chambers of Commerce.

  • Ryanair announces cutbacks

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary speaks to the media during a press conference at the London Chambers of Commerce.

  • Ryanair to ground 10\% of fleet

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary speaks to the media at a press conference at the City of London Club.

  • Michael O'Leary Ryanair Expansion

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary plays up to the cameras at the opening of a 10 million maintenance hangar at Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire, which will eventually employ 200 staff. But he threatened to withdraw future investment from the airport after receiving a rates bill for 110,000 from the local council.

  • Ryanair unveil five new routes at AGM

    Chief Executive of Ryanair Michael O'Leary gestures during the Ryanair annual general meeting in the Clarion Hotel at Dublin Airport.

  • Michael O'Leary Ryanair

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary plays to the cameras at the opening of a 10 million maintenance hangar at Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire, which will eventually employ 200 staff. But he threatened to withdraw future investment from the airport after receiving a rates bill for 110,000 from the local council.

  • TRANSPORT Ryanair_Ireland

    Chief Executive of Ryanair Michael O'Leary during a press conference in Dublin, Wednesday December 21, 2005, where it was announced that the low cost airline plans a massive expansion of operations at Dublin Airport, with 18 new routes to cities across Europe. The budget carrier will open services to 10 countries next April and May creating 250 jobs in Dublin. The company hopes the new flights will boost its passenger numbers through the capital from 5.5m to 7m a year. See PA Story TRANSPORT Ryanair Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA

  • AIR Fuel

    Michael O'Leary, CEO at budget airline Ryanair, charges rival British Airways with Skyway Robbery at a news conference in London, Tuesday September 20, 2005, following increases in fuel surcharges by BA. Last week BA raised its fuel surcharge to 60 on a long-haul round trip. Stressing that Ryanair would never introduce fuel surcharges, Mr O'Leary said today that BA had now brought in six such surcharges since May 2004. See PA story AIR Fuel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Ian Nicholson/PA

  • Ryanair Press Conference

    Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Ryanair presents the low cost airline's year end financial figures and predicted that profits would rise with increased passenger numbers despite growing fuel costs.

  • Ryanair New Base Launch - Luton Airport

    Staff member Peter Sherrard pushes Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary across the floor of a terminal building while celebrating the start of flights from its new base to Esjberg, Stockholm, Pisa, Venice Treviso, Girona and Nimes by offering 25,000 free seats.

  • Michael O'leary year end profits

    Ryan Air's Chief Executive Michael O'leary announces his company's end of year profit, at the City Club in central London. The budget airline recorded their first fall in profits since 1989. *31/08/04: A new website was launched by the International Transport Workers Federation union to enable Ryanair workers to speak out against management.

  • Ryanair expansion

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary announces five new European destinations from Edinburgh as part of its largest ever route expansion, at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel, Haymarket, Edinburgh.

  • Horse Racing - Punchestown Racecourse

    Michael O'Leary, Ryan Air, after the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Steeplechase at Punchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare.

  • New Ryanair routes at East Midlands Airport

    Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary during a press conference at East Midlands Airport to announce new route developments for the airport.

  • Ryanair announce new route

    File photo dated 06/09/2007 of Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary (left), wearing a number 11 Northern Ireland International football shirt in memory of George Best, outside George Best Belfast City Airport.

  • Ryainair calls on BA to remove fuel surcharges

    Ryanair's Chief Executive Michael O'Leary concludes a press conference in central London, during which the Irish low-fare carrier said it would be offering 2.7 million seats for travel through September, October and November this year, at a 10 one-way price, including all taxes and charges.

  • New Ryanair routes at East Midlands Airport

    Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary during a press conference at East Midlands Airport, with airport managing director Penny Coates, to announce new route developments for the airport.

  • Horse Racing - Kerrygold Day - Punchestown

    Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary at Punchestown Racecourse.

  • Ryanair annoucment

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary at the press conference in the Alexander Hotel Dublin, where he announced a 5 million seat giveaway, new routes to Poland and commented on air pollution.

  • Ryanair Announce New Routes

    Chief Executive of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary answers questions during a press conference in London, as the low fares airline announces eight new routes from London Stansted to continental Europe and three new ones from Glasgow Prestwick, Liverpool and Brussels Charleroi. * The new routes include Rome, Milan and Ryanair's first passage into Holland through Eindhoven and will begin from this April.

  • Michael O'Leary Ryan Air new Italian base

    Chief Executive of Ryan Air, Michael O'Leary, during a media conference where the launch of the airlines two new bases in Barcelona and Rome was announced, at the Chartered Accountants Hall, central London. Rome Ciampino will become Ryanair's 10th European base when it opens on 28th January 2004. Girona Barcelona will become Ryanair's 11th European Base, which opens on 5th February 2004, with 5 aircraft serving 16 routes.

  • O'LEARY RYANAIR RESULTS

    Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary appears pleased with the interim results for his airline announced in central London. During the period to the end of last December, the Irish-owned carrier recorded its highest passenger traffic totals and profit growth.

  • Ryanair Launches customer charter

    Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary launching a customer charter with 1 million free seats at a news conference by the London Eye in London. Mr O'Leary uses the London Eye as a zero to illustate the price of free seats

  • Chief Executive of Ryanair Michael O'Leary (L)

    (Left) Chief Executive of Ryanair Michael O'Leary holds a model of the Boeing 737-800 as he plants a kiss on the cheek of Boeing's Executive Vice President of Sales Toby Bright. *Irish-based low-cost carrier Ryanair announced today that it would buy 100 Boeing 737s, with an option for 50 more, taking delivery of the first this year and the last in 2010. Ryanair, which along with other low-cost carriers in Britain, has defied gloomy post-September 11 predictions in the aviation sector, said it would spend a total of 6.5 billion ($9.5 billion) for a total of 150 new aircraft.

  • President of Irish budget carrier Ryanai

    President of Irish budget carrier Ryanair Michael O'Leary poses prior to a press conference in Madrid on September 13, 2011. The budget airline Ryanair contributed to a 65% increase in air traffic in Spain from January to July its president announced, making clear its determination to take advantage of the crisis plaguing the country. AFP PHOTO/ DFAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

  • President of Irish budget carrier Ryanai

    President of Irish budget carrier Ryanair Michael O'Leary poses prior to a press conference in Madrid on September 13, 2011. The budget airline Ryanair contributed to a 65% increase in air traffic in Spain from January to July its president announced, making clear its determination to take advantage of the crisis plaguing the country. AFP PHOTO/ DFAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Ryanair Launch New Maintenace Hanger In Scotland

    PRESTWICK, SCOTLAND - MAY 10: Michael O'Leary Chief Executive of low fare airline Ryanair poses for the camera during the opening of a new maintenance facility, on May 10, 2004 at Prestwick, Scotland. Low fares airline Ryanair officially opened the new ?10 million maintenace hanger at Prestwick Airport creating up to 200 new jobs for the area. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Former justice secretary Ken Clarke recently suggested that Muslim women should not be able to give evidence in court wearing the veil because it made it impossible to have a proper trial while wearing "a kind of bag".

The minister said that body language was necessary to allow jurors to assess if a witness is telling the truth and insisted he could not see how that was possible "when they are facing somebody who is veiled".

In September, a young Muslim woman in a burka was told by the judge to take off her face veil, as she took to the dock to enter her plea, because someone could impersonate her.

Loading Slideshow...
  • To a passenger who demanded a refund

  • On customers being right

  • On overweight passengers

  • On passenges paying if they turn up without boarding passes

  • On Ryanair's customer service

  • On being 'overly nasty'

  • On The French

    (Full quote: 'We love Boeing. F**k the French')

  • On protesters

  • On consultants

  • On environmentalists

  • On flying Ryanair

  • On people who fly Ryanair

  • On Germans

  • At a press conference in front of nine men, one from the Guardian

  • On Guardian readers

  • On his popularity

  • Offering advice to other airline bosses

  • On Margaret Thatcher

  • On Ireland

  • On passengers who can't find cheap Ryanair flights

Also on HuffPost: