Through being shortlisted for the Women of the Future Awards in association with Shell, I have had many interviews where I was asked "And why will you stay in the UK to do this work?" I answered, "Because this is where it all began for me, I'm inextricably tied to this land - you see I was born here, in post-colonial context, a Pakistani."
I'm not saying that I know the answers to the questions of multiculturalism, and whether the niqab has a place in modern British society... But I also think that we need to have a proper, open discussion about the state of our society and its values, and to outline exactly what the effect of this kind of legislation would be.
On Friday 6 September, David Cameron refuted a Russian official's summation that Britain was 'just a small island' by delivering a speech that reeked of a Gove-esque approach to popular history entwined with petulant patriotism. He seemed to cry out that "Britain's one of the bigger kids too, even if it wasn't allowed to go to war this time", calling upon the rhetoric of the past as if to prove Britain's place in the present world and reimagining it as it suited him.
It didn't used to be like this. 50 years ago, in most parts of the country, you not only knew your neighbours but there was a reasonable chance that they were pretty much like you. You were involved in common local activities and institutions. Religiously, you probably behaved, believed and belonged in the same way as everyone else.
Cultural diversity has played a key role in forming the multicultural Britain of today, far more so than adherence to one set of 'national values' has. The role of the state is to enforce this tolerance through laws and expose children to the true diversity of the world they are entering in the education system.
Despite the gloomy economic circumstances, England has a lot to celebrate; it is a beautiful and tolerant multicultural society that has contributed a great deal to the world socially, politically and culturally. Yet the 'English question' has only been prodded and poked by the political classes rather than substantially addressed.