'Communities are bound together partly by informal chance relations between strangers -- people being able to acknowledge each other in the street,' Straw had said.
'That's made more difficult if people are wearing a veil. That's just a fact of life,' he added.
Straw, however, stressed it was a choice for women and he was making a request and not a demand.
Some Muslim women termed his remarks insulting, while other Muslims said they understood his concerns.
Soon after, Indian activist-actor Shabana Azmi claimed that the Koran does not compel women to cover the face. Azmi also said it was time to debate the issue of the veil.
Her comments earned the ire of Muslim clerics with the Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari saying that Azmi had no right to interpret the Koran and mislead Muslim women.
Should Muslim women wear the veil? If you are a Muslim woman, we would especially like to hear your views on the issue.