Tuesday 12 December 2017

British public back a ban on burqa by two to one, poll finds

Belgium’s ban on burqas and other full-face Islamic veils has been upheld by the European Court of Human Rights.
Belgium’s ban on burqas and other full-face Islamic veils has been upheld by the European Court of Human Rights.

A majority of the British public are in favour of banning the burqa in public, a poll has found, while almost half say the burkini should be prohibited.

The findings come as a controversial ban on the burkini in France has stirred debate on the subject of Muslim clothing.

Although the country's highest administrative court overturned the ban on the Islamic swimsuit on Friday, mayors have vowed to defy the ruling.

The issue has been widely debated in Britain ever since France became the first European country to ban the burqa - the  Islamic full-face veil - in 2011.

According to the YouGov survey, 57% of respondents in the UK supported banning the veil in public places.

Read More: Merkel's party set to ban burqas in education and public service

The only age group to oppose a ban was the 18-24-year-olds, while all others were in favour, with the oldest 65+ group backing the prohibition by an overwhelming 78 per cent to 12.

A majority of Conservative and Ukip voters backed a burqa ban (66% and 84% respectively). And while fewer than half of Labour (48%) and Lib Dem (42%) voters supported such a move, they still outnumbered those who opposed the ban (37% and 30% respectively).

Looking at attitudes to burkinis, 46% of people were in favour of outlawing it while 30% would oppose a ban.

Read More: Don't ban the burqa, but restrict where it is worn

The British government said last week it would not introduce a ban on the Islamic swimsuit, saying it “sees no need” to dictate how people dress.

A spokesman for the Government Equalities Office said: “The Government sees no need for measures restricting what people can wear in public places.

"We support the rights of individuals in keeping with Britain’s tradition of freedom and fairness.”

A ban on burqas has been imposed elsewhere in Europe, with Switzerland becoming the latest country to crack down on the clothing last month.

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