LONDON: Britons favour banning of the Islamic veil or burqa by an overwhelming majority of more than two-to- one, a recent UK poll, commissioned in the aftermath of banning of burkini swimwear on a number of French beaches, has found.
The poll by YouGov found that as many as 57 per cent of Britons supported "a law that bans people from wearing the burqa in the UK", whilst just 25 per cent were against outlawing the dress worn by many Muslim women.
The survey of 1,668 adults also showed that some 46 per cent of British people would also support a similar ban on the burkini, against 30 per cent who were opposed to it. The survey was commissioned in the aftermath of heated debate in the UK after the mayors of more than 30 seaside French towns instituted a ban on burkinis at their beaches.
The ban was later struck down by the country's highest court, but many conservative mayors have vowed to continue the ban. Former French president and current presidential candidate Nicholas Sarkozy has even promised to change the Constitution to ban burkinis should he be elected next year. The poll showed that an overwhelming majority of British men have no qualms about telling women what to wear, though women were about as likely to support the ban as men (56 per cent and 58 per cent respectively).
Support for a ban rises as people get older, with just 34 per cent of 18-24 year older supporting the ban, rising to 78 per cent of those aged 65 or older. The support for banning the burqa also cuts across party lines with 84 per cent of all 2015 UKIP voters, 66 per cent of Conservative voters and as many as 48 per cent of Labour voters supporting the ban.
Burqa was also a topic of discussion in the UKIP leadership contest recently after candidate Lisa Duffy called for a ban on wearing burqa in public places. A similar YouGov survey in Germany had found that 62 per cent were in favour of a burqa ban.
A number of European countries have legislated to ban or restrict things associated with the Islamic faith. In 2009 the Swiss public voted in a referendum to ban the construction of Islamic mosques with minarets, while France has banned full face coverings since 2010.