Should the Burka be Banned in Britain? A New Public Opinion Poll

The debate raging in France and Italy about a possible ban on the wearing of the burka in public has prompted The Independent to test opinion on the subject in Great Britain. 

The newspaper commissioned ComRes to conduct a telephone poll among a representative sample of 1,016 Britons aged 18 and over on 27-28 January 2010.

Four statements were put to respondents:

  • that there should be no legal restrictions on wearing a burka: 43% agreed and 52% disagreed
  • that it should be illegal to wear a burka in places like banks and airports: 64% agreed and 33% disagreed
  • that schools should be allowed to prevent teachers from wearing burkas if they wish: 61% agreed and 35% disagreed
  • that it should be illegal to wear a burka in any public place: 36% agreed and 59% disagreed

A summary of the poll findings appears in an article by Andrew Grice in The Independent for 1 February.

Grice’s headline conclusion was that ‘The British public support some restrictions on wearing the burka in public but oppose an outright ban.’

The article is also available online at:

The full computer tabulations, with results disaggregated by gender, age, social grade and region, are available in PDF format at:

The poll is published shortly after the appearance of a book incorporating the latest data from the annual British Social Attitudes survey.

In one of its chapters David Voas and Rodney Ling demonstrated significant negativity towards Muslims in Britain, far more so than towards any other religious group.

British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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