Should the Burka Be Banned in Britain? Take 2

A month after the publication of a ComRes poll for The Independent on whether the burka should be banned in Britain (see our earlier news post at http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/?p=45), another survey on the subject has just appeared.

This one is by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Financial Times. It was conducted online among a representative sample of 1,097 Britons aged 16-64 between 3 and 10 February 2010, and also in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States and China.

Asked whether they wished to follow the French government’s lead in seeking a ban on the wearing of the burka, 57% of Britons said yes and 26% no, with 18% unsure.

This suggests that opinion against the burka has hardened somewhat since the ComRes poll (which used a more subtle battery of four questions).

The proportion in favour of banning the burka in Britain was less than in France (70%), Spain (65%) and Italy (63%), but more than in Germany (50%), the United States (33%) and China (27%).

Interviewees were further asked whether they would support a burka ban if it were accompanied by a clamp-down on the wearing of all religious icons, such as the Christian crucifix or the Jewish cappel.

Only 9% of Britons indicated that they would back this more generic ban on religious dress, and even in France the proportion favouring this move was reduced to 22%.

The Harris press release about the poll (which also covered attitudes to body scanners in airports) will be found at:

http://news.harrisinteractive.com/profiles/investor/ResLibraryView.asp?BzID=1963&ResLibraryID=36557&Category=1777

An article by James Blitz (‘Majority supports outlawing the burka’) appeared on page 4 of the Financial Times for 2 March 2010. This can be accessed online (but without the graphic) at:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d11ac1e0-2598-11df-9bd3-00144feab49a.html?nclick_check=1


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