Two-thirds of Britons would like to see the burka banned in this country, notwithstanding the fact that the Home Secretary has indicated that the Government has no intention of moving in the same direction as France, where a law prohibiting the burka, niqab and other face-coverings being worn in public came into force this week.
This finding comes from an online poll by YouGov conducted on 11 and 12 April 2011 among a representative sample of 2,258 adults aged 18 and over. The full results have been posted at:
Following an introductory explanation of what a burka is, respondents were asked whether they thought the garment should be banned in Britain. 40% agreed strongly that it should be and a further 26% agreed. The combined percentage of 66% compared with 67% on 14-15 July 2010, when YouGov first asked the question. 27% disagreed with a ban, while 7% expressed no opinion.
Dissentients were most likely to be found among the young (42% for the 18-24s, 37% for the 25-39s) and Liberal Democrat voters (39%). Proponents of the ban were concentrated among the over-60s (79%) and Conservative voters (77%). These age and party political differentials are characteristic of most British polls measuring attitudes to Islam and Muslims.
Those opposed to the burka often see it as a barrier to integration and a coercion of women, but those resisting a ban worry that such legislative action would be an infringement of human rights.
Several surveys on the topic were conducted last year, in addition to the first YouGov study. See our posts at:
http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/?p=45 (1 February 2010)
http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/?p=92 (3 March 2010)
http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/?p=378 (9 July 2010)
http://www.brin.ac.uk/news/?p=397 (22 July 2010)