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, 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:

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:

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

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