Two-third Britons want ban on burqa in public

57 per cent pledge support to ban

4th March 2010:
Just over a month after the UK Independence party (Ukip) joined the British national party (BNP) on the issue of adopting a motion for banning burqa from public view in Britain, the results of a poll suggest almost two-thirds of Britons are in favour of a ban.

They think women should be barred from wearing the burqa in public, according to the poll details carried in the Daily Express. The figures from pollsters Harris show 57 per cent of people – Muslim and non-Muslim – say they would support the ban akin to the one being considered in France

The moderate Muslims too supported the move for a ban on the head-to-toe garment, saying burqa had no justification in Islamic teachings.

Ghaffar Hussain of the anti-extremist think-tank Quilliam said people should be free to dress the way they want in public. But in certain situations one needs to see another’s face, like in schools, hospitals, shops, banks and airports.

As such, burqa was highly impractical in the modern world and was recently criticised by a leading Muslim scholar in Egypt.

Two years after the BNP adopted a motion for banning burqa from public view in Britain, the Ukip had only recently made its stand clear on the issue.

Nigel Farage, who heads the party’s 13 MEPs, had asserted he was not in favour of Muslim women covering their faces. Besides security reasons, they were also a symbol of a divided Britain, he said.

He told the BBC’s Politics Show that the move was justified from the security point of view, as it hampered identification of people on the CCTV.

Farage said if he wanted to go into a bank wearing a motorcycle helmet, he couldn’t. It was also not acceptable to wear a balaclava on the Tube or bus systems. Even some of the shopping centres forbade hoodies, as these disguise the wearer. The Muslim veils were no different in having that effect, but UKIP believed that security issues aside, they are also a symbol of a divided Britain.

Farage was also of the opinion that burqa was also a symbol of something used to oppress women. The policy of lacing a ban was aimed at addressing feelings of unease in British society at women wearing the burqa and niqab.

In an attempt to put things in perspective, he said they were part of a cultural, not religious, garment. There was no requirement in the Koran to wear a veil, only to dress modestly. UKIP believed that the wearers were prevented from full assimilation into their way of life because of the feelings of unease they gave rise to in the rest of the population.

He said it was a matter of concern that they were heading towards a situation where many of the cities were ghettoized and there was even talk of sharia law becoming part of British culture.

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