London: The British public supports the ban on Islamic veils being worn in public, while half say the burkini — full body swimsuit — should also be banned from Britain’s beaches, a poll has found.
Research by YouGov found a huge proportion of the British public had no qualms about telling women what to wear, with 57% in favour of a ban and just 25% against, The Independent reported.
People belonging to the age group 18-24 was the only group to oppose a ban — all others were in favour, with the oldest 65 and above group backing the prohibition by a startling 78 per cent to 12.
All major political parties also had a plurality of voters in favour of a ban.
UK Independent Party (UKIP) leadership candidate Lisa Duffy has called for a ban on the Islamic veil; Nigel Farage also issued a similar call on 2010 but the party has spoken little on the issue in recent years.
The polling comes amid controversy over the banning of burkini — modest swimwear on beaches in a number of French municipalities. A video emerged last week of armed French police forcing a woman to undress after she was spotted wearing the burkini.
The British government said last week it would not introduce its own ban on burkini, saying it “sees no need” to dictate how people dress.
“The government sees no need for measures restricting what people can wear in public places,” Russia Today quoted an official of the Government Equalities Office as saying.
“We support the rights of individuals in keeping with Britain’s tradition of freedom and fairness,” the official added.
A separate question asked by YouGov found that 46 per cent of people wanted to ban the burkini, while just 30 per cent opposed such a measure. The French ban has been declared illegal by the country’s courts.
A number of European countries have legislated to ban or restrict things associated with the Islamic faith. In 2009 the Swiss public voted in a referendum to ban the construction of Islamic mosques with minarets.
France has also banned full face coverings in 2010, on security grounds, a ban that also includes the burka. France also separately bans headscarves that do not cover a person’s face in public schools, on secularist ground. The French prime minister Manuel Valls said he wanted the ban extended to universities.
Other countries such as Belgium and parts of Switzerland and Russia have also banned clothing worn by some Muslim women.