Britons Send Mixed Messages on Islamic Veils

From Angus Reid Global Monitor

Most people in Britain hold a critical opinion on the veils worn by some Muslim women, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 67 per cent of respondents say that garments that conceal a woman’s face represent an affront to British values, while 25 per cent disagree with this notion.

However, 58 per cent of respondents believe the government should not be allowed to tell individuals what they can and cannot wear.

About 1.5 million Muslims currently reside in Britain.

On Jan. 17, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), said his party wants to ban some garments that are worn by Muslim women, declaring, “We are taking expert advice on how we could do it. It makes sense to ban the burqa—or anything which conceals a woman’s face—in public buildings. But we want to make it possible to ban them in private buildings. It isn’t right that you can’t see someone’s face in an airport.”

Polling Data

As you may know, there has been a lot of talk recently about the outfits of Muslim women in the UK and across Europe. Thinking about this, do you agree or disagree with each one of the following statements?

Agree Disagree Not sure
Garments that conceal a woman’s face are an affront to British values 67% 25% 8%
The Government should not be allowed to tell individuals what they can and cannot wear 58% 36% 6%

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 2,001 British adults, conducted on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, 2010. Margin of error is 2.2 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)

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