Survey finds support for veil ban

One in three people would support a ban on the Muslim face-covering veil in public places, a survey suggests. Asked if the veils should be prohibited in airports and at passport control, six out of 10 agreed. The survey was carried out for the BBC by ICM. Muslim groups say the figures may reflect public unease because of how the media has presented the veil.

Rajnaara Akhtar, of the Assembly for the Protection of the Hijab, said the findings were “positive” because it showed “the vast majority of people … believe women should be allowed to wear what they like”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there was a common misconception that Muslim women who wore the face-covering veil had been forced to do so, whereas in reality only a “tiny, tiny minority” were forced. “What we, as Muslims, need to do is to ensure were are educating people on it and making sure that people do understand it is a choice,” she said. “We are living in Britain, which is a democratic society and the vast majority of people in this country promote that and respect that completely.”

BBC News, 29 October 2006