Two-thirds of Britain would ban the Islamic veil: poll

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Two thirds of British people would support a ban on Muslim women wearing face-covering veils in public similar to the one approved by French lawmakers this week, a poll found Friday.

An online survey of 2,205 adults for Five News television found 67 percent of respondents agreed that the burkha -- the full-face veil -- should be banned. That figure rose to 80 percent among people aged over 55.

The YouGov poll was carried out between Wednesday and Friday, after France's lower house of parliament voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to ban full Islamic veils in public spaces.

Similar laws are pending in Belgium, Spain and some Italian municipalities, but the ban is particularly sensitive in France, whose rundown city suburbs are home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority.

A Harris poll for the Financial Times in March revealed Britons were among the most tolerant in Europe towards the Islamic veil, with just 57 percent backing a ban, compared to 70 percent in France and 65 percent in Spain.

According to the Muslim Council of Britain, about 2.5 million Muslims live in this country, and less than one percent wear a face veil.

© 2010 AFP

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