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Question Of The Day

Would You Support the Proposed Ban on Burqas?

"No. I think this ideology is not acceptable."

(Photo via)

It's rare for our government to take a definitive stance on any of the issues that arise around multiculturalism in Britain. Female genital mutilation, for example – a practice that can't really be described as anything other than barbaric – has been largely ignored by authorities for fear of being labelled culturally insensitive.

Why, then, everyone's gone full frontal on a burqa ban recently, I have no idea. A Tory MP tabled a bill to ban "face coverings" and Nick Clegg said that it's not "appropriate" to wear veils in the classroom, while a Birmingham university banned veils (before having their ban swiftly overruled by the courts less than a week later) and journalist Yasmin Alibhai Brown penned a diatribe against the burqa, claiming that fully veiled women are pretty much helping Islamic zealots crush progressive Islam.


I wanted to know where people on the street would weigh in on the whole debate, so I asked a few of them a question: Would you support the proposed ban on burqas?

Kirsty: I can see that it’s an important part of their culture, but I can’t relate to it personally. There's also the problem of terrorism; not being able to identify them. I have mixed opinions on it. In England, it’s a different culture. By not changing, they are making it harder for themselves. If we were to go to India or Pakistan and refused to wear veils, there are a lot of places that we couldn’t go into – we’d be refused access. People usually respect that when they go abroad. It could be said that they should respect this culture.

VICE: That's what you believe?
There’s definitely an element of that for me personally, yes.

Peter: I think people should be allowed to wear a burqa.

What about the points people have been putting forward – like security at airports, for example?
I don’t know how to solve the problem in the airports, because they have to show their faces. That’s still a problem. If they are being oppressed and made to wear it, they shouldn’t have to. But if it’s their own choice, it’s fine.

Affa: No, I don't support it. I think it should be up to anyone to decide what they want to – or don’t want to do. I think banning it is a bit harsh. I understand that people are scared of people who wear them, but I think we should spend more money to help educate people.


What would you say to those who argue that it hinders people from integrating with British culture?  
If someone does this, they’re aware that they might have to struggle. It’s the same with people who have a lot of tattoos – they’re aware that they cannot work everywhere, but it’s up to them to decide.

Mr Shams: No. I think this ideology is not acceptable. The burqa is up to the person who is wearing it. You will take that right from her. In regards to defence, if they want to see her face in an airport, then that’s okay. But she has the right to wear it.

Nick Clegg has claimed that it’s not "appropriate" for students to wear full veils in classrooms. What do you think of that?
If she wants to cover up her body, then this is up to her. I think this is a good way to live, because nobody can condemn her body, nobody can say, “Oh, she is beautiful,” and this and that. It means she is behaving well in society.

Laura: I don’t support it at all. I think that people should be able to follow their own beliefs. If someone’s from a certain culture, then no one should be telling them, "No, you can’t do that" – imposing our own rules and regulations on them.

What would you say to people who argue that wearing a full-face veil alienates the wearer from British society?
It’s kind of their own decision, though, isn’t it? If they want a new job, they should make their own decision to stop wearing a burqa. Everyone should be able to dress how they want to. If it’s detrimental to themselves, then it’s their own decision.

Previously - When Was the Worst Time You Lost Your Temper?