Veils and Crosses

There are two recent ICM polls on wearing religious symbols and clothing in public. The first for the News of the World last weekend found overwhelming opposition to BA in the “necklace row” – 80% of people said that British Airways had been wrong to enforce their uniform policy over a women who wanted to wear a cross over rather than under her cravat. Overall 92% of people thought that people should be allowed to openly wear a cross in the workplace, with 6% disagreeing. 85% thought people should be able to wear a turba (12% disagreed) and 67% thought it was acceptable to wear the hijab (28% disagreed). 41% of respondents thought that Christians were being discriminated against compared to other religions, a majortiy (53%) rejected this suggestion.

A second ICM poll, this time for the BBC, asked specifically about wearing veils. 33% of people told ICM they would support a legal ban on wearing the veil in all public places, with 56% opposed. This is a rise from previous polls – in October only 20% said they favoured legal restrictions on wearing the veil. Asked about bans in specific places, a majority (61%) woudl approve of a ban on wearing the veil at airports and at passport control or in courtrooms (53%) or schools (53%). 41% of people would approve of a ban in schools, with 47% opposed while a majority (56%) would oppose a ban on wearing the veil on public transport.

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