Europeans back veil ban, Americans oppose: Survey

While most Americans oppose banning Islamic veils, most western Europeans backed the same.

Paris: While most Americans oppose banning face-covering Islamic veils, most western Europeans questioned in a new global poll say the garments should be forbidden-especially in France, where a ban may soon be a reality.

Several European countries have been considering bans on such veils, with special attention on France, home to western Europe`s largest Muslim community and a strongly secular government.

The lower house of France`s parliament is expected to approve a divisive bill on Tuesday that would make it illegal to wear full-face veils in public.

The government says such veils oppress women. Only a very small minority of French Muslim women wear veils such as the niqab or burqa, and many French Muslims fear a ban would stigmatise the whole Islamic community.
A survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that an overwhelming 82 percent of French respondents support a ban. The poll found 71 percent support in Germany, 62 percent in Britain and 59 percent in Spain.

In the United States, 28 percent of those questioned said they would approve a ban.

The pollsters questioned more than 4,000 people by telephone in the five countries as part of a larger poll on global attitudes conducted in April and May. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 or 5 percentage points for the countries asked about the veil.

The study was released on Thursday. In the United States and Europe, respondents to the poll who were over 55 were more likely to support a ban than those age 18 to 34.


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