An exclusive poll by Ipsos MORI for ITV's Tonight Show shows that the British public believe Muslim women have a right to wear a veil — but not in the classroom, on television or on the beat.
Very few people claim to feel frightened or intimidated by women wearing a veil (14% of the public say they do), but the majority of the public think Muslim women are segregating themselves by wearing a veil (61%) and they are a clear statement of separation and difference (59%).
Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,023 British adults aged 18+ on 11th October 2006. Fieldwork was conducted by telephone. Data are weighted to reflect the national population profile.
Q1 As you may have seen or heard, the Labour Cabinet Minister Jack Straw recently suggested that Muslim women concealing their faces in veils is bad for race relations. I now want to read to you a number of statements people have made about his comments and for each one I read out please tell me to what extent you agree or disagree with them? Base: All adults aged 18+
|Strongly agree||Tend to agree||Neither agree nor disagree||Tend to disagree||Strongly disagree||Refused||Don't know|
|Jack Straw was right to raise the issue of Muslim women wearing veils||35||24||7||14||17||*||2|
|Veils are a visible statement of separation and difference||33||25||9||16||13||1||2|
|Jack Straw's comments will damage race relations between communities||24||27||9||18||19||1||3|
|Muslim women should have the right to wear a veil||44||33||6||7||9||1||1|
|I feel frightened or intimidated by women wearing a veil||7||7||9||23||52||*||1|
|By wearing a veil Muslim women are segregating themselves||36||25||7||16||13||1||2|
|Children at schools in the UK should be allowed to wear Islamic dress. For example headscarves or other religious headgear||30||30||4||11||22||1||2|
|I understand why some Muslim women wear a veil||38||36||6||7||10||*||3|
|Television Newsreaders should be allowed to wear a veil when reading the news||14||18||6||16||43||1||2|
|I would be happy to be seen by a GP who wears a veil||28||24||6||12||28||1||1|
|Teachers should be allowed to wear a veil at work||17||18||8||16||38||1||1|
|Police women should be allowed to wear a veil at work||14||15||7||16||45||*||1|
|In an election, I would be less likely to vote for a candidate if she wore a veil than if she did not||27||15||9||17||29||1||3|