Police made the first arrests yesterday of women flouting France’s new burka ban amid fresh calls to outlaw them in Britain too. Anyone who appears veiled in public in France can now be fined £130 under a law that came into effect yesterday. The move sparked calls for a similar approach in this country, with surveys showing there was widespread public support for a law that would make it illegal for anyone to cover their face in public.
Tory MP Philip Hollobone has tabled a private member’s bill that would ban veils in public, while UKIP has won public support for its policy on outlawing the burka. Mr Hollobone announced his bill last year, saying: “This is Britain. We are not a Muslim country. Covering your face in public is strange, and to many people both intimidating and offensive. We are never going to get along with having a fully integrated society if a substantial minority insist on concealing their identity from everyone else.”
Last night, UKIP’s Gerard Batten said: “UKIP is opposed to the burka because it is a physical manifestation of extremist Islam which is intolerant and incompatible with Western liberal democracy. UKIP policy is to ban it from all public institutions, buildings and public transport; private organisations and buildings must have a blanket ban on all face-coverings or no policy at all.”
Quite how two notorious Islamophobes reiterating their views on the veil demonstrates that the call for a ban is “growing” is unclear.