57% of respondents in a UK poll supported banning the veil in public places. 43% say the burkini should be prohibited.
Young, highly educated Muslim women who live in modern, urban environments may be choosing to wear the veil because it enables them to mix with non-Muslim friends, work outside the home and interact with strangers, according to the first empirical study into why wearing the veil increases alongside modernisation. Attempts to force Muslim women to stop wearing the veil might, therefore, be counterproductive by depriving them of the choice and opportunity to integrate: if women cannot signal their piety through wearing a veil, they might choose or be forced to stay at home, concludes the study, published in the Oxford University Press’s European Social Review.
“For highly religious women, we found the modernising forces of education, occupation and higher income, urban living, and contacts with non-Muslims actually increase veiling,” said Ozan Aksoy, co-author of the report, Behind the Veil: The Strategic Use of Religious Garb. “A veil is seen as a genuine expression of a woman’s religiosity. Paradoxically, it is the women who are engaging with the modern world who appear to rely on the veil to signal to others that they will not succumb to the temptations of modern urban life,” he added.
Diego Gambetta, the report’s other co-author, agreed. “Contrary to the populist cant that seems now dominant in Europe, veiling could be a sign of more rather than less integration.” He continued “As you might expect, we found the tendency for veil wearing decreases among young, highly educated women when they are exposed to modern influences if they are ‘averagely religious’ Muslim women.”.