London, June 24 (ANI): The body concealing burkhas should be banned in Britain, both Muslim and non-Muslim UK citizens have said in the wake of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's anti-burkha stand.
Many moderate British Muslims supported Sarkozy's remarks, who had said: "We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity."
Ghaffar Hussain, of the anti-extremist think-tank Quilliam, said: "There is nothing in the Koran that says you have to wear a burkha. To wear a burkha in modern Britain is not essential from any Islamist point of view. Also, wearing a burkha does limit a woman, restricting her in the jobs she can do."
Commonly used in Afghanistan, the burkha is an all-covering outfit that leaves just a slit for the eyes.
A total of 98 per cent of people said that Britain should ban the garment," a Daily Express poll found.
Among those welcoming the call for it to be banned was Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, who said the garment has security implications as well.
"One of the failed London bombers wore a burkha to get away, so the charge by some that the security issue is academic is also not true," Mr Murray said.
Sarkozy's call to ban the burkhas has drawn condemnation from the Muslim world.
Lebanon's most influential Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, urged Sarkozy to reconsider his remarks, saying the will of Muslim women who decide to cover their faces ought to be respected.
Italy outlawed the burkha in 2005 under anti-terror laws, while Turkey has banned headscarves in schools, universities and public offices. Three Belgian towns have banned burkas, and seven out of Germany's 16 states have banned headscarves. (ANI)