The mainstream media has been embarrassed by a data poll which shows a large majority of the British public do not believe criticising the burqa is “racist” and would support banning the garment.
The poll was conducted for Sky News using a nationally representative sample of 1,649 Sky customers on August 8th 2018, using data weighted to the profile of the population.
It found that some 60 percent of respondents did not believe Johnson was “racist” to compare the appearance of women in burqas to “bank robbers” or “letterboxes”, and, moreover, that 60 percent of people would support following Austria, France, Denmark, and several other European countries in actually banning the oppressive garments — something Johnson himself said was a step too far.
Sky customers were, oddly, more split on the question of whether Johnson should say sorry for his comments, but a plurality were of the view that no apology was due — 48 percent to 45 percent.
— Sky News Politics (@SkyNewsPolitics) August 8, 2018
While governed by British regulations mandating a degree of balance and impartiality for broadcast news, the Sky News team had appeared to betray a certain disapproval of the sentiments Johnson expressed.
Star anchor Kay Burley compared being uncomfortable with the burqa to being “offended” by the burned face of Falklands War hero Simon Weston, and another presenter observed that “unfortunately” many people agreed with the former foreign secretary while interviewing a Muslim politician.
Sky journalists therefore seemed surprised by their data team’s unhelpful findings — although they were in line with previous research which found large majorities in favour of full face veil bans across Western Europe and Scandinavia — and for some time their news roll emphasised the 33 percent of respondents who believed Johnson’s comments were racist, rather than the 60 percent who did not.
Today, @SkyNews conducted a poll on whether or not Boris' burka comments were racist. 33% said 'Yes', they were racist and 60% said 'No'.
Interesting that they choose to promote the 33% figure? The 60% figure we suppose was, inconvenient. ♂️ pic.twitter.com/GVAVERpPXW
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) August 8, 2018
Johnson also received support from Qanta Ahmed, a prominent British Muslim woman doctor and writer, who wrote that she was “fully supportive of Boris Johnson’s rejection of the niqab.
“Muslim nations are themselves regulating and banning the niqab and burqa – as in both Morocco and Turkey where these coverings are seen as an invasion of Salafist affinities and a risk to national security and societal integrity,” she pointed out.