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British party calls for ban on burkas

LONDON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The United Kingdom Independence Party says burkas, the Islamic cloak that covers women from head to toe, should be banned in Britain.

The conservative group, which advocates withdrawing from the European Union, issued a call Friday to ban the garments in what was seen as an attempt by the UKIP to expand its appeal to disaffected white, working class voters, The Times of London reported Saturday.

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"We are taking expert advice on how we could do it," UKIP leader Malcolm Pearson told the newspaper. "It makes sense to ban the burka -- or anything which conceals a woman's face -- in public buildings. But we want to make it possible to ban them in private buildings. It isn't right that you can't see someone's face in an airport."

The Times said the UKIP is the first British party to call for an all-out ban on burkas although the far-right British National Party believes advocates banning them from schools.

"We are not Muslim bashing, but this is incompatible with Britain's values of freedom and democracy," Pearson said.

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