Cambridgeshire Ukip leadership candidate defends call for ban on Muslim veils in public places

Lisa Duffy in Rivergate, Peterborough
Lisa Duffy in Rivergate, Peterborough
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A Ukip leadership candidate has rejected comparisons with Donald Trump and suggestions she is attacking a single minority after calling for Muslim veils to be banned in public places.

Lisa Duffy said she wanted to deal with people’s fears about Islam by creating a “well-rounded community” with “one rule for all” by banning the veil in public buildings, shopping centres and on buses and trains.

Ms Duffy - who is backed by high-profile former Ukip spokeswoman Suzanne Evans - rejected a rival’s suggestions that she was “chasing the bigot vote” and denied her rhetoric could fuel hate crime.

She also demanded the closure of Islamic faith schools until the problem of Islamist terrorism is dealt with, as well as a “complete and comprehensive ban” on sharia courts in the UK, warning of “parallel systems” and “separatism”.

Ms Duffy claimed a ban on veils would work similarly to asking teenagers to remove hoods or motorcyclists to take off their helmets when in certain public places.

Answering questions from reporters after a central London speech, she said: “This is not about singling out.

“This is about working to make sure we have a well-rounded community, a community that has an opportunity for all.

“When I talk about the veil in public places, it’s about one rule for all.”

She added: “It’s not about trying to drive hatred, it’s not about trying to attack a minority.”

Ms Duffy rejected comparisons with Mr Trump, the controversial Republican nominee in the US presidential election, and insisted she is trying to allay “unfair” fear directed at Muslims.

“I don’t think I compare to Donald Trump at all,” she said. “I’m very different to him.

“As Ukip leader, if I’m fortunate enough to get elected, I want us not to shy away from difficult issues and I’m not going to be hounded into a corner to be made to feel this is the wrong thing to talk about.”

She added: “There is a fear out there and that is unfair on all Muslims.

“Most Muslims are good individuals, they work hard, they have great families and they contribute to our communities.

“This is about us working together to make sure there is an equality within faith groups and that they have the same freedoms that you and I both share.”