A remark by Ulster Unionist Councillor Victor Warrington has been described as "offensive", "ignorant", "misogynistic" and "chauvinistic" after he appeared to endorse the banning of the burqa.

In a tweet on Sunday, the Erne East representative responded to a post on 'X' asking readers if there should be a referendum on the subject with the word "absolutely".

Councillor Warrington lost the party whip in 2019 after sharing a post that was described as discriminatory against disabled and Down’s syndrome people at the time for its description of a Chinese Paralympic five-a-side team.

Now, Councillor Warrington has sparked strong criticism from the Aman Association, with a spokesperson for the Fermanagh-Omagh Muslim community saying it shows an "immense ignorance about Muslims".

"Since no-one in Northern Ireland – to my knowledge – even wears the burka, this is absolutely misplaced. If it was not so offensive, it would simply be ridiculous,” the spokesperson said.

“In fact, across other parts of the UK, and in every Muslim country I have visited, I have not seen anyone wear the burqa – a garment almost exclusively worn in Afghanistan.

“Of course, should the councillor be referring to other face-coverings, such as the niqab, then that should be made more clear, but nuance and accuracy is not to be expected in cases such as this.”

The spokesperson suggested that Councillor Warrington should prioritise local concerns instead and called on him to "reach out to Muslims to seek further understanding about their religion, about the nature of modesty, and about discovering ways we can all work constructively to improve society for everyone, accommodating all varieties of life choices therein".

The spokesperson said such posts on social media "serve to foment and increase Islamophobia, using tired, fetishised tropes of the 'other' to create a fear of that other, based on long-held, often wilful, misunderstandings".

They continued: "Muslims in the UK, and especially those in Northern Ireland, live as tiny minorities, and are in no need of being endangered by anyone whose hatred of the other might be stoked by such incendiary remarks and manifest in physical harm.

"In today's day and age, it is highly misogynistic and chauvinistic for men to dictate what a woman should do with her body – the fact that some men seem hell-bent on controlling women, especially in this case with regard to a simple piece of fabric, testifies more to their own insecurities than to anything else.

“It is ironic that the argument that Muslim women are forced by men to wear veils more accurately applies here to a non-Muslim man supporting exactly the same type of coercement towards removing them.”

The spokesperson concluded by urging Councillor Warrington to reconsider his stance and expressed a willingness for positive engagement.

“I hope that he reconsiders his words and would welcome further, positive interaction between him and our organisation here in Fermanagh.”

A spokesman for the Ulster Unionist Party said: “Councillor Warrington’s comments do not reflect Ulster Unionist Party policy or position, and he has been made aware of this fact.”

Councillor Warrington did not respond when contacted by this newspaper.