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Belgium set to introduce Burqa Ban

Islamic veil set to be banned in Belgium

Human rights campaigners have criticized Belgium for plans to impose a ban on the wearing of the burqa.

Belgian lawmakers are today expected to pass legislation that would forbid the wearing of an Islamic veil in public places. On March 31, the federal parliament’s home affairs committee voted unanimously to endorse a nationwide ban on clothes or veils that do not allow the wearer to be fully identified, including the full-face niqab and burqa.

“Bans like this lead to a lose-lose situations,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“They violate the rights of those who choose to wear the veil.”

Those who ignore it could face a fine of 15-25 euros and/or a jail sentence of up to seven days, unless they have police permission to wear the garments.

Twenty out of 589 municipalities in Belgium already prohibit wearing full Muslim veils in public. Similar local restrictions also exist in parts of Italy and the Netherlands. Approval of the current bill by the parliament would make Belgium the first country in Europe to adopt a nationwide ban.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed his interest in introducing a similar ban in France.

Centre-right MP Daniel Bacquelaine said: ‘The notion of recognising people in the street is essential to maintain public order.

‘It’s also a question of human dignity. The full face veil turns a woman into a walking prison, and we have widespread cross-party support to have this item outlawed.’

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  1. […] Belgium set to introduce Burqa Ban […]

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