Diversity – Women clothing #3 – Burqa Ban in Europe

As said in this blog and  in this one, there has been a lot of debate about the question whether or not women should be allowed to wear certain forms of hijab. Should it be legislated to wear a headscarf, burqa or niqab in public? I will try to give you a brief overview of the political and public debates that have taken place in several, mostly European countries. Let’s start, for once, with the country I was born in:

  • The Netherlands: In the Netherlands, wearing a burqa and niqab is not allowed since january 2012.  The Dutch cabinet stated: ”The European Convention on Human Rights allows us the space to somewhat constrain the religious freedom in order to preserve the public discipline.” In other words: this cabinet thinks it is not conducive for the society if women wear a burqa or a niqab. The Dutch political party PVV (”Freedom Party”), which is officially not a member of the cabinet but does have a lot of influence when it comes to government policy, insisted on this, since it is a party that considers the Islam as ”a totalitarian regime rather than a religion”. Because this party is quite big in the Netherlands, the debate on women clothing has been very present in the Dutch newspapers. There are about 200 women in the Netherlands who regularly wear a niqab or a burqa. The law imposes a (maximum) fine of 380 euros.  (If you want to know more about this political party that has (in terms of  political ideas) liasions with, amongst others, the Tea Party in the US, please leave a comment and I will try to outline the complex position it has, since it is not officially a member of cabinet, but does have major influence.)
  • France: In France, there have been endless debates about this matter. Since there is a relatively large muslim community in France, mainly from former territories such as Algeria, prohibiting these forms of hijab would have huge consequences. Nevertheless the France parliament accepted the law in april 2011. The law imposes a fine of 150 euros. Also, forcing others to wear a burqa or niqab leads to imprisonment and a fine.
  • Belgium: Belgian lawmakers have passed the burqa ban on april the 30th, 2010. Around 30 women are believed to be wearing face-full covery in Belgium.
  • U.K.: In Britain, there is some support for a so called ”burqa-ban”. After France had passed the law, more and more debate started about whether or not to do so too. However, home secretary Theresa May and prime minister David Cameron stated that passing such a law would ”run contrast to British instincts”.

Never stop reading:

-Netherlands to ban the burqa

– France’s burqa ban. 

– Belgian lawmakers pass burqa ban

– May rules out burqa ban in Britain

Related blogs:

Diversity – Women clothing

Diversity – Women clothing episode #2 – The Burqa Ban


3 Responses to “Diversity – Women clothing #3 – Burqa Ban in Europe”
  1. DrKamalAmzan says:

    I think this is where democracy fails. It upholds the views of the majority-and if the majority are against ‘burqa’, then the majority wins.The government are only acting on behalf on the majority-after all they needed the votes to stay in power.

    Just like how some Muslim countries make it compulsory for non Muslims to cover themselves while entering their state,the non Muslims should be allowed to do the same, no?

    But as far as I am concerned,banning clothes that reflect ones’ religion, or asking one to adorn clothes against ones’ will, goes against the spirit of freedom.

    Most of these countries that banned Burqa do so in the name of security.And you will have to agree with me,we take away many rights,freedom,in the name of security.Abu Ghraib comes to mind with so many other prisons that detain people in the name of security without trial.

    Maybe when the world is less suspicious towards Muslims, and the Muslims less sensitive to the world we can review this world argument. But with what is going on-it is not about whether it is right or wrong.

    It is about the majority.

  2. Loriann says:

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!|

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