Belgium places ban on burqas in public

The burqa is not 'compatible with an open, liberal, tolerant society.'

March 31, 2010 18:13
1 minute read.
A covered Muslim woman in France

burqa 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


BRUSSELS— A vote against wearing face-covering veils in puclic was unanimously established on Wednesday. This legislation represents a major legislative step, which could make Belguim the first European country to impose such a religious prohibition.

The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the issue late April.

The Interior Affairs Committee representing all major parties was unanimous Wednesday in backing the bill. The six parliamentarians from the MR french-speaking liberal party said the principle of "recognize to know" trumped other considerations in the issue.

"We cannot allow someone to claim the right to look at others without being seen," said Daniel Bacquelaine, who proposed the bill. "It is necessary that the law forbids the wearing of clothes that totally mask and encloses an individual," he said, adding he was not targeting the classic headscarf worn by many Muslim women.

The parliamentarians are specifically targeting the body-covering burqa and face-veiling niqab, which are still very rare features in Belgian public life. "We have to act as of today to avoid (its) development," Bacquelaine said.

"Wearing the burqa in public is not compatible with an open, liberal, tolerant society," he said.

In Belgium, the proponents of the ban argue that such all-covering garb poses security issues as well as threatens democratic values. Some feared, however, that the bill would not stand a legal challenge.

In France on Tuesday, the Council of State, the nation's highest administrative body, warned that a prohibition on full-body Islamic veils in public risked being found unconstitutional. President Nicolas Sarkozy said last year that such clothing was "not welcome" in France.

Such a ban could also be challenged at the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Damage is seen on a street after a tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri, U.S. May 23, 2019, in this i
May 23, 2019
Tornadoes kill three, hit U.S. Plains state capital