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Belgium Bans Burqas Starting Next Week

Belgium Bans Burqas Starting Next Week

 

Beginning on July 23, Belgium will become the second European country to ban the burqa and the niqab, following France, whose anti-veiling law went into effect in April.  The Belgian law forbids women to wear any garment that covers their face and body, with a penalty of 137.50 euros ($195) and up to seven days in jail as a punishment for infringement.

Like France and Australia, where a new draft law which would require women in full, face-covering veils to remove their coverings for police officers, was recently introduced, women who wear the burqa or niqab are a tiny minority of the Belgian population.  In Belgium, between 200 and 300 of the country’s hundreds of thousands of Muslims veil their faces and bodies, and the trend of women appearing in public in full veils does not seem to be increasing.

But like in France, Belgian legislators are using a heavy-handed rhetoric of women’s liberation to justify what Amnesty International condemned as an “attack on religious freedom.” In spring 2010, when the law was sponsored in the Belgian parliament, the bill’s chief proponent said that although security concerns (like those cited in the Australia law) were a consideration, cultural values were also a strong motivator behind the law.

“[The burqa] has become a political weapon,” Daniel Bacquelaine of the liberal Reformist Movement party told Time. “There is nothing in Islam or the Koran about the burqa. It has become an instrument of intimidation, and is a sign of submission of women. And a civilized society cannot accept the imprisonment of women.”

After a long approval process, the ban is set to go into effect next week.  The question is whether the law will raise the same protests that were immediately sparked when the French burqa ban became law.  Spokespeople for the Muslim community seemed disturbed by the bill’s passage last spring, even though they admitted that veiling was not common practice for most Belgian Muslims.

“I don’t like the burqa. Every person should be visible. In most cases, it is not a religious act, but macho one,” said Emir Kir, the Secretary for Public Sanitation and Monument Conservation in the Brussels region.  ”But I wonder if we need a law on it. If we do this, we could make it a symbol and reinforce extremists on all sides. And in the middle of this economic crisis, where everyone is concerned about their job, this is not the number one problem.”

Related Stories:

Australian Women Who Don’t Show Their Face to the Police Could Be Jailed

Protesters Arrested As France Enforces Veiling Ban

French Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Burka Ban

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Photo from Steve Evans via Wikimedia Commons.

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466 comments

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3:45AM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

I totally agree with Emir Kirr.

9:14AM PDT on May 13, 2012

Good work Belgium, let the sunlight increase their vitamin D levels ;)

1:30AM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Lydia S...I agree with you 100%...cant send you a star but send you thousand here!

I am belgian and see my country change for the worse because of the islamist....and when we have a governement................ they bend backwards to help them.....

thank you ...who ever.... had the guts to pass this law.....now all they have to do ...is implamented.... SO WE WILL SEE IF THEY DO THAT!!!

no comment sense left here.....

1:30AM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Oops, sorry about double post ... computer doing funny stuff, lol. Turned on PC, old post still up. Clicked add comment, to add something, and it re-sent old comment..

Anyway, wanted to add -- Glad 74% think the burqa should be banned, and another 7% are "leaning yes". Looks like Europe is "waking up" ... as are more folks on Care2!

It's about time.

1:22AM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Meta R wrote: "Let everyone dress as they wish in a democracy, for that is the essence of freedom. The women will come to their own decisions and, I would bet, that eventually fewer and fewer women will wear this garb but not because they are forced by some law not to wear it."

Oh I wish you were right, but Meta, it's been ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED YEARS, and NO change ... still constant violence against women, child marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings, etc.

And this is why: THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CHANGE ANYTHING. According to their koran & their "clergy" -- it is "immutable", set in "STONE" ... therefore, the stoneage mentality persists! Throughout the world, any countries with muslim majority, are trying or have "successfully" established Sharia "law".

Women who want to be freed & adopt a Western lifestyle or dress, are subject to EXECUTION BY THEIR OWN FAMILIES in so-called "Honor Killings".!

http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/honor-killings-in-america

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2009/03/honor-killing-islams-gruesome-gallery.html


2:26PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

Meta R wrote: "Let everyone dress as they wish in a democracy, for that is the essence of freedom. The women will come to their own decisions and, I would bet, that eventually fewer and fewer women will wear this garb but not because they are forced by some law not to wear it."

Oh I wish you were right, but Meta, it's been ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED YEARS, and NO change ... still constant violence against women, child marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings, etc.

And this is why: THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CHANGE ANYTHING. According to their koran & their "clergy" -- it is "immutable", set in "STONE" ... therefore, the stoneage mentality persists!

Women who want to be freed & adopt a Western lifestyle or dress, are subject to EXECUTION BY THEIR OWN FAMILIES!

http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/honor-killings-in-america

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2009/03/honor-killing-islams-gruesome-gallery.html


10:07AM PDT on Oct 23, 2011

Yeah creamsicles.......then too this covering the face probably makes others reminisce for the good old days of assasins and such.....wait a minute ain't that still for sale?
Perfectly harmless though eh?

2:20PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

R. ANNA.M. I feel exactly the same as you. My words would be the same. I cant see why they have their faces covered. I know some of its religion but all of us are hre and we should all be able to see one and others faces. thats my opinion. It makes me feel intimidated when they look at you with just the eyes.

11:09AM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

Let everyone dress as they wish in a democracy, for that is the essence of freedom. The women will come to their own decisions and, I would bet, that eventually fewer and fewer women will wear this garb but not because they are forced by some law not to wear it.

3:41AM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

I just want to repeat here what I said about the Italian project to ban burqa. I know that it's an issue loaded with political weight and I certainly don't like or agree with these reasons (and certainly I oppose that monstuous Berlusconi), however I agree with banning the face veil. When we go to their countries we need to follow their "codes of conduct" we like it or not, otherwise we are put in jail. For example we can't kiss a man in public unless he is our husband (just one of many examples). A Western woman, relative of a diplomat, was arrested for wearing nail varnish! Others were arrested for driving a car. That's their paradise, isn't it?

They come to our countries and they have to adapt to OUR way of living, as simple as that. If they don't like it, they always have the option to stay in their own country.

Still in the 80s, in Italy, an academic Muslim colleague, once we were in a group in a cafe, started talking about western women and started saying that we are whores. By the way he was also incompetent in his field and he was holding a post in an Italian university that he didn't obtained in a clean way (everyone knew this and there were jokes about it).

By no means a burqa or similar gear can be considered a sign of freedom! All the opposite! And this will affect only fundamentalists. I know many Muslim women who dress exactly as I do.

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