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Belgian Committee Votes to Ban Face Veil



Belgium is home to about half a million Muslims, around a dozen or so who wear the face veil, but feels threatened enough to move to ban the veil.

Belgian Committee Votes to Ban Face Veil (via. Islamophobia-Watch)

A Belgian parliamentary committee has voted to ban face-covering Islamic veils from being worn in public.

The home affairs committee voted unanimously to endorse the move, which must be approved by parliament for it to become law. Such a vote could be held within weeks, correspondents say, meaning that Belgium could become the first European country to implement a ban.

The BBC’s Dominic Hughes reports from Brussels that there are about 500,000 Muslims in Belgium, and the Belgian Muslim Council says only a couple of dozen wear full-face veils.

Several districts of Belgium have already banned the burka in public places under old local laws originally designed to stop people masking their faces completely at carnival time.

The wording of the draft law approved by the parliamentary committee says the ban would apply to areas accessible to the public – which would include people walking in the street or using public transport – and would be enforced by fines or even prison.

Denis Ducarme, from the Belgian centre-right Reformist Movement that proposed the bill, said he was “proud that Belgium would be the first country in Europe which dares to legislate on this sensitive matter”. A colleague, Corinne De Parmentier, said: “We have to free women of this burden.”

BBC News, 31 March 2010

See “Europe’s Paranoia on Veil”, MCB press release, 31 March 2010

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  • peter

    i say ban it , all the way

  • Nichola

    I so much ought to get professionally in gear and startup a blog similar to this one.

  • Adam

    Even though I believe that banning the face veil stems from hatred and/or fear, I still believe that because of the issue of identification and security any government who decides to pass the ban at least has a point to argue. But banning the hijab is like banning people from wearing blue or green. And yet some countries allow harmful things like smoking in public places but feel threatened by a head scarf.

    The day a certain government bans the hijab, is the day that this government announces their total hatred and prejudice. Like the dogs of Tunisia who would sell their soul for French approval, the only problem is that submitting to this hatred and prejudice will leave them with no dignity and only make them more inferior in the eyes of their french masters.

  • Muslim

    April 9th, 2010 at 7:35 am is however dim dummy & Nasty Nazi.

  • I’m no Dhimmy Dummy

    About time they banned it.

  • Truth Hurts

    Muslims should not be seen, nor heard?

    I wonder is this a slippery slope towards restricting the hijab?

    This cultural angst is disproportionate & up there in the service Westphalian Looooonidom.

    The Chetnik Serb crazy meme against the cloth is infecting the Low countries – is that by way of the “heroic” Dutch soldiers in the Srebrenica “safe haven”?

  • eslaporte

    OH yes – Larry – part of this moral panic from the Islamification myth is that there is no rational thinking going on by Belgian and European policy-makers.

    It’s so simple Larry – there could be a law that people that have their faces covered for whatever reason (ski mask in cold weather, Halloween mask), could be ordered to lift their face-wear for identification purposes to police or other officials.

    This is a far too simple solution than the insane, far-right appeasing legislation based on the utter silliness that comes with belief in the Islamification fairy tale!

  • eslaporte

    This is still more mindless and thoughtless policy and legislation based on the Islamification myth. Since there is NO islamification going on, this is also about re-enforcement of stereotypes that Muslim women in Europe are “oppressed” if they wear ANY form of a headscarf. The other stereotype is that European Muslims “need to be integrated.” European Islam is a part of the European mosaic and is already “integrated.”

    This legislation, based on the Islamification myth – is nothing more than oppression of the human rights of Muslim women that make the choice to freely express their religious beliefs and clothing choices.

    I read that there will be a fine and criminal prosecution. So, they are going to criminally punish the women that they intend to “free from oppression?” So – this will blame the supposed victim by criminalizing her?

    I think that it is time we start putting out feet down on this use of the Islamification myth as a justification to oppress Muslims. Tell everyone that Europe IS NOT being “islamified” and that to believe (and vote) in the Islamification myth is lunacy!

  • Sir David

    Next Hijab ?
    I am starting to get worried about where this is going to
    Freedom for a person to preactice their religion is important.

  • Larry

    Well, I think as long as this law is applied consistently (no Karnival masks, no ski masks in winter, etc. too) the state can maintain that there is a safety interest in officers being able to identify faces, but it seems like sadly this is entirely focused on the burqa/niqab issue. This legislation might have been good (ie. a way to tack more penalties onto criminals who rob stores while wearing a mask) if it were fairly enforced and wasn’t ideologically driven.

  • Mahgoub

    Great, so the millions of Belgians who have never seen the veil have a bigger possibility to not see it.

    I’m not surprised for some reason.

  • Abdulmajid

    Legislation targeted at one specific religious or ethnic group and restricting its freedom of expression is FASCIST! That is the first step down a steep and slippery slope. And teh point of no return , beyond which there is no turning back, will soon be reached. It statrst withthat and will continue with forbbidding to speak Arabic or Persian in public, force-feeding Muslim children theian catechism “in order to teach them European-Christian values” or some such, or forcing Muslims to wear a green armband or some such, etc etc. The Serbs in Bosnia also started with anti-Muslim legislation and ended with genocide, and in Germany there is a saying “Wehret den Anfängen = Prevent the beginning!” And besides that, I find that, within conventionally accepted limits the state shoudl not interfere with what one wears. Neither do they have a right to enforce wearing of Hijab or niqab nor do they have a right to forbid it! But in our age, political leaders show as much malice and stupidity as ever! ANd we may not be back in the 1930s but fascist anti-Muslim legislation is the first step towards it. Like the Swiss anti-minaret ban this should be brought before the European Court or the International Court for Human Rights, surely it would be repealed there. So, I call on all people concerned to get on with it!

  • Muslim

    Talk about Quixotic Tilting at Windmills >

    Yes, either the politicians have Alice in Wonderland perspectives, or are definitely trying to hide the more important issues of the day.

    For the sake of 12, yes 12 people in a country of millions, changing the law at what expense? Yes, we Muslims definitely get special treatment.

    Utterly Looooooony.

  • Nadine

    It makes sense that this would happen in Belgium, being so close with France. Think of it though, what if a woman is only wearing a scarf and puts it over her mouth for a moment, who will see it/enforce her? As long as she takes it off in front of the officer. I know it shouldn’t have to come to that, but it is a way around it.

  • Leonora

    Another story about the veil, thanks so much for keeping me informed!

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