Belgian committee backs banning Islamic face veil in public

By Reuters Staff
March 31, 2010
belgian hijab

Muslim women protest against a ban on headscarves in some schools, 4 Feb 2004/Yves Herman

A Belgian parliamentary committee voted Wednesday to ban the full Islamic face veil, a move that, if ratified, could make Belgium the first country to enforce such a ban.

The lower house of parliament will vote on the bill on April 22 and it could enter into law in June or July.

Some lawmakers in France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, have called for full Islamic veils to be banned, although a top advisory board said Tuesday that this would carry serious constitutional risks.

france veil

Niqab-wearing French woman protests against ban on headscarves 17 Jan 2004/stringer

The draft law proposes to criminalize wearing clothing that covers all or part of the face, including the facial veil known as the niqab and the full outer garment, or burqa, widely worn in Afghanistan.

The French-speaking liberals, who have proposed the law, argue an inability to identify people who have hidden their faces presents a security risk and that the veil was a “walking prison” for women.

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/