A Belgian parliamentary committee has voted to impose a nationwide ban on wearing face-covering veils in public…The ban includes any clothes or veils that do not allow the wearer to be fully identified, including the full-face niqab and burqa.
If passed, the measure would be the first clampdown of its kind in Europe…
With the governing parties and opposition in agreement, officials expect the full house to easily endorse the draft law…
“This is a very strong signal that is being sent to Islamists,” said Denis Ducarme, a French-speaking deputy from the centre-right Reformist Movement that proposed the bill. Ducarme said he was “proud that Belgium would be the first country in Europe which dares to legislate on this sensitive matter”.
“We have to free women of this burden,” said his colleague Corinne de Parmentier.
The vice-president of the Muslim Executive of Belgium, Isabelle Praile, warned that the move could set a dangerous precedent. “Today it’s the full-face veil, tomorrow the veil, the day after it will be Sikh turbans and then perhaps it will be mini skirts,” she said.
Well, the question as proposed to parliament is one of identification. I’m not certain mini-skirts are hiding much of anything – including recognition.
If endorsed, the vote would see the ban imposed in streets, public gardens and sports grounds or buildings “meant for public use or to provide services” to the public.
Exceptions would be allowed for certain festivities like carnivals if municipal authorities decide to grant them.
I think it appropriate to place all religious symbolism in carnivals.