April 22, 2010

Belgium considers ban on burqa

Posted: 10:13 AM ET

(CNN) - The latest round in the battle of the burqa kicks off Thursday in Belgium, which could become the first country in Europe to ban face coverings worn by observant Muslim women.

Lawmakers are considering a ban in all public places on niqabs, veils that cover the face, as well as burqas, which cover the face and everything else from head to toe.

They're motivated both by security and morality, they say.

"We think all people in public places must show their face," says Denis Ducarme. And, he says, "We must defend our values in the question of the freedom and the dignity of the woman."

His liberal Reformist Movement drafted the legislation, and claims broad cross-party support.

Ducarme denies that Islam requires women to wear burqas or niqabs.


Filed under: CNN • Europe • Islam

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Cindy   April 22nd, 2010 10:38 am ET

I think the ban is a good idea. Considering the amount of crime in the world, it's a good idea for any of us to see the faces of those we encounter. Many banks, if not all, now require customers to remove their sunglasses and hats when they come into the bank. If one really wanted to commit a crime, there would be no guarantee it's a woman under the burqa; could be a man or a woman.

IKHAN   April 22nd, 2010 1:34 pm ET

I agree.
Covering the whole face is unbecoming & unhealthy. I am informed that In Islam, just covering the head meets their tenets.

Cajazz76:24:8   April 22nd, 2010 2:27 pm ET


I think you would agree there had to be a jealous man behind the wearing of burqas, shadoras, niqabs, or however you wish to call them.

Cindy... they have been used by men to get closer to U.S. troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan and kill them. I don't think we should have our Armed Forces invested in either of those countries, but the head coverings has cost some of them their lives.

Henry   April 22nd, 2010 2:42 pm ET

I read this story last night, and it has troubled me throughout the workday today, so I just had to stop and voice my opion.

I understand that women's rights supporters might argue that these womens' emotional comfort (wearing the burqa) might be outweighed by a truer happines they might receive when they remove it (showing their faces in what we would perceive as social equality).

But to impose a restriction on these women, forcing them to remove their burqas, is just as oppressive as forcing them to wear them in the first place.

I think the solution may be to ensure an environment for these women where there is no penalty for removing the burqa, (in their homes or in public) and leave the freedom of choice to them.

Liberal, liberated women across America wear makeup to feel better about themselves, and to attract a mate, and to feel grown up. We don't force them to show their true faces, do we?

Cajazz76:24:8   April 22nd, 2010 3:04 pm ET


It has been policy in most European countries for years to remove sunglasses and face cannot enter the bank without doing so.. Seems we are a bit behind times in this many ways.

Smith in Oregon   April 22nd, 2010 4:06 pm ET

I fully agree with Banning the Burqa in Belgium and urge all Western Nations to follow suit. It is cruel and inhuman to force Muslim women to wear these 20lb pup tents over their bodys when it is hot outside. The sweat just pours off their body and it must be nearly unbearable to wear these medieval torture items in a hot region much less in a desert region.

Women around the world should rise up to stop this cruel, demeaning practice and begin restoring women's empowerment and equality back to the Muslim religion.

Cindy   April 22nd, 2010 4:27 pm ET

Yes, you are right; we are behind in many ways and especially when it comes to the wearing of the burqa.

@Smith in Oregon,
I agree that the requirement of the burqa should be considered offensive by all women.

John H   April 22nd, 2010 7:31 pm ET

Thank you Belgium! At last a nation with a little common sense and the backbone to enforse it. These woman don't have to take off their burqua's, etc. They can simply go to the many countries where it is accepted practice and a part of their culture.

Dodie   April 22nd, 2010 8:10 pm ET

I am thrilled Belgium is embarking on the Banning of the Burqa. It is about time a country stands up for its cultural mores!

Cheers   April 22nd, 2010 8:50 pm ET

@John H,
Well said. Good to see you on LKL.

Cheers   April 22nd, 2010 9:12 pm ET

You are clever with words for sure.

By the way, I owe you a thank you, so thank you!

richard   April 23rd, 2010 3:15 am ET

what happens if I.D. is required for any reason? do you violate religious rights by asking to match the persons face with an I.D?

Ted   April 23rd, 2010 8:42 am ET

What a classy way to cover an ugly face!!
According to info I got from a muslim friend the Koran does not require the hiding of the face or the full body.
It is the invention of men who try to hide their ugly wives!!

Now it is time now to get stoned, not the classic jewish/moslem way, but according to our own culture.

Ted   April 23rd, 2010 8:43 am ET

Zorro would be happy to meet so many friends of the kind!

gerald Jolly   April 23rd, 2010 9:39 am ET

When will people understand that wearing a burga, is really only a way for these women to fantasize about being the female version of "THE LONE RANGER"

I once spoke to a muslim man and asked why their women wore the burga.

He answered, QUOTE: If christian women were as ugly as muslim women, you would insist that they wear burgas as well


IKHAN   April 23rd, 2010 11:48 am ET

@Smith in Oregon, @Cajazz, @ gerald Jolly

What you folks say is true however 'burqa' has nothing to do with the teachings of Islam.
If you visit Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq,Jordan,Egypt, India & other countries with large Muslim populations, you would come across a handful of 'burqa' clad women. Even in Afghanistan before the Tlibans.
Women in these countries serve in the defence forces, police, universities, fly fighter jets & do all things normal with men.
A few illetrate Mullahs would preach this inhuman practice.

gerald Jolly   April 23rd, 2010 1:12 pm ET

@ TED.


gerald Jolly   April 23rd, 2010 1:16 pm ET

Hey Folks, even in Quebec Canada, a very tolerant province, muslim students are forbiden to wear a burga.

Why?? You might ask??

It's because they have had some serious killings in their colleges and Universities, and every measure of safety is insisted by the citizens of that province.

Cajazz76:24:8   April 23rd, 2010 1:52 pm ET

With less risk of being moderated......the greatest fear of the burqa is spontaneous combustion..

Cajazz76:24:8   April 23rd, 2010 2:30 pm ET

Some Moslem men with leper mentalities and reptile dysfunction were the propagators of this invention..the burqa..such asps.

Hugh in California   April 23rd, 2010 3:43 pm ET

Antiquated religious rules exist in all major religions, and this is definitely one of them. All people should assimilate into the society in which they live, or go to another country where they can exercise backward traditions and be treated like a second-class citizen with no rights!

Charles   April 23rd, 2010 5:22 pm ET

@Hugh in California,
Totally agree with you. I welcome anyone here, but don't come here to change our culture. Come here because you want to be part of it.

Smith in Oregon   April 23rd, 2010 5:37 pm ET

I've met several Muslim women dressed in burqa's in Oregon. It can get warm here in Oregon but nowhere as hot as in most desert regions. These women were entirely near the point of heat exhaustion and profusely sweating. None of them appeared to be comfortable nor in any fashion thankful for a religious tradition which punished them merely because of their gender, go figure!

max   April 26th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

Charles, Hugh in California... no one is coming here to change our culture, they just want the freedom to have their own, which is one of the reasons why people came here from Europe hundreds of years ago.

I understand that in order to live in America, people do need to give up some elements of the culture they left behind ie child marriage, polygamy, etc, but wearing the burqa should be a choice left up to the individual, not the government. Should we ban Buddhist monasteries or outlaw the construction of Hindu temples just because they are expressions of a different culture?

To those of you who say that covering the face is not mandated by Islam, that is true for the most part. However, there are types of Islam that are more or less conservative just as there are types of Christianity and Judaism that are more or less conservative. There are actually women, not very many, who believe that wearing the burqa will affect their condition in the afterlife.

I agree with Henry. The solution is to create an environment where women are not forced by their male relations to wear the burqa but are allowed to do so if it their own personal wish.

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