Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Burkina Faso: Calls for probe into 1998 murder of journalist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

All dogs may go to heaven after all

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MP's debate whether or not to recognize Palestine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Ferguson and race relations in the US

Read more

DEBATE

Hollande and Africa: French President Speaks to France 24

Read more

FOCUS

Thiaroye: a dark chapter in France and Senegal's common history

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

The 'Stagnation Trap', with Catherine Mann, Chief Economist at OECD

Read more

ENCORE!

'An American in Paris', a truly transatlantic collaboration

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Oil prices 'could fall further' without OPEC output cut

Read more

Europe

Belgian lawmakers vote to ban full Islamic veil in public

Video by Shirli SITBON

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-30

Belgium's lower house of parliament has voted to ban the wearing of full Islamic veils such as the burqa in public, paving the way for Belgium to become the first country in Europe to enforce such a ban.

AFP - Belgian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to ban the wearing of the Islamic burqa in public, paving the way for the first clampdown of its kind in Europe.
   
In the lower house of federal parliament, 136 deputies voted to ban nationwide clothes or veils that do not allow the wearer to be fully identified, including the full-face niqab and burqa.
   
There were two abstentions. No one voted against.
   
The upper house of parliament has two weeks to raise any objections to the decision.
   

A guide to the four main types of Muslim veil

The ban will be imposed in streets, public gardens and sports grounds or buildings "meant for public use or to provide services" to the public, according to the text of the bill.
   
Exceptions could be allowed for certain festivities like carnivals if municipal authorities decide to grant them.
   
People who ignore the new law could face a fine of 15-25 euros (20-34 dollars) and/or a jail sentence of up to seven days, unless they have police permission to wear the garments.
   
All governing parties and the opposition agreed on the move -- most on the basis that people cannot be recognised wearing the clothing.
   
"It's not about introducing any form of discrimination," Daniel Bacquelaine, head of the liberal MR party in the house told the lawmakers, but for cases when such clothing was "aimed at stopping people from being identified."
   
The ban comes amid controversy in the kingdom over the wearing of Muslim religious symbols in public places.
   
In June last year, a Belgian lawmaker of Turkish origin was sworn in at the Brussels regional parliament wearing an Islamic headscarf in a first for the country.
   
At the time opponents of the veil distributed flyers at the entry to the assembly building, but they did not disturb proceedings as 26-year-old Mahinur Ozdemir was triumphantly sworn in to applause and camera flashes.
   
Controversy has also raged elsewhere in Europe over the wearing of Muslim veils and other religious garments in state or public institutions.

Date created : 2010-04-29

  • IMMIGRATION

    Belgian politicians take first key step to ban the burqa

    Read more

COMMENT(S)