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 Belgium ban on face veil comes into force Law prohibiting…

10:45 am - 07/24/2011
 Belgium ban on face veil comes into force
Law prohibiting people from wearing anything that hides their face in public places is to be challenged by two women.
Those who violate the ban could face up to seven days in jail 

Belgium has joined France as the second European Union nation to ban people from wearing a full face veil in public.

The ban came into force in Belgium on Saturday, with offenders facing a fine of $197 and up to seven days in jail.

The law, which prohibits people from wearing anything that hides their face in public places, was approved unanimously by parliament in April.

France, home to Europe's biggest Muslim population, became the first EU country to ban full face veils on April 11.

In France, a person who repeatedly insists on appearing veiled in public can be fined $215 and ordered to attend re-education classes.

The law in Belgium faced an immediate court challenge from two women who wear the full face veil, who decided on Friday to challenge the ban in the country's constitutional court, the country's media reported.

"We consider the law as a disproportionate intrusion into fundamental rights such as the freedom of religion and expression," Ines Wouters, the women's lawyer, was quoted as saying in the newspaper La Libre.

"This measure is discriminatory," Wouters said.

The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, criticised such bans this week, saying such measures threaten to exclude women rather than liberating them.

"In fact, the banning may run counter to European human rights standards, in particular the right to respect for one's private life and personal identity," he said.

"The way the dress of a small number of women has been portrayed as a key problem requiring urgent discussion and legislation is a sad capitulation to the prejudices of the xenophobes."

Source is here: english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2011/07/201172311813947475.html

Interesting that nowhere in the article does it explain what the reasoning is behind the ban, but I'd expect its more of the "poor oppressed muslim women" excuse. Which is bullshit. women who choose to wear it, however small that number may be, will feel discriminated against, and women who are forced to, just be prevented from going out.
 Has anybody actually bothered to find out how many women wear either? The burqa is pretty uncommon, and while more women wear the niqab, I'd be willing to bet its a minority of Muslims in Belgium. This just seems like the government saying "look, we're *doing something* about women's rights/scary moooslims(!!)" 
sarien 24th-Jul-2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
In France, a person who repeatedly insists on appearing veiled in public can be fined $215 and ordered to attend re-education classes.

Wow...
apis_cerana 24th-Jul-2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
That is...wtf???
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(no subject) - Anonymous
spyral_path 24th-Jul-2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Shouldn't "tolerance and respect of the human dignity" include a person's right to wear a veil?
vanillakokakola 25th-Jul-2011 03:01 am (UTC)
"tolerance and respect for what white people want"

fixed it for you
krazykat88 24th-Jul-2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
yeah i was like...wtf?
romp 24th-Jul-2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
damn, just put them in a camp already :/
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moropus 24th-Jul-2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Women might want to wear a veil. We have no proof they are forced to.
romp 24th-Jul-2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
I'd like to think it will help as we point out the issues this article and most others fail to make.

A coworker of mine was saying why the veil ban was a good thing because Freedom! and I pointed out that a woman whose controlled by her husband will be worse off. He didn't understand so I asked if he really believed a man who made his wife wear a viel would shrug at a gov't ban and send her out without one. No, she's now isolated in the house. It was good to see him make the connection and understand.
aviv 24th-Jul-2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
And a lot of people forget that maybe some women choose to wear the veil, and with these kinds of bans we deny them the fredom of choice.
echoandsway 24th-Jul-2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, this again.

I just have to ask how the niqab bans in the two places I know of which have passed them have worked so far. Have they successfully suppressed roving bands of ruthless outlaw niqabis? Have bank robbers hesitated while pulling on the balaclava: "Oh, shit! It's illegal now! Better go in bare-faced"?

I'm being facetious, but really, the whole "we need to see people's faces for SECURITY" kept being offered up as reason, and really...

And has there been an exponential drop in the number of women subjected to violence from their husbands?

There's, what, a thousand niqabis in all of France, and surely that number is much smaller in the city of Barcelona. So it was important, then, to stop these women from carrying on so? Fine 'em and give 'em a lecture on tolerance, huh? It's not even much of a revenue generator, then.

If it's about "stopping the oppression" (!) it's especially shit-stupid: what a person wears is not the cause nor much of a symptom of oppression. This does nothing, it never would do anything, and that dog just won't hunt as far as "we know what's best for you" goes.

Also, indoctrination classes. There is so much wrong with that, I wouldn't know where to begin.
poetic_pixie_13 24th-Jul-2011 08:12 pm (UTC)


Women who are truly being forced to wear the veil are now forced to stay in abusive homes.

Women who choose to wear the veil are being punished for making choices about what they want to wear. Yay freedom!

But, of course, this isn't about white people concern trolling for the Poor Oppressed Muslim Women. It's not to help women who are truly abused and hurt. It's so they can control a population they see as undesirable and un-French/un-Belgium (whatever that bullshit means).

Edited at 2011-07-24 08:16 pm (UTC)
amyura 24th-Jul-2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
ordered to attend re-education classes.

Yeah, France, you're such a free country with such a requirement in existence.
solarisday 24th-Jul-2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
Actually, these laws will probably prohibit women who wear full face veils from going out into public, thus making them virtual prisoners in their own homes.

That said, after taking several graduate level classes on the Middle East, including one called Women in Islam last semester, which required a study of the politics of the veil, I'm sorry to say that I fully support banning the veil. I'm all for freedom of expression, but let's be honest. The veil isn't just a piece of cloth covering a woman's face as an expression of her religion or faith. It's much more than that, and in today's world it's about as incendiary as an explosive device.

Furthermore, in most places, visitors and new residents are expected to conform and adapt to laws and mores governing that society. The veil, or the wearing of it, comes under the jurisdiction of Islamic law, NOT secular law and as such should be prohibited in secular countries.
yummymarsbars 25th-Jul-2011 02:04 am (UTC)
I'm Muslim and I'm totally for banning the full face veils. Covering hair is one thing ... many women choose to do this for religious reasons and to feel comfortable and modest.

I find no religious reason a woman has to wear a full face veil. I find it's more of an oppressive move by controlling men.

Get rid of it!
wind_hover 25th-Jul-2011 05:10 am (UTC)
That said, after taking several graduate level classes on the Middle East, including one called Women in Islam last semester, which required a study of the politics of the veil, I'm sorry to say that I fully support banning the veil. I'm all for freedom of expression, but let's be honest. The veil isn't just a piece of cloth covering a woman's face as an expression of her religion or faith. It's much more than that, and in today's world it's about as incendiary as an explosive device.
Could you elaborate please? What else does it say?
quizblorg 24th-Jul-2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
Wearing a veil, even in the few cases where it's not coerced, is not just a peronal matter, though. It sends a clear message: those women who DON'T wear veils are fair game for sexual assault. It's the woman's responsibility to control men's sex drive - if she fails to do this by veiling herself, and gets raped, it's her own fault. That's the philosophy of the veil.

I'm not saying that a blanket ban is the right solution, but one can't just pretend that there's no problem.
sashwizzled 25th-Jul-2011 12:53 am (UTC)
Ugh, I already got into an argument about this on facebook yesterday. Between this coming into effect and Amy Winehouse/Norway/the Chinese bullet train all happening on the same day, my facebook page is a wretched hive of scum and villainy right now.

There is no support in place for those women who are forced to wear it by other people, so they are now basically screwed - but at least they're screwed out of sight, amirite?

For those women who have made an informed decision to wear it - well, they are now being forced into wearing what other people want them to wear, and Islam has fuck all to do with that.

tl;dr if this law catered for the former group and was better thought out and wasn't purely about Islamophobia and misogyny, I might think better of it.
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