Friday, April 2, 2010

European countries ponder banning the burqa

All over Europe, a debate is raging on prohibiting facial veils. Countries’ responses differ, but the arguments are the same everywhere.

By Marc Leijendekker

“The burqa symbolises the submission of women,” is the claim of one Austrian minister, a social democrat. No, outlawing burqas could lead women to shun the streets, warns Sweden’s prime minister, a liberal conservative. This week, a Belgian parliamentary committee has called for an all-out ban of burqas. Meanwhile, a French court has called such a restriction legally untenable.
The burqa, a garment completely covering the female body and face, is worn in some Islamic traditions. The question whether such clothing should be forbidden in public places has been the subject of debate in many European countries lately. In the continent’s major countries, a majority supports a ban, a survey by the Financial Times (FT) showed last month.
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Day Opening - April 2