Belgium Bans Burqua

via http://living.oneindia.in/insync/2010/belgium-ban-burqua-010510.html published on May 1, 2010

With decisions to ban the use of burqua, Belgium will be the first country in Europe to do so. The decision was taken after the country’s parliament voted on Thursday night to prohibit the wearing of the face-covering Islamic veil in public.

It was said that the use of burqua conceals the full identity of the person who is wearing it. It is a veil worn by the Muslim women to cover their face and body.

It is believed that the law would help fight terrorism and grant rights to Muslim women.

Daniel Bacquelaine, one of the liberal MPs who originally called for the ban said that the new law aimed at stopping people from not being identified.

“It’s not about introducing any form of discrimination, rather the act would exercise equal powers to both men and women,” he said.

The ban, which is thought to affect around 100 women, would be imposed in streets, public gardens and sports grounds or buildings, meant for public use or to provide services.

Those Muslims who ignore the ban could be charged with a fine of 22 pounds and a jail sentence of up to a week.

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy has also declared the burqa is not favoured in France. He called it an affront to French values that denigrates women. He too is pressing ahead with a bill to ban it, despite advice that such a law could be illegal.

However, Human Rights Watch said that there is no surety that banning the full veil would protect public safety or the rights of Muslim women.

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