Belgium lifts it’s veil

In my humble opinion, Belgium has shown it’s colors. 136 votes in favour of banning the wearing of burka’s in public spaces, 2 votes abstained and 0 votes opposed it.

The ban would concern any clothing that obscures the identity of the wearer in public spaces, security concerns were the main reason quoted by MPs who voted in favour; however, the debates that have been ongoing surrounding the burka and veils in Europa, and also in Belgium, do signal that this specifically is aimed at muslim women. And I say muslim women… While there can be a lot of back and forth on whether veils and the like are limiting Muslim women’s emancipation, personally I believe it’s a personal choice of each women; I’m not Muslim, and thus can’t fully understand the context in which it’s worn. Secondly, the discussion, and all our perspectives, are subjective in that we all look at it from our own cultural points of view. Thirdly, by implementing a law that will specifically affect Muslim women’s expression of religion (no matter which context they choose to wear this “expression”) you’re, well, specifically targeting women which is bullshit.

First of all, it’s nobody’s business what clothing someone wears. Prohibiting specific articles of clothing is a violation of freedom of expression. It’s a violation of individual freedoms protected by Belgian, European and international rights laws.

It can be argued that this specifically will target the burka and muslim women. I think it’s doubtful that anyone wearing a ski-mask, or people wearing masks at carnaval or other events will be subjected to fines, etc. The latter is nicely covered by the possibility of municipal authorities to grant “exceptions” for such festivities.

I duly hope that the Belgian Senate will display more common sense and dignity, not to mention respect, than the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, by objecting to this law… but my hopes aren’t high.


Belgian lawmakers pass burka ban, BBC News (2010-4-30. Retrieved 2010-5-1

Belgian politicians pass veil ban, Al Jazeera (2010-4-28). Retrieved 2010-5-1


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