Belgium to ban the burqa, following France's lead
United Kingdom says similar wardrobe ban is highly unlikely
Belgium will become the second European Union nation to ban the burqa
and niqab, the face covering fashion sported by Islamic women. France
had banned the tradition Muslim garb from being worn in public earlier
this year. Starting next week, Muslim women who choose to wear the
garment that covers their face and body will be fined and spend up to
seven days behind bars.
Belgium and France are not the only countries to implement the controversial new policy of banning traditional Islamic dress. Australia has also followed suit with a proposed law that would require women to unveil themselves for security purposes if requested by a law enforcement official.
Britain's chief Muslim civil society organization said chances of a similar initiative implemented here in the United Kingdom are slim. The Muslim Council of Britain, or MCB, a national organization which promotes cooperation and consensus on Muslim affairs in the U.K. says it boils down to the tolerance woven throughout U.K. society.
"Implementing the burqa ban will not happen because the U.K. is a more open and inclusive society than the rest of Europe ... Multiculturalism is a British institution and the whole nation wants to preserve it," the MCB told newspaper reporters.
"There's a more tolerant environment in the UK and they are much more inclusive than the French and Belgian societies," Nabila Ramdani, a Paris-born U.K.-based journalist and academic says. "Britain has always been more inclusive and practically deals with multiculturalism. You see it everywhere with minorities represented in media, politics, and business -- something you don't see in France or Belgium."
Ramdani also says that the U.K.'s anti-discrimination laws, unlike in Belgium and France protect the U.K. from politicians passing such laws. "There are no strong anti-discrimination laws in Belgium and France to fight that. Worse, in both countries you have institutionalized racism."
Though the U.K. government has declared it would never adopt such measures, calling them "un-British," just last year a YouGov poll revealed that a majority of Britons expressed that they would like to see the garment banned, with only 27 percent disagreeing that the garment should be completely outlawed.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Burqa, niqab, United Kingdom, Belgium, France
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