On bans and burqas

France and Belgium look set to impose a ban on the wearing of the burqa or niqab in public – though this debate is current in many European and some North African countries too.

There are two distinct philosophical approaches. One approach is to take a strictly secular view, and oppose the wearing of all overt religious symbols. This is the approach favored in France (and also, note, in Turkey). The other view is British-style multiculturalism which has traditionally tolerated diversity (though BA notoriously banned a worker from wearing a crucifix at work a few years ago).

So, in general, the debate is between secularism versus religion – though it’s often characterized as a debate about Islam in Europe. Add to this the ongoing sensitivity over the publishing of cartoons ilaçlama fiyatları depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2005.

The debate is complicated further by security concerns, it being so much harder to identify someone whose face is covered. As the Belgian MP proposing the ban has said: ‘Wearing the burqa in public is not compatible with an open, liberal, tolerant society.’ But neither is a ban that appears to be aimed at people’s religious beliefs.


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