Ban on niqab in Bel­gium up­held

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights yes­ter­day up­held a Bel­gian ban on wear­ing the full-face niqab veil in pub­lic. The court ruled that the re­stric­tion sought to guar­an­tee so­cial co­he­sion, the “pro­tec­tion of the rights and free­doms of oth­ers” and that it was “nec­es­sary in a demo­cratic so­ci­ety”, a state­ment said. Bel­gian banned the wear­ing of the full-face veil un­der a June 2011 law. It pro­hibits ap­pear­ing in pub­lic “with a face masked or hidden, in whole or in part, in such a way as to be uniden­ti­fi­able”.

Vi­o­la­tions can re­sult in fines and up to seven days in jail. France was the first Euro­pean coun­try to ban the niqab in April 2011. The Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights had al­ready ruled on a chal­lenge to the French law in 2014 when it also re­jected ar­gu­ments that the re­stric­tion breached re­li­gious free­dom and in­di­vid­ual hu­man rights. The Bel­gian case was brought by two Mus­lim women, Samia Bel­cacemi, a Bel­gian na­tional, and Yam­ina Ous­sar, a Moroc­can.

Both women said they chose of their own free will to wear the niqab and claimed their rights had been in­fringed and the law was dis­crim­i­na­tory. Af­ter Bel­gium in­tro­duced the ban, Bel­cacemi con­tin­ued wear­ing the veil for a while but stopped be­cause of so­cial pres­sure and fears she would be fined. Ous­sar told the court that she had de­cided to stay at home, the state­ment from the court said.—AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.