Belgian burqa ban pleases most, but not all readers | Services from Deutsche Welle | DW | 03.05.2010
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Belgian burqa ban pleases most, but not all readers

A new draft law passed by the lower house of parliament in Belgium to ban the burqa could be the first of its kind in the EU. Readers reacted both positively and negatively to the news.

Selma, a 22 year old woman, wears the niqab as she sits in a park in Brussels

If the law is approved by the Senate those wearing burqas could face fines

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

I fully support the banning of burqas and full body wear. It should not be permitted in Europe or North America - ever. -- Manfred Sroka, Canada

Yes, Europe must ban the burqa. I wholeheartedly agree, 100 percent. People must be able to see when they drive motor vehicles. Others must be able to see their faces. Others must be able to identify who that person is. If we are expected to engage in any way, whether for business, social or walking past them in the street, we must be able to see the face and the expression and the distinguishing features that mark them as individual members of the human race. It is not European and it is not acceptable to cover your features. That has never been the way. I can confidently assert that in parts of Asia, the origin of self-concealment antedates, by several centuries, the foundation of Islam. Thus it is the usual story of the terrestrial bosses of an organized religion compelling their gullible followers into yielding to their will. Now, for two millennia, they have concealed their identity and it has become their way. For even longer, Caucasians have not concealed their identities, and that is our way. I am not willing to change, now or ever. -- Kaysera, Australia

I fully support the ban on the "Dark Ages" method of restricting the freedom of women! It's about time we put our foot down and stop these draconian practices that have nothing to do with so called "religious" values, but simply are designed to keep women in their place. I wish our Canadian government would have the guts to speak out against this crime! By the way, I am not a right-winger, I am for human rights! -- Wilf, Canada

I support fully such a ban. Here in Canada it is tolerated but when I run into women who are fully covered I too am uncomfortable. In light of the fact that a man wearing explosives not long ago dressed in a burqa these garments should be banned. I just wish Canada would get some cojones. -- Rositta, Canada

In most muslim countries, foreigners have to dress to their hosts' dress code so, they should be subject to the rules applicable when abroad. How do they get an ID or a passport if their face is obscured? There should be a total ban on all headgear which prevents identification in any public area. I had a close shave with a driver recently who was wearing a black tent and ran a red traffic light. -- Roland Robert H., New Zealand

I have been dismayed by some European politicians' legislative endeavors to interfere in how Muslims should dress. The call for a legal ban of headscarves and burqas is a reflection of how mainstream ideology in Western societies is imposed upon minority groups. In essence such a move is the violation of fundamental human rights of Muslims. Different people have different ideological and esthetic preferences, or religious affiliations. We should not bluntly impose our own preferences on others. I am ethnic Han Chinese with no religious affiliation. In 2006 I made a trip to Qinghai Province, China, a region where various ethnicities such as Tibetan, Hui and Han Chinese mingle. As Muslims, a lot of Hui women wear headscarves and many Hui men put on white hats on the street or in stores. I found their apparel very charming. I did not even think about whether their apparel was related to religion or not. “What a charming ethnic clothing style!” Many Han Chinese attribute Hui headscarves and white hats to their ethnic habits or traditions. It would be ridiculous to Han Chinese if the Chinese government were to rip off Hui womens' headscarves or Hui mens' white hats. If I were a Hui woman, I would definitely feel offended if somebody prohibited me from wearing a headscarf, though I would rather pick up a turquoise headscarf instead of a black one. Likewise, should Europe ban burqas or Yarmulkes simply for their religious implications? I do not believe that European parliaments in modern times would even dare to make a legislative move to ban the Yarmulke, thanks to Jewish economic and political power. If politicians intend to portray themselves as actively engaged and deservingly paid, they should focus on constructive agenda in politics rather than disintegrate the societies of both majority and minorities. Should Muslims in Europe appeal to Court Européenne des Droits de l'Homme (European Court of Human Rights - Ed) against the headscarf or burqa ban? -- Fei, China

I personally do not like burqas but I believe that those who wear it like it in contrast to European womens' preference of going out almost nude. So it is up to them to decide what to wear for themselves. Otherwise, Europeans are making contradictions against its values of personal freedom. I sometimes wonder how the issue is exaggerated. I guess the growth of Islam is of concern for the politicians. But why? -- Nas, Ethiopia

The Belgian parliament should pass the law into effect to ban the wearing of burqas and all full face coverings that restrict a person's facial description or recognition. In the event of say, witnessing a covered woman being abused in public or in an accident on the street, the very first question posed is to give a description identifying that woman and being unable to do so. This creates a bigger societal and legal problem. In my opinion all countries that claim the liberties of freedom to its citizens and particularly of women must implement a protection from degradation of slavery being imposed and brought in from other countries, where women are invisible commodities. -- Melani, Canada

Forcing women to wear a garment that covers them from head-to-toe and allowing only a form of netting or a slit for the eyes to peek through should not be tolerated in any enlightened country. Donning these cover-ups has nothing to do with freedom of expression, rather it is a form of repression. To me it is akin to the binding of Chinese womens' feet in the past. -- Elke Duffy, US

I fully agree! The burqa is an attack on a woman's rights. It creates low self-esteem. America needs to ban it as well. -- Marie, US

I support the ban because it's a safety and security issue. No one should be allowed to walk around with a full mask on, which is what these burqas are. Also, if men have a problem with women showing their faces and hair, then I say let the men wear blinkers, like wild horses! -- Laura, US

Where are the rights for them to wear their traditional garb? If this happened in China I am sure you would condemn China. Why are you so afraid of these residents? -- An Cho Soo, China

Compiled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Rob Turner

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