In the meantime, as the Wall Street Journal points out, there seems to be little fuss in Belgium. Most of the Muslims there are from North African countries where women tend not to be veiled (thus making nonsense of the argument that the niquab is in any way a religious symbol).
Catholic bishops came out against the ban, citing freedom of religion, as did Muslim community leaders. But they were unable to muster a strong enough front—indeed, many of them agreed the ban could contribute to integration.The European Commission
Belgian lawmakers argued that the veils can hide criminals, imprison women and segregate society. (One backer even compared women who wear face veils to dwarfs subjected to dwarf-tossing.) The ban would prohibit face veils in nearly all public places, except for special occasions such as Halloween. Violators could be fined up to €25 and imprisoned for seven days.
said that they were concerned at the move, but initially it was a matter for member states, but they would be watching the issue and examining any bill put before the Belgian lawmakers very closely as it may fall foul of EU anti-discrimination policy.Well, we wouldn't want to discriminate against people who prefer gender apartheid to freedom and equality.
In France, where most of the Muslim population are also from North Africa, the debate goes on. President Sarkozy, backed by Prime Minister Fillon, has said that the burqua was not welcome in France. However, there has been a set-back to the proposals to ban this all-enveloping garment:
France's highest administrative body warned Tuesday that a total prohibition on full-body Islamic veils in public risks being found unconstitutional in a setback to President Nicolas Sarkozy's goal of an all-out ban.Once again, one has to wonder at the mentality of people who solemnly proclaim that the depriving Muslim women of basic rights or even of participation in the society around them is somehow an affirmation of human rights.
Even a limited ban on the full-body veil would be difficult to enforce, the Council of State said in a study of the legal possibilities for a broad application of a ban on burqa-like garments that was commissioned by Prime Minister Francois Fillon earlier this year.
A total ban risks violating the French constitution and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the report said.