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European Court of Human Rights upholds Belgium’s ban on burqas and full-face Islamic veils

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At last, a bit of common sense. But if Europe is going to save itself, it will have to do a great deal more than banning burqas. Does it have the will?

“European Court of Human Rights upholds Belgium’s ban on burqas and full-face Islamic veils,” by Lizzie Dearden, Independent, July 11, 2017:

Belgium’s ban on burqas and other full-face Islamic veils has been upheld by the European Court of Human Rights.

Judges said the nationwide prohibition, which came into effect in 2011, did not violate the rights to private and family life and freedom of religion, or discrimination laws.

The court found Belgium had the right to impose restrictions aiming to ensure the principles of “living together” and the “protection of the rights and freedoms of others”.

Its ruling said the government had been responding “to a practice that it considered to be incompatible, in Belgian society, with social communication and more generally the establishment of human relations, which were indispensable for life in society…essential to ensure the functioning of a democratic society”.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) dismissed two separate cases – one appealing Belgium’s nationwide ban and another on a 2008 by-law adopted by three municipalities.

The first case was brought by two women – Samia Belcacemi and Yamina Oussar – who previously attempted to have the law suspended and annulled at the Constitutional Court in Brussels.
In pictures: Protest against burkini bans in London

They both gave evidence on how the ban has affected their lives as Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab, which covers the face except for the eyes.

Ms Belcacemi said she initially continued to wear the veil in public but removed it over fear of being jailed or fined, while Ms Oussar said the law has forced her to stay at home….

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