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Belgian government votes for burka ban: Your comments

Woman in face veil (file pic)
Those who break the law could be fined or jailed for seven days

Belgium has moved a step closer to becoming the first European country to ban women from wearing full Islamic face veils in public.

The legislation has been passed by the lower house of the Belgian parliament, but must now go to the Senate, where it may face challenges over its wording.

BBC News website readers from across the world have been sending in their comments on the issue:


I am amazed that the way a woman chooses to dress is an issue for parliament. Where is the freedom of expression and identity? Whether we like it or not, every religion has its guidelines, women wearing the hijab being one of them. As liberal as the world has become, some of us still use our faith to guide our lives.
Mustafa Raji, Abuja, Nigeria

I am in favour of this ban. What irks me most is that most Muslims are so conservative they can't see this as an obvious sign of repression of their women and remove it from their community. Instead it has to go to law makers for any sort of action, and once it is ratified most of the Muslim population will cry foul.
Naseeruddin, India

All this even though only 30 women in a country wear the fully covering veil. The Muslim community should be more active among themselves and remove elements that are not suited to the 21st century. The burka should be banned in Europe. In their country we have to live by their law and the same should go for them in our countries. More and more of them are wearing it. They chose to live with us in Christian countries so they must obey our customs.
J M Badoux-Gillbee, Netherlands

As a non-Islamic woman, if I were to visit a Muslim country under a strict interpretation of Sharia law, such as Saudi Arabia, I would be required by law to wear a full body cloak and face veil. This is vastly different from how I dress in most other countries. What is the problem with requiring that women simply uncover their face in Belgium and France? I view this as much less stifling than the dress laws in Saudi Arabia.
Alice Peebles, Melbourne, Australia

This is absolutely a violation of a fundamental human rights. I think they should be allowed to practise their religion in a normal way. Ani Mohammed, Gombe, Nigeria

I wish the British government would have the backbone to enact the same ban.
Gordon Didcock, Thornbury, UK

The issue is that the burka is a symbol, to non Muslims, of oppression. It is not seen as an expression of religion. If these women's fathers and brothers didn't tell them they had to wear a burka very few, if any, of these women would choose that lifestyle. Politicians know this, people know this. Let's just get it out in the open. Why do we have to hide behind "identification" issues? That said, I don't feel a government should have the right to tell people what they can and cannot wear in public places where there is no legitimate security reason.
Rob S, Austin, Texas

"Only around 30 women wear this kind of veil in Belgium, out of a Muslim population of around half a million." What an inordinate waste of government resources, time and energy. Ridiculous. What's next - full beards, hoodies, Jewish beards and caps? A very tenuous line has been crossed.
Jen, Sussex, UK

I think too much focus is being put on Muslim women in this situation. This law is not just about stopping Muslim women from wearing the veils, it is about stopping anyone from wearing something that obscures their identity. I think this law is a good thing if taken in the correct context. Nobody complains when they are told to remove their motorcycle helmet in post offices and banks and this law is no different.
Barry Mason, Emmen, Netherlands



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