I was greatly grieved to hear of the full-face veil ban being criminalised in Austria. It is estimated that of the nearly 9 million people of Austria, this will actually apply to a mere 150 women. Certainly forcefully removing the garment from these 150 women will not solve Austria’s problems. If this cannot be called a publicity stunt, what can?
Everyone has a right to freedom of expression. When it comes to the printing of derogatory caricatures of holy religious figures and deeply hurting the sentiments of millions of people, the flag of freedom is flown high and projected aloud. However, when the table is turned and it comes to protecting the freedom of these women, suddenly freedom is quietly brushed under the carpet.
We live in difficult times with increasing divisions and hostility between communities, races and religions. It is a time when governments should be seeking to enact such policies that bring the world together, to unite us. As the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has repeatedly advised: “People should not object unnecessarily to religious differences that may exist between people because that will foster division and needlessly provoke the sentiments of people.”