The repetitive lifecycle of the burqa ban across European countries

Banning Muslim Veils Tends to Backfire—Why Do Countries Keep Doing It?

The Wider Image: Crime or right? Some Danish Muslims to defy face veil ban

Ayah (L), 37, and Aisha, 18, wearers of the niqab and members of the group Kvinder I Dialog (Women In Dialogue), sit in a shopping center near Copenhagen, Denmark, July 19, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly SEARCH “DENMARK VEIL” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “WIDER IMAGE” FOR ALL STORIES. THE IMAGES SHOULD ONLY BE USED TOGETHER WITH THE STORY – NO STAND-ALONE USES – RC1A2E6C8B30

Source: The Atlantic


Denmark this week wrote the latest chapter in a global story that is becoming strangely familiar. The country’s new ban on any “garment that hides the face in public”—widely understood to be targeting Islamic veils like the burqa and niqab—entered into effect on Wednesday.

Limitations on wearing face veils in public have already been enacted in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Austria. They’ve been debated as far as Australia and the Canadian province of Quebec. Despite regional differences, a similar pattern of events has recurred in some of the countries. Although not every element of the pattern has appeared in every country, France, Quebec, and Austria, for instance, have followed a progression that goes roughly like this.

First, politicians in a country propose banning the face veil, which is worn by a small number of Muslim women and reflects one interpretation of the Quran’s injunction to “cover and be modest.” They argue that a ban will promote integration, or public safety, or that wearing a veil is inconsistent with national values like gender equality. Pundits and lawmakers loudly debate the policy, and the argument rages in the press. A few propose legal challenges. Eventually, the ban is passed into law.

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