Belgian burka ban necessary in democratic society, rules European court
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 11 July 2017| 17 Shawaal 1438
Belgium’s ban on the burka or the full-face niqab veil is justified as “necessary in a democratic society”, the European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday.
Judges backed the ban under a June 2011 ruling prohibiting anyone from appearing in public “with a face masked or hidden, in whole or in part, in such a way as to be unidentifiable”.
The judgment followed a case brought by two Muslim women, Samia Belcacemi, a Belgian citizen, and Yamina Oussar, a Moroccan. Both women said they chose to wear the niqab and claimed their rights had been infringed.
The court ruled that the ban “could be regarded as an element of the ‘protection of the rights and freedoms of others’ and that it sought to guarantee the conditions of ‘living together’.”
“In adopting the provisions in question, the Belgian state had sought to respond to a practice that it considered to be incompatible with social communication and more generally the establishment of human relations, which were indispensable for life in society,” the court found.
Violations of the ban can result in fines and up to seven days in jail, penalties that were backed by the court.
Ms Belcacemi continued to wear the veil after the ban but stopped because of fears that “she might be stopped in the street and then heavily fined or even sent to prison”.
Ms Oussar told the court that she had decided to stay at home “with the resulting restriction on her private and social life”.
France was the first European country to ban the burka or niqab in April 2011, restrictions that were upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in 2014.
Source – thetimes.co.uk