France's Burqa Ban: 5 Ways Europe Is Targeting Islam

Article excerpt

France issued its first ticket to a woman wearing an Islamic veil on Monday, the day a national ban on face coverings in public took effect. The new law is among a number of legal and political moves across Europe targeting Islam amid a growing debate over multiculturalism. Here are five recent actions taken regarding Islam in the public sphere.

France issued its first ticket to a woman wearing an Islamic veil on Monday, the day a national ban on face coverings in public took effect. The new law is among a number of legal and political moves across Europe targeting Islam amid a growing debate over multiculturalism. Here are five recent actions taken regarding Islam in the public sphere.

#5 France's burqa ban

The French parliament in October passed the so-called burqa ban after months of heated debate. On April 11, after a six-month grace period expired, the country began enforcing the law. The law's supporters say the veil oppresses Muslim women, violates the French value of gender equality, poses security concerns as it allows people to conceal weapons or hide their identity, and undermines social cohesion. The law's opponents say it promotes intolerance and stigmatizes Muslims, although the legislation does not specifically mention the various types of Islamic face veils.

#4 Dutch burqa ban

When the far-right Freedom Party won a substantial number of seats in the 2010 Dutch parliamentary elections, it struck a deal with the dominant center-right parties: the Freedom Party would join a coalition government in exchange for the center-right party's support for a ban on face coverings.

The ban has not been officially approved or put in place yet, but Geert Wilder, the Freedom Party leader who is well known for his opposition to Islam, told Reuters in December 2010 that it could be introduced as soon as this year.

#3 Swiss minarets ban

In a controversial November 2009 referendum, the Swiss voted to ban the construction of more minarets in the country. …