Belgium`s Muslims lash out at ban on Islamic veil
Brussels: Muslims in Belgium hit out at a looming public ban on the full-face Islamic veil, saying claims it was being introduced for security reasons were simply an excuse to crack down.
"I think they`re trying to wind us up," Souad Barlabi, a young woman wearing a simple veil, said outside the Grand Mosque in Brussels around the time of Friday prayers.
"We feel under attack," she said, a day after Belgian lawmakers had voted for a nationwide ban on clothes or veils that do not allow the wearer to be fully identified, including the full-face niqab and burqa.
There were two abstentions, but significantly, no one voted against it in the house -- a rare sign of unity amid a power-sharing dispute between Belgium`s linguistic communities which seems certain to lead to early elections.
"There are other problems that are more important," Barlabi noted.
In the crowd, one woman was wearing a niqab, another, accompanied by her husband, was covered by a burqa, and Barlabi could see no reason to make such a fuss over "so few people”.
The law, which will not come into effect for at least a few weeks, will be imposed in streets, public gardens and sports grounds or buildings "meant for public use or to provide services" to the public.
People who ignore it could face a fine of EUR 15-25 (USD 20-34) and/or a jail sentence of up to seven days.
All governing parties and the opposition agreed on the move -- most for security reasons linked to the fact that people cannot be recognised while wearing the clothing.
"It`s just a pretext," said Samuel Bulte, a convert to Islam handing out flyers and religious objects in front of the mosque.
"How many robberies are committed wearing a burqa?
"I`m afraid that soon they`re going to want to start putting crescents on the backs of Muslims," he said, in a reference to the yellow stars the Nazis forced Jews to wear.
Bruno Tuybens, a Flemish Socialist, was one of the two deputies who abstained from Thursday`s vote.
"This law disturbs me," he said. "I believe in freedom of expression and I don`t think it should be restricted unless it`s in very exceptional circumstances.
"There is no link at all between crime and wearing the burqa or niqab."
Yet the vote, likely to be a landmark in Europe if it passes through the upper house, comes amid controversy in the kingdom over the wearing of Muslim religious symbols in public places.
Last year, a Belgian lawmaker of Turkish origin was sworn in at the Brussels regional parliament wearing an Islamic headscarf in a first for the country.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Heat ave continues in India, death toll climbs to over 1,400
- Megastar Amitabh Bachchan slapped with Rs 1 crore notice
- Kenyan lawyer offers to marry Barack Obama's daughter Malia
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- Maggi likely to face ban in India!
- Salman Khan accident files burnt in Mantralaya fire
- AIB: The 'Third Gender's right to dignity'
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads- Part II
- TERI panel finds RK Pachauri guilty in sexual harassment case
- Rajasthan: High Court raps Chief Secy, DGP for failing to end Gujjar agitation
- Erstwhile Mysuru kingdom gets new king
- Priyanka, Ranveer talk about their film 'Dil Dhadakne Do'
- Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi meets PM Modi
- Meet 92-year-old Phyllis Sues who dances toTango
- CBSE Class 10 (Class X Board) Result 2015 on cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in at 2 pm
- Hours after attacking NDA govt, Manmohan Singh meets PM Narendra Modi
- Check cbseresults.nic.in, cbse.in for CBSE Class 10 X Board Result at 2 pm
- GUJCET Results 2015 declared on gseb.org
- Centre moves SC against Delhi HC order on LG's powers; hearing on Friday
- Pakistan break Team India's long-standing ODI record at home soil
- Gujjar agitation: Centre sending additional forces to vacate rail tracks, say sources
- Rahul Gandhi takes another dig at NDA govt, says Manmohan gave lessons on economy to PM Modi
- Log on to cbseresults.nic.in, cbse.nic.in at 2 pm for Class 10th Result 2015
- Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi meets PM Modi, triggers tie-up speculation
- WBCHSE (wbchse.nic.in & wbresults.nic.in): West Bengal Class 12th Result to be declared on May 29
- CBSE (cbseresults.nic.in, cbse.nic.in) Class 10th (X Board) Result 2015 declared
- Watch: Dance guru Prabhudheva's mind-blowing act in 'Happy Hour' from 'ABCD2'!
- CBSE Board Results 2015: Class 10 Results to be declared on May 28 on cbse.nic.in