Belgium Prepares to Impose Nationwide Ban On Face-Covering Veil

April 1, 2010

Author: David Charter

Source: The Times

The face-covering veil is set to be banned within weeks in Belgium, making it the first country in Europe to make the wearing of Muslim clothing illegal.

Women who flout the ban will face from one to seven days in jail or a fine of €15 to €25.

While President Sarkozy is encountering obstacles to his plans to outlaw the face-covering niqab in France, Belgium’s main parties are united behind the move and the influential home affairs committee voted for it unanimously yesterday.

A vote in the full Belgian parliament is expected on April 22 and a “yes” vote seems assured given the political consensus.

“Wearing the burka in public is not compatible with an open, liberal, tolerant society,” said MP Daniel Bacquelaine, from a French-speaking centre right party who proposed the Bill.