Sunday, 24 July 2011
Burka Ban Law comes into effect in Belgium
The move, backed almost unanimously by the Belgian parliament, follows on the heels of similar legislation in France, and is already the subject of a court challenge by two Muslim women who argue that it is discriminatory.
Under the legislation anyone breaking the law faces a fine of up to 137 Euros (£121 approx) and imprisonment of up to seven days.
Belgium has a population of just under 11 million people, of whom approximately 500,000 are Muslims. Estimates as to how many of those wear the full face veil vary wildly, putting the number anywhere between dozens and thousands of women.
Supporters of the law claim that it is necessary for reasons of security and safety, as well as saying that the burka is a symbol of oppression - whereas opponents claim it will further stigmatise the Muslim population, lead to Muslim women becoming more excluded, and is a violation of the right to freedom of religion.
Upon security grounds one can understand the need for such a law - but if the intent is to somehow Westernise Islam then it is doomed to failure. One is just as likely to end yobbish behaviour outside of pubs and clubs on a Friday night by banning the wearing of jeans.
Such a law just serves as a legal marker which points to the meeting of incompatible cultures and beliefs, and reminds us that any meaningful integration will not happen.
The banning of the burka will make no difference save for a cosmetic one, and serve only to remove one of the most visible aspects of Europes Islamic colonisation whilst the fundamental problems which the West faces from Islam remain un-tackled.