BELGIUM: Muslim women say "burqa ban will rob them of their dignity"

But I guess being forced to dress from head to toe in a black garbage bag doesn’t?

Belgium‘s parliament is expected to pass a law today that would ban Islamic veils in public, making it the first European country to ban the wearing of the burqa or niqab. The bill, which has been criticised by human rights campaigners as a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of religion, was voted for unanimously by the lower chamber’s home affairs committee last month.

The law would make it a crime to be in a public place with one’s face partially or wholly concealed in a way that would make identification impossible. Violators would be subject to a fine of €15-€25 (£12-£21) with a possible prison sentence of one to seven days.

There are no official statistics on how many women wear face-covering veils, though analysts agree it is a marginal phenomenon among the roughly 400,000 Muslims living in Belgium (about 4% of the country’s population). In 2009, 29 women were stopped by police in eight municipalities in the Brussels region that already ban the full Muslim veil.

A similar move is being considered in France, where President Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered legislation paving the way for a total ban on the full Islamic veil.  The decision to seek a full ban, rather than a limited ban, came as a surprise. After a cabinet meeting just a week ago, the government spokesman announced a decision for legislation that bans the veil but takes into account conclusions by the council of state, France’s highest administrative office.

Muslim leaders in France say that the face-covering veil is not a religious requirement of Islam but have cautioned against banning the garment. (Is that a threat?) UK

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I wonder if headscarves will be banned for Muslim men, as well?

Here, the group sharia4belgium takes to the streets on a regular basis trying to get support for Islamic Law.