Oct 4 2010
While Britain and European countries debate whether to ban the burqa, Islamic nations across the world have been quietly introducing tough anti-veil laws themselves.
UK Express A Tory MP has launched legislation for a ban on women wearing full face coverings across the UK, saying we should follow the example set by France and Belgium.
The Sunday Express has discovered a surprising accord between the views of centre right European politicians and Islamic governments. Muslim countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Syria have banned the wearing of burqas in schools and universities – and they did this with little fuss and widespread public support.
The governments of these Muslim countries, we can reveal, have long attacked the burkha as an outward symbol of religious fervour, with most people against the sight of veiled women on their streets.
In Turkey and Syria, a country dubbed part of the Islamic “axis of evil” by George Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war, the burqa is considered a dangerous threat to secular values. Women who choose to wear it are often frowned upon by society.
The government in Jordan has tried to discourage veils by playing up reports of robbers using them to hide their faces. “It seems bizarre that these countries have been happy to go down this road, when it is proving such a struggle in Europe,” said Phillip Hollobone, Tory MP for Kettering.
He came under intense criticism earlier this year for likening the veil to going around with a “paper bag over your head.”
“I am pleased that the French have changed their law,” he said. “Many Islamic countries have similar bans already, and they did this with no bother at all.”
He has launched his Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill, which is due for its second reading on December 3.
France criminalised the wearing of the full veil last month. Earlier this year, Belgium became the first European country to ban full Islamic dress. Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria and Bosnia are all considering similar legislation.
Yet in the non-Muslim world, where few women wear the veil, opinion is deeply divided.
Women in Australia have held demonstrations against recent proposals to ban the burqa in New South Wales. In Canada, there were security concerns last month when a film of two fully veiled women boarding a plane without identity checks was posted on YouTube.
The Hollobone Bill has been widely condemned. Many believe it is an issue over which no government should legislate. H/T Lee S