Restrictions to and Ban on Full Veil, Hijab, Niqab – Country Examples
Date: February 9, 2016
Via Human Rights Without Frontiers – HRWF
Restrictions to & Ban on Full Veil, Hijab, Niqab – Country Examples
HRWF (28.12.2015) – In brief a few countries with Muslim majorities and minorities where the wearing of the full veil is banned or restricted, mainly on the grounds of identification and security:
Azerbaijan: The niqab is outlawed.
Belgium: On 29 April 2010, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives adopted a law prohibiting people to wear “attire and clothing masking the face in such a way that it impairs them to be recognizable”. The penalty for violating this directive can run from up to 14 days imprisonment and a 250 euro fine. Even though there is no direct mention of the burqa or niqab, this decision practically does prohibit its use in public spaces. This new law has spurred a lot of anger amongst members of the traditional Islamist community. In August 2014, Belgium parliament member Jean-Marie Pire tore the niqab off a Qatari princess who had asked him for directions in Brussels.
Canada: In October 2009, the Muslim Canadian Congress called for a ban on burqa and niqāb, saying that they have “no basis in Islam”. Spokesperson Farzana Hassan cited public safety issues, such as identity concealment, as well as gender equality, stating that wearing the burqa and niqāb is “a practice that marginalizes women.”
In December 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Muslim women who wear the niqāb must remove it in some cases when testifying in court.
As of 2015, Quebec Liberal Party Premier Philippe Couillard intends to ban niqāb in the provincial public service. Former Liberal Quebec premier Jean Charest made a similar move (which died on the order paper) to “ban the burqa” when giving and receiving public services.
Cameroon: In July 2015, Cameroon banned the face veil including the burqa after two women dressed in the religious garments completed a suicide attack killing 13.
Chad: In June 2015, the full face veil was banned after veiled Boko Haram bombers disguised as women completed multiple suicide attacks.
Congo (Republic of Congo): In May 2015, the Republic of the Congo banned the face veil in order to counter extremism.The decision was announced by El Hadji Djibril Bopaka, the president of the country’s Islamic High Council.
Egypt: The Ministry of Health has prohibited the wearing of the niqab by nurses in hospitals.
France: On 13 July 2010 France’s lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a ban on wearing burqa-style Islamic veils. The legislation forbids face-covering Muslim veils in all public places in France and calls for fines or citizenship classes, or both. The bill also is aimed at husbands and fathers – anyone convicted of forcing someone else to wear the garb risks a year of prison and a fine, with both penalties doubled if the victim is a minor.
Italy: A law issued in 1975 strictly forbids wearing any dress or supply that could hide the face of a person. Penalties (fines and imprisonment) are provided for such behaviour.
Iraq: The niqab was banned by a fatwa of the Iraqi Shaykh Ahmad al-Qubaisi.
Kuwait: Women wearing the niqab have been banned from driving for security reasons.
Netherlands: In 2007, the government of the Netherlands planned a legal ban on face-covering Islamic clothing, popularly described as the ‘burqa ban’, which included the niqab. In 2015, a partial ban of the niqab and burqa was approved by the Dutch government. The parliament still has to approve the measure.
Norway: In 2012 in Norway, a professor at the University of Tromsø denied a student’s use of niqab in the classroom. The professor claimed that Norway’s parliament has granted each teacher the right to deny the use of niqab in his/her classroom. Clothing that covers the face, a.o niqab, are prohibited in some e.g. schools and municipalities.
Russia: Russia’s Stavropol region has imposed a ban on hijabs. The ruling was upheld by Russia’s Supreme Court in July 2013.
Senegal: In November, Senegalese authorities initiated a ban on wearing the niqab, the full-face veil.
Switzerland: In September 2013, 65% of the electorate in the Italian-speaking region Ticino voted in favour of a ban on face veils in public areas. It is the first time any of the 26 cantons has imposed such a ban.
Tunisia: The niqab is outlawed.
Turkey: The niqab is outlawed.
United Emirates: The niqab was banned in all public offices.
Senegal, Guinea and other African countries are considering to ban various forms of full veil on security grounds as Muslim women are increasingly being used as suicide bombers in Africa.