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We Want to See Your Face: The Burqa in France, Belgium and Quebec

March 31, 2010 7 comments

Poster for Montreal film-maker Natasha Ivisic's documentary 'I wear the Veil'

 

On International Women’s Day, the EU Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg released a viewpoint which argued against restrictions on women’s religious dress. He stated that: 

Those who have argued for a general ban of the burqa and the niqab have not managed to show that these garments in any way undermine democracy, public safety, order or morals. The fact that a very small number of women wear such clothing has made proposals in such a direction even less convincing.  Nor has it been possible to prove that these women in general are victims of more gender repression than others. Those who have been interviewed in the media have presented a diversity of religious, political and personal arguments for their decision to dress themselves as they do. There may of course be cases where they are under undue pressure – but it is not shown that a ban would be welcomed by these women. 

Hammarberg seems to be in something of an unfashionable minority.In the past fortnight, three significant stories have broken about the regulation, in France, Belgium and Quebec, of the niqab and burqa worn by some Muslim women.  

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