The niqab is a veil worn by women has sparked debates and controversies in different countries worldwide. While some consider it a religious and cultural practice others perceive it as a symbol of oppression or a security issue.
The niqab is a face-covering veil that allows only the eyes to be seen. It is worn by women as an expression of their religious beliefs, modesty, and cultural identity. Although not all Muslim women wear it those who do attach significance to this choice.
The burqa is a type of clothing worn by Muslim women as an expression of modesty and religious beliefs. It covers the body including the face with a mesh screen that obscures the eyes.
Here is a list of 10 European countries where the niqab and burqa have been banned along with the reasons behind these bans and the broader implications for freedom and societal norms.
France is widely known for implementing a ban on the niqab. This ban was put into effect in 2011. Prohibits wearing full-face veils, including the niqab in places. It stems from France’s principle of laïcité which promotes secularism and the separation of religion from life. The French government argues that this ban is necessary, for reasons related to security and gender equality.
In 2011, Belgium decided to implement a prohibition on full-face veils such as the niqab, when it comes to areas. The Belgian government claims that this ban is necessary, for security and identification reasons. Those who fail to comply with the ban may be fined or imprisoned.
In 2018, Denmark implemented a law prohibiting the use of face coverings, in areas, that include the niqab. Although not explicitly targeting veils it is commonly understood to affect women who wear them. Those found in violation of this law may face fines.
Austria introduced a ban on full-face veils including the niqab back in 2017. The government’s rationale for this ban revolves around concerns related to integration, security, and identification. Individuals who breach this law can be subjected to fines.
In 2019, the Netherlands enforced a ban on face coverings like the niqab in public settings such as schools, hospitals, and public transportation. This measure is argued by the government as necessary for security and effective communication.
Bulgaria passed a law back in 2016 that prohibits individuals from wearing face coverings in spaces including the niqab. This legislation is presented as a security measure with violators facing fines.
On 21st September 2023, the Swiss parliament approved a ban on full-face coverings like burqas and set a fine for violators. Certain Swiss cantons have implemented restrictions, on face coverings within spaces while others have not taken measures yet. These bans are often justified on grounds of security and identity protection.
Several municipalities (in 2018) in Norway have chosen to implement restrictions on wearing face coverings in schools and kindergartens. These restrictions are often justified based on the principles of integration and effective communication.
Italy has introduced measures that allow for the identification of individuals in various public settings. While not an outright ban, these measures can indirectly affect the wearing of face coverings, including the niqab.
In Germany there are rules in place that limit the use of face coverings in situations such as when accessing services or engaging in specific activities. These limitations are often presented as necessary for identification and security purposes. In 2020, Germany placed a ban on niqab and burqa in schools and universities.