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Why burqa is banned in some countries

/ 02:01 AM May 11, 2012

The burqa, naqib and hijab are traditional outer garments worn by Muslim women to cover their head and body in public places.

The burqa covers the entire face and body of a woman, and allows her to see through a mesh screen.

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The niqab is a veil that leaves the area around the eyes clear, and is worn with a head scarf.

The hijab, which is more commonly used, is a scarf worn to cover the head and neck.

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Last year, several countries in Europe moved to ban the use of burqas and niqabs in public places, citing ostensibly security reasons.

In April 2011, France enforced a ban on the use of burqas and niqabs in public places as these garments were deemed oppressive to women.

The measure imposes a fine of 150 euros and instruction in citizenship. Moreover, anyone found forcing a woman to cover her face may be fined 30,000 euros.

In July, Belgium enacted a ban on full-face veils in public places, saying their use is not compatible with a liberal society. Under the law, any woman wearing a burqa in public may be fined 137.50 euros and may face up to seven days in jail.

In August, an Italian parliamentary committee approved a draft law which would ban women from wearing veils that conceal their faces in public.

In September, the Dutch government announced it was considering a ban on burqas and niqabs in public places, saying their use goes against the equality of men and women.

It also cited security concerns in pushing for the measure, which has yet to be passed.

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The use of these garments are an interpretation of the modesty espoused by the Koran among Muslim women.

The Koranic passage often cited in connection with modesty states, “Tell the faithful women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their scarf to cover their bosom” (Koran, 24:31).

Another verse states, “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters, and the women of the believers, that they should pull down upon them of their outer cloaks from their heads over their faces. That is more likely that they may thus be recognized and not molested” (Koran, 33:60).

The varying interpretations of the verses have led to the use of different styles of veils, which are valid according to various schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Inquirer Research

Sources: BBC; Huff Post

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TAGS: burqa, Dutch government, koran, Muslim women
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