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Issues & Controversies

Banning Burqas in Public


The burqa is oppressive to women, virtually erasing their identity. It violates the tenet of
secularism important in many European countries, and undermines the openness and
individual responsibility that are also hallmarks of Western democracies. Furthermore,
garments that completely cover the face pose a security threat because they make it hard for
authorities to identify people at crime scenes or during investigations.

Bans on the burqa in Europe are xenophobic, and nothing more than a pretense for
attacking Muslim cultural values. Such legislation is an assault on the individual freedoms
of women who choose to wear the burqa, and will do nothing to help women who are forced
to wear it. Instead, such bans will lend credence to the jihadist narrative that the West is
waging a war on Islam.

The burqa, worn by some devout Muslim women, has been banned in public in
some European countries, and others are considering following suit.

AP Photo/John McConnico

In a June 2009 speech at the Palace of Versailles near Paris, French President Nicolas
Sarkozy declared, "The burqa is not welcome in France." Later that month, in a speech to
France's parliament, Sarkozy called the burqa a tool of "enslavement" which France would
not accept on its territory. Sarkozy's statements, while controversial, reflected challenges
many countries in the European Union (EU) have faced while struggling to absorb a
swelling population of Muslim immigrants.
The burqa (sometimes spelled "burka") is an outer garment worn by some Muslim women,
which covers the entire face and body, with only a mesh screen or small slit for the eyes.
Although other Muslim attire, such as the hijab, a head scarf, has caused controversies in
Western European countries, in the last couple of years European legislators have

specifically debated banning residents from wearing garments that wholly cover the face
while in public.
The continent-wide debate over the burqa has encompassed issues of security, gender
equality and individual rights. Primarily, however, it represents a growing concern with
what some Western leaders see as a threatening radicalization of Islam. To some Europeans,
the burqa is a visible sign of the presence of Islamic fundamentalists who resist assimilation,
refuse to adopt the political and social values of their host countries and wish to wage a holy
war, or jihad, against the West.
Some experts, including Soad Saleh, a professor of Islamic law at al-Azhar University in
Cairo, Egypt, point out that the burqa actually has its roots in the pre-Islamic culture of the
Bedouinsa nomadic Arab people with ancient roots in the deserts of the Middle East.
Therefore, some critics reason, the burqa is not an essential part of Islam at all.
Nevertheless, the burqa has become a signifier of the kind of fundamentalist Islam that
Western leaders have associated with terrorism in recent years. Anita Allen, a law professor
at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, writes that veiling "has become a
threatening emblem of late twentieth century anti-Western Islamic politics." [See The
Cultural and Religious Origins of the Burqa (sidebar)]
The burqa has sparked a particularly contentious debate in France, despite estimates that
only a few thousand women in the entire country actually wear the garment. In September
2010, the French senate approved legislation that made it illegal for residents to conceal
their faces in public. The law was interpreted as principally targeting the burqa and the
niqab, a burqa-like garment that leaves the area around the eyes uncovered. Women found
to have violated the ban face fines of up to 150 euros (about $200) and have to take classes
in French citizenship. If authorities can prove that a woman was forced to wear the burqa by
a man, the man would face a larger fine. Having been approved by France's Constitutional
Council in October 2010, the law is set to take effect in spring 2011.
Although French legislators supporting the ban have cited security and gender equality as
the main rationales for the legislation, larger questions concerning the assimilation of
Muslim immigrants in Europe have colored the debate. As British journalist Gavin Hewitt
writes, "[T]he main motive behind this vote was to reinforce French identity. MP's [French
parliament members] believe that those who live in, or visit, France should embrace French

France is not alone in its crusade against the burqa. In April 2010, Belgium's parliament
passed a measure under which women who wore a burqa in public could face fines or up to
seven days in jail. Conservative politicians in other EU countries, including Denmark, the
Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, have called for similar bans.
Speaking in Cairo in June 2010, U.S. President Obama (D) obliquely censured such
legislative measures, saying, "It is important for Western countries to avoid impeding
Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fitfor instance, by dictating what
clothes a Muslim woman should wear." The U.S. has had its own domestic debates over the
practice of Islam, such as a controversy over the construction of an Islamic cultural center
near where New York City's World Trade Center stood before it was destroyed in the
September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The issue of Muslim attire, however, has not figured
nearly as prominently in the U.S. as it has in Europe. [See Building Mosques in the United
Should European countries prohibit women from wearing the burqa in public to ensure
national security and gender equality? Or are such wardrobe bans an unwarranted attack on
the religious practices of a minority population?
Supporters of banning the burqa in public argue that the garment undermines some of the
most central tenets of Western democraciesnamely individual freedom, individual
responsibility, equality and transparency. Furthermore, proponents contend that the burqa
symbolizes the oppression of women and prevents the kind of normal communication that
defines an open society. Lastly, supporters of banning the burqa charge that masking one's
faceand thus preventing authorities from identifying an individualposes a serious
security issue.
Critics of banning the burqa, on the other hand, argue that such laws encroach on individual
liberty. They say that punishing women for wearing the burqa will violate the rights of those
who want to wear it and risks having women whose husbands force them to wear it confined
in their homes. The percentage of women who wear burqas in Western Europe is so small,
opponents note, that wearing them could not possibly pose a security threat. Rather, the ban
on the burqa is a flagrant attack on Islam itself, critics say, which will only fuel the jihadist
narrative that the West is waging a cultural war on the religion.

Growing Muslim Immigrant Population Causes Tension in Western Europe

The influx of Muslim immigrants into Western Europecoinciding with increasing fears
surrounding Islamic fundamentalistinspired terrorismhas created a cultural clash
throughout the EU.
As of 2010, Muslims made up between 2.6% and 4% of the EU population. Many Muslim
immigrants to Europe came from former European colonies in predominantly Muslim
regions in the Middle East and North Africa. After gaining independence, many of those
colonies suffered from economic and political instability, driving portions of their
population to try to make new lives for themselves in the more prosperous countries of
Western Europe.
Economic problems in the EU, however, have periodically cooled Europe's relationships
with its Muslim immigrants. A global economic crisis hit EU countries in 2008, driving up
already high unemployment rates. According to some experts, the scarcity of jobs has
triggered animosity toward immigrants in some Western European countries, where
immigrants are viewed as making an already overcrowded labor pool even more
Immigration has also posed cultural challenges in some European countries. Compared
with the U.S., the cultural makeup of countries such as France and Germany historically has
been fairly homogenous. The influx of Muslim immigrants, therefore, has posed unique
challenges of integration for those countries. European political leaders have worried that
many of the new immigrants would fail to adapt to certain political and cultural principles
such as equality for women and the secularization of public lifethat have long been
hallmarks of Western democracies. [SeeBanning Burqas in the United States (sidebar)]
Furthermore, the fear of Islamic fundamentalistsponsored terrorism has spread through
all of Europe, and in some countries has stirred anti-Muslim sentiment. In November 2004,
for example, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was assassinated after receiving death threats
for making a short film, called Submission, that was critical of Muslim husbands' treatment
of their wives. Mohammed Bouyeri, a dual Dutch and Moroccan citizen, was later sentenced
to life in prison for van Gogh's murder. The incident sparked a public outcry in the
Netherlands that the government was not doing enough to protect the public from Islamic
extremists. A wave of anti-Muslim violence, including arson attacks on mosques, followed
the killing.

Two Dutch parliamentary members were given police protection following the van Gogh
murder. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a member of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and
an outspoken critic of Islam's treatment of women, was the screenwriter for van Gogh's
movie. Hirsi Ali had fled her Muslim family in Somalia the previous decade to avoid an
arranged marriage and had settled in the Netherlands, where she gained citizenship and
eventually entered politics. After a political controversy surrounding her Dutch citizenship,
Hirsi Ali left the Netherlands for the U.S., where she established the AHA Foundation, a
nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the rights of women against fundamentalist
Another Dutch politician afforded police protection against Muslim extremists in the
Netherlands was Geert Wilders, a conservative member of parliament who has stirred
controversy for his outspoken criticism of Islam. Wilders heads the far-right Freedom Party,
which has opposed the immigration of Muslims into the Netherlands.
In July 2005, four Muslim suicide bombers attacked London's transportation system, killing
52 people. The British government responded with a crackdown on Muslim extremists and a
coordinated effort to assimilate Muslim immigrants more completely into British society. In
2010, the British government banned a radical Muslim group called Islam4UK, whose
leader had praised the 2005 attacks.
In September 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed editorial cartoons
containing images of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Muslims generally believe that any
visual depiction of Muhammad is blasphemous, and in early 2006 the cartoons sparked
riots throughout the Muslim world and prompted several attempts on the cartoonist's life.
In December 2010, Danish police arrested five men allegedly plotting an attack on JyllandsPosten's offices.
In December 2009, voters in Switzerlandwhere Muslims make up about 4% of the
populationvoted to ban the construction of minarets, the towers on mosques from which
Muslims are called to prayer. The vote came out of a referendum backed by the far-right
Swiss People's Party, which sought to stem what it called the "Islamicization" of
Switzerland. Critics of the ban said it violated the European Convention on Human Rights,
and pointed out that at the time of the referendum, there were only four minarets in the
entire country. New York Times writer Robert Mackey said the ban had prompted "another

round of soul-searching precipitated by yet another clash over integratingor not

integratinga swelling Muslim population."

EU Member States Debate Bans on Wearing Full Facial Veils in Public

Some political experts have attributed a recent rise in the electoral successes of conservative
parties in Europemany of which, like the Swiss People's Party, have anti-immigration
platformsto growing concerns about Muslim immigrants. In 2010, for example, Wilders's
Freedom Party in the Netherlands gained a significant number of seats in Parliament,
despite an ongoing trial of Wilders over allegations that his anti-Islamic rhetoric could be
classified as hate speech.
Furthermore, political experts have linked the rise of conservatism in Europe to the recent
controversies surrounding the burqa. Several European countries have debated banning the
wearing of the burqa in public. Following are descriptions of those debates and related

Belgium: In April 2010, Belgium's lower house of parliament approved a measure

banning women from wearing burqas in public places. About 500,000 Muslims live
in Belgium, of whom only an estimated 30 wear facial veils. Legislators cited security
reasons for the ban (which still faces a vote in the senate), saying that police must be
able to identify people in the areas they patrol. Twenty municipalities in the country
had already approved similar measures.

France: With about 5 million Muslims, accounting for about 8% of its population,
France has both the highest percentage and the highest number of Muslims of any
Western European country.
The concept of keeping the public sphere secular holds great weight in French
politics, and stems from the republic's origin in the generally antireligious French
Revolution. Flagrant displays of faithincluding wearing the burqahave been
perceived by some political leaders in France as an affront to the country's postRevolution tradition of secularism.
Wearing head scarves in schools, for example, has been debated in France since
1989, when France's highest administrative court ruled that Muslims could wear

head scarves as long as they did so without intending them to be instruments of

"pressure, provocation, proselytism or propaganda" in their relations with
classmates. In 2003, then French President Jacques Chirac called anew for a ban on
religious symbols in schools, citing a growing religious "fanaticism" in the country. In
2004, France banned students and teachers from wearing religious garments in
public schools.
Some suburbs of Paris have provided a notorious example of France's failure to
integrate its Muslim population. That arealike some Muslim immigrant
neighborhoods in other Western European countriesis plagued by high
unemployment, violence and drug use. In November 2005, residentsparticularly
young Muslimson the outskirts of the city rioted for three weeks. Experts said that
the riots, which eventually spread throughout France, stemmed from frustrations in
immigrant populations about social inequality, a lack of economic opportunities, and
an overall sense of exclusion. Rioters caused about $234 million in property damage
and police had arrested about 3,000 offenders.
In June 2008, France's highest administrative court rejected the citizenship
application of a Muslim woman, although she spoke fluent French and had lived in
France for eight years, saying that she lived in "total submission" to her husband and
practiced a "radical" form of Islam. According to the court's decision, the woman's
religious beliefs "were not compatible with the essential values of the French
community, notably the principle of gender equality."
In November 2009, Sarkozy's government launched a series of public meetings and
online discussions designed to address the topic of integration, an issue that had
raised controversy in France since the 2005 riots. In a piece published in the French
newspaper Le Monde, Sarkozy addressed Muslim immigrants, saying that he would
work "to make them feel they are citizens like any other" but cautioning them against
any "ostentation or provocation" when practicing their religion.
France's legislature passed a nationwide ban on burqas in September 2010. The law
drew criticism from many Muslim leaders, but was endorsed by Hassen Chalghoumi,
the imam of a mosque in suburban Paris. The imam, who received death threats for
siding with the government on that issue, argued that most Muslims in France were
moderate, and needed to stand up to the radical minority in their community. French

opponents of the ban, however, accused Sarkozy of pandering to far-right antiimmigration constituents in pushing through the legislation.

Germany: Germany, where Muslims represent about 4% of the population, has also
had its share of controversies regarding Muslim immigrants. On July 1, 2009, Marwa
el-Sherbini, a 32-year-old Egyptian Muslim woman, was stabbed to death by a
Russian immigrant identified as Axel W. in a courtroom in the German city of
Dresden. El-Sherbini had brought charges against the Russian man after he called
her a terrorist for wearing a head scarf. Police in the courtroom mistakenly shot and
wounded el-Sherbini's husband while trying to subdue her killer.
El-Sherbini became known in her native Egypt and other predominantly Muslim
countries as the "head scarf martyr," and thousands of people attended her funeral
after her body was returned to Alexandria, Egypt. The outrage surrounding her
murder spurred criticism of the German government for an inadequate response to
the incident, and some observers described the killing as a sign of growing antiMuslim sentiment in Germany and throughout Western Europe.
In May 2010, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, a German member of the European Parliament,
the legislative body of the EU, introduced legislation urging a ban on the burqa in
every member country. The bill was met with little support, however, after a
parliamentary investigation concluded that such a measure would be

Great Britain: In October 2006, House of Commons leader and former foreign
secretary Jack Straw published an opinion piece on full facial veils in the Lancashire
Telegraph, the local newspaper of Blackburn, a heavily Muslim district in northwest
England. Straw wrote that he would require Muslim constituents who came to see
him to remove their facial veils because he was "uncomfortable about talking to
someone 'face-to-face' whom I could not see." He also contended that the wearing of
such attire "made a visible statement of separation and difference," introducing
tension into community relations.
Straw's piece triggered a debate in England, and some Muslim leaders criticized his
comments. Later that October, then Prime Minister Tony Blair referred to facial veils

as "a mark of separation" that make others uncomfortable, but said banning them
would be too extreme.

Spain:According to the British newspaper the Guardian, about 1 million Muslims

live in Spain, mostly in the southern region of Andalucia and the northeastern region
of Catalonia. Burqas are rarely seen in public in Spain.
In May 2010, the Spanish city of Lleida approved legislation prohibiting anyone from
wearing a face-covering veil in any of the town's municipal buildings. The law was
implemented in December, making Lleida the first city in Spain to institute such a
ban, although other cities had passed similar legislation.
In July, the legislative assembly of Catalonia rejected a bill that would have banned
the burqa in all public places.

EU member countries are not the only ones debating facial veils in public. Both Turkey and
Egypt, which are predominantly Muslim but have strong secular traditions, have also
debated such legislation. In July 2010, Syria prohibited the wearing of full facial veils at
schools. In such countries, the burqa and niqab are sometimes seen as signs of the growing
influence of radical Islam, which could pose a threat to those countries' secular

Burqa Poses Security Problem and Is Oppressive to Women, Ban Supporters

Supporters of banning the burqa frequently argue that it is oppressive to women. Mona
Eltahawy, an Egyptian expert on Arab and Muslim issues, writes:
I am a Muslim, I am a feminist and I detest the full-body veil. It erases women from
society and has nothing to do with Islam but everything to do with the hatred for women
at the heart of the extremist ideology that preaches it. We must not sacrifice women at the
altar of political correctness.
Proponents of the bans say that they are not attacks against Islam, but have a more practical
basis. Kathleen Weil, the minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities in Quebec,

Canada, who proposed prohibiting women from wearing facial veils while working in or
using government facilities, such as government offices or public schools, says, "[Y]ou can
wear a hijab and you can wear the cross around the neck, you can wear other religious
symbolsthat's not the issue. [Prohibiting the burqa] really is for very pragmatic reasons,
that people need to be able to communicate with you in the normal way that people
communicate, which is with your face uncovered."
Indeed, the burqa is antithetical to normal social interaction, proponents of the ban
contend. Jean-Franois Cope, the majority leader of the French National Assembly and
mayor of the French town of Meaux, writes that the burqa "is not an article of clothingit is
a mask, a mask worn at all times, making identification or participation in economic and
social life virtually impossible."
The inability to identify people by their faces is a serious impediment to maintaining
security, ban proponents say. Cope argues, "This face covering poses a serious safety
problem at a time when security cameras play an important role in the protection of public
order." Noting that in October 2010, armed robbers wearing burqas held up a post office in
France, Cope continues, "As a mayor, I cannot guarantee the protection of the residents for
whom I am responsible if masked people are allowed to run about."
Proponents of the ban also contend that the burqa is contrary to the principle of
individualism that is the bedrock of most Western societies. Cope writes:
[W]e recognize that individual liberties cannot exist without individual responsibilities.
We are free as long as we are responsible individuals who can be held accountable for our
actions before our peers. But the niqab and burqa represent a refusal to exist as a person
in the eyes of others. The person who wears one is no longer identifiable; she is a shadow
among others, lacking individuality, avoiding responsibility.
In addition to undermining individualism, supporters of the ban say, the burqa violates the
legal and social equality between men and women that most Western governments have
long upheld. According to the Wall Street Journal, women "are recognized as equal in rights
before the law and in marriage. A cultural dictate that denies women the freedoms enjoyed
by men is contrary to those principles, and France is not wrong to insist that it has no place
in a Western democracy."

Freedom of religion cannot be used as a blanket excuse for all forms of behavior, ban
proponents assert. Noting that the U.S. has banned polygamy despite its endorsement by
Mormons, journalist Bret Stephens writes, "Just because it's 'religion' doesn't mean a state
has to permit it."
Some ban supporters argue that the burqa is not even a traditional part of Islam, but rather
derives from a Bedouin tradition. Modern-day Islamic radicals, supporters say, have falsely
claimed that wearing the burqa is a mandatory Islamic practice. Stephens says, "The
purpose of the burqa/niqab is not to protect 'female modesty,' which in Islam (and indeed,
Judaism) can be practiced by covering one's hair. Instead, the purpose is to erase the
Proponents reject the argument that such a ban would be an infringement on individual
liberties. According to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, "[T]he fashions of the woman
are not always her choice. So in this case it's far from clear that human freedom is best
advanced by tolerating a custom that deprives half of the population of the liberty to dress
as they see fit."

Burqa Ban Is an Indirect Attack on Muslims, Critics Insist

Banning the wearing of the burqa in public is only going to fuel the radicalization of Islam
and convert moderate Muslims to jihadist crusades, critics say. According to a USA
Today editorial, "Surely, banning any peaceful Muslim religious practice is a needless
affront that hands ammunition to radical mullahs who recruit others for similar missions by
claiming that there is a Western 'war on Islam.'"
Opponents charge that banning the burqa is merely a product of xenophobia and political
pandering to Europe's more right-wing elements. Jean Glavany, a Socialist member of
France's lower house of parliament, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that
the ban represents "nothing more than the fear of those who are different, who come from
abroad, who aren't like us."
Critics of the ban reject the notion that the full-face veil poses a security problem. According
to the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch, "There is no evidence that
wearing the full veil in public threatens public safety, public order, health, morals or the

fundamental rights and freedoms of othersthe only legitimate grounds for interference
with fundamental rights."
Indeed, banning the burqa is a basic violation of human rights, critics insist. Sandeep
Gopalan, the head of the law department at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth,
writes in the New York Times:
If we support a burqa ban on the basis that we dislike the clothing, or that it offends our
notion of freedom, or that it makes us uncomfortable, we would then be opening ourselves
to all manner of compromises on the many unpopular personal choices that we make in
daily life. The freedom to do that which is unpopular or ugly, but is harmless or legal, is
precisely what a civilized society is about. We should not toss this aside lightly.
In addition to infringing on the rights of women who choose to wear the burqa, banning it
would do nothing to free those who are forced to wear it, critics say. A report on the ban by
Human Rights Watch argues, "[R]ather than help women who are coerced into wearing the
veil, a ban would limit, if not eliminate, their ability to seek advice and support. Indeed, the
primary impact of legislation of this kind would be to confine these women to their homes,
rather than to liberate them." Opponents predict that if such bans do pass, they will likely be
struck down by the European Court of Human Rights, since they would violate the
European Convention on Human Rights.
Opponents argue that a burqa ban would further ostracize and stigmatize Muslim
immigrant populations in European countries. Gopalan writes, "In the end, the law would
only serve to expose the Muslim community to scorn and ridicule and to further heighten
the serious ethnic and religious differences in French society."
Opponents contend that banning the burqa is only a peripheral solution to the very real
problems of integrating Europe's Muslim immigrants into civil society. Instead, critics say,
Europe's leaders need to address the social inequalities that are plaguing immigrant
communities. Matthew Kaminski, an editor at the Wall Street Journal, writes of Sarkozy, "If
he was truly serious about integration, he'd do more to alleviate youth unemployment, the
bad schools in the banlieus [the outskirts of Paris where many Muslim immigrants live], and
so on. But that would be hard."
Underneath its noble rhetoric about equality for women, critics charge, the crusade against
the burqa in Europe is really a thinly disguised attack on Islam. Kaminski writes, "A statea

majority Christian state, to bootis mandating how members of a minority religion should
go about practicing theirs. Islam is the target: they're not saying the Krishnas should stop
wearing those 'revealing' outfits or Orthodox Jewish women can't wear wigs that, to some
eyes, conceal their identity."

The Future of Muslims in Europe

To many experts, the debate over the burqa is only one small aspect of the broader debate
over the best way to integrate a growing Muslim immigrant population into the Western
democracies of the EU. To others, the dilemma is one of mutual intolerance. According to
a Wall Street Journal editorial:
France will not solve the problems in its Muslim population through dress codes. But the
attitude toward women of some Muslims living in the West won't be solved, either, by
pretending it doesn't exist. How much tolerance do Western countries owe to a too-often
intolerant minority in their midst?
If other countries follow France's lead and impose national bans on the burqa, the matter
may reach the European Court of Human Rights, which will test those measures against
continent-wide standards on individual freedom.
Meanwhile, demographers predict that the number of Muslims living in Europe will
continue to rise through immigration and high birth rates. How countries such as France
will reconcile the religious practices of its Islamic residents with the secular ethos at the
heart of their social fabric remains to be seen.

Discussion Questions
1) Do you think a country such as France is right to prohibit wearing the burqa in public?
Why or why not?
2) Supporters of banning the burqa say that covering one's face in public poses a security
problem. Do you agree with this? Explain your position.

3) Why do you think issues over wearing Muslim attire in public have become so
controversial in European countries, but not in the U.S.? Do you think the U.S. would ever
adopt a similar stance? Why or why not?
4) Do you think a ban on the burqa would help or hurt the women who wore it? Explain
your view.
5) Pick one European country and research the Muslim immigrant population in that
country. What is the relationship between Muslim communities and the rest of that
country's population? Is the government making serious efforts to integrate Muslims into
the broader population? Is the burqa or any other Muslim garment controversial in that
country? Write an essay analyzing what you find.

Allen, Anita. "Undressing Difference: The Hijab in the West." Berkeley Journal of Gender,
Law & Justice. April 23, 2008, www.boalt.org.
"Belgian Lawmakers Pass Burka Ban." British Broadcasting Corporation, April 30,
2010, www.bbc.co.uk.
"Belgium: Muslim Veil Ban Would Violate Rights." Human Rights Watch, April 21,
2010, www.hrw.org.
Charter, David. "Belgium Prepares to Impose Nationwide Ban on Face-Covering Veil." The
Times, April 1, 2010,www.timesonline.co.uk.
Cope, Jean-Franois. "Tearing Away the Veil." New York Times, May 5,
2010, www.nytimes.com.
Corbet, Sylvie. "France Moves Towards Banning Muslim Veil in Public." Huffington Post,
April 21, 2010,www.huffingtonpost.com.
Eltahawy, Mona. "Ban the Burqa." New York Times, July 3, 2009, www.nytimes.com.
"French MPs Vote to Ban Islamic Full Veil in Public." British Broadcasting Corporation,
July 13, 2010,www.bbc.co.uk.

Gopalan, Sandeep. "Behind the Burqa." New York Times, January 28,
2010, www.nytimes.com.
Hargey, Taj. "The Koran Does Not Put Women in Burkas." Times of India, June 25,
Hewitt, Gavin. "Criminalising Women Behind the Veil." British Broadcasting
Corporation, July 13, 2010,www.bbc.co.uk.
Kaminski, Matthew, and Bret Stephens. "To Ban the BurqaOr Not." Wall Street
Journal, September 18, 2010,online.wsj.com.
Khanam, Farida. "Here's the Truth Behind the Veil." Times of India, December 16,
Mittelstaedt, Juliane, and Stefan Simons. "Europe's Fear of the Burqa" Der Spiegel, July 19,
2010, www.spiegel.de.
Nussbaum, Martha. "Veiled Threats?" New York Times, July 11,
2010, www.nytimes.com.
"Our View on Religious Attire: Europe's Moves to Ban Veils Hand Ammo to
Extremists." USA Today, May 26, 2010,www.usatoday.com.
"Parting the Veil." Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2010, online.wsj.com.
Sokol, Ronald. "My Burqa Is None of Your Business." New York Times, July 2,
2009, www.nytimes.com.

Additional Sources
Additional information about banning the burqa in public can be found in the following
Buruma, Ian. Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance.
New York: Penguin Group, 2006.
Scott, Joan. The Politics of the Veil. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2010.

Contact Information
Information on how to contact organizations that either are mentioned in the discussion
of banning the burqa in public or can provide additional information on the subject is
listed below:
AHA Foundation
130 7th Avenue, Suite 236
New York, N.Y. 10001
E-mail: info@theahafoundation.org
Internet: www.theahafoundation.org
European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe
67075 Strasbourg Cedex
Telephone : +33 (0)3 88 41 20 18
Internet: www.echr.coe.int
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, N.Y. 10118
Telephone: (212) 290-4700
Internet: www.hrw.org

Keywords and Points

For further information about the ongoing debate over banning burqas in public, search
for the following words and terms in electronic databases and other publications:
Head scarf
Marwa el-Sherbini
Theo van Gogh

Citation Information
Banning Burqas in Public Issues & Controversies. Infobase Learning, 31 Jan. 2011. Web. 24 Nov.