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A ban on the wearing of items of clothing and other symbols of religious significance - Essay Example

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Since the beginning of twenty-first century, increasing number of European countries are facing dilemmas arising from the use of hijaband the burqa or niqab by Muslim women in public places and social institutions, like schools and colleges…
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A ban on the wearing of items of clothing and other symbols of religious significance
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Download file to see previous pages These Islamic dresses have raised various questions related to gender equality, freedom of religion and liberalism, and currently these issues are under serious contentions in Western Europe. Within this atmosphere of hot debate, France, which has around five million Muslims (the largest in population of Muslims in Western Europe), has taken a ?rm stand and became the first nation to pass a legislation that banned both headscarves and full veils (BBC News, The Islamic Veil Across Europe, 22nd September 2011). As per the legislation which became effective from 11 April 2011, it is now illegal for women in France (French or foreign), to leave their homes with their face covered with a veil, and women found flouting rules are liable to pay a heavy fine. UK, which promotes multiculturalism, have not imposed any ban on clothing or other accessories with religious significance; however, schools are allowed to establish their own dress code following a 2007 court directive (BBC News, The Islamic Veil Across Europe, 22nd September 2011). However currently in UK, Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill 2010/11 brought in by Mr Philip Hollobone is under consideration, which proposes to ban the covering of faces in public spaces (Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill 2010/11, 2011). ...
Russian Supreme Court had ordered a complete ban on use of veils in public spaces and offices, which is however not followed in Chechnya. In Germany, even though the court ruled in favour of a teacher wanting to wear a scarf to school, there are provisions for modifying laws locally, and many states have imposed a ban on Islamic veils. Austria and Switzerland are also considering a probable ban, in case there are too many women wearing the veil (ibid). From a scholarly viewpoint, even though the hijab and the niqab may have various cultural and religious connotations, but in the context of present debates over issues of gender equality and tolerance, there are claims that Muslims often tend to use veils to make their presence felt in the European countries (Teitelbaum, 2011). It is owing to such suggestions that the issue of wearing veils has currently taken a political shape, and many citizens and politicians view Islamic veils as a sign of radical Islam or fundamentalism. In the context of the current debate, that questions the reasoning behind implementing a legal ban on wearing of Islamic veils, there are varying viewpoints. According to the Commissioner of Human Rights (Council of Europe) Thomas Hammarberg, this ban on veils would not help to achieve the desired effects of gender equality or end oppression of Muslim women. Instead, he claimed, “Prohibition of the burqa and the niqab would not liberate oppressed women, but might instead lead to their further alienation in European societies. A general ban on such attires would constitute an ill-advised invasion of individual privacy. Depending on its precise terms, a prohibition also ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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