In our Spanish class on Wednesday, our teacher opened a debate on whether it was right for governments to impose bans on ladies wearing Islamic headdresses. This was in light of Belgium's lower house of parliament intention to vote for a law that would ban women from wearing the full Islamic face veil in public. The result of Thursday's vote was almost unanimous with 134 MPs in support of the law and two abstentions. It is therefore likely that the ban in Belgium will become law in the near future.
Now of course there are several variations on the headdress theme most of which are far less concealing than the burka. For example, an Algerian lady in our class wears a hijab and has done so since she was married as a mark of respect to her husband.
The two forms of headdress that seem to cause controversy are the niqab and the burka. The arguments against these two forms of headdress are based on security which is understandable. To go further though and ban forms of headdress that do not conceal the identity of the wearer which is apparently what some organisations are trying to do seems to me unjustifiable. It’s a bit like telling a Yorkshire collier not to wear his cloth cap and let’s not forget the Queen of England who has worn head scarves for as long as anyone can remember.
To my mind we are passing through a phase of Islamaphobia brought about by world events that have taken place since 9/11 and possibly before.