What are a Burqa and Hijab?
Burqa and hijab are types of Islamic dresses that cover either all or certain aspects of the body. The Burqa covers entirely the body and the face leaving on the eyes for visibility. The Hijab, on the other hand, is an Arabic noun meaning “to cover”. It is also referred to as a veil. It is a type of garment designed to cover the hair, the neck, and the chest. It may not cover all parts of the chest and it does not cover the face. Hence, the association of the name to a veil. Both are classified as masks and have been banned in some regions/countries in Europe.
Types of Burqas or Face Covering of Muslim Women
There are various types of Burqas and they include Agal, Niqab, Chador, Salwar Kameez, and Boubou. Each of these has its purpose or design pattern, but all apply to Muslim women.
Reasons for Banning the Wearing of Burqa in European Countries
Some countries across the world have banned the wearing of Burqa or mask. The wearing Burqua in European countries was banned in these countries as a security measure. Terrorism is on the rampant with more instances of female suicide bombers. To protect citizens of the country, have taken precautionary measures to ban the wearing of masks including facial masks, helmets, burqa, and possibly hijabs. Many bans were put into place after 9/11.
14 countries in the world have banned it and they include Cameroon, Chad, Morocco, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Austria, France, Denmark, Belgium, Latvia, Tajikistan, and Bulgaria.
While, there has been strong opposition against banning wearing Burqa in public places and offices but many countries have introduced the controversial law, most recently Switzerland, which enforced a Burqa ban (the full-face veil) in July 2016. It means women wearing a burka (full-body covering with mesh over the eyes) or niqab (full-body covering with a slit for the eyes) could face fines of almost 10,000 euros.
The European countries that have banned the Burqa and fines imposed for the offenders-
These are the European countries that have banned Burqa and they include-
- Austria – Burqa has been banned since 2017 nationwide and attracts a fine of €150.
- Denmark – It is banned. The ban started in August 2018 and attracts a fine of €135. For repeat offenders, it is higher.
- Bulgaria – Bulgaria just like the Netherlands banned wearing any facial masks. If it must be worn, the facial hairs and the chin must be visible. The ban became effective in 2016 and attracts a fine of €750.
- Belgium – As of 2011, Belgium banned full face masks or veils. There is a punishment for the ban. It is either seven (7) days in prison or a fine.
- France – France is the first country in Europe to ban the wearing of Burqa. The ban was effective in schools in 2004 and effective nationwide in 2011. It has been noted that about 2000 persons in France out of five million persons wear Burqa. But it is not allowed in public places.
- Netherland – Just like Bulgaria, Netherland banned the wearing of Burqa in 2012. The ban comes with a punishment and a fine of €390.
While Burqa may have religious significance for Muslims, it is no longer adopted easily in the world. Acts of terrorism are becoming a daily occurrence and the best way to limit or eliminate it is the ban. The ban is expected to reduce the number of female suicide bombers.