30 Apr 2010

Belgium to ban full Muslim veil in public

4:46 pm on 30 April 2010

Belgium's lower house of parliament has voted for a law that would ban women from wearing the full Islamic face veil in public.

The law would ban any clothing that obscures the identity of the wearer in places like parks and on the street. No one voted against it.

The law will go to the Senate, which is also expected to approve it. It would then become law by June or July.

The ban would be the first move of its kind in Europe. Only about 30 women wear such a veil in Belgium out of a Muslim population of around half a million.

The BBC reports the ban would be imposed in all public buildings or grounds, including streets, parks and sports grounds.

MPs have backed the legislation on the grounds of security, but some say the full-face veil is a symbol of the oppression of women.