Seeds: Since the rise of extremist terrorist groups in the Middle East claiming Islamic law as the justification for their actions during the 90’s, there has been a steady increase of fear surrounding anything Islamic. In the past few years there has been a push in several European countries to outlaw burqas, face-covering veils that some Muslim women wear. While most countries state that this is for safety because you cannot be sure who is under the veil, some activists argue that this is a direct result of Islamophobia.
Core: Currently, seven European and four African countries have banned or partially banned burqas. Human rights groups and citizens alike have protested these laws, calling the policies “forced assimilation” (assimilation is when an immigrant learns the language and customs of a nation in order to fit in, often losing or driving away the customs or traditions of their home land). Women wearing burqas in these countries can face everything from tickets of several hundred euros to spending a week in jail.
Skin: The German Interior Minister just called for a partial ban on burqas, which rekindled conversations about the rights of women and religion in European countries.
Leaves: While the ban has not yet been installed in Germany, some are concerned with the reasons behind the ban. Studies have shown that only 28% of Muslim women in Germany wore any sort of headscarf, however there has been an influx of immigrants from countries such as Syria, where wearing burqas or niqabs is more widespread. That being said, in countries where the veil was banned, studies have shown that more women have started wearing them, if only in rebellion.
Food For Thought: What do you think of the burqa bans? What do you think about Islamophobia?
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