Friday, April 30, 2010

Belgian Legislation to Ban Muslim Veil

This is a topic I have battled with myself for quite some time, especially sentimentally strong today. The Belgian Government's Lower Chambers voted unanimously to ban the wearing of the Muslim veil (or garments such as the burqua). All my personal feelings aside (either for or against), this must be a direct violation to the basic fundamental Human Rights. Unfortunately, I've been finding it hard to express this in adequate words until I came across an article on the Human Rights Watch website (link):

A blanket ban on wearing such garments in public violates the fundamental right to freedom of religion, thought, and conscience as well as the right to personal autonomy, Human Rights Watch said. Bans of this nature - whether formulated in neutral terms or explicitly targeting the Muslim veil - have a disproportionate impact on Muslim women, and thereby violate the right to freedom from discrimination on the basis of religion and gender.

How can this kind of religious, cultural and gender intolerance still happen in today's multi-cultural and multi-national society. Especially in a country like Belgium where the seats of major international institutions are based (European Union, NATO, etc). We've just taken one big step back into the dark days of legalisation of discrimination against others because of their race, values, beliefs, religion and gender.

Shame... Shame on us all...

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