Karnataka hijab row: A look at nations that have banned veils, hijabs, burqas, or any kind of headscarves; see list here

The row began last month in Karnataka when six students of the Government Girls PU College in Udupi alleged that they were barred from attending classes for wearing hijab and were not even allowed to enter college.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, February 11, 2022, 05:47 PM IST
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The world has been divided over banning the hijab or headscarf worn by Muslim women. The issue accelerated into a massive controversy in Karnataka followed by protests and vandalism.

The row began last month in Karnataka when six students of the Government Girls PU College in Udupi alleged that they were barred from attending classes for wearing hijab and were not even allowed to enter college.

The issue has been getting traction worldwide for a long time now.

As the controversy around the Karnataka hijab heats up, here is a list of some countries where wearing a veil is considered an offence and hence they have banned headscarves including, hijabs, burqas, full-face helmets, and balaclavas.

France:

France was the first European country to introduce a blanket ban on wearing burkas in public. In 2011, France banned face coverings with the “Law of 2010-1192: Act prohibiting concealment of the face in public space”. The act banned the wearing of face-covering headgear, including masks, helmets, balaclavas, niqābs and other veils covering the face in public places.

Switzerland:

Switzerland banned the ‘burqa’ in March 2021 after a far-right proposal to ban facial coverings won a narrow victory in a binding referendum on Sunday. The proposal was put forward by the same group that organised a 2009 ban on new minarets. The measure to amend the Swiss constitution passed by a 51.2-48.8% margin, provisional official results showed.

China:

In 2017, China banned burqas, veils, and long beards in a predominantly Muslim province as a part of its crackdown against religious extremism. People who wear headscarves, veils, burqas, or clothing with crescent moon and star and long beards are prohibited from using public transportation.

Denmark:

In 2018, Denmark became another European nation to introduce a ban on face coverings in public places. Offenders can incur fines of up to €134 ($157). Repeat offences are punishable by up to 10 times that amount.

Sri Lanka:

In April 2021, the country’s Cabinet approved the ban on burqa, following the harrowing Easters Attack, citing a threat to national security. Cabinet spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella said the decision was taken two years after a wave of coordinated terror attacks on hotels and churches on Easter Sunday.

Netherlands:

The Netherlands enacted a ban on face-covering clothing, popularly described as the "burqa ban", in January 2012. The ban applies to burqas, veils full-face helmets and balaclavas. The ban came into place here after 14 years of debate. In the Netherlands, a face-covering in public can invite a fine of at least €150.

Austria:

In October 2017, Austria put a ban on any kind of full-face covering, including Islamic veils such as the niqab or burqa. Violations carry a possible fine of 150 euros (Rs 12,812). Police are authorized to use force if people resist showing their faces.

Denmark:

In Denmark, the burqas were first banned in August 2018 months after validating the law in May that year. Hundreds of demonstrators marched in Copenhagen to protest against the introduction of Danish laws banning veils that fully cover the wearer’s face. The law imposes a fine of up to €135 for offenders.

Republic of Congo:

The Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) became the first country in Africa to implement a burqa ban in 2015. According to the BBC, some Muslim women had used the veil as a disguise to commit terrorist offences.

Bulgaria

In 2016, Bulgaria's parliament banned face veils in public to boost security in the wake of Islamist militant attacks in Europe. The "burqa ban" law, pushed by the nationalist Patriotic Front coalition, echoes similar measures in other western European countries.

Germany:

The German Parliament in 2017 backed a law banning face-covering veils for judges, civil servants and soldiers of the country.

Belgium:

A law banning the full-face veil came into effect in Belgium in July 2011. Following France’s footsteps, Belgium imposed a ban on full-face-covering dresses, burqas, niqabs, or anything that covers the lower half of the face.

Russia:

Russia. Russia's Stavropol region has a ban on hijabs in schools Since 2012. the first of its kind imposed by a region in the Russian federation. The ruling was upheld by Russia's Supreme Court in July 2013.

Norway:

In 2018, the Norwegian parliament voted to ban the burqa in schools and universities.

Sweden:

In December 2019, the municipality of Skurup banned Islamic veils in educational institutions. Earlier, the municipality of Staffanstorp approved a similar ban.

(with sources inputs)

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