Burqa ban finally gives Belgians something to agree on

Belgium’s government is barely functional right now, hampered by a decades long power struggle between Flemish and Wallonian politicians. But the two sides do seem to be able to agree on one thing: The lower house of parliament voted on Thursday to ban clothes or veils that did not allow the wearer to be fully ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

Belgium's government is barely functional right now, hampered by a decades long power struggle between Flemish and Wallonian politicians. But the two sides do seem to be able to agree on one thing:

The lower house of parliament voted on Thursday to ban clothes or veils that did not allow the wearer to be fully identified, including the full-body veil, known as the burqa, and the face veil which leaves slits for the eyes, known as the niqab.

A cross-party consensus of 136 deputies voted for the measure, with just two abstentions and no opposing votes.  

Belgium’s government is barely functional right now, hampered by a decades long power struggle between Flemish and Wallonian politicians. But the two sides do seem to be able to agree on one thing:

The lower house of parliament voted on Thursday to ban clothes or veils that did not allow the wearer to be fully identified, including the full-body veil, known as the burqa, and the face veil which leaves slits for the eyes, known as the niqab.

A cross-party consensus of 136 deputies voted for the measure, with just two abstentions and no opposing votes.  

Muslims are about 3 percent of the Belgian population so clearly this was a much more pressing issue than the country’s rising unemployment and ballooning national debt. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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